In our last post we established the importance of being legally protected and legally “advised” at every moment in any type of industry. However, like we have discussed before legal terms, clauses, and agreements vary according to the industry, service and/or product being provided to the public. Dive In! Events, Conventions, & More… had the opportunity to discuss in a Q&A with attorney at law Maranyeli Medina about the legal system regarding small businesses in the event planning industry.
Maranyeli Medina is a law school graduate from the Universidad Interamericana of Puerto Rico. Ever since she was a child she was intrigued by the excitement and drama of the courtroom. As a young adult still in her undergraduates’ program she realized her passion for law and justice, realization that made her decide and pursue law as a career. She expresses her love and passion for what she does with great excitement and how being an attorney allows her explore and experience many different areas and different cases. Her goals as an attorney include achieving maximum excellence in professional performance and that each person who seeks her help can leave feeling comfortable and believing in the justice system.
Dive In: If a legal situation arises involving a corporation v. an individual, knowing that the case’s outcome depends on the legal matters involved, does the corporation have the advantage because they have a better legal team?
Medina: Not necessarily, although having a high purchasing power has a direct correlation with the ability of hiring a good lawyer this is not always the case. However, at times legal teams who represent big companies and/or corporations are so high in demand they dedicate less time to prepare themselves. In addition, in cases of breach of contracts, for example, the justice system provides the necessary means of legal protection for the weaker economical class.
Dive In: Have you ever heard of a legal case involving an event planning company? If so, is it common in court?
Medina: Yes I have. However, I rarely see these types of cases in the courtroom.
Dive In: Knowing that event planning companies rely mostly on their relationships with clients,. How important is having a personalized contract / agreement with every client?
Medina: It is extremely important. A well-written contract is one less claim in case of a trial. Remember that contracts must consist of clear and accurate terms and it is best that at the time of reaching an agreement both parties come to the negotiating table in good faith and clearness.
Dive In: Is it more “legally” convenient to have a generic contract? Yes or No? Why?
Medina: You can have a general agreement and / or contract but it is preferable to personalize contracts based on the specific circumstances of the case or situation.
Dive In: What clauses do you consider that should be “must haves” in contracts for event planners?
Medina: Clauses that provide protection in case of a breach or non-compliance. Also, depending on the case I think it would be good to include an arbitration clause. (An arbitration clause is a commonly used clause in a contract that requires the parties to resolve their disputes through an arbitration process. Although such a clause may or may not specify that arbitration occur within a specific jurisdiction, it always binds the parties to a type of resolution outside of the courts, and is therefore considered a kind of forum selection clause.)
Dive In: Signed agreements, for example releases, help event planning companies have very small liabilities. What else can we do, in order to avoid being sued for liabilities? What other measures do we take?
Medina: I believe that if you have a good, solid, clear agreement or contract without any room for misinterpretation or miscomprehension, you should be fine.
Dive In: What are some legal measures, being a small business, we have to consider that we haven’t mention before?
Medina: In my opinion, I will continue to insist on the importance of a good contract. Dealing mostly with clients and customers, an event planning business must rely on a very solid contract.
Dive In: What do you recommend party planners to do in any legal case?
Medina: My legal suggestion is to always try to reach a mutual agreement or compromise instead of litigation. This way both parties save a lot time and money. If this does not work, turn to litigation as soon as possible.
Dive In: How important it is to trust your lawyer? Safety in numbers... the more lawyers you have, the safer you are? True or False? Why?
Medina: Absolute confidence in your attorney is a must. You must be completely honest with your representation in order to conduct the case in the most effective manner. Regarding safety in numbers, when it comes to attorneys, the client always has the freedom to pursue various legal opinions regarding their situation. However, I don’t believe that because you have more lawyers you have a better hand, this is relative and depends on the situation.
Dive In: In your opinion, what is the biggest legal myth in the legal system?
Medina: To me one of the biggest legal myths is when an adverse outcome is considered to be an equivalency to a failed justice system. Individuals must understand that many factors affect a court’s decision or a case outcome.
Dive In: Taking into consideration that a business may be based in Puerto Rico, does corporation laws differ a lot? Yes or No? Why?
Medina: They are not dramatically different, but when we take into consideration corporate law we have to understand that the legal system has established some general principles to follow. However, we have to understand that the laws of the jurisdiction govern corporations where they are incorporated, which is not always where the “ principles” were established.
As you can see it doesn’t matter what type of business you own, being legally insured and oriented gives you a corporate advantage and security. Ms. Medina also pointed out during the interview that the law system, like everything in life, has room for improvement, for example, getting up to date with technology and taking advantage of the benefits that these advances provide society nowadays. Dive In! Events, Conventions & More.. would like to thank Ms. Medina for taking the time and answering our questions helping us understand the legal world. Event planners make sure you are legally advised and oriented in order to be safe from any legal situations, make sure to always seek legal help and advising in order to avoid any legal problems. Remember, KEEP IT LEGAL!