Unfortunately, most business leaders don’t think they need a lawyer until they need one. But a lawyer can serve as a vital part of a business team offering not only legal advice, but sound counsel. It’s with that sense of being a resource that Brian Homza of Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway has seen success for himself and his clients.
Mr. Homza principally practices insurance coverage, including first party coverage issues, insurance fraud, arson, fraudulent claims, and the defense of extra contractual claims. Mr. Homza’s practice also includes professional errors & omissions claims, defending insurance agents and brokers. He is also engaged in the defense of commercial motor carriers. Or as he put it, when a business has a lease agreement or contract dispute, that’s where he comes in. “It’s very important now, for people to protect their assets. That means it’s important for people to contact a lawyer immediately to protect their business through contracts and corporate structuring,” said Mr. Homza. “I can’t tell you how many smart business people have entered a contract and don’t have someone review it and then end up in a courtroom where a judge is reviewing that contract. That is not good for business.”
He noted it’s important to have a lawyer as part of your team. If not only for peace of mind, but for simple tasks such as contract review that can take 30 minutes and prevent litigation with snowballing costs. He recalled a particular situation where there was a business owner wanted a particular paragraph to protect a particular aspect of his business but didn’t take the time to read the contract and the paragraph conflicted with another paragraph. Mr. Homza explained that if that business owner had contacted an attorney, it could have saved time, heartache and money. He noted a business person shouldn’t be uneasy about asking a lawyer how much something would cost or telling him it’s too much or if it’s out of line.
“Where it would have taken a lawyer an hour to read that contract and charge for that small amount of time, he paid thousands and thousands of dollars in litigation — all because he didn’t have someone look at it at the outset.” Mr. Homza takes pride in the strong relationships he has built with not only large state and national corporations, but small local businesses. He credits his success for knowing that people are looking for a partner in business, even when it comes to legal counsel. He serves as a sounding board for law and how it will impact business, and makes it clear he is interested in growing business and not having a one-time interaction.
“They want a relationship, they want someone who has their best interests at heart. If their business grows, the better it is for my business,” he said.
It’s that sense of partnership that Mr. Homza offers as advice to other business leaders — develop relationships with other leaders in your industry. He said you shouldn’t be stuck with a problem for fear of reaching out to another business leader, lawyer, or insurance agent.
“Most of the businesses here know and understand it’s very good to have other businesses develop. Don’t be afraid to call another business to learn from their mistakes. There’s a lot of knowledge you can tap from people who have been in business longer, even your competitor. No one’s too experienced to learn from someone else,” he said.