How to Choose a Great Business Lawyer for Your Business: My Top Ten Tips

Conventional wisdom (and many lawyers) will tell you that, if you’re a business owner or manager, you will get yourself in trouble if you don’t have a good business lawyer. But when I hear this, I view this as somewhat of a negative statement, which frankly annoys me. I assume that smart business people do not want to be belittled and told that, they if they don’t have a lawyer, they will be too naive or inexperienced to avoid pitfalls.

Another way of saying this is that I personally hate doing anything to move away from something. I much prefer to make choices that allow me to move towards perceived advantages of my actions. So I address my clients accordingly.

So with this in mind I will rephrase the primary benefit of having a great lawyer by your side as follows: you will make more money. You should thus view a business lawyer as your partner who will help you make the choices that will improve your business and drive your bottom line upwards.

Now, if you are looking for a lawyer or are not happy with your present lawyer, how do you choose a great business lawyer. But first a definition. What is a business lawyer? I personally distinguish a business lawyer from a corporate or commercial lawyer. To me the business lawyer in the classic sense of the term denotes the classic lawyer-client relationship where the lawyer is more than someone who cranks out paper. I define the business lawyer as your quasi business partner or confidante. Someone you can confide it, who can solve your problems, understand you and help you grow.

Now Here are my TOP 10 TIPS to choosing a GREAT BUSINESS LAWYER, not in any order of importance.

10. Don’t assume you need a big blue chip firm. I come from several big blue chip law firms. They do great law and sometimes you need the “brand” or “label” of the big law firm next to you, for instance if you’re going public. But for more routine work, you don’t need such a firm. They are expensive and comprise many layers. So for you to deal with the top dog, you will be paying up to $1,000 per hour, or more. If your budget is one quarter of this, you will mostly be dealing with a junior associate who will not have the business experience you are looking for. It really depends on your needs, and your budget.

9. Don’t focus only on the billable hour rate. If you’re hesitating between someone who costs you $250 per hour and someone else at $350 per hour, don’t make your decision strictly on cost. What matters are two things: first what the final bill will be and, second, what value who will have received. The hourly rate is a red herring. What is the point of asking someone to do a job for you at $250 per hour if the person needs 40 hours for the job where the other lawyer at $350 per hour only needs 20 hours? Particularly if the other lawyer can do a better job for you. Billing policy is too much of a thorny and elaborate issue to address in a few lines. My point is simply that the hourly rate is not the be all and the end all.

8. Look for someone you would be happy to have a drink with. If your relationship with your business lawyer is going to be successful, you need to connect with him (her) on a personal basis. It is to your advantage to let your lawyer into your life as a quasi-friend. For this to happen there must be personal chemistry.

7. Look for business experience. If your business lawyer is going to advise you on your business, it is trite to say that having business experience is a must. Again it goes to the difference between dealing with a junior associate just out of school and someone who has real practical hands on business experience.

6. Look for someone open to a fixed fee arrangement. No one I know wants to retain a lawyer not knowing what the final bill will be. While this is often difficult for a lawyer to estimate, he (she) may be open to a flexible or fixed fee arrangement. And he (she) should be able to give you at least a good idea on the fees.

5. Look for a deal maker not a deal breaker. In any business deal, there can be dozens of reasons why the deal can’t work or why the agreement is not right. You don’t want a lawyer that throws unnecessary obstacles to making the deal work. It takes a practical approach. It is all about business risk and your lawyer should give you the pros and the cons and provide advice rather than blocking the deal.

4. Think of your business lawyer as your part-time VP legal. Some business lawyers are open to retainer arrangements where they will agree to act as your part-time VP legal at a lower cost than hiring a law firm. A lawyer could for instance offer to work a certain numbers of days per month for you at a fixed fee. It could save you money and help you grow your business with a smart person on the inside who gets to understand your business inside out.

3. Find someone with good business connections. Getting things done in this world often requires a good business network. Having access to this through your lawyer is invaluable.

2. Find a people person. If you want your lawyer to make things happen for you, he (she) will need to be someone who does not antagonize everyone around him (her). Having someone who relates well with other people can be a key to making something work.

1. Think bottom line. Lawyers cost money but I submit this should not be your first thought. What you should be thinking about is whether by spending say $1,000 your lawyer can help you generate $2,000. If so, the lawyer is not a cost. He (she) is a co-generator of a rate of return of 100%. If you think about it that way and your lawyer delivers, the cost will not be so bad to digest.

With these elements, you will be in a position to make the best decision for what works for you.

