When do you need to hire a business lawyer for your small business in Melbourne

Introduction

No matter how carefully and orderly you conduct your business, no one can avoid legal complications in their lifetime. Whether it is your own fault, or it is brought to you by your competitor who holds a grudge – you will need a lawyer sooner or later. If you run a small business, a single lawsuit can get you bankrupt. Therefore, it is always a smart idea to assess your business’s requirements before even starting it and having legal help at your disposal at all times.

What does a business lawyer do?

In simple terms, a business lawyer solves all the problems associated with a business as well as prepares you against any problems that might occur in the future. So what kind of problems you may face that you would know that it is time to hire a business lawyer in Melbourne?

In the beginning of your business: Choosing the right business structure is crucial for the success of your business. It will determine your tax liabilities, liabilities as the business owner and as an individual, a plan to protect your assets, your entire financials, and many more issues related to the growth of your business. So you should consult a business lawyer to judge whether you should go for a sole trader, partnership, company, trust, or a co-operative structure.

Contracts: Whether it is hiring a new employee or bringing in a new client, there will be a contract will be required, where your detailed relationship with them and responsibilities from both sides will be mentioned. Even if you do not wish for them, there will also be breaches and disputes. It is always best to have a person with good enough legal knowledge to draft it as there will be legal liabilities from both sides in cases like these. You might even have to deal with a lawsuit in the case of contract disputes.

Mergers and acquisitions: As your business grows, you will want to merge with a bigger company, or buy your competition out, or buy stocks of other companies, or even make partnership with another business. Make sure you contact a business lawyer in Melbourne before you make any such decision since every single move can make or break your business.

Workplace issues: Even if you are an amazing boss and run a super fine organization, you can run into workplace issues like leaves, compliance, discriminations, sexual harassment, workplace safety, and many more. Only an experienced legal advisor can help you in keeping the whole place well-monitored, and when required, making the right move to save your company from serious embarrassment.

Real estate problems: If your company runs from an office space, you are vulnerable to real estate and property disputes at some point of your business lifetime. Your business attorneys negotiate sales and leases, navigating complex, as well as deal with all the confusing real estate and tenant laws.

Environmental issue: Environmental issues can always be a handful and you can be sued even if your company did not cause them. A lot of times you make a decision on behalf of your company unaware of the fact if it will violate any environmental laws. That is why from the time you start your business, it is a good idea to keep a firm at hand who handles environmental issues. Take advice from them before you make any decision that can remotely affect the environment, or the habitation surrounding your office or industry.

When do you need a business lawyer?

Waiting for the last moment to take up action is a bad idea. Being a small business owner, you know it better than anyone. It is true that attorneys cost a lot, but for good reasons. All the issues that have been listed earlier can happen to you at any point of your business. So even if you think a matter is small and you can take care of it yourself, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced legal advisor to find out for sure. It is best if you have hired a firm in the beginning of the business to cater to your every problem and sit with you in all the important meetings to offer you advice. In case you feel that will be out of your budget, you should at least keep a good firm in your contact list so you do not have to initiate a thorough search from scratch when you are in real trouble.

How to find the right business lawyer for your business?

Once you are sure that you need a small business lawyer, it is time to do the research and find out the best one for your business. It may be a bit of a time-consuming process, but better spend some time now than give up half your business revenues in legal procedures and lawsuits later. No need to be too stressed, we are here to help you. Follow the below-mentioned bullet points and you will be on the right track –

Know what kind of lawyer you need:

Even though we have said that it is best you find a lawyer for every need, you, the owner, know your business and its needs the best. You may not require a lawyer for every single thing – it will fall really heavy on your revenue fund anyway. To find out the specific obligations – maybe you just need a trademark or have some questions about the tax law etc. – and find an attorney who specializes in those. However, in most cases, especially if you are still not that experienced in the business world, it is not unlikely that you be unaware of exactly the issue you need assistance for. So find a general practitioner who can guide you through the common issues and at the same time, can refer to someone in his/her own firm or from outside his/her counsel in case particular requirements arise.

Find one who is experienced in your market:

The field of law is vast and there are tons of small areas one can specialize in. An attorney terrific in one field may not even give the right advice for some other. You know the market of your business the best, and the areas you deal with. Get a business lawyer in Melbourne who understands your market thoroughly, is experienced with it, or at least is willing to and is skilled enough to learn about your field to a good extent. In particular, if your company deals with high niche or regulated business areas like nuclear power plants or hacking, you will definitely need very precise counsel. So get this cleared out in the first interview itself, and definitely do a deep background search about firms before you even conduct the interview.

Pick a firm that fits you right:

Pick the right-sized law firm depending on your business size and turnover as well as your specific needs.

  • Law firms used to working with big companies with huge turnovers may not pay very close attention to you if your business is not on that level yet. So in case you are a small business owner, prefer a solo legal counsel or a firm matching the size of your company – you certainly will get more attention from them.
  • Big firms come handy when you have big lawsuits to manage, since they usually have lawyers from all areas of specializations.
  • If the firm you have contacted is reluctant to take outside help when required, even if it is a big law firm, it may be a red flag.
  • Make sure the firm you are willing to hire clarifies with you explicitly which level of employees are going to deal with your issue, so you know how much importance they are giving to your problem. Even if a rookie is dealing with your issue, there should always be a senior guiding him/her and more importantly, you should be in the loop with this dynamic.
  • Get a clear assurance about the methods and timing of communication with the firm as well as the individual employees you will be engaging with. If the person they are allotting you is going to be unavailable half the week, he/she is of no use to you.

Do an exhaustive background search:

Research in-depth about the lawyer’s credentials, certifications, past clients, past disciplinary history, online reviews, personal reviews, and everything about the person and the law firm before hiring them. If possible, talk to their previous clients and learn about how the firm handles their issues. It is always best to find some firm recommended by someone you know personally, but if that is not possible, read as many online reviews from as many sources as you can. Although, beware of the fake reviews as those are easy to buy nowadays. Go for authentic sites only.

Have a transparent conversation about the fee structure in the beginning:

Money becomes an obstacle in any relationship when both parties are not transparent about the matter. The law firm you want should not be hesitant to talk about their fees, and neither should you. Make it very clear from square one what kind of monetary arrangement you both are comfortable with – hourly, weekly, fixed fee, project-based fee, or anything else.

Conclusion

If you are lucky, you and your law firm will be best friends and live happily ever after. Nevertheless, let’s face it – it’s real life, and you should be prepared with the fact mentally and business-wise that you might have to break up someday. As any smart business person would do, do not share secrets unless you absolutely need to, and bind them by strong enough contracts. Be that as it may, it is not possible for you to know neither scenario on the first day, so ensure that you hire a well qualified, respectable, experienced, and well-certified business lawyer who will fit your business the best.

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