You have probably already experienced that one of the problems with being a law student or a law graduate is that, when this is discovered, there will be someone around who will want to ask you for ’informal’ advice: sometimes when you are enjoying a social occasion or when you would prefer to be focusing on other things.
Making the appropriate excuse that you are not professionally qualified or insured to give legal advice, can seem pedantic and even discourteous to the enquirer. This is not your fault. You are doing the right thing. What might help, however, is if you can suggest where they could look for the information they need. So far as legal advice is concerned, the best suggestion is that they approach a legal professional. They could also prepare by researching available resources, for instance at a library or online.
After retiring from legal practise, I was fairly frequently approached by people of all ages, and particularly young people, who were aiming to set up their own business. This was especially the case during the years of economic austerity.
Over time, I found myself being drawn into the role of a business mentor. Eventually, I undertook a training course with The Institute of Enterprise & Entrepreneurs to deliver mentoring to micro, small and medium sized businesses. I also registered with the government sponsored “Get Mentoring Project”.
To support my current mentoring activities, I have produced a handy, pocket-sized book called “Getting Ready to Start a Business”. It is brief, easy to read and contains useful mentoring suggestions and refers to more than 60 website links. It is aimed at prospective entrepreneurs who are preparing to run their own business and it provides assistance with defining and promoting a business proposal. Described in the words of one reviewer as:
‘The most relevant business start-up book I have seen. In a few pages it reminds the reader of essential points and provides links to best practice. An excellent work. One to read before you start and to keep on the shelf for future reference’.
By keeping the text concise and providing links to detailed online information (hyperlinked in the e-book), I have been able to give mentees and other enquirers a simple, inexpensive resource through which they can begin to research the information they need, including items arising in a legal context.
And, of course, this simple book comes in useful when helping others to find the answers to their questions.
“Getting Ready to Start a Business” by Richard Eaton LL.B of Lincoln’s Inn, barrister, is available: