What kinds of things can a small business lawyer offer for small businesses?
A small business lawyer can be indispensable to a newly forming business. They can perform tasks as simple as assisting the business in creating a trademark all the way to protecting the business in complex litigation. A lawyer can offer a small business advice in the early stages of creation. They can assist in developing an employment plan that can protect a business from future litigation concerning employment discrimination, hiring, firing, or working in an abrasive environment.
A lawyer brings knowledge of the law and a unique set of legal analytical skills to evaluate the correct ways to start a business and maintain the business. Starting on the correct legal path in forming a business, whether it is a corporation, an LLC, or a mere general partnership, could save the business a future debacle.
When should a small business hire a small business lawyer?
Questions can always loom as to whether a new business needs a small business lawyer and, if one is needed, when should a lawyer be hired in the process. In the case of hiring a lawyer for a new business, one should think of a lawyer as an ounce of prevention that is worth a pound of cure. If you are only hiring a lawyer once you are being sued, then you may have passed over a simple step that could have saved your business a lot of money in the beginning.
A Small business lawyer is essential in the beginning to prevent future problems such as trademark infringement, getting sued, needing to collect debt, or any other preventable issue. Specifically, in the beginning stages, of a business, a lawyer can assist a business in seeking a trademark that is free from any encumbrances. This could allow the business to avoid future litigation regarding the trademark.
The flip side of not seeking a trademark through proper channels could cost a lot of money or even sink the business. For example, once a company has a brand (trademark) that company will start to receive goodwill from consumers as the brand continues to grow. If the proper steps were not taken in the beginning to receive a trademark, then a third party may have claim to that brand causing litigation for the small business and a loss of goodwill. Also, a lawyer can assist after the establishment of the business by suing third parties to collect debts that have not been paid or defending the business against employment discrimination claims, contract disputes, or trademark infringement.
What exactly is a “retainer fee” and how is that different than regular fixed fee billing?
Dealing with a lawyer brings questions about the amount a small business will have to pay to the lawyer. The fees that a small business will have to pay can be in various forms, meaning that the billing processing may be different depending on which small business lawyer you are dealing with. There are usually two approaches to pay a lawyer. First, a retainer fee is when a lawyer has a client pay money before any work has been performed for the small business. This lump sum of money will be placed in an account and then charged as the lawyer performs work for the small business. It really is just an advanced payment of what it might cost the lawyer to do the work. If there is still money once the lawyer has performed the task at hand, then that money will be returned to the client. A retainer fee is way for a lawyer to ensure that they will be paid for work rendered. Second, once work has been performed for the client, the lawyer will send a bill for the hours worked. These bills will come to the small business each time a service is completed or a specific time every month.
To wrap up, the lawyer is receiving the same amount of money, but it is the payment that differs. One payment is made before services are performed and the other is made after the lawyer has performed services.