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There are two types of professionals every business needs; a business attorney and a lawyer. When you are starting your entrepreneur journey, it’s really difficult to face the maze of legal issues until your team is equipped with an attorney.
Why and when do you need a business attorney? Well, the reason for hiring may not be so apparent. It all depends on your business circumstances; some business owners wait till anything goes wrong with their legal issues.
It’s generally a smart idea to consult a lawyer before making any decision that could have a legal impact on your business operations. You might have heard many times that a business owner’s relationship with his business attorney is just like a marriage; it gradually develops.
The issue you may face includes creation and setting up a partnership or corporation, checking compliance work with due laws and regulations, preparing buyer, seller agreements, tax return plans, the creation of pension plans, renewing business-related forms and employee contracts and laws concerning bad debts. He may also defend you in court for an employee dispute or lawsuit cases.
A good business attorney may help you in almost every aspect of your business, varying from trademark consultation to business formation. You can also hand over your company’s most sensitive legal issues. Your business attorney is also a counselor in law so when you are having a relationship like that it should be trustworthy.
A Set of Skills Required for a Good Business Attorney:
As doctor specializes in different fields, lawyers are also becoming more specialized so choosing a business attorney is somewhat a tricky task. Someone who does only wills, house closing matters may not be perfect for your business type. Here we have discussed some set of skills required, the more skills with the prospective attorney, the better it will for your business.
1. Business Contracts
The desired business attorney must know your business, able to prepare standard employee/customer/client/supplier contracts. He must be able to respond back to other contracts that are offered to your business.
2. Type of Business Organization
The prospective company lawyer should have company formation knowledge; be able to decide which form of organization is most suitable for your business and can prepare the necessary paperwork.
3. Real Estate Matters
commercial lease paper; for offices and retail stores are very complex matters drafted to benefit the landlord. Your lawyer should have tenant’s addendum including the provisions that can be added later to those lease papers
4. Taxes and Licensing Issues
Your accountant is, however, responsible for filing business tax returns, but a good attorney should know how to register for federal and state tax plus the consequences attached to taxes.
5. Trademark and Copyright Issues
If you are designing/ media company or in a creative business, then your lawyer must process knowledge of registering your products for trademark and copyright protection. You must ask your lawyer if he has specialization in intellectual property or he should have a close working relationship with trademark specialist.
Choosing a Business Attorney
Are you facing any difficulty finding a right attorney? Well, you can ask for recommendations from other business owners in same or different industry or from related professionals like bankers and accountants. Don’t just try to have names ask their strengths and weakness also.
Here are top 10 essential points you may find handy in choosing the right attorney for your business.
1. Related Experience in the Industry
Issues like a trademark, franchise agreements, and service contracts demand special skills. You can examine him whether he has worked in similar industries and ask for references as well.
2. Ask for His Approach to Conflict Resolution
Ask as many questions to find out how much he is good at battling out in court and mediating disputes. Some attorney finds hard to mold clients when you want to settle a case.
3. Work Delegation
You need to confirm that the attorney you are appointing assign workload to other paralegals. It’s because it takes much time to explain it the attorney and then re-explain it to the paralegal. Not only time, but the cost is also associated with it. While delegating some work make sure that who will be handling it.
4. Make Sure He Is Not Working for Someone in the Same Industry
Some attorneys work for another client as well. Find out if he is not working for your competitors or former partners, this is just a step to minimize the conflict of interest and you may feel not comfortable in sharing information with your attorney.
5. How Much Time Does He Take to Respond Back?
In some cases, you have to go through the paralegal first before connecting with the lawyer. Therefore, if you want your attorney to prompt make sure how long he takes to respond back.
6. Mode of Communication With the Clients
While responding back to clients is of much importance, mode of communication is of the same importance. Some attorney’s corresponding via email or phone while others don’t correspond after office meetings. It’s obvious you are likely to work with someone who is available to reply you. Do check the communication style also.
To avoid any future consequences, it’s good to check how lawyer’s bill. Some may bill for 10 minutes and others may not boil even for an hour. Moreover, confirm paralegal and research related fees.
8. Ways to Reduce Cost
Don’t get surprised by his high fees. You can ask any other ways to reduce the cost. You can also save money by writing a summary of events for a legal case by yourself. Doing these kinds of work may not only save your money but it may provide a little familiarity with legal matters.
9. Does He Belong to Any Bar or Associations?
Of course, you want an attorney who has the latest information regarding legal business matters. Make sure you ask him if he belongs to any bar association. In short, you need someone who is fully aware what’s going on?
10. Is He Agreed to Make Referrals?
While appointing a business attorney, you need to know is he willing to refer someone to lacking experience in certain fields.
The real value of a business attorney in every business is not just preparing the documents, but, to keep helping you what you need to do that makes sense in your legal matters.