What Commercial Law Deals With

Commercial law is the law that is charged with governing business, and includes the legal ramifications of business dealings and encompasses the entire scope of commercial transactions. It is very important to individuals and organizations that are engaged in day-to-day business and commercial transactions. The commercial legal field ensures that all applicable laws governing business and commercial transactions are followed, which creates an atmosphere of fair and just business dealings. Without the governing rules provided by commercial law statutes, the business world would be a free for all of unfair and unjust business dealings, which would follow no ethical guidelines. The field is usually considered a branch of civil law due to its emphasis on controlling the civil actions conducted by businesses, but the ramifications of breaking this code of law could result in both civil and criminal actions being taken against those who break commercial business laws.

Commercial law is unique because of the fact that it governs many different facets of business. Contracts law is one such area that is governed by commercial law, which seeks to ensure that all contractual agreements are fair, just,and equitable to all parties involved in the process. The commercial legal statutes also help to ensure that legally binding contracts are not in opposition with any present civil or criminal laws. Consumer goods are another important area that is governed by commercial law, which helps to ensure that both the producer of goods and the consumer of those goods are protected from any foreseeable harm through the manufacture and or use of these items. Hiring practices is an area covered by commercial law that seeks to ensure fair and equitable hiring practices by individuals, businesses and institutions. Without the fair and equitable hiring practices that are enforced by commercial legal statutes, the best qualified individuals for positions may not be hired for the jobs that they are suited for. Unfair hiring practices have been greatly reduced through the introduction and practice of commercial law, which has helped many to avoid racial and other discriminatory pitfalls when seeking employment.

The legal ramifications contained within the commercial legal field, sets up the rules and regulations that govern arbitration practices between individuals, organizations, and other institutions. It provides a method in which to govern arbitration practices, in order to ensure that the practices are conducted in an equitable and just manner, that results in a fair business agreement between the parties involved.

Learn About the Ideal Job Description of Commercial Real Estate Lawyers

Money becomes an imperative figure when it is about considering any sort of investment or dealing in estate property. Most of the times and for the majority of us, we do not have the true resources and all the necessary information that is required in estate transactions. Therefore, in such situations the best choice is to consult a professional and experienced commercial real estate lawyer who will have all the necessary and precise information during the process.

You may need to approach a lawyer when you are selling or buying commercial property or when you want to make sure that the sale you are getting is fair and legitimately priced. Well, whatsoever is the reason, a lawyer is always the most advisable and sensible option when it comes to dealings in the realty industry. Before we go through the crucial details of commercial real estate lawyers, let us briefly read about real estate law.

What is Commercial Real Estate?

This term loosely refers to any piece of land purchased with the full intent of making substantial money on the overall property. Commercial estate can also be used for apartment complexes and industrial production. However, most commonly it is used for restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, office buildings and any other similar property on which the owner of the land expects to mint some money.

What Does a Commercial Real Estate Lawyer Do?

Real estate is basically the sale, purchase, and transfer of homes, buildings or any other commercial property and very strict laws are alleviated for real estate transactions. Thus, a lawyer is typically required for such types of commercial transactions. A lawyer has focused and practiced the real estate law and thus is entitled as a fully licensed attorney. The lawyers handle estate transactions encumbering commercial properties. They also title opinions.

The clients can be property owners, lenders, or developers and can be involved in issues related to property litigation, zoning problems or contract disputes. A lawyer has to render advice to his clients regarding all the paperwork and property transactions. This is one of the most important roles as a commercial lawyer.

Many of the times, established commercial firms hire dedicated lawyers to work for their corporations. Sometimes, these lawyers attain good opportunities and act as general counsel for large scale developers too. However, the job of such attorneys is to sell and buy properties, review the financial documents, file paperwork for corporations, partnerships, documentation for taxes, and communicate with investors regarding the property.

Nevertheless, other attorneys in this domain are also in charge of reviewing the deeds and ensuring the titles are appropriately filed with the right governing policies. They also manage the negotiating leases for various commercial office buildings and shopping centers.

