Finding Quality Business Lawyers for Business Legal Advice

Most business owners end up needing some kind of legal advice along the way. Whether you are getting ready to start a new company or you already run a well established company, good legal advice may be able to save you money and future problems. Business owners today have many legal issues to deal with, including leases, copyrights, trademarks, collections, licensing and even business disputes. For this reason, finding a good attorney is important. If you’re looking for quality business lawyers for good business legal advice, the following tips will help you make the best decision for your business needs.

Tip #1 – Know Your Company’s Legal Needs

Remember, each company has their own specific legal needs. The best attorney for one business may not be the right choice for another business. Your business may require some specific experience or knowledge or you may prefer to work with a lawyer that has a specific personality type. Two types of commercial lawyers exist as well – transaction and litigation attorneys. While some may handle both types of business law, most have a specific area of concentration. Depending on your specific legal needs, you’ll need to determine whether a transaction or litigation attorney is the right choice for you.

Tip #2 – Finding Attorneys to Consider

When you’re trying to find quality business lawyers, it’s a good idea to get referrals from friends, family or acquaintances. Talk to people who already run businesses. They may be able to refer you to a quality attorney that they are familiar with or someone they have worked with in the past. You may also find professionals from bar association listings, in online directories or through simple local internet searches. Once you have a few names to consider, then you can move on to the next step.

Tip #3 – Investigate Your Options

After you find a few attorneys that work in business law, it’s time to investigate your options thoroughly. It’s important to do your due diligence to ensure you make the right choice. First, start by reviewing the website of the law firm. Find out about the attorney you’re considering and the rest of the firm. You should also check to see if this lawyer has any disciplinary complaints against him. If there are complaints, ask about them when interviewing the lawyer. Talk to people you know in the area as well. They may be familiar with the attorney’s name and may offer some insight on that professional’s reputation.

Tip #4 – Conducting the Interview

Before choosing from your list of business lawyers, make sure you interview those on your short list. A face to face meeting is the best option. Find out if the attorney has handled similar business matters or dealt with similar businesses in the past. It’s a good idea to ask about their experience, their fees, availability and more. Come up with a good list of questions to ask during the interview so you get the information needed to make your final decision.

With these tips, you can easily choose the right attorney for your business needs. Then you can be sure that you have a good professional on your side, offering you the legal advice you need for your business.

Bankruptcy Attorneys – Tips For Locating Personal Or Business Bankruptcy Lawyers

Retaining the services of bankruptcy attorneys is not required by law. However, filing bankruptcy is no easy feat and generally requires some level of legal assistance. Bankruptcy attorneys specialize in helping individuals and businesses obtain debt relief through the various bankruptcy chapters.

Most bankruptcy attorneys specialize in either personal or corporate bankruptcy. Personal bankruptcy chapters include 7 and 13. Chapters 9 and 11 are generally reserved for corporations and partnerships; however, individuals with extensive debts can file Chapter 11. Chapter 12 bankruptcy is reserved for farmers. 

It is a good idea to consult with at least three bankruptcy attorneys before making a final decision. Keep in mind you will be spending a considerable amount of time with your lawyer and their staff.  

Oftentimes, paralegals are assigned to your case and will conduct the majority of work. This helps keep legal fees affordable since paralegals are compensated at a lower hourly rate than attorneys. Therefore, request the presence of the paralegal and other staff members at your initial meeting.  

One of the best sources for locating bankruptcy attorneys is other lawyers. The majority of attorneys network with colleagues and are familiar with their skills and areas of expertise. If you retain the services of an attorney for other legal matters, ask for a referral.  

If you have friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers who have filed bankruptcy, ask them for a referral. This can be a touchy subject, so it is best to ask the person in private. It’s not a good idea to yell across cubicles to ask Sally how she liked her bankruptcy lawyer. It’s also not a good idea to ask someone for a referral unless they have personally told you they filed bankruptcy.  

If you prefer to seek out bankruptcy attorneys on your own, visit the American Bar Association website at www.abanet.org. ABA provides a list of nationwide bankruptcy lawyers. Although most ABA chapters do not offer referrals, they can provide a list of names and contact information.  

Once you have compiled a list of bankruptcy attorneys, contact each to arrange an initial consultation. Be certain to ask if the law firm provides complimentary consultations or if there will be a fee. Additionally, ask what documents they will require and request three to four customer referrals.  

