The Influence A Business Lawyer Can Have on Your Business
October 30, 2017
Whenever you are considering bringing on a business attorney for your small or mid-sized business, many thoughts and factors often play a role in this process. You may be someone who is already pretty familiar with what a business lawyer typically does for a business and the value they bring, or you may be someone who doesn’t quite know the difference between a business attorney and your everyday run of the mill injury attorney. That’s okay. The fact that you’re even considering onboarding legal counsel likely means that you either have an immediate need for one, or you see a potential need in the future.
Without a doubt many businesses before you, both small and large, have hired attorney’s for a vast array of reasons. Some have been hired on contract bases, and some have them permanently on a payroll. But do they really do it because everyone else does? The answer is no. There are many checklist reasons why you and other businesses hire or consider hiring business savvy lawyers to aid in task-based or daily activities of your business. But the main gist of it all is this; you cannot do it all yourself, especially smaller businesses who may operate from a small-staffed environment.
More often than not, smaller businesses such as one-person or family-operated establishments can usually take on many business functions in-house that a larger corporation would need to hire staff for, and/or sub-contract such administrative tasks. While this is true to a certain extent, smaller businesses are more susceptible to taking on too much, and with that comes the risk of running your business into the ground. It takes a lot to effectively run a business and/or sell a product or service especially on a smaller scale.
This is why it is so important to consider sharing tasks and daily administrative functions with even a small group of individuals who have your business’ best interest in mind. The great thing about considering a business lawyer as part of your team is that much like you, he or she has expertise in multiple areas of business and law such as taxation,
accounting, public policy, employment law, international regulation, cyber law, and much more. For some, this can be the easy solution and an affordable one as well but not everyone or every business can afford to pay attorney fees or at least think they can’t and thus, it is so important to talk with attorneys about what they can do for your business and how much would they charge you to do it.
But how do you go about talking with a lawyer regarding qualifications and fees? It’s much easier than it seems. While it does take a little charisma and maybe even a little charm, everyone has the ability to sit down with prospective attorneys and discuss the possibility of working together. This relationship will be an attorney-client relationship but ideally the result in practice takes on the form more akin to a partnership than anything.
When discussing qualifications and fees with a lawyer it is a good idea to let the attorney know what you are looking for, such as skills and areas of expertise, then also let the attorney know what you can afford to pay as far as fees are concerned. For example, if you are looking for an attorney with accounting skills, cyber law expertise, global practices, and tax preparation skills state this in simple phrases. If you are looking for someone who can take on multiple administrative roles of the business as one individual versus. 3 or 4 hired individuals, more so than someone who is hired to go to trial on a regular basis like many corporate lawyers, tell your prospective business lawyer this while in conversation about skill and fees.
Make the attorney aware that you are interested in his or her business and legal expertise before leading into discussion of actual cost and fees. Also, if you already know that the typical somewhat pricey attorney fees are more than you can afford at this time but need the special area of assistance ask the attorney for a custom fee. One that maybe isn’t as much as the typical fee area and more tailored to the type of administrative work you need done. Lawyers are great people that wish to help others and enjoy what they do and who they serve but as business owners themselves they aren’t going to advertise a custom fee if you go in asking about there standard rate.
Another great tip is that so many attorneys offer free consultation. Schedule a few consultations and use that time with them to form a relationship while sifting out as much as you can regarding their “fit” for your business, personality, expertise, and much more. You will feel better when you do even if you don’t hire anyone right away.
Tony Crighton is a practicing litigation lawyer who specializes in all legal matters related to business & commercial law, contract law and more. He has been a practicing attorney for over 15 years and has a diverse and broad range of interests and experience.