5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Commercial Attorney
If you own a business or are thinking about opening a business, you may want to consult with a commercial lawyer. You may need to interview a few different lawyers until you find the one who is right for your needs. To help you narrow down the pool of possibilities, here are five essential questions you should ask.
1. Do You Specialize in Commercial Law?
Some lawyers are generalists. They may dabble in commercial law whilst also doing estate planning, family law and criminal law. While that can work in some cases, if you truly want your business to get the attention it deserves, you may want to find a lawyer who's exclusively focused on commercial laws.
That increases the chances that this professional is up to date on the constantly changing landscape of legal issues that face business owners.
2. What Is Your Experience with Employment Law?
As a business owner, you will likely hire employees, and you need a commercial lawyer who understands that process. Ideally, you need someone who can look over your employment contracts to ensure they are legally binding. For instance, you don't want to draft a non-compete agreement only to find out that it doesn't hold up in court.
3. Can You Help Set Up Securities?
Funding is a constant challenge for most business owners, and in addition to traditional business loans or lines of credits from banks, you may also want to set up some securities. Securities allow you to sell stocks or bonds for your business.
That can be a great way to get an injection of capital when you need it. Then, you can reimburse your investors down the road with dividends. However, this is a particularly confusing area of commercial law, and you need a specialist who understands the process.
4. Do You Handle Mergers and Acquisitions?
Even if you're never planning to merge with another business, you may still want to ask this question. You can never tell what's going to happen in the future. This question helps you gauge your lawyer's ability to meet your needs in the future.
5. How Does Your Fee Schedule Work?
Finally, you need to establish how your commercial lawyer is going to charge you. Is he or she going to charge you a monthly retainer plus an hourly rate? Does the lawyer charge just by the hour? You need to know so that you can budget accordingly.