Expect to be paid anything from $100 to $300 an hour for a qualified local small business attorney. When selecting an attorney, consider a business attorney as part of your small business team. He or she can offer strategic advice to help grow and expand your company. Business lawyers are experts in the corporate laws that govern companies of all sizes. Therefore, your attorney will have the knowledge and expertise necessary to represent you in negotiations with suppliers, bankers, or government agencies.
Your small business lawyer can advise you on issues ranging from general contracting practices to the intricacies of mergers and acquisitions. He or she can also help you decide if you should enter into a specific contract. For example, if you need to purchase or lease office space, a transactional lawyer can examine lease agreements and assist you in negotiating the terms of the agreement. The lawyer may also help you litigate issues such as damages that arise from breach of contract or fraud.
There are two primary types of attorneys who practice small business law. These are sole proprietors and partnerships. A sole proprietor is the best choice for small businesses because he or she owns the business. He or she represents only themselves in legal matters, leaving the business owners’ employees, customers and suppliers to deal with the business’s customers, suppliers and other concerns. A partnership, on the other hand, consists of one or more partnership owners.
With sole proprietors, many business owners find themselves at the mercy of creditors. When there are debts owed to another party, small business attorneys must act to settle them. Furthermore, when there are disputes between the business owners, the sole proprietors are not always involved in those disputes because they are the ones taking on the debt. Thus, they may not have the time or the expertise necessary to resolve those disputes.
On the other hand, partnerships allow both partners to act as legal business structure representatives. If the partners cannot settle their differences alone, then they appoint one partner to mediate while the other acts as the mediator in all matters arising from the partnership. This arrangement allows each partner to have some input while ensuring that both have some legal business structure representation. However, this arrangement does not give each partner the same rights and responsibilities as ownership of the business. Each partner still takes on the full responsibilities of managing the business itself.
Many small business owners choose to represent themselves because it is cost-effective, provides them with privacy and allows them to do what they want in personal matters rather than being answerable to anyone else. Legal fees are much lower when representing oneself than having to pay a lawyer. However, most small business owners who are represented in employment law matters find that hiring an employment law attorney is more beneficial to them than having to go through a lengthy litigation process representing themselves.