Whether you are starting up a new company, embarking on a complicated commercial transaction or developing updated company bylaws, navigating the legal landscape of business law can be challenging and confusing. Fortunately, a competent and experienced business attorney can guide you through these business activities. This post will help you determine when you need to hire a business attorney and how to choose a lawyer who not only understands your industry but also has a set of skills that encompasses your needs.
What Does a Small Business Lawyer Do?
Despite the name, small business lawyers cover a large array of topics that fall under the umbrella of business law, including taxes, contracts, intellectual property, real estate, transactions and transfers, franchise law, employment, banking, and a number of others. To this end, the benefits of hiring a small business lawyer can be critical to smaller operations struggling to get off the ground, or established businesses that are unsure of what step to take next.
A small business does not need to be struggling or involved in a dispute with another company for them to hire a business attorney. These attorneys can help many owners with the sale of their business, the formation of a new one, and what type of business to establish. In many cases, business attorneys are hired to help determine viable office spaces for the business, or even to determine city compliance codes for the business.
Furthermore, business attorneys can represent both the business and the owners in both legal and business disputes, help collect debts, and obtaining capital for investments in the future of the company.
How Do I Choose a Business Attorney for My Small Business?
There are a number of ways to choose a suitable business attorney. The first and foremost way to find referrals for reputable law firms in your area that might be well-suited to your needs. If you are sure about what your needs are, such as needing an attorney for business incorporation, then you can use that goal to narrow your search to an attorney who specializes in that area of the law. An easy way to find referrals is to contact colleagues and businesses of a similar nature in your area and ask if they would recommend their business attorney. As long as you and the other company are not directly competing with each other, there are no grounds for a conflict of interest.
Another way to choose a business attorney is to research the attorney’s credentials. If the attorney has a significant number of years practicing business law and has a reputation for working with businesses throughout the area, those are good indicators that they should be able to handle all of your business law needs. You should always choose a business attorney who has an established work history and proper accreditation.
How Much Does a Small Business Lawyer Cost?
Before deciding which firm or attorney to hire for your small business, try to avoid making cost the deciding factor. Hiring a cheaper lawyer, in the long run, may save you money, but often the lower price comes with years of less experience. Be clear with your potential new lawyer about your budget and what fees to expect.
There are two main ways in which you pay a small business attorney: either by the hour (hourly fees) or a one-time payment (flat fee). For most lawyers and firms, the most common way of payment is through hourly fees. This allows the attorney to bill you for the amount of time they are actually working on your behalf. Hourly fees are most commonly anywhere between $150-$325 an hour, although they can be higher if the attorney has a particularly good reputation or located in a more affluent area. More experienced lawyers also tend to charge a higher fee. Flat fees, on the other hand, allow you to know exactly how much you’ll end up paying the lawyer(s). These generally range from anywhere from $500 to $2,000 depending on the work and does not include the costs of any fees incurred through another party, like a government agency.
Business attorneys experienced with working with start-up businesses understand the need to control costs and will be willing to perform certain work on a fixed fee basis such as reviewing your lease before signature or a business contract you may have drafted on your own. For a minimal fixed investment, you may save yourself from significant unexpected expenses.
What is Proactive Law?
Proactive law is a relatively new approach to business law that actively challenges the failure-oriented approach to law so traditionally seen in the United States. Instead of waiting for failures to happen and for legal disputes to occur, proactive law seeks to establish resolutions of disputes before they actually happen. In business law, proactive law often occurs by establishing thorough company bylaws or unambiguous contracts that seal out the possibility of multiple interpretations, which of course can lead to disputes. That way, when disagreements arise, there are clear documents that govern the situation and point the parties to a proper resolution. Proactive law seeks to use the law as an instrument to foster better relationships between community businesses, the local government, and the individuals of the community. This can be put into practice with small businesses easily and helps to solidify the relationships on which the business is built.
Why choose Maiello, Brungo & Maiello business attorneys in Pennsylvania?
MBM Law attorneys in Pennsylvania have years of experience in the Pennsylvania area in numerous fields of law, including small business law. They have been helping small businesses in the area get their feet on the ground and help them navigate many of the more intricate fields of law. MBM business attorneys are familiar with the community and well-regarded in the legal field. If you have questions about the direction you should take your small business, contact our offices for a consultation today.