Five Tips for Hiring a Corporate Lawyer

It is important when hiring a corporate lawyer that you receive the right advice. You also need to make sure that you choose the right lawyer to represent your business. You need someone who you can trust, who you know will do a good job and who you feel comfortable with.

Quality

Basically when hiring a lawyer you get what you pay for. Legal advice does not come cheap, and if you want good professional advice you need to invest in a good lawyer. Do your research and contact several lawyers before you make your decision. Ask for references and do not be afraid to ask them about their background. Ask lots of questions and get them to explain the basics to you. You need to be sure that you understand procedures properly so ensure that you listen and try to learn as much as you can. Not only will you learn a lot but you will be clear on what is going on at all times.

Fees

Usually corporate lawyers charge by the hour but if you are a small business or just starting up this kind of expensive could be out of your reach. It might make more sense for you at this stage to negotiate a fixed fee. If you feel it is possible you might need advice from a corporate lawyer on a regular basis then a retainer could be something you might want to suggest. Make sure it is made clear to you what their fees include as you don’t want to get any surprises down the track.

Advice

This does seem obvious but don’t just assume the lawyer knows what it is you want. Many business owners can have a preconceived idea that corporate lawyers deal with exactly the same situations over and over. It is not often just a case of getting documents filled in. Corporate lawyers will often be involved in drafting up contracts, but they can also give you great legal and business advice in regards to negotiating positions. You will find that your lawyer will mostly give you advice, above anything.

Relationship

It is a good idea to build a long term relationship with your lawyer, this is why it is important to find that right person in the first place. For the success of your business you need someone who has been with you for a decent amount of time and understands the ins and outs of your business. A growing business will need advice often so it is worthwhile getting a long with this person.

References

It does help to ask for references. Ask around amongst your friends and family, and also contact other businesses. They might be willing to share advice on choosing a good corporate lawyer. You may find references in unlikely places, like via social networking, or do a search on the internet. Industry magazines or legal publications may be able to help you find the right corporate lawyer as well.

What Makes It So Important to Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney Rather Than Filing on Your Own?

Bankruptcy defines a legal status in which a person or a business declares himself or itself as unable to pay back all his debts. In that case the law permits that person or business to file for bankruptcy in order to restore his future financial condition while also getting protection and relief from any harassing creditors. The types of bankruptcies vary and the type of case under question determines which type of bankruptcy will apply to it. Only a well experienced bankruptcy attorney will help you figure out which type of bankruptcy applies in your case. A bankruptcy attorney will tell you whether you need to file for Chapter 7, 11, 12, or 13 after analyzing your particular case. A bankruptcy attorney will guide you through all the legalities involved in the process of filing for bankruptcy thus saving you the time and energy required in studying them all and understanding them.

Filing for bankruptcy is legally permissible by any person, which means that hiring a bankruptcy attorney for the process is not a legal requirement rather just an option or personal preference. The only reason why most people prefer hiring a bankruptcy attorney rather than doing the work themselves if because it shorts the amount of time required a lot as an experienced person can deal with the process a lot quicker than one who has not done it before. The rules and regulations involved in filing for bankruptcy are quite lengthy and complex and difficult for an ordinary person to wrap his or her head around it. A bankruptcy attorney will help you by explaining all the pertaining laws and regulations to you.

When a person is forced to file for bankruptcy he or she will naturally be going through a lot of pressure. The biggest factor leading to stress and pressure is the constant harassment from creditors. But when you hire a bankruptcy attorney that person becomes your representative. Therefore all creditors know have to call your bankruptcy attorney for any complains instead of you. This means that you can easily get away with all those phone calls and personal visits from your creditors once you hire a bankruptcy attorney to represent you. This is the biggest peace that one enjoys after hiring a bankruptcy attorney.

