Using a solicitor from the outset can save your business a lot of time and money. Its easier to solve legal issues before they become too big and end up costing a fortune to solve. Using a solicitor is a vital step in buying a business or selling a business.
Their services may seem a little expensive but the advice and guidance regarding legal issues in invaluable to ensuring your business runs with as few hitches as possible.
Many business owners find themselves in terrible positions because they opted not to use a solicitor. Its even more important to use the services of a solicitor in the early stages because this is a period where lots of legal implications can arise and ironing out potential problems is easier.
Choosing the right solicitor is also important and is likely to save you future many sleepless nights.
There are a number of key areas where professional legal advice can be useful:
- They are able to assist you with the formation or change of structure of your business and will generally offer advice based on your circumstances. Some of them offer a service where they register a business on your behalf and ensure it complies with all legal requirements.
- Solicitors can help you understand the terms for leases and licenses.
- They are also very up to date with industry specific regulations and laws, and can advise you on how to comply with the regulations applicable to your business.
- Intellectual property – This can be protected with patents and trademarks. The solicitor should be familiar with the procedures and costs involved in obtaining this level of protection.
- Contract Terms and Service Levels – These can be handled by your solicitor, who should keep you informed of your legal responsibilities to customers and suppliers.
- Raising finance – A solicitor can help you understand your legal responsibilities when taking on additional funding and highlight the risks if you do not keep up repayments. They can also give guidance for agreeing terms with a lender.
- Debt Control – They can manage your exposure to bad debt and can advise you on how to go about collecting bad debts.
- Franchising – You should get your solicitor to check the terms of your franchise agreement and check the small print for any irregularities.
- Employment Law – Solicitors can keep you informed of current employment law and your responsibilities are to your employees. He will also be able to advise you on what your employees responsibilities to you are.
Finding the right solicitor.
Finding the right solicitor for your business can be a daunting task. Luckily there are some good sources to point you in the right direction.
Solicitors are part of a professional body called The Law Society. The Law Society offers the Lawyers for Your Business scheme which can put you in touch with local solicitors, or provide you with contact details of solicitors who specialise in a specific type of legal activity.
Government organisations like Business Link normally have a list of approved solicitors on file and can supply you with these details if you visit your local branch. Some areas have development agencies that also have approved solicitors on file and they should be more than happy to give a few recommendations.
Your local chambers of commerce should also be able to provide with a list of local solicitors. Locate your local chamber of commerce
Sometimes you can ask businesses of a similar size to recommend a solicitor. Business contacts should also be able to recommend someone.
Some solicitors are very experiences in dealing with similar businesses to your own. Try to locate these professionals through any trade or professional association you belong to.
Choosing a Solicitor
Most law firms offer a wide range of services and advice which, in most cases, is all youll need. If you need specialist advice not offered by your solicitor, then the Law Society should be able to point you in the right direction.
Check to see if the solicitor has a certificate to practice law. This certificate is issued by the Law Society and ensures the solicitor is qualified and capable of dealing with your legal issues.
Find out from a few solicitors services they offer and what they charge, and then shortlist the ones you prefer before arranging to meet with them.
Arrange an initial meeting with the solicitor whose services you are considering using. Try to make sure you meet with the individual who will be assigned to you. This initial meeting should be free.
Once you explain your business to the solicitor, try to find out if they have dealt with you type of business before. You should ask whether they are happy to take you on as a client based on the services you are looking for. Solicitors can also provide feedback as to whether your intentions for your business are realistic and should be able to give you an idea of how they can help you achieve those intentions.
Make sure the solicitor is willing to provide advice in a clear and easy to understand manner without using confusing legal jargon.
Find out how often they require you to contact them and whether they are able to provide you with a Client-Care letter which sets out their terms and complaints procedure. Its also a good idea to find out what other services they can offer as you grow.
You need to choose which of the solicitors you think is right for your business and contact them to let them know you have chosen to use them. Building a relationship with your new solicitor is vital for insuring they are familiar with your business. This should ensure they handle your legal issues correctly.