Having a qualified business lawyer when starting a business helps you guarantee that you’re operating your business in full compliance with the law. Your company has several obligations to fulfill in different fields such as commercial, administrative, accounting, and fiscal. In most cases, they are quite complicated for people who have no experience or prior knowledge. For your company to fully thrive and navigate the corporate landscape, you will need legal advice and guidance from a qualified business lawyer. When you are hiring one for your own business, you may take the following points into consideration.
1. The Nature of your Business
The legal issues you face can vary depending on the nature of your business. For example, someone in the music industry might end up having to settle copyright infringement claims, or a company involved in the fashion industry might face endorsement disclosure issues, etc. As such, you will need to hire someone who has sufficient legal knowledge of the field to give you a legal counsel. Make sure you’re able to properly define your needs so your legal advisor can have an idea of what exactly their responsibilities would entail.
2. Consider More Than One Business Lawyer
It’s always a good idea to take more than one business lawyer into consideration. Look over their skills and the expertise they have. You can also compare their culture of performing legal services. Check their qualifications to find out which of them is more capable of responding to the needs of your business. Even if you feel like you might be satisfied with the first legal advisor you’ve interviewed, you’ll feel more reassured with your decision once you’ve interviewed several others and confirmed that you’ve found the most suitable one for the job.
3. Check Conduct and Track Record
In addition to finding a legal advisor that specializes in your specific field, it’s also helpful to choose one who has had plenty of experience in the field. You can simply ask them for their history, or if their law firms have a website, look it up online. You must keep in mind that an experienced legal advisor is always more valuable. You can conduct interviews to further determine their qualifications. Asking them questions allows you to gain insight into their character, the type of experience they have had, and whether they’re the right fit for your business.
While there are several professional things that should be taken into consideration, your potential legal advisor’s conduct and personality are key factor for you to make your decision. You can also check their previous clients and inquire about whether your potential legal advisor takes their job seriously. This can help you to decide whether that person is fit for the job. It’s also important to have mutual respect between you and your legal advisor. A legal advisor who works hard and has a good judgement is someone you would want to keep in your company.
4. Be Wary of Illegal Solicitation
Make sure not to hire a business lawyer who actively solicits your business. Sometimes, it might not be the lawyer themselves who approaches you, but someone who acts as their “runner” and he will attempt to convince you to sign up with a certain law firm or hire a specific lawyer. Solicitation is illegal in most cases and it is often known as barratry. Lawyers caught engaging in barratry can face criminal charges and lose their license. They usually approach you when they notice you’re struggling with a certain case.
Aside from the lawyer themselves, runners also come in the form of police officers, doctors, body shop workers, clergy, nurses, etc. Since they get a commission if they’re able to persuade you, so they can be deceptive and coercive, it’s important for you to pay extra attention. Ideally, you only want to hire a business lawyer you can trust. Therefore, doing a background check on all your potential lawyers is important. You don’t want someone who engages in illegal soliciting activities to work for you.
5. Cost of Legal Services
Cost will be the ultimate factor when choosing a legal advisor to hire. You need to decide beforehand how much you are willing to spend. You can ask a lawyer for a quote and ask them how they bill their clients. Lawyers can either offer their service for an hourly fee, a contingency fee, a flat rate, a negotiable fee, or a retainer for future fees. If you’re not satisfied with the legal advisor’s billing structure, you can always try and negotiate a different one. There are some lawyers who would agree and are willing to offer an alternative.
In the case of billing structures, a flat rate or a cost cap are usually the better options as they can help prevent the lawyer from adding any hidden legal bills. It’s important to find out if the fee they charge includes other expenses such as travel, filing, shipping, etc. In some cases, those costs aren’t treated the same and might be billed separately. The size of the law firm can also influence your decision. Larger firms usually cost more since they are more established and have more resources.
On the other hand, smaller firms are cheaper and more personalized, but their services might be limited, especially if they don’t specialize in the specific field you’re in. If the cost doesn’t fit your budget, then you can continue looking around and asking the same cost-related questions to different business lawyers you can find. Once you’re able to settle on a law firm or a business lawyer, it’s important to make sure that the cost terms are established clearly and directly. Don’t hesitate to talk about prices so you won’t be surprised by any hidden charges and expenses that can end up leaving you frustrated. You can also have the cost terms confirmed in a written agreement to protect your rights.
6. Final Thoughts
Having a business lawyer for your company can make a huge difference in a lot of circumstances. It makes the most sense to have a professional on hand to cater to any corporate and commercial needs that your company might have. Just keep in mind that it’s not an easy job to find the right person to handle the legal issues of your business. It’s a process that can take time as you want your company’s legal representative to be someone well-thought-out. You can end up interviewing dozens of people before finding the one most suitable for your company but hiring a quality business lawyer is worth all the effort. When you’ve taken all the points mentioned above into proper consideration, it will be a lot easier to find a legal advisor who fits your needs, budget, and welfare.