Another great benefit involved in hiring a lawyer is that the attorney then becomes responsible for dealing with all the paperwork involved. In the process of filing for bankruptcy there a hundreds and thousands of papers and documents involved. For an ordinary person it is very difficult to be able to fill them all out without making any errors. Since a lawyer is dealing with these documents on a daily basis he or she will know them like the back of their hand. The chances of making any errors in these papers will become close to zero when you hire a lawyer. With no errors your case will roll out very smoothly and you will be done with it before you even know it. whereas if you do not hire a lawyer you will most likely make plenty of errors at this stage that can seriously cause a lot of problems like even the loss of your personal property and valuables. So why take this huge risk when a bankruptcy attorney is readily available?

These days the fees of a bankruptcy lawyer has decreased a lot making them more affordable by the general public. Carefully analyze the different attorneys available in your area and then hire the most efficient and affordable lawyer and have your case solved in no time at all.

SEO Tips for Lawyers – Five Crucial Keys to Organic Search Engine Optimization

Business referrals also play a huge role in building a practice for attorneys, but can only go so far. What happens when you want more business or would like to expand your firm? This is when many practices turn to marketing and advertising– yellowpage ads, radio, TV commercials, lawyer directories.

These are all good ways to promote your practice, but what if I told you there is a “free” source of leads that would facilitate potential seeking you out, right at the time he/she needed your services? Well there is and it’s called the modern day search engine.

Search engines, when used to the fullest extent, can act as pre-qualifying authoritative referral sources. Just as a consumer is more likely to get product or service recommendations form a friend or family member verses take what a commercial has to say at face value, search engines can be a strong lead source in your practice’s marketing mix because of the trust they are given for finding unbiased information.

Have you ever wondered why some attorney websites have top ten rankings on search engines, while others do not? You’re about to learn some of the secrets. Do not take this information lightly. As an attorney, what you are about to read could earn you thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars in new cases and legal fees.

Below are Five Basic Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips for Lawyers that have taken me years to understand. While paid listings or “sponsored links” do have a high ROI when managed properly, this article in particular is only speaking toward the natural or unpaid listings you see on popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.

Some of these techniques may seem very easy to understand, even implement, but that is the beauty of it. With all the false information out there, it takes a long time to know what has value and what does not. As Mark Twain said, “I’m sorry this letter is so long, I didn’t have the time to write a short one.” It has taken me years to weed through the tricks, and fly by night gimmicks, and false information so enjoy and feel free to contact me with any questions. With that said, I present to you five crucial keys to organic search engine optimization.

SEO Tip One: Use Descriptive & Unique Meta Titles

Did you know one of the most important areas for your firm’s site in regard to search ranking is the “Meta Title” of your home page? This is the title that appears on the blue frame around your browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox). The title also appears in search listings. You can see your website’s title in its raw coding by choosing “View” and “View source code” from your browser.

Anatomy of the Meta Information

In epistemology, the prefix meta- is used to mean about (its own category). A website’s meta information is typically made up of three distinct areas: title, description, and keywords. According to many well-known SEO gurus, the “keywords” section is completely useless, but it can harm you if you use too many keywords.

Most major search engines have now filtered out the importance of the “keywords” section because of past abuse, “keyword stuffing,” as well as placing long lists of irrelevant highly searched terms. Do not put too many keywords in the keywords section, and do not rely on this section to help with search engine optimization (SEO). Some SEO experts still use it “just in case, ” but only place 10 – 15 keywords never repeating, and using a comma after each single term.

The title however, is still a hugely important area to naturally work in highest level key phrases, along with branding the firm, or your name if acting as an independent practice. However, do not repeat keywords, and do not use more than 12 words or around 65 characters. Otherwise, the full title will not been seen in search and having an overabundance of words will dilute its power anyway. Google also has a filter or penalty block for sites that repeat one word too often in titles.

What’s in a Name?

Check your meta title right now! Choose “View” and “View source code” from your browser. Does it only have the name of your firm? That is fine if you are doing other advertising and your firm has lots of name recognition, but you are leaving a lot of money on the table.

