29 Nov What Does a Business Lawyer Do?
“If life was a board game, lawyers are the people who read the inside of the top of the box.”
That’s just about right! At JJH Law, our business lawyers know business owners would much rather be playing the game (running and growing their businesses) than struggling to read and understand the rules. Luckily, that’s what we’re here for!
In today’s post, we’ll talk more about what a business lawyer actually does and how you can decide if you should consult with one. We’ll talk about the common mistakes business owners make, misconceptions about business law, and much more.
Let’s get started!
What is a Lawyer?
Before we dive deep into business law, let’s answer what might sound like a simple question: what exactly is a lawyer? The truth is there are many, many types of lawyers with different specialties and skills. Some lawyers defend or prosecute criminals, others advocate for civil rights, and still others can go nearly their entire career without setting foot in a courtroom!
A Portland business lawyer’s specialty, on the other hand, is to be well-rounded! Our attorneys are equally comfortable reviewing a contract, consulting with business owners, negotiating a complex deal, or litigating in court– and that’s just a fraction of the situations in which we find ourselves. Great business lawyers are flexible and knowledgeable problem solvers who are always looking for the best way to help their clients.
What Does a Business Lawyer Do?
To put it simply, Portland business attorneys help business owners solve problems. Perhaps more importantly, business attorneys help business owners understand the problems they’re facing and which problems they might face in the future.
So, what kinds of problems do business owners face?
- Starting a Business – Choosing between an LLC, an S Corp, or another business type? The wrong decision can be incredibly costly to fix and the problems might not be apparent for years!
- Writing Contracts – What forms do you need when hiring employees or bringing on a new client? Do they need to sign any kind of waiver? What should the forms say? Business lawyers can help draft contracts to meet the unique needs of your business.
- Disputed Contracts & Breaches of Contract – What happens when a contract is disputed? A client isn’t paying? An employee shares secrets? A business lawyer will negotiate and advocate on your behalf, even filing a lawsuit if needed.
- Mergers & Acquisitions – Thinking about buying out a competitor? Being acquired by a bigger company? Joining forces with another business? Don’t make the mistake of not having a business lawyer to advise and guide you through the process.
- Resolving Business Issues & Claims – Even the most prepared and well-meaning business owner can run into problems related to disability and sick leave, discrimination, sexual harassment, and workplace safety. A business lawyer educates clients on applicable laws and best practices, and represents them when an issue arises.
- Compliance & Risk Management – New and even established businesses benefit from an experienced business lawyer who can advise on compliance issues and develop systems to monitor and minimize risk.
- Real Estate & Property Disputes – Whether your business owns property or leases it, you’ll likely need the assistance of a business lawyer. Business attorneys negotiate sales and leases, navigating complex and confusing real estate and tenant laws.
Do Business Lawyers Go to Court?
Yes– but only when we need to. Don’t get us wrong – it’s not that our business attorneys aren’t expert litigators who take great pride in representing our clients in court in Oregon and Washington. But frequently there’s a better solution to a dispute and save our clients’ valuable time and money.
When Should a Business Owner Consult With an Attorney?
Sooner rather than later.
Even seemingly simple, trivial, and honest mistakes and misunderstandings can cost business owners many thousands of dollars to fix. And in many of those cases, a quick consultation with a Portland business lawyer could’ve prevented all of those problems.
As a business owner, if you ever catch yourself thinking “I don’t need a lawyer, I can handle this myself,” it’s probably a good time to speak with a business lawyer and find out for sure. Your time is better spent running your business than trying to resolve a legal situation on your own.
How do Business Lawyers Charge for their Services?
At JJH Law (as a small business ourselves) we understand the importance of flexible fee structures that allow growing businesses to manage costs effectively. We offer:
- Forecasted Budgeting – In straightforward issues like LLC formations, we generally have a good idea of how long a matter will take to resolve. A forecasted budget sets aside a set amount of hours (usually at a discounted rate).
- Hybrid Fees – When litigating cases, our hybrid fee structure combines the benefits of hourly and contingency fees. It maximizes your return on investment and gives you a clear expectation of what work we’ll be doing.
Some business lawyers may bill exclusively by the hour. Can you see the drawback here? The law firm is incentivized to spend more time on the case to maximize their revenue.
At JJH Law we think there are ways to make our clients happier with our work than the traditional model used by many traditional business attorneys.
If you’re a business owner in Oregon or Washington and you have questions or think you might need the help of an experienced business lawyer, give JJH Law a call at (503) 552-1467 to schedule a confidential consultation at our Portland office.
Your success and satisfaction are our top priorities.