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When Do You Need a Company Lawyer?


Does your company need an attorney? In a word, yes! It doesn’t have to be world-renowned attorney Tim Broas, but it does need to be one that can provide your business with solid legal advice.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been up and running for a while, now’s the time to consider having a go-to lawyer for your business. When you actually need an attorney in live-time, you’ll lose valuable time sharing your books, ideas, questions, and issues. Get that all in place so that when the inevitable issues arise, you’ll be ready to be immediately productive and to get into problem-solving mode.

It might also be a good idea to consider having a legal operations team. As your company grows, you are likely to have more legal issues to deal with. A legal operations team will ensure the smooth functioning of your in-house legalities and legal team, saving you time and cost in the long run.

When deciding if it’s time to hire legal counsel for your company, it’s best not to think necessarily about the numbers of employees you have. Rather, consider the depth of your projects, the potential for legal problems, and what your actual needs are.

What services do you need, or think you’ll need? 

Consider the following reasons for having an attorney:

  • Taxes
  • Protecting intellectual property
  • Contracts and negotiations
  • Copyright laws and boundaries
  • Trademark laws
  • Firing an employee
  • Leasing or purchasing real estate
  • Zoning regulations
  • And the biggie: the potential lawsuit that comes your way

The latter is the most important issue to consider. When it comes to even the mere possibility of a case, it is imperative to be proactive, not reactive. It’s best to have counsel who already knows your business inside and out, long before any papers are served.

Before hiring counsel, consider these three important questions:

  • Are you willing to provide three references from other business who use your services?
  • What are your payment requirements and fees? Are there times that we may be able to negotiate a set rate for a project, or do you only bill based on an hourly rate?
  • What is your experience with businesses like mine? There are a lot of lawyers out there who will say they can “do the job.” But can they? Play investigator: find out what the firm’s true expertise is, and consider your options accordingly.
Do your homework
It’s important to consider what resources are available:
  • American Bar Association: This is the place to go when you need resources and your questions answered. There’s a solid listing of lawyers, and you can do some one-stop shopping here to figure out what you really need.
  • Avvo.com: Such a great and FREE resource. On this website, lawyers answer your questions for free; it’s a great marketing tool for them, and many of the lawyers get business from people who have asked questions. The kicker here is that you can’t let on that you already have a lawyer if you do, in fact, have one. Free legal advice: who knew?
  • Your local coffee shop: Ask around your business community and attain some referrals. It is incredibly important to hire counsel that is going to be a good fit in both personality and business needs, so pick carefully. It’s worth scheduling some time with three or four attorneys before making your decision.
Remember: proactive, not reactive. When you’re in a position of immediately needing a lawyer and you don’t have a relationship established, you could lose valuable time that could be better spend on immediate problem resolution. Get organized, and take care of business.
Published: October 21, 2013

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