We know, lawyers get a bad rap, and most people want to avoid us like the plague. But we’re not all bad, and we add a lot of value to businesses, especially startups. In this article, we will discuss how a corporate lawyer can help your business and where to find one.
What Can a Corporate Lawyer Do For My Business?
A corporate lawyer will help your business in a number of ways, especially if you are a startup. One of the most important ways they help is by protecting your business from lawsuits. Additionally, if your company is sued, the corporate lawyer can refer you to business dispute attorneys Los Angeles law firm California Business Lawyer & Corporate Lawyer, Inc. The best way to do this is to set up your business in a way that provides no legal basis for claims. This means ensuring you select the right business entity for your startup and filing the incorporation papers correctly. It also means reviewing and negotiating real estate contracts and contracts with vendors and equipment rental companies before you sign them to ensure your business interests are protected.
As your business matures and grows, and expands to San Diego, your corporate lawyer can refer your business to the Nakase Law Firm’s business litigation attorneys in San Diego businesses go to. They will protect any intellectual property of your business through patents, trademarks, and copyrights. They can send cease and desist letters to competitors who violate these protections. When you hire staff, your corporate attorney is hugely beneficial to the process. They will help you or your HR department to create legally compliant and non-discriminatory employment policies and practices. They will ensure employment contracts and clear and protect the proprietary information and other confidential aspects of your company. A corporate attorney can even advise on resolving employment disputes and employee terminations to reduce the likelihood of labor claims.
When it’s time for you to stop running your business, a corporate lawyer can help you to tie up loose ends. Consult a business lawyer if your business is ending because of:
- Dissolution of a partnership
- Merger and acquisition
There are a number of steps that must be taken during these processes to avoid legal and tax implications. A business lawyer can help walk you through the necessary steps.
So you see, the question isn’t so much what can a corporate lawyer do for your business, but what can’t they do for your business.
Where to Find a Corporate Attorney
Aside from getting a referral from another business owner, the best place to find a corporate attorney is an online legal directory. They list all the lawyers in a particular area in one place and direct you to their website. We must warn you, that these lists are exceptionally long, and you will need to cut them down to a shortlist. Do this by conducting research on each potential candidate and comparing them until you choose the best. You should look at the following things:
- Reviews from customers – What do their past customers say about them? Read the reviews and think about how that may benefit or disadvantage your business.
- The types of companies they represent – If you are a small startup, you do not want to work with an attorney who helps Fortune 500 companies; they will come with a Fortune 500 price tag. Look instead for a lawyer who represents a range of different companies or who specializes in smaller businesses.
- Industry press – Search their name and see what comes up in the news for both the legal community and your industry. Look at the cases they have worked on and what kind of press they receive.
Once you have a shortlist, the next step is to meet with the corporate lawyers to determine if they are a good match. These lawyers are expecting to be interviewed; this is why they offer free consultations, so do not shy away from asking questions about their fees and the experience they have.
Prepare questions in advance so that you do not waste any time in the consultation; they are usually only half an hour long. This also means that you can ask all of the corporate lawyers the same questions and be able to compare them. Not all of the questions need to be about the skills of the lawyer; you can also ask them how they deal with stressed clients or how they communicate with clients. The personality of the lawyer in relation to your personality is just as important.
How Much Does a Corporate Lawyer Cost?
There is no easy answer to this question; we’re afraid. The best we can offer is generalizations, like the more experienced a lawyer is, the more they will charge, and the bigger the law firm, the more they will charge.
We can offer information about the different billing methods an attorney may use. You should consider these before hiring a corporate attorney and ask any that you interview which methods they prefer.
- Retainer – A retainer is an agreement where you pay a certain amount per month to employ an attorney. You will pay them this amount whether they do any work for you. This keeps you on their books and often gives you an allotment of their time per month. Once you go over this allotment, you will be charged as per their normal rates.
- Hourly rate – Many corporate lawyers expect to be compensated for their time. Actions like negotiations, resolving disputes, or preparing for a lawsuit can be time-consuming, so they will bill their clients per hour. Your corporate lawyer will have an hourly rate that they will provide you, and you may receive the bill for any additional costs like filing fees and court fees.
- Flat rate – A flat rate means that you are paying per task rather than per hour. A corporate attorney will only use this method for routine tasks with a well-defined scope. If there is potential that the time it takes to complete the task will be subject to external influences, an attorney will charge an hourly rate or retainer instead.
Will a Corporate Lawyer Accept Business Equity?
Very rarely. A corporate attorney works with a number of businesses and is unlikely to accept business equity, especially from a startup or small business. Those payment methods are very difficult to claim, and a number of external influences may result in the value of the equity going down. It is something you can discuss with a corporate lawyer, but it is very unlikely the corporate attorney will accept it.