If you are operating your own business, you cannot afford to go it alone
when it comes to legal matters. The ever increasing complexities of law,
spiralling costs of lawsuits and the proliferation of government red tape
can land you in a lot of trouble.
The flip of the coin is hardly attractive either! Hiring a lawyer can
constitute a substantial financial investment many cash-strapped small
businesses and entrepreneurs cannot sustain. Lawyers charge a minimum of
$200 per hour when it comes to “business law” and it can get very
costly if you are involved in lengthy legal procedures, complicated
contracts or business transactions.
There may just be a glitter of hope in pre-paid legal plans. For a set
monthly price, some legal providers are now bundling a whole suite of
legal services especially tailored to the needs of small-businesses.
Whether you need phone consultation on the legal complexities of a lease
contract, or require legal representation during tax audits, a pre-paid
plan can help you manage legal costs. An array of services is included as
“standard coverage” at no cost to you in the plan, and any legal matters
not covered can be provided with a discount on fees.
Before you take the leap, you need to keep some caveats in mind.
You need to know more about the quality of service you are likely to get.
While lower fees do not necessarily infer lower quality of work, it is
always necessary to bear in mind that legal specialization plays a crucial
part and lawyers are not interchangeable. Ask for references from previous
clients or ask entrepreneurs who’ve used the services of the provider about
the quality of work they have received from them. Use your state bar
association, service organizations in your locale and your local Better
Business Bureau to research law firms and the background of the attorneys
in the network before selecting them. Things to look for are the number of
years they have been operating, complaints from previous customers, the
education background of attorneys, professional track record and so forth.
With the increasing amount of small businesses involved in litigation and
fee disputes with their legal providers, I iss important to give some
thought to alternative courses of actions when dealing with disputes. Ask
your prospective provider about the way in which they settle disputes or
complaints. Do they have an in-house procedure to deal with complaints,
appoint a senior attorney to deal with such things or do you simply have to