If you own a small business, you know that there’s no room to skimp on legal help. Having the right legal assistance ensures that your business complies with all the legal aspects of running a business. Especially if your company deals with intellectual property or contracts, hiring the right attorney can make all the difference between success and failure—and having money left over at the end of each month.
While there are certainly ways to save money on legal fees (like using a contract template), sometimes it’s worth spending more small business lawyer who understands what you’re going through. Let’s go over some tips for finding small business lawyers in Australia:
1. Identify your needs
First, identify your needs. Every business is different, and each has its legal concerns. Start by asking yourself what you want help with. These questions will help you find the right lawyer. For example:
- Do you need to set up a business?
- Do you need help with contracts?
- Are there tax issues that need resolving?
- Is intellectual property protection an issue for your company?
2. Search for attorneys with experience that matches your circumstances
Before hiring a lawyer, you must know what legal advice you need. The type of advice will determine which attorney is best suited to your case:
- Personal injury lawyers – They help with injury lawsuits, motor vehicle accidents and slip-and-fall cases. They often work on a contingency basis, meaning they can be hired without paying any upfront fees.
- Criminal defence attorneys– They advise people accused of crimes or defend them when they’re charged with a crime. As these cases are often time-sensitive and could result in jail time if not handled properly, you should hire an attorney with experience working with the district attorney’s office (DA) in the jurisdiction where your case was filed.
- Real estate lawyers– They represent homebuyers and sellers involved in property transactions; they also handle residential rental agreements and commercial real estate matters such as mortgages.
- Intellectual property lawyers– These lawyers deal with intellectual property laws, including copyrights, patents and trademarks.
3. Interview the lawyers you’re interested in
Once you’ve narrowed down a list of lawyers, it’s time to interview them. After all, this is a big decision that will influence your business’s success for years to come.
- Ask about their experience– You must find someone who knows what they’re doing, so ask how long they’ve been practising law and how much experience they have in small business law specifically. If your lawyer seems unsure about their skills or qualifications, move on to another candidate until you find the right fit for your needs.
- Ask about fees and availability– Fees vary from place to place and from lawyer to lawyer. So while one might charge $250 per hour while another charges $400 per hour, both could have similar rates, according to an article by Small Business Trends titled “What Is a Good Rate For Small Business Lawyers?”
The same goes for availability: some lawyers may be able to see clients during regular business hours while others only work after hours or on weekends (or even online). Entrepreneur Magazine recommends asking questions like these when interviewing potential candidates: “How do I contact my attorney? What if I need urgent help?”
4. Find out how much they charge
The cost of hiring a lawyer will depend on the type of lawyer you need and how much work they have to do.
You can ask the following questions:
- How much do lawyers charge?
- What is their hourly rate? Do they have a fixed fee or retainer agreement?
- Are there any discounts for paying in advance?
- Can you pay with cash or a credit card, or does your business need an invoice upfront?
- Are there other options for payment methods apart from cash and credit cards (like PayPal)?
5. You can hire legal help without breaking the bank.
Once you’ve found a lawyer, the next step is to get an estimate on what it will cost. You should look for a lawyer who understands your budget and offers a quote that fits within it—and if that’s not possible at first, consider asking about payment plans or other options that might help you afford the services you need. If nothing else, don’t be afraid to ask! You can expect quotes from different small business lawyers to vary quite a bit as they’re all bound by their hourly fees and billing practices.
Finding small business lawyers in Australia does not have to be a difficult task. Taking the time to do your research and find a lawyer who is experienced, affordable and trustworthy will give you peace of mind.