How To Hire The Best Lawyer For Your Small Business

lawyers in India

Every business, whether big or small, would need an attorney at some point of time in the course of the business. However, small businesses tend to delay the hiring of an attorney as late as possible. The primary reason for this is the financial constraint that most small businesses face, and they do not give priority to it. Most small businesses have the notion that spending on attorneys is an unnecessary expenditure. They feel that it is better to hire an attorney on a case to case basis as and when required. According to law firms in India, what they fail to understand is that it is better to avoid future legal issues by investing in legal resources now, than spending substantially more money defending a lawsuit.

If businesses are not assisted by attorneys in their business operations, then there is a strong possibility that they might get sued for variety of reasons. You could violate some law because of sheer ignorance, some disgruntled employee could sue you, or your suppliers and customers might try to exploit some loopholes in the contract, etc.

The best way to preempt future legal issues is to invest your resources in a good business attorney. A business lawyer is an important member of your core team, who could guide you through the challenging times of your business. Besides performing the routine legal tasks, such as contract drafting, handling employee issues, ensuring regulatory compliance, etc., they are always available to answer all your legal queries concerning your business. Discussed below are few steps in finding and hiring an attorney for your small business.

The Reason You Need a Business Lawyer

As mentioned above, the right time to hire a business lawyer is before you are sued. An event from the past that occurred before you started your new venture might come back to haunt you. For example, a co-founder of a business unit received summons for violating non-compete agreement that he had signed before he started his new venture. He spent a huge amount defending the case and had to sell his entire share in the company. You may not feel the need to hire an attorney at the outset, but you should at least start looking for small business lawyers in and around your area, and keep a list of names ready with you so that whenever you need to hire one, you can quickly take someone on board.

It is advisable that you hire a lawyer at the outset as he/she can help you in company formation and incorporation, drafting agreements and contracts, handling employee issues, managing intellectual property, and even assist you in fundraising.

Also, do not go to a general business lawyer for specific business issue. For example, trademark and copyright related issues can be best handled by intellectual property lawyers. There are experts to cater to different specialized areas of business law.

Keep Your Search Local

Whenever you feel the need to hire an attorney or a law firm in India, you must confine your search in areas around you. This is very important because, first it will be convenient for you as you can contact or meet the attorney whenever you need to, and second the attorney would be aware of the local laws and might also have good working relationship with the officials of the local court.

The best way to start your search is to get referrals from your family and friends, acquaintances, or business persons from the same industry. There are many online legal directories from where you can get a list of names with area of specialization. You can also source names from the local bar association. The most preferable way, however, is through referrals.

Ask Relevant Questions to Compare the Shortlisted Lawyers

Once you have prepared a list of potential business lawyers, it’s time to meet them. Usually, lawyers offer free first consultation for their prospective clients. During the consultation you should ask few relevant questions to understand the lawyer’s knowledge and experience of working with small businesses, especially dealing with the issues that concern you. Also, make it clear as to who will actually be working with you and what would be the mode of communication. Meet all the lawyers from your list and then compare them to arrive at a decision as to who would be best suited to your requirements.

Discuss the Fees

After you have zeroed down on an attorney, the next important step is to discuss the fees. As a small business owner you probably have allocated a budget for your legal expenses, so fees would be your concern when looking for an attorney. Lawyers have different fee structures, such as flat fee, hourly fee, contingent fee, or retainer fee. You must discuss the fee structure in detail, and only if it suits your budget, you should go ahead with hiring. You must keep in mind that the more experienced and successful a lawyer is higher the fees would be.

To conclude, if you want to hire the best lawyer for your small business, you must follow the steps discussed above. The points discussed in this article will also help determine when you really need an attorney or a law firm in India to assist you in your regular business operations or represent you in case of litigation.