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After Hurricane Harvey: Reassessing Your Legal Vulnerabilities

Dallas business lawyer, Richard “Ric” Armstrong, draws lessons about risk management from Hurricane Harvey.

It’s been little more than a month since Hurricane Harvey scorched the great state of Texas. Surveys suggest that costs from this storm will exceed $190 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history. Hopefully, your family and small business made it through okay.

But perhaps you own property near Houston. Or maybe you lost equipment or had friends whose companies were devastated. Or maybe the hurricane just awakened you to your business’s vulnerabilities. In any case, now seems like an appropriate time to evaluate your legal risks—and finally do something about them.

Then again, perhaps you have too much on your plate already. For instance:

• Maybe you want to renegotiate the partnership agreement you made with your founder (a buddy from high school) because the original agreement you signed was imbalanced. But the relationship’s going well right now, and you have other irons in the fire.
• Or maybe you’re 5 years away from retirement, and you still haven’t given more than an hour’s thought to succession planning. It’s on your “someday/maybe” list. But right now; you’re facing a cash flow crunch. You don’t have time or bandwidth to put new legal structures in place.

It’s easy to defer the “legal stuff,” because urgent tasks in your business will always beckon for your attention. But as Hurricane Harvey highlighted, life doesn’t always wait until we’re ready. Black Swan events can arise, as if out of nowhere, plunging your company into chaos.

As the owner, you need to be proactive—to put in place legal structures to protect against unknown future risks.

But what legal support, exactly, do you need? The answer—and this may sound lawyerly, but it’s true—is that it depends.

Creating legal structures to guard against future risk is what bestselling author Steven Covey would classify as a “Quadrant 2” project—important, but not urgent. There’s no trigger or alarm to act upon…until it’s too late.

Keep in mind these two ideas:

1. Precautionary principle. An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. Is now the absolute best week to take two hours to call your attorney about your new IP? Maybe not. But the price of failure (e.g., the intellectual property falling into enemy hands) is huge.

2. You don’t know what you don’t know. Even if you know your business—and competitors, and marketplace—quite well, you need other perspectives.

If you don’t already have a qualified Dallas business law attorney, reach out to the talented team at Armstrong The Law Firm, P.C. at 972-424-L-A-W-S (5297). We can help you monitor your legal vulnerabilities, so you can focus on growing your company with confidence.

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Armstrong The Law Firm, P.C.
Plano Location
1400 Gables Ct #103
Plano, TX 75075

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5601 Bridge Street, Ste. 300
Ft. Worth, Texas 76112

Phone: (972) 424-5297