Businesses need competent, professional legal counsel and services. Attorneys aspiring to serve these business must pick areas of law affecting the business entity in which to specialize. Finding a lawyer that has the level of competency and professionalism desired is not as easy as it might appear.
In this article, we identify the areas of law in which a business attorney must have competence. Also, we discuss methods and manners of identifying and scenarios for hiring these attorneys.
Areas of Legal Competence for a Business Lawyer
The following areas of law are the mainstays for a business attorney.
- Business Entities and Governance – Business governance is a primary concern for all business business entities. Depending upon the nature of the company, the attorney may need to have detailed understanding of various business entities. This is particularly true for startup ventures who often must change into new business entities as the company grows and evolves. Partnerships and LLCs generally have rather relaxed business governance requirements. Corporations, on the other hand, must follow a litany of governance formalities. Understanding corporate governance is critical for public companies who are subject to extensive public disclosure.
- Contract Law – Nearly all companies enter into into contracts with customers, suppliers, service providers, etc. The business counsel will be called upon to review and sometimes draft many of these contract.
- Litigation – A business attorney must understand litigation risk. She will advice the company on how to avoid potential liability. Further, if the company is subject to litigation (as plaintiff or defendant), the business counsel will either provide representation or work with outside counsel to provide that representation.
- Agency – All employees are agents of the company. A business attorney will be able to advice on aspects of the agency relationship to make certain an employees actual, apparent, and implied authority is fully understood and managed by the company.
- Employment Law – Any company that employees individuals must comply with employment laws. This includes health insurance, worker’s compensation, unemployment, anti-discrimination, and various other employment laws.
For more information on the various areas of law relevant to a business, we recommend consulting with a business attorney with specific knowledge in the practice areas.
- Securities Law – Any time that a company issues stock to outsiders, state and federal securities regulations govern the transaction. Growth-based startups generally employ outside equity investment to reach growth targets. Further, large and public companies must generally make extensive disclosures to shareholders and the public (through public filing with the SEC or state security regulator’s agency). Having an attorney that understands the registration process, exemptions from registration, and disclosure/reporting requirements important.
- Intellectual Property Law – For many companies (particularly startup ventures, intellectual property may be the firm’s most valuable assets. These companies may need an attorney with knowledge of patents, trademarks, copyrights, or trade secrets. One who understands how to secure, maintain, and enforce those rights.
Locating and Hiring a Business Lawyer Near Me
The first and most common way of finding a competent and professional attorney is through referral. If you know individuals who have employed the services of an attorney and were satisfied, this may be the best way to identify and make contact with the counsel.
Another way to locate competent counsel is through the state bar referral service. This service, offered by all state legal bars, provides a directory of attorneys and their areas of practice. Of course, most of these referral services do not have quality ratings for the attorneys. Nonetheless, this is a good starting point in finding attorney who claim some level of expertise in an area of law.
Independent attorney referral services are another way of identifying a competent business attorney. The American Bar Association, Martingale Hubbell, and Avvo.com all provide directories for searching attorneys in your area. Again, many of these services may not provide enough information to assess attorney quality.
Simply performing a Google search for lawyers in your area with a specialty in a particular area of practice can yield results. For example, searching for “Area Code” and “attorney” and “Law Firm” and “Securities Law”, will likely yield a number of legal firms in that zip code who practice in the area of securities law. Do not just use the search results. Also use the map function to see the geographic location of listed firms. Then visit each website individually to learn more about the firm and their practice areas.
With all of these options, it may be a time consuming task to take on to sort through and decide on an attorney. A straightforward method is using a legal services marketplace, such as LawTrades. All of the attorneys in out network have at least eight years of experience practicing law. And by booking a free consultation with us, one of our dedicated Client Success Managers can connect you with a selection of attorneys best suited for your needs.
In any of these events, you will want to interview the attorney, review their qualifications, and ask for any additional information necessary when making your decision of whom to hire (either as independent contractor or in-house counsel). You are trying to determine competence, but you also want to make certain the attorney is a good fit with you and your company. A business attorney who is knowledgeable but does not fit in well will be less productive for the company.
LawTrades Knows the Importance of Business Law
If you are attempting to find and hire a good business lawyer, look no further than LawTrades. We can serve as your legal counsel or help you in the process of hiring a small business lawyer who meets all of your company needs.