What about those prospects you are missing out on who are typing into the search engines more generic phrases without any firms or attorney names in mind? Example, a search engine user types in “Personal Injury Attorney Dallas.” If you do not have specific words that describe your practice in your meta title, your site is less likely to appear in the top then than an attorney who does.

Be Unique

Your meta title can make or break your search engine rankings for valuable placement. Use a different title for every page of your site, making sure it describes the page’s content and/or user function (such as an “About” page, use the word “About So and So Firm.”). With deeper pages further away from the homepage use varying logical keywords that not only describe the page, but are akin to the words a user might type in seeking out that specific information.

It may seem like if you repeat the same title over and over again on other pages your site will perform better for those keywords, but it will not, you will be cannibalizing your efforts. You can use your name or the name of your firm, but place it near the end of the title. Keep the most unique part toward the beginning. Proximity and density also play a role.

This one tip could warrant a whole article on best practices on its own, but for now start with recognizing your meta title’s importance. I will be publishing a more advanced “nuts and bolts” article covering how you should plan a reverse keyword pyramid for your site titles, as well as other titling recommendations.

SEO Tip Two: Acquire Relevant Backlinks

Links to your site are seen as votes in the major search engines’ eyes. Just so we are on the same page, these are links to your website from another website, not links from your website to another. In this analogy these popularity votes are similar to how voting existing before several human rights were established. Some were considered 3/5ths a person, and some not considered at all. Their votes were counted accordingly. In other words, not all backlinks are created equal. The quality of a link toward your site can be determined on multiple criterion.

a). Relevance – Does the subject matter of the page linking out reflect the subject matter of your site or is it about something completely off topic? Example would be another attorney links to your site from his/her blog unsolicited based on your site’s relevant content and merit verses a random site that sells knockoff Viagra wanting to trade links with you.

b). Link & Text Density – This speaks to the amount of other links on the page linking to yours on the other website. If the other site has a listing of 100s of links on all different topics, including yours, the link is most likely devalued in the search engines eyes, not only because of relevance, but because of perceived importance. These are commonly known as “link farms.” The opposite situation would be your link is the only one listed. The backlink could be considered even more valuable if the other site surrounds it with relevant copy before and after (for example in a blog or article). A less effective, but not completely worthless placement would be a listing on a “Links” page from another site where only a handful of other offsite links existed.

c). Second Generation Link Popularity- Your site is deemed more important in the search engines’ eyes not only by how many other sites link to you, but how many sites link to the sites that link to you. The link popularity is passed on using a formula that one search engine originated called PageRank(TM). In essence, you could have 100s of backlinks, but if no one is linking to the other sites linking to you, many of the links may be worthless from a ranking point of view (but could be valuable in other ways to be discussed in a later article). There are tools you can use to “pull up the curtain” and see just how people are linking to your site, as well as how many are linking to their’s.

This is a simplified explanation on how acquiring backlinks can help your SEO. As with titling, the topic of backlinks could also warrant its own full fledged article, or multiple articles. The important takeaway is: backlinks matter for SEO.

SEO Tip Three: Build a Legal Knowledgebase

The Internet was built on the foundation that people want authoritative, quality information fast. Instead of trying to remember the categories of the Dewy Decimal System and searching through different books’ table of contents, the search engine user uses keywords describing what he/she are looking for in order to find that information as fast as possible.

Not all Visitors are Qualified

First, as an attorney, you have to accept this fact that not all the visitors to your website are prospects. Many may be in the research mode of their buying cycle or may be looking for information for a friend or even a school report. The reality is the more original, helpful, and consistently you can put new information on your website, the more the search engines will show you preference. By high quality content I do not mean a sales pitch. You can use that type of language on your main pages, but you will appeal to a much wider audience if you use non-commercial, unbiased information presented as knowledgebase in your deeper pages.

