If you’ve recently started a business, it is a good idea to retain lawyers for business contracts. Having a lawyer either draft or look over a contract before it is executed ensures that your business’s best interests are protected. It is also good practice to retain a lawyer before you actually need one to defend you. While nobody likes paying for attorneys’ fees, it is a small price to pay compared to all the costs associated with ongoing litigation and contract disputes.
What Type of Attorney Should You Hire?
If a company is looking for a lawyer for business contracts, it is probably worth the time and effort to do a little background research before spending money to have an attorney on retainer. It is becoming more and more common for attorneys to end up specializing in specific issue areas, as opposed to working on all different areas of the law. Thus, it is important that a company hires an attorney who has a certain set of skills related to what the job entails. For instance, a company looking for an attorney to draft contracts should not hire an attorney who focuses on family law.
For business purposes, a company should try to find an attorney who specializes in at least one of the following legal areas:
- Business Administration
- Real Estate
- Intellectual Property
Retaining an attorney who specializes in more than one of these legal topics would be ideal. Oftentimes, a law firm has at least one attorney who focuses on each of the topics listed above. If the company does not wish to hire a law firm, there is still a good chance of finding a solo practitioner who has expertise in one of the above issue areas.
Lawyers who have prior experience drafting and executing contracts can be hugely beneficial for a company and their bottom line. If the company is regularly dealing with clients or manufacturers, a contract lawyer can help draft standard form contracts and advise the company as to what contracts they should enter into. Because contract law can be incredibly complex, having a contracts lawyer on retainer that has knowledge about express and implied provisions, valid offers and acceptances, and what to do when a party breaches a contract, is worth all of the fees.
Another advantage of hiring a contracts lawyer is that in addition to being knowledgeable about contracts, oftentimes they are also knowledgeable about business in general and can understand the needs of their clients. Contracts often underlie many aspects of everyday business transactions, and having an experienced attorney can help ensure the best interests of the company are protected.
What to Ask a Potential Contract Lawyer
To ensure a company hires the right contract attorney, there are a few staple questions that they should ask to ensure the prospective lawyer will be the right fit.
First, you want to ask if they have the necessary experience that qualifies them as an expert in contracts. Many problems can stem from the failure to ask this one initial question. If this is not the case, there are plenty of other prospective attorneys to choose from who do have this expertise.
Second, ask the prospective attorney if they have any other clients in your industry. This can provide some insight into how knowledgeable the lawyer is about your line of work. It can be helpful if they know about common problems that arise in the industry and how to handle them.
Third, ask about the lawyer’s standard billing procedures. Do they ask for a flat fee for certain standard legal matters, such as drafting a standard contract? Or do they ask for a retainer or deposit? If a company is only looking for periodic contract help, then a lawyer who charges a flat fee might be better suited for the job. If the company wants continued access to a contract lawyer, a retainer option might be the better option.
The bottom line when hiring a lawyer for business contracts is to find one that meshes well with your industry and your specific company. There are plenty of lawyers to choose from. Finding the right one may take some research, but it will pay off in the end.
If you need help with finding lawyers for business contracts, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.