Most people, business owners included, think that they don’t need to hire a lawyer until they are suing someone or being sued. While the average person might not need to keep a lawyer on retainer at all times, the average business owner certainly should. They will ensure your business is legally compliant at all times and will be able to explain to you the tax and legal implications of important business decisions.

What Does a Corporate Lawyer Do?

As a business owner, the best way to prepare a budget for your legal assistance is to know exactly what a corporate attorney can help you with and what they cannot. If you ask your corporate attorney to help with everything, your legal bills will be sky high before long. Instead, you should know when to call your business lawyer and when to search for information online or turn to another professional. A corporate lawyer is a good resource for referring your company to a business litigation attorney Orange County businesses trust like the California Business Lawyer & Corporate Lawyer, Inc. in Orange County.  If you are a new entrepreneur who needs a lot of help, you should consider hiring a business coach to give you a little guidance. While your corporate lawyer will be a good sounding board, turning to them for every single query will become very expensive.

Ask your corporate lawyerDo it yourself
Partnership agreements Contracts Employment policies and practices Termination consultations Intellectual property Business entity advice Bankruptcy advice Mergers and acquisitions Venture capital fundraising Terms and conditions Franchise contractsReal estate contracts Lawsuit adviceChoosing business names Buying a domain name Setting up your business website Writing a business plan Getting a traditional business loan Hiring staffBookkeeping and doing taxes Picking a business partner TaxesPayroll  

If you are in doubt, ask your corporate lawyer if it is something they can help with or if they can point you towards resources. Many corporate lawyers refers their clients to the Nakase Law Firm’s employment lawyer San Diego businesses go to for labor law. A corporate lawyer is often handling a number of different cases at once and, therefore will not just help with every task in order to earn more money. They will generally only take on tasks if they believe they can add value to your business or protect you from legal issues in some way.

What Are The Fees of Corporate Lawyers?

While the amount corporate attorneys charge can vary significantly, they will use one of the fee structures we discuss below. When you are choosing a corporate lawyer for your business, have a conversation about their rates and what fee structures they use for different tasks. It will give you an indication of how expensive your legal representation will be. As a small business owner, you want a corporate lawyer who uses a mixture of these fee structures. If they only charge hourly rates, then your legal representation can add up quickly.

  • Retainer – Many corporate lawyers will ask their clients to pay a retainer, or monthly fee, to stay on their books. This means that legal correspondence goes straight to your attorney, and they have a certain amount of time put aside for you. For a new business owner, this can be the best fee structure as it allows you to receive quick legal assistance as things arise.
  • Hourly rate – An hourly rate means that you pay the attorney based on the amount of time it takes them to complete a task. In situations that require consultation or negotiation with another party, the price can add up quickly. Most parties know that lawyers will be working on an hourly rate and will try to stretch proceedings out to make them as painful as possible.
  • Flat rate – Also called a set fee or fixed cost. This simply means that the rate is set per task for standard business tasks. A business lawyer might charge a set fee for writing standard contracts that do not require negotiation with another party.
  • Contingency fee – When you are suing another party for damages, your lawyer might work on a contingency fee basis. This means that instead of paying them upfront, they take a cut of the compensation they win for you. If they do not win the case, they do not receive payment.
  • Business equity – Most business attorneys will not accept business equity as payment for services. If they do accept business equity, there will be strict circumstances and contracts.

How to Find a Corporate Lawyer

It is not difficult to find a corporate lawyer; a quick search will show hundreds in your area. Finding the right corporate lawyer for your business requires a little more due diligence.

When looking at potential corporate lawyers, you need to do a little research into each attorney and the law firm they work for. The quality of the attorney you work with will have a large impact on the success of your business. You should look at the following things when researching:

  • Industry news about the lawyer and law firm
  • Customer reviews
  • Past cases and if they won or lost
  • Areas of expertise for the lawyer and law firm
  • The types of businesses they work with

Using these criteria, you can narrow your search down to a handful of candidates who you can interview.

Interview Lawyers Before You Hire Them

Lawyers offer free consultations so their prospective clients can speak to them before they make a decision to hire them. Book one of these consultations and ask questions of the corporate lawyer so you can see if they will be a good match for your company. You should ask questions about their experience and the types of clients they work with as well as how they work with clients. Their personality and the way they work will be just as important as how skilled they are. Prepare your questions before you interview the first potential corporate lawyer. This will help you to use the allotted time wisely and to not stray off-topic.

If you are facing specific legal issues or foresee yourself facing particular issues, then you should also talk to the attorney briefly about that to ensure they have the expertise you require.

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