Most bankruptcy attorneys will require financial information including income, expenses, current tax return, real estate and financial portfolios, and a list of assets such as automobiles, jewelry and household furnishings.  

By reviewing your finances, lawyers can advise which bankruptcy chapter you are qualified to file. Chapter 7 requires liquidation of assets to repay creditors, while Chapter 13 requires repayment of debts over a specified period of time.  

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) enacted in 2005, has made filing bankruptcy exceptionally challenging. One provision requires debtors to repay a portion of their debts whenever possible. Every person who files for bankruptcy protection must undergo the ‘means’ test to determine how much of their debts they will be required to pay.  

Additionally, BAPCPA requires debtors to undergo credit counseling through an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee Program. A reputable attorney will explain the rules of BAPCPA, the pros and cons of each bankruptcy chapter and advise you of all options available.  

Last, but not least, it is best to work with bankruptcy attorneys who put you at ease and thoroughly answer your questions. Undergoing the bankruptcy process can be quite stressful. The last thing you want to do is work with an attorney who is harsh, impatient or makes you uncomfortable.

How To Lower Your Lawyer’s Legal Fees

You’ve heard all the lawyer jokes (How do you make a lawyer smile for a wedding photograph – ask them to say “Feeeeeeeees”) and read the bad press (“Compensation wiped out by legal fees”), BUT a good lawyer can help save you money, and money carefully spent on his or her legal fees is well spent.

o Is my first appointment free? Some lawyers provide the first appointment or initial consultation for free. Ask about this when you make an appointment. You certainly shouldn’t have to pay for an initial consultation, although some lawyers will try charging a fraction of their hourly billing rate. Don’t even consider a lawyer who wants to charge you his or her full rate for an initial consultation.

o Understand the law firm’s fee system before you hire a lawyer. Understanding what and how you are to be charged is obviously important. Billing procedures and rates are a common point of disagreement between lawyers and clients. The more you know ahead of time, the better off you’ll be. Again, this is another one of those questions designed to eliminate disagreements later on. Too often clients find themselves on the hook for hidden costs they knew nothing about.

Ask about the account management process – i.e. how often will you get to speak to the lawyer about how your matter is progressing and be given an update and breakdown of costs? If you have a tight budget, let them know and see if they will agree to a fixed price for the work – if it’s a straightforward piece of work, this shouldn’t be out of the question.

o Check for hidden extras. Ask what additional charges there are likely to be (often referred to by the lawyer as “disbursements”) such as searches, stamp duty, bank charges etc. Although it should have been made very clear, make sure whether the figure you have been quoted includes or excludes VAT.

o What do you estimate as the total cost to me? Don’t be concerned if the lawyer resists answering this question. So much of the cost of a case depends on the degree of conflict between you and the other party, and you know that better than the lawyer. You may learn a lot from the lawyer’s answer, however, so it’s helpful to ask. If your fee arrangement is to be hourly, you should also ask your lawyer to notify you when he or she realizes that the estimate is likely to be exceeded.

o What can I do to reduce the charges? Ask if there are any tasks you can do yourself to cut down on the amount you will be charged.

o Conditional Fees (No Win, No Fee). This means that if you lose your case, you don’t have to pay your lawyer, but you may have to pay the legal fees of the winning party. However, if you win, you might have to pay a higher fee. This type of arrangement is most often seen in cases relating to accident/personal injury, human rights cases and insolvency. Increasingly, forward thinking commercial lawyers are prepared to share the risk of other types of commercial transaction with the client. Expect the fee to be higher for a win than it would have been had it been a fixed fee, as long as you pay less or nothing for a “loss” or aborted transaction.

o Please confirm this in writing. In most cases your lawyer must advise you in writing how much the work will cost or, if that is not possible, how costs will be calculated. Don’t sign any agreement about fees unless you understand it and are happy with it and don’t even consider a lawyer who won’t give cost details.

o When do I have to pay? In most cases your lawyer must advise you in advance and in writing how and when you will have to pay. You are entitled to receive a detailed bill before you pay. Some lawyers will agree to wait until the matter ends before you pay them. Remember how and when you pay can always be negotiated.

o Negotiate! Fee and billing schedules aren’t set in stone, and the market place is competitive. So if you think the price is too high, or that you’ll need more time to pay the bill, try negotiating with the lawyer. ..preferably up front. Shop around but also remember cost should not the only factor in choosing your lawyer.

