Choosing the Right Lawyer for Your Business

Anyone in the midst of opening up their own business will eventually come across a situation that will require legal representation. Issues such as manufacturing, leasing, and contract disputes are a perfect example of the everyday legal issues that business owners find themselves in. Therefore, it is only right to begin looking for a lawyer to represent your business before these issues arise. However, it can be quite daunting for new business owners to begin the process. The last thing you want is to retain a lawyer who is only self-serving, inexperienced, or difficult to work with. Read on to learn some of the things to look for when choosing the right lawyer for your business.

Understand the Type of Lawyer You Need

One of the most common mistakes made by new business owners is not hiring the right type of lawyer. You might be thinking, don’t they all practice law? The answer is yes, but much like doctors, some lawyers specialize in specific areas of law. If you have a complicated issue involving product branding and trademarks, then your best bet is to hire a lawyer who specializes in the fields of trademarks, copyrights, and LLCs.

Big or Small Firm?

Having a large firm with many resources at their disposal can seem like a sure-fire way to show strength and confidence when facing legal issues. However, ask any experienced business owner, and they will tell you that large firms often don’t have the best track record of making you their top priority. Since they manage so many clients, it can seem like you’re simply a number to them. Thus, it is recommended to seek small to medium-sized firms to represent your company. Note that you should still make it an effort to research each firm. Every business is different, take the time to find what’s right for you.

Invested In Your Business

The mark of a good business lawyer is one that invests in your company’s services. No, we’re not talking about investing in terms of funds but rather a knowledge of exactly what you do. The best way for a lawyer to help your company is to understand exactly what you do and what your goals are for the future. Therefore seeking a lawyer who consistently demonstrates this attribute is your best bet of hiring the right lawyer for your business.

Pros and Cons of Retaining a Lawyer

A retainer fee is money paid in advance to a lawyer for services that will be rendered. The retainer can be paid based on an estimate of the amount of work done for the client that month or can cover all anticipated work for the entire case.

For example, if you hire a lawyer to handle a custody matter you may pay them 5,000 to provide that service. In that case, every letter, phone call or time spent working on your case will be billed to the retainer amount that you’ve put on deposit with them. In some cases, if you do not use the full amount in some cases there is no refund or credit. It’s important to understand the retainer agreement and read the fine print before signing so you know just how any overpayments will be handled. If you use more than the amount of the retainer it is reasonable to be sure that you will have to pay additional fees.

There are a number of reasons that a lawyer may request a retainer fee. It can compensate the lawyer for the use of their expertise and reputation, even if it is because that particular lawyer’s name can help the client gain leverage or allow the case to settle quickly. There are instances where the right lawyer can even achieve a settlement after only a few phone calls or a letter. If that’s the case that the value of the retainer fee is obvious and the lawyer should be compensated for the use of his or her reputation.

A lawyer may also request a retainer fee when they are agreeing to be on standby for the case. When that happens the lawyer is essentially forgoing other gainful employment or business opportunities so that they are able to remain available when they are needed for the lawsuit. This is a major reason many businesses have lawyers on retainer if the situation occurs where a lawsuit is filed against a company a lawyer that is on retainer can be available immediately with their expertise.

Furthermore, retainer fees protect lawyers once the work has begun. If the case proceeds the lawyer can use the fee to defray costs as they work on the case. If a disagreement takes place or an unforeseen circumstance makes it impossible for the client to pay the lawyer the retainer fee ensures that the lawyer will receive at least some of their compensation for the time they’ve spent on the matter.

There are, inevitably, arguments against collecting a retainer fee up front. There are people who are simply put off by the idea of prepaying for a service and will choose to hire a lawyer who does not charge a retainer fee. That is often why a lawyer who does charge a fee upfront is a professional who is specialised in a major discipline, well-known, or exceptional in one way or another. Scarcity creates value which can provide specialised lawyers with an advantage when negotiating retainer fees.

Another argument against retainer fees is that for some potential clients there is a fear that if a case settles before much work is done the client will have essentially paid for nothing. However, the counter-argument to that is of course that the lawyer has potentially utilized his or her reputation and the client paid for the opportunity to use that lawyer to their advantage. 

Finally, when given the opportunity to work with two similarly qualified lawyers many may choose the one who does not charge a retainer fee. Many lawyers are willing to forgo the fee or refund it if little or no work is actually completed before a settlement is reached. New layers may find that it is beneficial to refrain from collecting retainer fees so that they can compete against more seasoned layers with already developed reputations.

A lawyer’s choice of whether or not to charge a retainer fee is ultimately their preference. It’s important to evaluate layers and determine how experienced, well-known, and qualified that individual is before deciding if their expertise warrants the fee that they are charging. Most lawyers are willing to work with a client and find the best approach so that it is fair to both the lawyer and the client. 

