Every successful business will need a lawyer at some stage. Most business owners have a basic idea of what they are looking for in a lawyer: they not only want someone who is appropriately qualified, experienced, and understands the law, but a lawyer who is personable and able to relate to the client and their business.
If you are searching for a business lawyer, the following provides some questions that you may wish to ask the potential business lawyer to determine if they will be the right fit for you and importantly your business.
1. What business structure should I choose?
If you are planning on starting a new business, you will need to decide how your business should be structured. For example, if you do not establish a corporate entity, the business may operate as a sole proprietorship or sole trader (with one owner) or as a general partnership (with more than one owner). In those circumstances, it is important to appreciate that, for legal purposes, the business and the business owner are the same "person", which means the business owner is personally liable for the debts and liabilities of the business. The business owner is also entitled to the business income and its assets and would be subject to tax on that basis.
If you want to limit your personal liability, you may choose to form a business entity like a corporation or limited liability partnership. A corporate entity can serve as a good way to protect the personal assets of the business owner, if the business falls into financial difficulties.
The type of business structure used will have implications for your asset protection, tax obligations, and the extent of your personal liability for the conduct of the business.
A good business lawyer will be able to help you weigh and choose the best option for you.
2. What do you charge?
If you are a small business owner, it is only natural that you would be conscious about the costs of hiring a lawyer. It it always best to discuss fees upfront. A good lawyer will do this with you. If budget is an issue, you can try to negotiate fixed fees rather than fees at an hourly rate. An experienced business lawyer will be able to provide you with an estimate of the work that needs to be completed and the fees involved.
3. What contracts does my business need?
Contacts serve as a protection for your business by describing rights and responsibilities of the parties. Your business will likely need different contracts, from routine transactions to guarding confidential information and establishing employment policies. A good business lawyer should be to advise you on what contracts your business needs.
4. Who will work on my case?
Sometimes, lawyers delegate smaller, routine matters to other members of the firm. If you are concerned about this, make sure to ask your lawyer upfront and ask about their staff's experience and credentials.
5. What's your specialty?
A General practitioner may be appropriate for routine matters but it may be necessary to engage a specialist business lawyer for more complex business matters. Some business lawyers may specialise in certain areas, for example, tax or commercial leasing.
Finding a business lawyer in Cairns
If you are looking for a business lawyer in Cairns, call the team at Marino Lawyers. They can provide advice to clients during all stages of their business endeavours and other commercial law matters. They also have offices in Port Douglas, Edmonton, Gordonvale, and Babinda. For enquiries, call (07) 4081 6700.