Why Seeking Experienced Estate Lawyers Is A Wise Investment

In the legal field, one of the processes that are an acknowledged minefield is the issue of estate probates. For those readers who are unfamiliar with this term, a definition is mandatory. A probate is a legal procedure that is designed to ensure that the estate of a deceased individual is dispersed as instructed to the parties that are stated in the testament or will. Prior to the dispersal of this estate, there are terms and conditions that have to be fulfilled to ensure that local estate laws have been complied with. This involves ensuring that matters of tax compliance are settled, debts are settled, and beneficiaries are acknowledged and notified.

In theory, it sounds like a simple exercise. Reality however is something else and frequently a spanner is thrown in the woodwork, which results in the proverbial logjams. When you are caught up in such a quandary, or better yet before it happens, it is a smart move to ensure that you seek the advice of an estate lawyer. Estate lawyers specialize in probate law and consequently are best placed to help you travel down this tedious road. This is irrespective of whether you are caught up in a succession battle or are simply following the due process of the law.

When you engage the services of an estate lawyer some of the services that you should expect to receive include locating and securing both probate, and non-probate assets, obtaining a death certificate from the authorities and acquiring an estimate of the deceased party’s estate and addressing income tax issues. Also, settling issues that could be disputed or cause miscommunication among the beneficiaries of the estate. Aiding the executors, preparing and filing all probate documents that are required by the court in a timely manner could be some of the duties required. These are but some of the services that one will benefit from when they hire the services of an estate lawyer.

It is not difficult to find an estate lawyer as there are many practicing in every city. Finding an experienced lawyer from a reputable legal firm is a little more challenging. There are individuals that specialize in the law of succession either as a part the general services that they offer the public or strictly as their area of specialization. For the specifics details on what a particular law firm has to offer, one need to check on the profile at a website (the law firms) or from a legal directory.

The firm that you are dealing with should ideally be in good professional standing with the bar association – minimal citations, the presence of a practicing silence and that sort of thing. The firm should also have a profile to prove their pedigree, and lastly professionalism should be the cornerstone of their operation. Moreover, remember when you are dealing with the grieving process, you will need a helping hand. A helping hand in this instance comes in the face of an estate lawyer. Call on the professionals; call on a law firm that understands probates. It is a choice that you will not rue.

When Do You Need to Hire A Commercial Lawyer?

How do you know you need a commercial lawyer? Many people who enter the business world are often focused on making profits, not realizing that there are more that can be done to make their daily operations more efficient. The financial aspect of a business is one thing but to promote a high standard and stable company would mean taking small details into consideration. It is true that legal matters can sometimes be given the least importance but would you rather wait for your company to lose a lot just because of legalities and formalities? The simple task of making company contracts secured may never be possible without the help of someone specializing in the judicial system. So how do you know you need a commercial lawyer?…You don’t need to think for a lot of reasons because you will need a commercial lawyer long as your business is operating.

You will need the services of a commercial law firm at a certain point and so it is important to establish a relationship with a qualified lawyer as early as now. The success of you business with any case or legal matters depends on how well your lawyer knows the ins and outs of your business. A lot of known cases are reported wherein companies lose a lot of assets because of their incapability to protect their interests legally. The judicial system is a vast universe of laws and regulations and you can’t possibly handle legal dilemmas on your own. You will always need the help of a professional who spent years studying and mastering the judicial system. For any commercial establishment or business, a commercial lawyer will be the main defender.

Some businessmen would rather wait for anything unexpected to happen before taking appropriate actions. Situations become more unpleasant in cases when rushed legal advice or defense cannot help in any way because it is already too late. These are the times when all you can do is to follow what the law dictates.

Times when competitors violate your interests are just some of the instances when you will need a commercial lawyer. Other instances are: employment contract concerns, fraud on business transactions, merging companies, legal issues, securities, legal paper works, expansion, and many other legal tasks related to businesses. The role of a commercial lawyer is important in maintaining the professional image of a company. He may also serve as the representative of the whole company to other businesses.