How To Choose an Area of Law Practice

Law school does not always prepare students for an important factor in the success of their careers. Choosing an area of practice is something to take seriously and there are many things to consider. It’s imperative that you take the stability of the field, as well as your own personal ability and satisfaction into account when deciding on an area of practice.

Law is an incredibly competitive field so choosing and committing to an area of practice is best to accomplish while still in school. Employers are interested in candidates that have already shown interest in a specific field. Once you’ve decided on an area that best suits your personal agenda you can begin demonstrating interest by more focused classwork or an internship.

When a firm is hiring, employers are going to lean towards someone who has interest and knowledge of what it is they are hiring for. It can allow you to stand out from other interviewers that may not have a focus, and even assist you in narrowing down your job search. As a lawyer’s career lengthens it can be increasingly difficult to change fields. By committing to an area of practice early you can gain expertise that will help you to grow professionally.

Certain areas of law practice are a better fit for certain types of personality. There are three broad areas of law and each involves a unique skill-set. Take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses so you can better match yourself to a practice area. For instance, corporate lawyers, which include real estate and finance are best suited for someone interested in commercial affairs and business aspects. Corporate lawyers spend a lot of time drafting contracts and closing deals, so if that sounds like something you’d find enjoyable consider how well you work within a structure of interpreting contracts and paying close attention to details.

Furthermore, if you’ve despised legal writing and research classes then you may not want to be a litigator. Litigators often work at large firms or as trial attorneys and spend large amounts of time researching, writing, and thinking analytically. Many cases are fought and settled without ever moving to the courtroom, so someone in this field should enjoy developing advocacy and dealing with writing and discovery.

If, while in school, you’ve realized that you have a passion for a specific subject or issue then you may want to consider being a regulatory lawyer. These lawyers practise at all types of levels and there are many government agencies that employ them for things such as drug laws, energy, healthcare, or the environment. As a regulatory lawyer, you will handle administrative hearings, lend legal advice to companies, and interpret laws in regards to very specific schemes.


When it comes to choosing an area of law practice, make sure that you’re doing your research. Attend industry events, speak to lawyers in different fields, and read as much as you can. It is vital that you understand your goals by being aware of what different career paths and practice areas look like.

Hiring the Right Employees

Employee recruitment is an essential part of a business. It can make or break your business. As a leader, you have the stress of constantly being judged for your decisions. Hiring is one of those decisions. Like many other choices, who you hire may not be popular among all of your employees but you cannot please everyone. You must search for specifics in every person you interview to ensure they are the right fit for your company.

 

Commitment

A person who shows commitment to their career is a candidate you should consider adding to your team. You don’t want an employee who switches careers frequently searching for a higher salary. You want a candidate who is searching to further their development as well as helping the company they are joining. 

 

Confidence

Anyone can look good on a resume. Their true character can come out during an interview in how they hold themselves. You want an employee who answers your questions confidently and depending on the position you may have them show their abilities. This could be an analytical or writing test or you could have them bring in a portfolio of their previous work. 

 

Compatibility

A candidate can have all the needed skills and extensive experience in your field but still may not be a good hire. You want to check if they’re compatible with your company’s culture. Have them interact with current employees and managers to test their social skills. 

 

Social Media

A large percentage of companies will look up their hiring candidates online before bringing them in for an interview. This can help you get a feel for the person’s life and whether or not they would be a good fit in your company. It also helps avoid the awkward personal questions during the interview process. You will also find that more companies are listing their job openings on social media. Everyone is using it, might as well use it to benefit your business.

 

Hiring is not a minimal process. There are many steps that go into hiring the right employee. When you hire, you want to retain these employees for years. It saves on the time taken to train new employees. Take these steps to help determine if your next interviewee is ready to join your company.

 

How Franchisees Succeed

Most everyone is familiar with successful franchise businesses. Those that achieve a level of financial and social notoriety can benefit and, quite possibly transform societies and economies. This blog will explore why certain franchises succeed while others fail. Profitable franchises:

 

Master Solid Concept Development

Successful franchisees understand the value of concept creation. This concept will drive the establishment of the products, goods or services the entity in question creates or provides to customers or clients. Solid concepts are simple, in addition to being easy to produce or understand.

 

Establish A Loyal Customer Base

Once a company or organizational concept is developed, reputable franchises execute due diligence establishing a customer base. Businesses cannot survive without continual patronage from a customer base. Successful franchisees identify what their customers want and work hard to satisfy those desires.

 

Identify Appropriate Locations

Many popular franchises succeed because they establish locations at more optimal locations. Profitable franchises position establishments in locations that will attract the most customers.

