There are times when you may need to consider hiring a law firm on retainer for your business. If that is the case, then having all the information at hand to make an informed decision about the lawyer and their services will ensure your business doesn’t suffer.
Your business may not be a regular user of a lawyer, and sometimes the situations you need these services can be stressful. The first step would be to locate a lawyer within your area, utilizing the American Bar association to find a lawyer is the first place to start. It is also beneficial to find a lawyer that will offer you a free case review and quotation for any potential work.
Finding a lawyer with the legal skills you require is essential. Larger firms may suit you but may be more expensive; however, they will have a range of lawyers to be able to meet all of your needs under the one roof. Opting for a well-established lawyer may also be a good idea; however, they again may cost more than a newly formed practice.
Knowing the type of lawyers out there will be beneficial, below you will find the types of lawyers and work they undertake. Some can become increasingly niche but others have a broader experience in the areas of will writing, commercial or personal. Ensure you find one that is a good fit for your requirements.
If you need a lawyer to look at business contracts, you will want something that understands business law. Someone who can respond quickly and efficiently to your needs can draw up contracts and help you process any issues swiftly.
If you are setting up a business and need advice on whether you need t set up a corporation or a limited liability company, you will need a lawyer who specializes in business law. They will be able to prepare all the necessary paperwork for you.
Are you buying real estate? You will require a lawyer who has experience of leases, especially commercial space such as retail stores and offices. This can be a highly complex area, so having a lawyer to draft documents and to negotiate on your behalf will ensure it runs smoothly.
Not sure about taxes and licenses for your business? While an accountant can help you prepare your tax returns, having a lawyer will help you register your business and help you understand tax implications in more detail.
If your business is designing products or other creative endeavours, then having a lawyer who has experience within the intellectual property arena will be essential. The lawyer with this expertise will assist you in registering your projects or services for a federal trademark as well as assisting with copyright protection.
When you make an informed decision on the law firm, ensuring there are no conflicts of interest is the next step. A lawyer should not represent you if conflicts of interests exist. This causes problems for you and the lawyer. Therefore, provide your lawyer with all your requirements such as your business details, the area of law you require them for, the names of anyone else involved in the particular matter if it is a litigation case.
Many lawyers offer potential clients a free initial interview or case review. The likes of Leinart Law Firm, is just an example of a law firm that offers such a service. This is an excellent opportunity to discuss the issues and to understand what the lawyer can do for you. Before any such interview, ensure you know a little about the law firm, and during the interview ask about their charges.
During the interview, outline your objectives for wanting to hire a lawyer. Explain this clearly so they can tailor their services to your needs. Ask the lawyer to explain their role in detail. Ensure they explain the process as well as your responsibilities and theirs. You should discuss in detail the service the lawyer will provide and what the outcome will be. Ask if there are any risks and what will happen if any complications arise.
Communication between a business and a lawyer is extremely important. Agree on how and how often communication will take place whether this will be over email, phone or in a face-to-face meeting. It would help if you were told the name and contact details of the lawyer who will be responsible for dealing with your business. While the workload required from the lawyer will not be fully known, it will be important for them to provide you with the overall likely cost and update you as the matter progresses. Ask your lawyer to give an accurate, clear and concise cost of the comprehensive work that would be involved. Agree a fixed fee, ensure you know how long the process will take and if you have any questions about the costs, ask for an explanation.
If you are hiring a lawyer on a retainer, ask for a written agreement which sets out the exact services that will be provided, the terms of the services and how and when it will be charged. It’s important to have this agreement and for both parties to sign and date it. The agreement should also contain the standards you can expect, what happens if you have a problem with their services, information on their insurance, how they will store your information, details on confidentiality and disclosure, details of fees and the amount and when you should pay.
There is no denying that hiring a lawyer can be a costly affair.
However, depending on why you require, one can also give you the opportunity to save money to ensure you aren’t left with a legal bill that makes your eyes water!
Below are some cost-saving tips that will help you ensure you get value for money when you make the decision to hire a lawyer.
The majority of lawyers charge by the hour; they often do this even if they are travelling.
- Met the lawyer in their office to limit the amount of time spent and ensure you negotiate the best hourly rate you can.
- Another option is to ask for a flat fee for a particular piece of work; this may be a more cost-effective option depending on the type of work involved.
- If you are going to require a lawyer on a regular basis, having them on a monthly retainer may be the best option. This will entitle you to a specific amount of time each month. Ask if you can roll forward any unused time.
- Some lawyers work on a contingent fee. This means they get paid a percentage of proceeds. If this is the best option for you to ensure you negotiate the best percentage, which can be anything from 25% to 40%.
- Depending on the type of work, some lawyers opt for value billing. This means your lawyer will charge you more if there is a favourable result of work undertaken. This is often the most expensive option, so if you are wanting to save money, try to avoid this one.
Do not hesitate to talk through these options with the lawyer to ensure you have the information to make an informed choice. This will help you when considering cost; likewise, you may need to wish to know other services you’re going to want for your business, to add to your business plan.
Finally, before making the decision on hiring a lawyer, asking the following questions will help assist you in ensuring you hire the lawyer most suited to your needs.
- Experience. Ensure the lawyer has the background suited to your needs. The information above will assist you in determining the knowledge you are looking for depending on your business needs.
- Communication. It is key that your lawyer is able to communicate with you in the right way and able to cut through all the jargon so you understand.
- Location. Having a lawyer that is within your district will be of benefit. This is especially important if you need to visit your lawyer on a regular basis. You don’t want to waste time travelling to your lawyer when you could be working on your business.
- Getting on with your lawyer. This may not seem an important aspect; however, getting to know and being able to get on with your lawyer is important. This means being open and honest, understanding your needs, communicating openly and building and trusting your lawyer.
No matter what professional you are hiring, you want to hire the best person for your needs. Depending on what you need a lawyer for will depend on whether you need one lawyer or engaging the services of several. The above tips will help you in this process and ensure you can hire a professional that meets your needs. Interview more than one lawyer, find someone that you are happy with. List out the questions you want to ask, ensure you are comfortable with your lawyer, remember you can choose to change lawyers too. Just to remember that you are the customer, so any lawyer needs to take account of your needs and requirements.
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