Firms must practice what they preach

It is an interesting scenario that lawyers, who provide top notch advice on the most complex business management matters, are themselves often the worst at putting such advice into practice in their own organisations. Indeed, the same could probably be said of the myriad of other professional organisations which are in the business of giving advice.

How often do firms get caught out on the wrong side of legal issues in their own organisation's dealings from poor employment practices, such as the wrong procedures to get rid of staff, to discriminatory actions.

And partnership disputes are often handled so badly that they endanger the whole being of the firm. Indeed, it is astonishing to hear of the number of firms which do not have proper partnership agreements.

Firms must realise that not only are they in the field of giving advice, they must also ensure that their own procedures are up to scratch. Running a business necessitates this, otherwise firms can expect all types of problems to arise.

The recently set-up Association of Partnership Practitioners chaired by Ronnie Fox of Fox Williams, was formed to assist on this front. Fox says firms often need objective help from outside sources who do not have an axe to grind, since such disputes can often be extremely emotional.

The group is running a series of workshops in order to exchange ideas on how to deal with under-performing partners and on how to apply restrictive covenants, partnership agreements and partnership remuneration. Because it is a multidisciplinary group, the expertise of other sectors is on hand.

At only £100 for membership of the association, firms could surely afford to join up and learn a lesson or two. As businesses, firms must act to protect their interests.