 

Conduct Consumer Research

In addition to providing reputable, necessary or enjoyable products, goods or services to a consumer base, successful franchises will continually strive to make improvements. No matter how profitable a franchise is and how satisfied the customer base is, chances are there will always be some matter that could use improvement. Franchise overseers might better identify what these issues are by conducting thorough consumer research and feedback. Researching the habits and desires of a business’s customers can enable the entity to provide improved services and greatly enhance their reputations.

 

Do Not Expand Hastily

Certain business insiders who study failed franchises opine that some of these entities did not succeed because they expanded far too hastily. The temptation to “spread the wealth” is an understandable, yet common mistake unsuccessful entities engage in. Successful franchisees will dot and cross all the proverbial “I’s” and “t’s” before expanding into new locations.

 

Do Not Saturate An Already Flooded Market

Successful franchisees do not saturate a flooded market for a particular product or service. For example, a pizza franchisee will typically not enter a market that is already teeming with other pizza franchises. Such an entity might do so only if it provides a unique niche or service the public may clamor for, which using the preceding example, could be an item like gourmet pizza. 

Protecting Your Online Business From Lawsuits

Legal liabilities and lawsuits are some common worst fears that can easily crumble a business if not prevented or managed. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your online business is well protected against potential cases that can easily damage the business’s reputation. 

 

Uphold information security

Your online business, most likely, holds customers’ data, such as names and social security numbers. Safe data handling practices, including safeguarding client’s data and protecting financial information from illegal disclosure, ensures that your clients do not file lawsuits against you for potential mishandling of their data.

 

Proper communication with customers

Business-customer communication is a constant process that should be properly regulated to ensure that the kind of information disclosed is accurate and relevant. The kind of information that you display on your business’s website, including potential advice to web users and information relating to products and services should be well regulated to ensure accuracy. This can prevent a possible situation where customers feel defrauded or misled by the business.

 

Compliance with industry practices

Every business investing within a particular industry or area of investment is governed by specific as well as universal standards and practices. Among the crucial standards thereof is the need for businesses to ensure that all products and services are within the quality specifications and standards. Releasing products and services out there that do not meet the industry standards will most likely land your online business in legal trouble.

 

Insurance 

Online businesses are increasingly focusing on adding insurance to their operations and products against potential risks and damages. Such protection is crucial, especially since the products are normally handled by multiple persons before they finally get to the customer. Obtaining insurance for your products gives customers the peace of mind that the product will be in good working condition as described within the e-commerce site.

 

Child protection

Different jurisdictions have different requirements for child protection when it comes to online businesses. In the US, your online business will be required to obtain parental permission when collecting data and information from children under the age of 13 years. It is, therefore, upon you to exercise due caution and put in place mechanisms ensuring that you have an accurate overview of each client who visits your business.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

Tips on Protecting Your Business from Online Attacks

To be competitive, every business today has invested in establishing an online presence. The rising trend of cyber threats is, however, an important issue that every business must consider to address. To remain secure across the web and prevent itself against online threats, your business must put in place strong cybersecurity measures. 

 

Work with a secure hosting platform

Your business’s website should be hosted on a secure and certified web hosting service provider. Among the factors to consider when selecting a hosting service provider include the provider’s compliance with the international PCI standards as regards to security and data protection. This guarantees that every online activity that your business will be engaging in from your website will be secure.

 

Ensure that you use https

All your online and web communications should be based on a Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (https) channel. The https protocol is more secure for your website and web service as it provides added layers of security that are necessary to prevent potential siphoning and eavesdropping into your business’s communication.

 

Training your employees

Untrained employees are highly likely to compromise on any layer of digital security that you put in your business. To ensure that everyone within your business is cybersecurity-competent, it is important to train the workers on the broad concept of digital security, cyber threats, and how they can contribute actively towards making the workplace digitally secure. Progressively training your employees on the evolving thresholds of cyber threats to your business ensures that they do not compromise unknowingly.

 

Use appropriate software

As an added layer of digital security in your business, it is important to use protective software, such as anti-malware and antivirus programs. These programs should be regularly updated to ensure that they can competently detect and ward-off any potential cyber threats.

 

Back up your data

Exposure to some of the modern-day cyber threats can lead to an abrupt loss of organizational data or a compromise on the data’s integrity. Such an eventuality can cripple the business and bring its operations to a standstill. To be on the safe side, it is important to consider backing up your data daily.

Reasons to Seek Legal Advice for Your Business

Growing a business is a difficult time with many bumps in the road. You want to make sure that you have the option of finding legal advice during your time as a business owner. Whether it is during the initial startup of the business, protecting your intellectual property, drafting contracts, and settling any lawsuits that may arise, having a prepared and experienced legal professional is essential.

