November 20, 2018 Technology

The Desk Book for Small Business Attorneys Receives a Makeover

By Aastha Madaan

When I first saw the book Advising the Small Business: Forms and Advice for the Legal Practitioner, Third Edition, it gave me some law school flashbacks due to its sheer volume—its more than 750 pages long.

Now, after having had the book for a few months, I can safely say that had I had this book in law school for my classes, life would have been a lot easier!

Author Jean L. Batman’s experience and knowledge truly shine in this helpful desk book, which can best serve as a reference book for business law attorneys. As a bibliophile—for both legal and non-legal books—I have a few criteria by which I judge books, and I’ve presented them for you below, in no particular order, in the hope that they will help you decide whether the book will be beneficial for you.

Content

The content is obviously the reason this book is more than 750 pages long. The information provided will take you straight back to law school, in all the best ways. The information is divided into sections with descriptive titles—more on that below—and is written in easy-to-understand language with very few footers and other references, so you don’t need to flip back and forth. As a busy millennial lawyer, I appreciate that the relevant information is provided in bite-sized sections that are easy to read and don’t drag on endlessly. Even mundane concepts such as capitalization are explained in a way that is easy to understand.

The content is in-depth, especially with the forms and letters provided, and it’s made accessible by both the tone and organization of the book.

Organization

In this book, more than others, the organization anchors the content. The book starts in the chronological order by which the attorney-client relationship in a business matter would progress. This can be a huge help to an attorney who is new to this area of law. The letters and forms at the end of each chapter are especially helpful to solo and small firm attorneys who do not have established templates yet. The first chapter, for example, covers conflicts of interests, how to attract clients, and important forms. The second chapter covers the concern for which quite a number of new businesses first seek an attorney: intellectual property. Each section of each chapter is framed as a question. For example, one of the sections in Chapter 5 asks the important question, “Should My Client Get D&O Insurance?” This is one of those questions that a new practitioner without a mentor can’t find an answer to otherwise. And it is easily accessible just by thumbing through the table of contents of the book.

Many of the other chapters are clearly titled and offer just the right amount of information. If an attorney is retained to start a corporation or LLC or is coming in to clean up prior mistakes, the information that she needs to know overlaps heavily, so instead of having separate and confusing chapters, Ms. Batman combined the two and wrote lengthier chapters for “Organizing and Cleaning Up a Corporation,” and the same for other types of entities.

Overall, the organization makes the book accessible in spite of its length. The titles are the cherry on top!

Tone

PowerPoints, MCLE presentation materials, law review articles, podcasts, legal magazines, and committee newsletters have now become my most common methods of consuming legal knowledge. Nobody has ever accused legal books of being page turners. This book manages to impart wisdom and how-to’s all while having personality. In the chapter on venture capital, one of the sections is titled “Only C Corps Need Apply.” This is only one of several times that I was reminded that this book was written by a human with a personality, which made it a lot more accessible and easy to read.

Conclusion

The book is a bit lengthy—understandably so—because it provides a wealth of information. Due to the length, it might have been better in loose leaf-form because, as a blend of a reference book, a primer, and a how-to guide, it truly is a desk book that a business law attorney can and should have nearby. The content, organization, and tone were all outstanding, and this has quickly become my personal go-to book for confirming or finding answers when I can’t call a mentor or don’t have time to dive into LexisNexis for research. I highly recommend it for attorneys with less than ten years of practice, or attorneys for whom business law is not their primary area of practice.

Advising the Small Business: Forms and Advice for the Legal Practitioner, Third Edition

By Jean L. Batman
ISBN: 9781641051538
Product Code: 5150504
2018, 784 pages, 7 x 10, paperback

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Aastha Madaan (aastha@madaanlaw.com) is a sole practitioner in Long Beach, California, where she practices business law and estate planning. She is a young lawyer leader and social media disciple. Aastha speaks and writes frequently on the topic of cultural competency in the practice of law. She is passionate about advancing diversity in the profession, about legal technology, and about coffee. She is a member of the Editorial Board of GPSolo magazine.