Assume that you have taken on a management position at MKT Corp. If MKT is to make sound business decisions, you and your management colleagues must be aware of a broad array of legal considerations. These may range, to use a nonexhaustive list, from issues in contract, agency, and employment law to considerations suggested by tort, intellectual property, securities, and constitutional law. Sometimes legal principles may constrain MKT’s business decisions; at other times, the law may prove a valuable ally of MKT in the successful operation of the firm’s business.
Of course, you and other members of the MKT management group will rely on the advice of in-house counsel (an attorney who is an MKT employee) or of outside attorneys who are in private practice. The approach of simply “leaving the law to the lawyers,” however, is likely to be counterproductive. It often will be up to nonlawyers such as you to identify a potential legal issue or pitfall about which MKT needs professional guidance. If you fail to spot the issue in a timely manner and legal problems are allowed to develop and fester, even the most skilled attorneys may have difficulty rescuing you and the firm from the resulting predicament.
If, on the other hand, your failure to identify a legal consideration means that you do not seek advice in time to obtain an advantage that applicable law would have provided MKT, the corporation may lose out on a beneficial opportunity. Either way—that is, whether the relevant legal issue operates as a constraint or offers a potential advantage—you and the firm cannot afford to be unfamiliar with the legal environment in which MKT operates.