Business legal advice can be a costly affair.
But failing to get the needed legal advice your business requires can end up costing you more than you are able to pay if anything ever goes to court. Legal representation fees can be tremendously high, depending on the type of matter up for judgment.
Ideally, any legal affairs shouldn’t end up in the courts. The only way to ensure this is to receive good legal advice before anything reaches the point of litigation.
Legal advice is crucial for any business, but especially for startups.
Every business needs assistance in the form of legal documents and ensuring its basic legal aspects are covered. This includes various legal contracts, employee contracts, agreements with suppliers, terms and conditions for customers, etc.
If anything ever goes wrong, it is much simpler to deal with if there is an ironclad legal agreement down in writing.
Startups are particularly prone to legal attacks because the very nature of many startups is to disrupt the market and push the envelope in order to compete. This can cause aggression in well-established competitors and so lead to unexpected legal suits, such as has happened with Uber numerous times.
A well-informed legal advisor can reduce the possibility of these attacks being successful, through playing devil’s advocate and being prepared for anything that might come your way long before it arises.
You will need advice for anything and everything to do with business! The law touches all aspects of a company’s daily affairs, and so it is crucial to have your legal advisor involved in as many facets of your business as possible.
Legal advice can come in the forms of:
Ideally, the legal professional whom you contract to assist you should be specialised in the fields for which you need their advice.
Law is complicated as it is, but this is compounded in a common-law jurisdiction because extensive knowledge of precedents is required. Even lawyers can be wrong, and only by choosing one who is extremely skilled in a particular area can you minimise your legal risk.
Of course, the real question becomes where to find them. Ideally, asking for recommendations is the best place to start. Interview potential advisors recommended this way to you and then make a shortlist.
Search online for legal advisors, making sure to use specific keywords related to the type of specialisation you need. A broad search phrase such as “legal advisor” or even “legal advisor in [your area]” might not be specific enough for the type of person you’re looking for.
LinkedIn is another great place to search for legal professionals in your local area.
Start My Business’s UK Business Legal Hotline Service gives you access to nearly a hundred different legal advisors who are just a phone call away, each of them vetted personally by us and in good standing with the profession.
A legal advisor should be treated like any other supplier. Either they’re going to deliver the goods at a competitive rate, or they’re not.
“More expensive” does not automatically mean “better”. You need to compare the services of advisors, as well as their pricing structure.
Where the advisor is physically located, is not as important as it once used to be. Although, if the advisor will also represent you in court then it’s probably better to choose one that is situated closeby.
Use online review sites to see if the advisor is well-suited to the type of advice you’re looking for.
Traditional legal advisors tend to charge per hour (or, in rare cases, per minute). Of course, as with any professional service, this billing strategy can vary.
Hourly rates vary from legal advisor to a legal advisor. Some charge less than £100 per hour while others charge considerably more than that.
Remember that pricier does not necessarily equate to better quality.
Historically, we have tended to look upon professionals in the legal sector as somewhat untouchable and “above the rest of us”.
This perception is changing in the modern world. A lawyer should be treated like a computer programmer or an extremely skilled web developer.
You should go with the legal advisor that you feel most comfortable with. Their fees should be transparent. They should be service-oriented, and they should care about what happens to your business.
The right legal advisor, who cares about your business, will go a long way in taking your business to the top of its game, and they will earn fee several times over in value returned.