The Value of Preventive Legal Audits

"Preventive legal audits are a comprehensive appraisal of a company's legal affairs whereby the attorney can make constructive recommendations for changes in a company's procedures. Annual preventive legal audits can help you

+ avoid court,
+ avoid jail and fines,
+ reduce legal costs,
+ improve your reputation and public relations,
+ take advantage of future trends,
+ educate your employees, and
+ improve your work environment...

Businesses need help spotting potential legal problems before they occur. They often neglect legal matters such as partnership agreements or fail to comply with employment regulations such as documenting reasons for firing an employee. They do not realize they have a problem until they end up in court.

Preventive legal audits preempt trouble before it occurs. For a flat fee, attorneys with extensive backgrounds in business visit a company, analyze legal vulnerability, and draft a remedial plan for the client explaining potential legal exposure; recommend compliance guidelines, legal forms, and employee training; and provide written reminders regarding leases, loans, and other agreements...

The legal issues reviewed include: OSHA compliance; ADA compliance; accounts receivable; credit and collections; human resources (benefits; employee manual); pension/retirement plans; antitrust violations; insurance (malpractice; workers' compensation; general liability; disability); buy-sell shareholder agreements; fraud; corporate structure (bylaws/minutes); limited liability company Articles of Organization and Operating Agreement; workplace violence prevention; real estate (leases, entity, income, expenses, and zoning); record retention/ storage; loans, payroll, accounts payable (phony invoices, kickbacks); environmental compliance (lead paint, asbestos, hazardous materials, sick buildings); consumer laws; product liability; employee theft; licensing agreements; Securities and Exchange Commission requirements; tax planning (S corporation status and alternative minimum tax); contract forms (purchase orders, warranties, brochures); recent legal developments affecting the company; tax return filings; and electronic media."

From Small Business Legal Tax Guide & Information - Businessweek.com