Find A Personal Bankruptcy Attorney That Works Well With You

Having crippling debt and the stress that goes along with it is not fun. That’s why so many people are choosing bankruptcy to eliminate their debt. When filing for bankruptcy there are many costs that are involved. A bankruptcy attorney will be the largest portion that you have to spend to file. When hiring a bankruptcy attorney, consult with a few of them so you have an idea of the dynamics of the law office and if it will work for you. Make sure to get the estimated costs and fees in writing and ask questions what the additional costs that you might incur would be. Usually, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in most cases it is just a flat fee because they’re pretty straightforward. If you think you might need to file a Chapter 13 the costs will be a lot higher. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the attorney has to negotiate with the bankruptcy trustee and creditors to work out a 3 to 5 year payment plan. Most attorneys allow their legal fees to be included in the reorganization plan to be paid over time. Other costs that a bankruptcy filer needs to consider is the filing fee that is paid to the court and the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course and the post financial management course. These courses usually run between $30-$50 and can be taken easily online.

When deciding on which bankruptcy attorney to hire, educate yourself on the filing process so you can ask appropriate questions. Usually, attorneys will want a retainer fee to get started on your personal bankruptcy petition. When filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, attorneys will want to be paid in full before filing the petition with the court. The attorney fees for a Chapter 7 are usually nominal as most cases are usually completed quickly and easily. With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the fees can be double of what you might pay for Chapter 7 because of the time spent and the complexity. Whatever the chapter of personal bankruptcy you’re filing, always ask for a list of charges upfront so there is no surprises halfway through your case.

Most people in the process of filing personal bankruptcy don’t have very much money set aside to hire a bankruptcy attorney, but if you consider the amount of debt you’re walking from the fee you have to pay seems more reasonable. Attorney prices vary from state to state and even office to office, that’s why it’s important if you’re on a strict budget to check around and get the best legal counsel for the amount you can afford. There was a spike in fees after the law changed in 2005. Most attorneys raised their fees due to the added amount of work and time it takes to complete a petition. There a lot of legal professionals out there today advertising extremely low prices and people need to beware and check references to make sure the attorney you hire is not a personal injury attorney that’s just jumping on the bankruptcy bandwagon.

Every state in the US has their own exemptions under the bankruptcy law and some districts even control the amount on what a personal bankruptcy attorney or paralegal can charge for preparing the document. With a Chapter 13, the trustee is more likely to scrutinize what an attorney is charging the debtor. Recently, there have been cases were the trustee has thought that the bankruptcy attorney or the document preparer has charged too much and will ask for the money to be returned to the debtor. Some states are more strict than others, so it really depends on where the debtor lives. When filing for bankruptcy check the local court website or even call the court and ask if there’s any restrictions on the amount a bankruptcy attorney or preparer can charge. This will give you a good idea of what you’re going to have to pay.

Simple Tips for Determining If Commercial Litigation Assistance Is Necessary for Your Business

Searching out commercial litigation assistance is an intimidating process, but if you follow these tips, you will be able to find the appropriate lawyer for your unique legal situation.

Understand What A Commercial Lawyer Can Do For Your Unique Business

Law firms can help businesses with a whole suite of cases ranging from landlord-tenant litigation to change of ownership to employment and consulting agreements. If you are unsure of how to proceed with a confusing legal matter, schedule an appointment with your lawyer. It is always best to consult with an attorney before proceeding with legal action because each case is unique and needs attention from an expert. Many legal firms offer a free 30-minute consultation where you will learn all your options.

Law Firms Will Assist You In Choosing What Type Of Business To Form

Attorneys have the ability to aid you in choosing your business formation when you are a new company, store, or restaurant. For example, there are multiple businesses to file as: corporations, LLPs, LLCs, sole proprietorships, joint ventures, and partnerships. Law firms will walk you through the meaning of each type and assist in choosing which category fits your business description. It is imperative to understand that each type has a different rule when it comes to distribution of profits, documentation, and asset protection.

What To Do If Your Business Has Been Sued

First of all, do not take action on your own or answer any legal questions about the suit. You lawyer will assist you in contacting your insurance in regards to the claim. It is imperative to contact a commercial attorney who will research your options and consider the facts and situation. They will create a defense, assess liability, and decide to settle or move forward with the litigation. Remember you do not have to take on a lawsuit alone.

How To Prepare For Your First Meeting With Your Attorney

It is important that your commercial litigation specialist understands your situation from all angles. Most legal firms prefer to have all documents and records associated with your case to become intimately familiar with the history of your case and business. Said documents might include: formation documents, a business plan, organizational charts, meeting minutes and records, contracts, a vendor list, tax records and the current year’s tax return, and financial statements including balance sheets and income statements.

If the above information is a lot to digest, or you are convinced your business is in need of an attorney, simply contact your local commercial litigation specialist and schedule a free consultation. Law firms are eager to assist and are widely experienced in a myriad of legal matters, so even your unique case has likely been encountered before. Remember you do not have to tackle these legal issues alone.