Putting the words ‘corporate recovery’ and ‘solicitors’ in the same sentence will generally conjure up images of examinership and, perhaps, enforcement. But, just as businesspeople will turn to their accountants or financial advisers when the numbers start to look precarious, they should also talk to their legal advisors to draw on solicitor’s wealth of knowledge.
‘Like any area of the law, if you find yourself with an issue regarding your business you should speak to a solicitor’, said Shane Healy, partner in Healy O’Connor Solicitors. ‘Many solicitors won’t even charge you for their initial consultation and, if you are in trouble, they may be the ideal people to help you to head it off’.
Of course most business people will talk to their accountants, but only engage with a solicitor when a drama has become a crisis. But this, said Healy, was a short-sighted approach which did not allow businesspeople to get the most out of their legal advisors.
‘You would be amazed what your solicitor could do for you, especially when it comes to dealing with your creditors’, he said. ‘For example, many people, if they receive a solicitor’s letter, will react in the way that most lay people would. But if they present the letter to their solicitor, they will know exactly how to deal with it – it’s not the end of the world’.
There will, however, be certain times when the end has come for a corporate entity, and Healy O’Connor Solicitors has extensive experience in liquidations, dealing with creditors meetings and all the legalities around winding up an insolvent company. But Healy is keen to point out that there are many stages along the road from solvency to insolvency, and many solicitors have the specific training to allocate them to advise companies on how to avoid an insolvent end.
‘A proactive approach is crucial’, he said. ‘People need to keep communicating and, if there has to be a tough solution, then well and good. But solicitors can achieve a huge amount for their clients, even though many people may be nervous at first about approaching a solicitor for legal advice’.
This is, in part, for fear of creating resentments among customers and clients, some of whom may feel affronted by the involvement of a legal practitioner in their affairs. But, said Healy, the process does not have to be adversarial. Quite the opposite, in fact, in that through the intercession of a solicitor, solutions can be found that can be of mutual benefits to all parties.
‘I don’t like to use the word ‘holistically’, but the truth is that you can’t look at a problem from just one perspective’, said Healy. ‘Solicitors should be conversant in the problems facing companies operating in these difficult times, so they can act as business advisors as well as legal advisors. But if you have to go down the legal route, by engaging with a solicitor early on you will have already started the process’.