 

While Forming Your Business

When you are determining how to form your business, seek an advisor to benefit your business’s future. You can determine if you will run your business as a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, corporation, or any other business structure, a lawyer will weigh the pros and cons to what could be the best option and help properly register your company as such.

 

Protecting Your IP

Either a start-up or a seasoned business, new ideas, products, trademarks, and more intellectual property will be created. No matter how long the business has been around, you are going to want to protect your property. Finding a lawyer that focuses their practice on IP will help with technical language and legal proceedings of registering the IP for the business. When it comes to safeguarding your IP, you want to make sure you take all the right steps to ensure it’s safety.

 

While Drafts Contracts

Hiring employees, creating relationships with other businesses, and other business transaction can require contracts. You are going to want to thoroughly understand the rights and obligations of contracts you are creating and also what you are signing. Taking your contract to a legal professional can relieve you from the stress of combing through the contract with a microscope.

 

Settling Any Lawsuits

The litigation process can be timely and expensive. Though you want to take the proper preventative measures listed above to avoid any lawsuits, there may come a time when you are going to want a lawyer to help when settling these disputes.

 

It is important to be prepared for any situation to arise. When owning a business, you need to be aware of the problems that can affect your operations. Protect yourself, your business, customers, and employees by seeking legal advice from a professional.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

Must-Read Articles for Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur and a lawyer, I know it is important to learn from others. Different perspectives can help develop new ideas and solutions that may not have been discovered without collaboration. There are so many resources on the internet whether its TED talks, interviews, or articles. As an entrepreneur, you should consider reading these business articles.

 

“Don’t Take It Personal” Is Terrible Work Advice

Duncan Coombe discusses why employees and business owners should take things personally. From feedback, conflicts, ups and downs, losing business deals, and all types of workplace issues are you are told to “not take things personally” or “it’s just business, don’t take it personally.” But you constantly put so much effort into your business that why wouldn’t you take it personally? This Harvard Business Review article gives advice to entrepreneurs on how to engage with their employees, create success in business, and take pride in what you are doing.

 

Think You’re Too Old to Be an Entrepreneur? Think Again

Not every entrepreneur is a millennial whose brilliant idea came from them sitting in a coffee shop. This article shows that it doesn’t matter what age you may be, it is possible for you to make your ideas come to life. It gives examples of entrepreneurs who started their endeavors later in life.

 

Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change

Businesses are constantly changing. If it isn’t, your business could be left in the dust by not adapting. Businesses are going to grow. This article helps business owners identifying when your company may need to change and how to handle it. Economics scholar, Clayton Christensen, and business consultant, Michael Overdorf, wrote their article to benefit entrepreneurs when it is time to handle a change in their business.

 

What Makes a Leader

Starting a business is something very different from having the ability to manage and lead a team of employees. You need to develop a different set of skills to be able to be a leader. As an entrepreneur, you may need advice on how to be an effective leader of your business. This article is a great read if you are looking to develop your skills.

 

Common Legal Mistakes Business Owners Make: Part 2

Continuing from Common Legal Mistakes Business Owners Make: Part 1, there are still many common legal mistakes that are being made. Though entrepreneurs may think that their biggest concerns should be marketing their products or spreading the word about their brands, they should be cautious as to what legal mistakes they could be making. Many startups just want to get their businesses up and started as quickly as possible and may forget about important legal issues. Don’t let make mistakes that could be easily avoided if you would consult a lawyer before beginning.

 

Inaccurate Contracts

Businesses have many contracts. One of the most important contracts is with your vendors. If you need to purchase raw materials or outside services, you need to have a well-written contract. Lawyers can help draft your contract and provide you with the information that needs to be included. This also helps inform business owners on behaviors to avoid and what to keep their eye out for in the future. Do not enter into an agreement without a proper legally-binding contract.

 

Failure to create nondisclosure and non-compete agreements

Your company is going to have proprietary information that gives you a competitive advantage. Whether it is your customer list or an idea or formula for a new product or service, you want to make sure it is protected. Anyone who has access to this information must be legally bound to not reveal any projects your company may be working on. This will also protect your company if an employee leaves, they cannot take their clients with them.

 

Copyright, Patents, and Trademarks

Creating a business is a huge step. You built this idea from scratch and you put so much time and money into creating this company. You want to protect your name, products, and your intellectual property from being stolen. Know the specific laws on protecting the different types of intellectual property you could have. Avoid losing your business name or your blueprints for a new product.

 

You have worked hard to get to where you are at. Not having a legal professional helping you in your business endeavors could make your company’s future much harder. Take the initiative and hire a lawyer to help with business proceedings such as contracts, policies, and more.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.