When Do You Need a Business Lawyer?
You might need a business attorney to advise and assist you in knowing which laws and regulations your specific business will need to adhere to. For new and startup businesses, a business attorney can help you ensure a legal start and provide you with advice on how to use the law to protect your new business.
If your business is already established, the attorney can ensure that any mergers or acquisitions go smoothly and with few complications. A business attorney can also navigate any complicated compliance issues you may be facing.
A business attorney can establish a firm legal foundation for your business. An experienced business attorney will protect your rights and ensure you adhere to all applicable laws while assisting in more complex matters as your business grows. LegalMatch can assist you in locating local, affordable commercial lawyers.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Business Lawyer in the U.S.?
Legal fees for business lawyers are generally structured as hourly fees. The costs a lawyer in the U.S. charges per hour are typically determined by:
- The experience of the lawyer;
- The complexity of each specific case;
- The average hourly rate in your community; and
- The size of the firm.
Small business attorney fees differ from legal services provided by larger law firms. Larger law firms tend to charge more per hour than smaller firms. Some attorneys may charge different rates depending on the task, meaning they may charge a higher hourly rate for court work and a lower rate for research. Typical hourly fees range from $150 per hour to $325 per hour. Hourly fees for legal services can vary widely.
If the business issue goes to trial, litigation work can incur higher rates than complex work such as mergers or acquisitions. It is important when consulting lawyers to discuss their fee structure and clarify what their hourly fee is if that is the agreed-upon fee structure.
An attorney will work out how their fees will be paid when they first meet with you. A standard attorney fee arrangement may require you to fill the attorney’s retainer, which provides a set amount to the attorney that they may draw from for their first amount of work. Any subsequent legal work would incur the agreed-upon standard hourly rate. The average business lawyer retainer fee ranges from $2,000 to $100,000.
What to Look For in a Business Lawyer
While business attorneys in the U.S. handle various legal matters, look for a business lawyer with experience in:
- Buying and selling a business;
- Filing incorporation documents;
- Drafting and reviewing business contracts;
- Business formation;
- Business disputes;
- Conflicts that involve the sale and purchase of stocks and other securities;
- Compliance with business regulations and laws;
- Responding to the improper use of protected business information, such as copyrighted and trademarked materials; and
- Interstate and international legal issues, such as the transportation of goods.
Besides litigating business disputes, a business attorney in the U.S. should be able to assist with various tasks, such as:
- Negotiating, drafting, and reviewing business contracts;
- Assisting with business start-up and incorporation filings;
- Addressing business termination or transfer issues; and
- Assisting the business in their shift or change in organizational structure.
Business lawyers in the U.S. may be consulted for a wide range of legal issues. In some lawsuits, a business lawyer may play the role of an expert witness. An example of this will be if the court needs additional information regarding a particular business practice.
How to Prepare for Your Consultation With a Business Lawyer
Always know exactly why an attorney is being hired. This can help focus on the issues in your case, which will narrow down your search and may also reveal how long the professional relationship should last. For example, a startup may want to hire a lawyer who will manage everything from its filing status to raising money to future employment issues.
In contrast, a small business owner may only need to hire a lawyer for a short amount of time, such as when they need quick advice on taxes or one-time assistance with filing their business’s trademark application.
Sometimes, a prospective attorney may check all of these boxes, but a client may not feel comfortable working with them for whatever reason. If nothing else, a client must be able to work with the attorney they hire and trust that they will help them make the right decisions. While it may not be an exact science, there are some instances where a client may be better off trusting their intuition above all else.
Where to Find the Best Business Lawyers in the U.S.
There are certain issues where it may be in your best interest to use LegalMatch to hire a local business lawyer for further legal advice. For instance, you may need help with starting or selling a business. Filing the paperwork to form a company may seem like a straightforward and uncomplicated task. Still, you may want to speak to a lawyer before they can provide valuable guidance on the relationship between taxes and certain business structures.
You can find bar directories and lawyer finders through the American Bar Association.