A question that a lot of people will be thinking about when starting up a business is if they need to get a lawyer. For some, it is knowing when to get a lawyer; can you just get started in your new business without one and get a lawyer later on? The same questions can be asked of an accountant too, though the answer is a little more obvious for accountants. You know that they are there to help you get your numbers in order and to prepare you for what taxes you will be paying. But when it comes to hiring a lawyer, especially when starting out, can be less obvious. However, a good business attorney can be crucial as you get things started, as they can provide assistance in many ways.
You can choose a lawyer that ‘does it all,’ but like doctors, it is better to choose one that is a bit more specialized in the sector that you want. So, if you are starting out, then read on to learn about the types of attorney that you might come across, as well as the ones that you might or might not need.
There will be many things that you need a lawyer for when it comes to contracts. From a sales and purchase agreement, helping you finalize the interests of both parties before closing the deal on a commercial property, to contracts for employees and non-disclosure agreements. So having an expert on hand is key to getting the paperwork up and running, as well as making sure that everything is above board. You don’t want to ever let yourself be in a position where something hasn’t been done correctly, and then you get into any legal trouble. So for contracts, it is a must.
For Real Estate
If you lease an office space or a commercial property for something like a restaurant or a store, then the whole process can be pretty complex. Often, the contracts or lease agreements can be pretty biased towards the landlord, so having a lawyer on hand to oversee the process will make sure that you’re getting a fair deal. Often, you will be given a hard copy of the contract or agreement for this kind of thing. A lot of businesses just tend to think that because it is written up, that they can’t make any adjustments or arrangements. This is not so! Hiring an attorney is the best way to make sure that you get a good deal with this kind of thing. So look for an experienced real estate attorney, especially one that deals with the leasing of commercial property.
For Licenses and Taxes
Although you may choose to do the taxes at the end of the year yourself (if you’re not hiring an accountant), a lawyer can still help with this kind of thing. They will be able to make sure that you are setup correctly for your taxes, with all of the right ID numbers in place. An attorney that knows all about taxes and licenses will know how to help you set up and register your business so that you’re set up for your returns.
For Intellectual Property
If your business is in the media, anything online or in a creative field, then it can certainly not harm to have a lawyer to assist with all things to do with IP law. If you have brands or products that need to be protected, then getting the advice from an experienced lawyer on copyright and trademarking is really important. Someone who knows all about IP law is normally all that they do. So if you’re going to be seeking advice from someone that helps small businesses get set up, then it is a good idea to check that they won’t be charging you anything extra for seeking advice from an IP expert.
But I get it. Even though these points are all really valid, when you’re just starting out in business you don’t want to be spending more money than you’re earning. So what are some ways that you can help to cut some of the costs of hiring a lawyer? Here are some ideas to help you. You don’t want to miss out on the advice of a lawyer, simply due to cost.
Request It In Writing
Once you have approached a lawyer and presented the job that you need their help with, it is best to get the offer price in writing. Once you know what they offer price is, you can decide whether it is something that you need to carry on pursuing. If you get a few offers from a few attorneys, then you’ll know if they are all charging roughly the same amount, or if one is charging a lot more than others. If you go ahead with someone and they try to charge you more afterwards, you can refer back to the original price and question why it now costs more.
Learn About the Lawyer and Firm
You will quite quickly learn than lawyers can cost a lot of money. So it is a good idea to learn in what increments their time is managed. Could just making a phone call for half an hour end up costing you fifty dollars, for instance? If you learn if they charge hourly or half-hourly, it will help you to manage how long you would need a lawyer for, and in turn, budget for that amount of time.
At the end of the day, you’ll keep down costs if you are prepared when you see your lawyer. If you bring all relevant documents or contracts with you, as well as knowing what you want to achieve out of the meeting, then it will reduce the time that you spend with them, which will reduce the cost of it all. Fax documents ahead of time if needed, use your email, and avoid calling them on the phone all the time. It adds up!
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