Running a business comes with incredible rewards, but also inherent risks. In a country fixated to litigation like the U.S., the threat of a lawsuit is very real. In 2019, nearly 300,000 civil lawsuits were filed in the U.S courts. These civil cases include filings against businesses such as product liability, intellectual property right, tax suits, contract issues, and employment lawsuits.
Legal costs in the US are among the most expensive when compared to other developed countries. For instance, US companies spent nearly $5.1 billion in 2019 on employment lawsuits alone. Unfortunately, the US Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy noted that many businesses don’t consider legal costs as a necessary part of doing business.
In the event of a lawsuit, business operations can be greatly affected. Litigation not only causes financial losses but also significant emotional hardship, especially for business owners who are invested personally into their business.
It is crucial for businesses to have a good legal counsel right from the start. A business lawyer can assist you with legal concerns related to setting up and running a business. According to an Orlando business lawyer, legal professionals can help you interpret difficult legal issues, draft favorable contracts, assist you in formal business incorporation, provide legal representation in case of liabilities and lawsuits, and answer any other questions of law.
However, hiring a business lawyer or a law firm can be tricky and daunting. Here are some tips to help you choose a reliable legal counsel.
· Ask for recommendations
Start your search by asking for recommendations from friends or fellow business owners. Most likely, they will recommend someone whom they trust. Perhaps, they currently work or have previously worked with this lawyer. You can also get useful and honest insights about prospective lawyer. You can ask about their working relationship with this lawyer, such as their availability, professionalism, experience, the outcome of their case, etc.
· Check their reputation
Choose a lawyer with good reputation in the business and legal community. If there any negative feedback about a prospective lawyer, drop him and look for another one. You want a lawyer whom you can fully trust – and reputation is vital in building a positive working relationship.
· Request for an initial meeting
If you already have prospective business lawyers in mind, ask for an initial meeting. Use this time to discuss your legal needs and to know more about your prospects. Ask as many questions such as their experience, specialization, schedule, communication, and legal costs. You can also get an idea about the lawyer’s personality and whether you can work comfortably with him.
· Choose a lawyer based on your legal needs
Although business lawyers specialize in legal issues concerning business operations, each and every case is unique. Furthermore, the legal needs of a business also change as the business grows. In some legal cases, you might need the help of legal specialists. For example, if you have a lawsuit related to intellectual property rights, look for a lawyer with experience in this field.
· Compare the proposed legal fees
If you are a small business owner, you need to consider the legal costs offered by your prospective business lawyer. Ask about the retainer’s fee and other associated expenses. The rate should be commensurate to the lawyer’s experience, level of specialization, and the current rates in your area.
However, this does not mean that you should settle with an inexperienced, fresh graduate who charges half the price of an experienced legal professional. It is alright to ask your lawyer what you’ll get and his guarantee. Your ultimate goal is to look for a business lawyer that offers an equitable fee arrangement and can guarantee your legal protection and security.
Hiring a business lawyer can be an intimidating task. Follow these tips to increase your chances of choosing someone whom you can entrust your business’ legal needs.