By building a knowledgebase specific to your areas of practice, you accomplish at least two objectives, you are viewed as an expert becoming the authoritative source for that user’s legal question and you will likely pull prospects looking for those specific services right then and there. This is an indirect, but highly effective method of acquiring prospects.

One Page per Area of Practice

Example, if you practice copyright law and the prospect types in the search engine “copyright laws” you could have a page strictly devoted to explaining the different types, penalties for breaking the laws, defenses, highly popularized landmark cases, and other important information pertaining to copyright infringement. Create a page using at least 500 – 1500 words stratifying every area of your practice in fine detail, and your website will dominate the search engines, command lots of relevant traffic and, combined with other tools, bring a steady stream of leads. I will cover this in more depth giving more information on the best practices in future articles.

SEO Tip Four: Use specific Internal & External Anchor Text

Have you ever seen a link that says “Click here?” Oh course you have. That’s actually a waste of a link as far as SEO is concerned. Ok, maybe not a complete loss, but it does not use the link’s full potential. The words used in a link to another URL are called the anchor text and it can be vitally important to SEO.

There is a huge difference in how the search engines see a link with relevant text verses a non-descriptive or irrelevantly anchored link. This is even true for your site’s internal linking structure and calls to action. For example, instead of directing your website visitors to another internal page using the words “Click Here for information on copyright infringement,” make the words copyright infringement the actual link and avoid the cliché. You may have to change your verbiage schema to something similar to: “Learn more about the laws and penalties pertaining to copyright infringement,” which is better anyway.

Anchor Your Links or Site will walk the Plank

The more internal links on your site pointing to that page with those words, and even more importantly links from offsite with those words, the more likely the search engines will see your site, or that specific page, as being relevant for that term. Check your website right now.

Do you have any pointless “Click Here” links or something else just as useless? Right now, change the anchor text to words that describe the page in which they are linking. Or ask your webmaster to do it tomorrow morning. It’s worth it.

SEO Tip Five: Localize Your Content & Meta Descriptions

Are you an attorney who only operates in one city? Or can you work remotely because most of your work is out of the court room? If you operate in one city, or regional area, you need to make the search engines aware by using the most prominent DMA in your homepage title.

When prospects are using search engines, most are sophisticated enough to know, or have learned through search engine experience, to add the city onto whatever service in which he/she is searching. Example, a user types in “Dallas Commercial Real Estate Attorney.”

You may be a real estate attorney and your practice may be in Dallas, but the search engines will give another lawyer’s site preference if you do not spell it out for them. You may have your physical location in a normal 12 point text on the contact page, but that is not enough, since titles and meta descriptions hold more weight in the hierarchy.

Home Grown Meta Description

Some SEO gurus say descriptions are as defunct as the keywords section of your meta info. I say the meta description is the NEW keywords section of web 2.0, only the keywords must be used in a logical sentence form.

Secondly, you do not want to have to specify on a page describing individual areas of your practice or your knowledgebase that you are a “Dallas insert obscure and wordy law practice attorney” in the viable copy. While not terribly lethal, it’s a little awkward and contrived to the reader. You can use the description area of the meta for this SEO tactic.

Stay tuned for more Internet marketing tips for lawyers including more on SEO, pay-per-click advertising, and social media. Thanks for your time.

Business Law Impacts All Aspects of the Commercial World

The generic term “business law” covers every aspect of commercial interactions today. In its broadest sense, the term can be defined as the group of laws, regulations, and practices that apply to commercial entities such as companies, corporations, and partnerships. These statutory requirements involve the entire spectrum of interactions from forming a new enterprise, negotiating contracts, arranging financing, meeting all government requirements, and any other topic or activity that impacts, directly or indirectly, the operation of a business.

In this highly specialized area, the legal practitioner has to have a broad spectrum of knowledge in order to represent the interest of his or her commercial clients adequately. It is easiest to view this type of practice from the life cycle of a business operation to understand its scope.

