A lot of business owners make the mistake of failing to hire a business lawyer before it’s too late. The most common reason for this is that lawyers come at a cost, and it’s a cost that most business owners are unwilling to pay because “why do I need to hire a lawyer right now when I don’t need one?”
But that is exactly the point. Hiring a lawyer to guide you through legal business matters helps ensure that you won’t need one to get you out of trouble. Yes, you don’t need a lawyer when making significant business decisions, but having one by your side helps keep your business in compliance and avoid messy lawsuits.
Before we get into how you can hire an experienced business attorney, let’s talk about the benefits of having one.
The benefits of hiring a business lawyer
We’ve mentioned that hiring a business lawyer helps keep you out of legal trouble, but in what specific ways do they do that? With a lawyer by your side, here are the benefits you can expect:
- Sound legal advice. A business lawyer is well-versed in business laws, and so they will be able to guide you through the process of starting and running a business. With their legal advice, your business will have less risk of falling into legal issues.
- Contract drafting. Creating contracts is often a tedious and meticulous process. Doing it yourself is not only time-consuming but also incredibly risky, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with contract drafting in the first place. Having a lawyer to assist you with contracts helps avoid loopholes and disagreements in the future.
- Dispute resolution. When you’re already being sued, it’s already too late to do anything about it other than going to court. But when you have a business lawyer on standby, you might be able to solve disputes without resorting to litigation. Instead of going to court, your lawyer can help you arrive at a settlement through alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration or mediation, which is less expensive and less time-consuming than litigation.
- Intellectual property protection. No one wants to get their hard work stolen, especially intellectual property that is impossible to replace. Having a business lawyer can help you protect your intellectual property and maintain your distinctions as a business.
- Real estate property advice. If you are going to be leasing or buying a property for your business, hiring a business lawyer to analyze the fine print is imperative. This is especially important if you have little to no experience with real estate contracts and terms.
How to find the right business lawyer
Now that you know why a business lawyer is important for the success of a business, here are some useful tips on how you can find the right one:
1. Look for a business lawyer in your area
Business laws can vary in different localities, which is why you need to find a business lawyer that is familiar with the laws in your state and locality.
2. Find specialists if needed
Different lawyers specialize in different areas of business law, but all of them will be knowledgeable in general business laws. Find a lawyer who will be your main legal counsel. Then, if you need specializations, look for lawyers who specialize in the area/s you need. Your main business lawyer will likely be able to refer you to the right people.
3. Consider your niche
It’s imperative that you find a business lawyer who understands your business niche. However, this only comes easily if your business is in a generally common industry. If you sell very uncommon products or services, your lawyer should–at the very least–be willing to learn about the industry to help you make the best legal decisions.
4. Choose a lawyer with more value
It’s no secret that lawyers aren’t cheap. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons why business owners are reluctant about hiring them in the first place. That said, it’s best to hire a lawyer that brings the most value for your money; someone who can provide things like:
- A good network of other lawyers and specialists
- Events for clients e.g. webinars, conferences, live events
- Connections to trade associations and other relevant industry groups
- Educational sessions for you and your staff
Hiring a business lawyer is not cheap, especially not for businesses with limited working capital. However, keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and having a business lawyer by your side will save you more time, money, and effort in the long run.