Navigating the legal landscape as a business owner can be a complicated affair. From disputes and employee issues to contracts and regulations, there are a lot of things to consider and a lot more at stake if you stray far from them.
While you may have a basic grasp of your legal interests, having qualified legal representation can help ensure that your business stays within the confines of the law. They’ll also help provide you with expert advice in any legal disputes that arise.
With that said, here are four things you can consider when choosing a legal representative for your business.
1) A Lawyer’s Specialisation
A country’s law is a vast web of rules, regulations, and restrictions. While lawyers have had exposure to various aspects of the law in law school, most choose to specialise in more niched areas, such as tax and estate planning or employment law.
Lawyers tend to have only one or two specialisations. As such, you need to have a lawyer who understands the complexity of your case and has the relevant expertise to tackle it. This way, they’ll be able to better legally interpret the dynamics of your case and give you the best legal advice.
For people running a small business, there are a few specialisations that you may want to consider when choosing legal representation. These are the following:
- Commercial Litigation Law: Commercial litigation is concerned with disputes that arise between two or more businesses.
- Tax Law: Tax law is a complex area of the law that deals with federal, state and local taxes.
- Intellectual Property Law: Intellectual property concerns itself with protecting the ideas, inventions and original works of authors.
- Labour Law: Labour law is concerned with the employee-employer relationship and protecting workers’ rights.
- Corporate Law: Corporate law deals with the formation, governance, and dissolution of corporations.
If your legal inquiries aren’t covered by the aforementioned law types listed above, there are general business lawyers at LegalVision UK and other law firms that can provide you with legal advice on a broad range of business matters.
2) A Lawyer’s Experience and Reputation
When the outcome will result in massive swings in your financial and criminal standing, then you’ll want to have a lawyer who can rise for the challenge.
While hiring fresh law school graduates isn’t always a bad option, getting in touch with experienced lawyers should always be the priority.
Although they require a greater financial investment, the experience and legal knowledge these lawyers have gained throughout their careers make them invaluable assets to any legitimate business.
That said, not all lawyers who have been around for a long time are competent. That’s why you’ll want to vet their credentials and look into their records during their time in court.
You can do this by researching their past cases or talking to other business owners about their experiences. These lawyers will often have their own websites where they present their cases and credentials.
If you want a more unbiased source, Google and Facebook pages have first-hand accounts of lawyers’ services according to their clients.
3) Lawyer’s General Availability
While a law firm’s reputation may seem impressive, it isn’t of much help if the lawyers are difficult to reach or are not able to communicate with you as much as you’d like.
One unfortunate reality is that an industry-leading lawyer is often also sought after by many high-paying clients. If you’re just a small business with a limited budget, your freshly-minted lawyer may not prioritise you as much as their big-budget clients. And, as a result, your case may suffer.
You want you and your lawyer to be on the same page regarding communication and availability. Before signing a contract, make sure to inquire the law firm about their general availability and how they’ll handle your case. You’ll also want to know if they’re juggling multiple other clients and how they plan on balancing your case with their workload.
Once you’ve settled all of these questions, then you can make your informed decision. Always keep in mind that a good and available lawyer is almost always better than the best but neglectful one.
4) The Lawyer’s Pricing Structure
The last thing you want to do is find yourself locked amid a legal battle, only to realise that your law firm charged outrageous prices for their services.
When you start looking for a lawyer, always make sure to inquire about their pricing structure and the fees that they’ll charge if your case goes to court.
Many law firms will offer initial consultations for free, and they may be willing to negotiate a payment plan that you can both agree on.
But not all law firms are the same. You may have had a past law firm that had a transparent pricing structure and reasonable rates, but that’s no guarantee that the next one will be the same.
Additionally, during the vetting process, ask about any hidden fees and try to get an estimate of the total cost. This will help both parties be on the same page before any awkward money-matter conversations ensue.
When it comes to business law, there are a number of factors to take into account. Unfortunately, not all lawyers are aware of these important factors and end up charging businesses too much for their services. To help you make the best decision for your business, we have compiled a list of things business owners should always consider when selecting legal representation.
We hope this will help you avoid common mistakes and find the perfect lawyer for your needs.