Small business owners and startups often seek volunteers to perform operational duties and handle strategic matters themselves. This makes for a desperate approach towards saving costs and maximising profits. In this desperation, the leadership forgets the fact that their business can be dealt a severe blow if they do not possess adequate legal knowledge and expertise vis-à-vis the industry they are operating in. It is only after a major disaster, such as a blocked Facebook page, banned website or worse, cancellation of a patent, that the business owners begin groping for a business lawyer Sydney. Therefore, lest things become too late for an attorney to fix, be sure that hiring a competent business attorney is one of the pre-requisites for your business’ success.
However, hiring a legal representative is not an easy task for business owners, especially for those who remain aloof of legal matters and law codes. On top of it, a person with a law degree but average aptitude can easily dupe you into believing that he is the best candidate out there. Therefore, it is pertinent for you as a business owner to have a firm grip over your interviewing skills. You need to ask the following set of questions from your future attorney:
Have you got enough experience?
Since you really can’t dig deeper into assessing the legal knowledge of the interviewee, you must ask direct questions about their experience. For instance, if you are looking to incorporate your business, you can bluntly ask if they have a prior experience at incorporation. If the answer is no, you’d instantly know the person sitting in front of you is done!
Are you well-connected?
The nature of a business lawyer’s job description is analogous to that of a medical intern, who can diagnose your disease, perform minor surgeries and ask a consultant when it comes to performing any major surgery if need be. No lawyer can be absolutely adept at all areas of law. Yes, they need to be specialised in an area of your requirement, such as copyright violations, but they must also be in touch with other legal experts as well, so you don’t feel clueless when you need an advice on any other area, such as tax laws.
Do you have other clients in my industry?
This is a very important question to ask as you must be circumspect of the candidate representing any of your competitors. Even if the legal code of ethics does demarcate the line of confidentiality between attorneys of competing companies, you cannot risk any sensitive information being leaked to a rival firm. However, it doesn’t detract from the value an experienced lawyer brings with them. They must have served clients of the similar business domain as yours before. But any present association with them should be discouraged.
Can you provide legal training?
It is important that your business lawyer is a good teacher and has the ability to train you and your staff about the legal aspects of your business. They must have the ability to design specific training material in easy to understand language so that your employees develop the ability to deliver error-free work.
Will your presence help develop my business?
Ask any seasoned businessperson and they will tell you that the right attorney does not only prepare the legal framework of their client’s business but also act as a business developing catalyst. The legal fraternity is deeply entrenched in the power corridors and the status quo; that is exactly where the bulk of your profits are concentrated. If your attorney does manage to woo a couple of bigwigs, the prospects of your business will suddenly become auspicious.
What will be your fee structure?
Good lawyers are always in a position to negotiate better fees for themselves due to lack of quality human resource in their field. It will be up to you how you convince the candidate to charge less. A good strategy in this regard is to ask the lawyer about the flexibility they are willing to show in their fees, rather than directly lowering the compensation bar. Moreover, you can also put forward the condition of “payment upon completion of a task”.
So, if you are still operating without the services of a lawyer, now is the time to contact a law firm with an exceptional litigation record and an impeccable legal team. With a seasoned lawyer at your side, you will have an added advantage throughout your business dealings.