Doing your own Legal Work

As a mechanic, we fix things.

It’s in our nature, it’s in our blood – there’s a problem, we fix it. People bring us problems all day, every day, and it’s our job to fix it.

We take pride in fixing things – in fact there’s a little bit of ego involved in this phenomenon – nobody else could fix it, but I sure as hell can.

But there’s one area in running a business where you shouldn’t fix it yourself – the legal arena.

I can’t count how many times we’ve had to fix what was a small problem, easily dealt with, and easily handled, and by the time we were involved litigation had spiraled out of control.

Imagine a customer who brings in his ride with what he says is an electrical problem. He also tells you he “did a little research” and decided to replace the battery, the alternator, and starter because “his buddy told him that’s what the problem is,” except it still won’t charge.

So you dig in, find that a fusible link blew because a wire grounded out. Other than that, as far as you can tell, the kid replaced about $750 worth of unnecessary parts. In inspecting his work, he cross-threaded half the bolts, broke the belt tensioner trying to but the belt back on, causing some very expensive damage.

It’s the same with legal work.

Clients will make admissions to a court creating significant liabilities. They write demand letters failing to provide proper notice under the law. They fail to file the correct cause of action for a lawsuit, blowing through the statute of limitations, or even making admissions to either police officers or investigators who write them in reports that create criminal or civil actions against the shop, the shop owner, and their employees.

You can’t imagine how many times a shop has admitted liability under some obscure code without even knowing it.

I know the perception promulgated by media and previous experiences with attorney’s – minimum of $X,000 to start on your case.

There are all types of lawyers and all types of firms.

Developing a relationship with one shouldn’t be an exercise in emptying your savings account.

Every business needs legal advice.

There are issues that come up on a continual basis. Y

You may have questions about a particular issue, how to handle a disgruntled customer, issues with the Bureau of Automotive Repair, a renegotiation of a lease, etc.

Just remember the old adage, a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client – by the same token, a shop who represents himself. . . .

Doing your own Legal Work
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