Starting a New Enterprise

One of the most important aspects of business law is how to set up a new corporation or company. The law of corporations, local licensure requirements, as well as dealing with contracts for the space that the company will occupy, all require various legal formalities to be met even before the doors can open for the first customers. Employment laws for employees have to meet federal and state requirements.

Financing agreements are an essential part of the stage of the business cycle. Legal practitioners will negotiate with lenders, ensure that all forms are filed properly with the Federal, State, and Local authorities, and help establish the necessary record keeping that may be required for that particular operation.

Day-to-Day Transactions

Once things are up and running, business law attorneys will be involved in many daily transactions. Handling the negotiations of contracts and representing the client in various legal actions that may involve issues of breach of contract, liability, and statutory violations are just some of the matters where lawyers in this field may be called upon.

As the company grows, concerns involving secured transactions, securities (stocks and bonds), SEC filings, and other related subjects would also become part of a commercial lawyer’s practice. As governmental regulations continue to become more complex, making certain that a commercial client is in compliance requires an even higher level of diligence from practitioners in this legal field.

Changing or Merging the Operation

One of the most dynamic areas of business law today is that of mergers and acquisitions. It is difficult not to look at the financial news without learning about the latest buy-out, merger, or hostile take-over of one company by another. At the heart of this activity are the lawyers who represent the concerned parties. In addition to involving the transfer of ownership and financial arrangements, it is often necessary to obtain government approval to complete the deal. It is no wonder that specialists in this area of the legal profession are highly sought after for their expertise.

All aspects of 21st-century commercial enterprise involve the application and practice of business law. Navigating the complex legal waters is best accomplished by the retention of a competent, experienced counselor who understands the legal complexities of running a successful operation today.

Choosing Between Law Firms – How to Choose a Good Lawyer

Most people will require professional legal services from a lawyer at some point in their lives. This may be for buying or selling a house, writing a will or making a business contract. Any town or city with a few thousand residents or more will usually have numerous law firms to choose between, so how you decide who to trust in what may be an expensive process?

Firstly, a law firm should at least have the standard qualifications for practice in your country and be registered with the relevant regulatory body. For example, in the UK, this is the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Find a specialist lawyer – if your needs are in an unusual or highly specialist field of law, you may require the services of a law firm that specializes in this area. The more niche the legal skills required, the further afield you may need to search for an expert lawyer. For example, if you run an IT company and require assistance with commercial litigation, any small town commercial litigation lawyer may be happy to help you with the case. However, if you widen your search to the nearest large city, you may be able to find one or more commercial lawyers that actually specialize in commercial law for IT. Such specialist skills may demand a higher fee, but the higher level of knowledge within your field could result in a more favourable outcome.

Get a quote – lengthy legal processes with uncertain outcomes may be difficult to quote for, but you will still be able to find out the hourly rate and if different firms have similar credentials, you may want to let price be the deciding factor. For some legal services, such as transfer of properties, you may be able to obtain a fixed quote.

Location – if you are likely to need to visit your lawyer on multiple occasions, you may want to choose one that is fairly close to your home or business in order to save time and expense on travel.

Ask questions – during an initial consultation (many law firms offer 1/2 free of charge), ask plenty of questions to get an idea of how expert the lawyer is in dealing with your kind of case. Does the law firm have someone available to answer all your questions and does the lawyer seem confident and knowledgeable?

Get recommendations – have any of your friends or family required this kind of legal help before? Discuss your needs with those around you unless they are highly personal. Even if a friend or family member has not needed this kind of support before, they may know someone who has. An unbiased recommendation can be much more powerful than what a lawyer says about his or herself.

Legal services are often required during stressful times, such as bereavement, moving home or legal disputes, so it is important to choose a lawyer that you are comfortable with to minimize potential for further stress. Following the tips above when choosing between law firms should help.