The answer is yes. You do need a lawyer for your business. A corporate lawyer will help ensure your business is set up to be legally compliant and run smoothly. They can help you with tasks such as protecting your competitive advantage through trademarks and patents. They can also draft, negotiate, and review contracts to ensure you protect your business interests. Furthermore, a Los Angeles Civil Litigation Attorney will help your business operations and prevent pesky lawsuits. Think of them like your GP; they will be your main point of contact for your business needs and refer you to specialist colleagues if and when you need them.
How much does it cost to hire a corporate lawyer?
There is no simple formula for determining how much a corporate lawyer will cost. They set their rates based on a number of factors, including:
- Cost of living in the local area
- Their experience
- The size of their law firm
- The types of clients they work with
- How many staff they employ
- The services they offer
“Most business attorneys are willing to negotiate their rates a little, so it is worth discussing rates before you hire a lawyer,” said Douglas Wade, a business litigation attorney Orange County law firm California Business and Corporate Lawyer, Inc. For example, a corporate lawyer might be willing to charge a slightly lower rate if you hire them on a retainer agreement for a set amount of time, thereby guaranteeing a certain amount of business. A retainer agreement means that you pay them a set amount per month to stay on their books as a client. This guarantees you priority treatment and a set amount of legal assistance per month. Once you have used up your retainer allowance, you will be charged for legal services at your normal rate.
When should I hire a corporate lawyer?
“Most other types of lawyers will be hired only when someone needs their services, like litigators or personal injury lawyers,” said Brad Nakase, San Diego business dispute attorney at the Nakase Law Firm. But a corporate lawyer helps set up your business and keeps it running smoothly, so the best time to hire them is when you start your company. "A corporate attorney adds the most value to your business in the beginning. They can help you to choose a business entity and set up the processes needed to create a strong legal foundation. Once they are all set up, they will maintain these legal processes and add new ones as needed when your business grows."
Initially, a corporate attorney may help with some of the following tasks:
- Choosing a business entity and incorporating
- Setting up your business for taxes
- Negotiating commercial real estate contracts
- Creating partnership agreements or founders agreements
- Assisting to raise venture capital
- Reviewing contracts with suppliers and vendors
As your business grows and changes, they may be able to help with these tasks too:
- Create employment practices and employees
- Write employee contracts and employee handbooks
- Conduct anti-discrimination training
- Advise on termination policies and termination decisions
- Create terms and conditions and client contracts
- Consult on major business decisions
- Advise on how regulation changes apply to your company
- Meditate any employment disputes
- Protect intellectual property
A corporate attorney can help you with legal matters throughout the entire life of your company. So the best time to hire a corporate lawyer was yesterday, and the next best time is today.
How to find a corporate attorney
There are a number of places you can search for a corporate lawyer, but the two best ways to find one are referrals from other business owners or online legal directories.
A referral allows you to ask questions about the lawyer, their work ethic, and their skills from someone who has a similar perspective to you. An online legal directory provides a complete list of corporate lawyers in your area. Both are effective ways to find potential attorneys, depending on your needs. Either way, you should do your own research and learn as much about the corporate lawyers you are considering as possible. Read client reviews, industry news, and get a feel for what sort of lawyer and person they are. If they are part of a law firm, research the law firm too as they will govern the client-attorney relationship.
What should I ask a lawyer during a free consultation?
Before hiring a lawyer, you should book a free consultation so you can interview them and ensure they are suitable. Ideally, you should interview at least three corporate lawyers so that you can compare them and choose the best legal representation for your business needs. Attend the consultation with a prepared list of questions so that you can manage your time well. Your questions should cover their experience and skills, both in general and specific to your business needs. You should also ask questions that will provide you with information about:
- How the attorney works
- How the law firm works
- What kind of clients the attorney works with
- How much they charge
- How the attorney thinks they can help you
- If there are any conflicts of interest
Pay close attention to how the corporate lawyer is during the session. Are they calm and take the time to answer your questions thoroughly, or are they snippy and try to rush you through your list of questions. They may hear these questions regularly, but it is all part of determining whether you want to hire them. Once you have met with all your potential corporate lawyers, compare their answers and decide which one is best for your business needs.
Determine what your corporate lawyer can help with
Once you hire your corporate lawyer, your first course of action should be sitting down with them to acquaint them with your business. This includes your experience as an entrepreneur and any challenges you are currently having or foresee having. Discuss how the corporate attorney can help your business and when you should call them to ask questions.Your corporate lawyer is the best person to provide guidance on what they can help with and when they can point you in the direction of free resources to do things yourself. Knowing when you do not need to consult a corporate lawyer will save you thousands in legal fees.