Conventional wisdom (and many lawyers) will tell you that, if you’re a business owner or manager, you will get yourself in trouble if you don’t have a good business lawyer. But when I hear this, I view this as somewhat of a negative statement, which frankly annoys me. I assume that smart business people do not want to be belittled and told that, they if they don’t have a lawyer, they will be too naive or inexperienced to avoid pitfalls.
Another way of saying this is that I personally hate doing anything to move away from something. I much prefer to make choices that allow me to move towards perceived advantages of my actions. So I address my clients accordingly.
So with this in mind I will rephrase the primary benefit of having a great lawyer by your side as follows: you will make more money. You should thus view a business lawyer as your partner who will help you make the choices that will improve your business and drive your bottom line upwards.
Now, if you are looking for a lawyer or are not happy with your present lawyer, how do you choose a great business lawyer. But first a definition. What is a business lawyer? I personally distinguish a business lawyer from a corporate or commercial lawyer. To me the business lawyer in the classic sense of the term denotes the classic lawyer-client relationship where the lawyer is more than someone who cranks out paper. I define the business lawyer as your quasi business partner or confidante. Someone you can confide it, who can solve your problems, understand you and help you grow.
Now Here are my TOP 10 TIPS to choosing a GREAT BUSINESS LAWYER, not in any order of importance.
- Don’t assume you need a big blue chip firm. I come from several big blue chip law firms. They do great law and sometimes you need the “brand” or “label” of the big law firm next to you, for instance if you’re going public. But for more routine work, you don’t need such a firm. They are expensive and comprise many layers. So for you to deal with the top dog, you will be paying up to $1,000 per hour, or more. If your budget is one quarter of this, you will mostly be dealing with a junior associate who will not have the business experience you are looking for. It really depends on your needs, and your budget.
- Don’t focus only on the billable hour rate. If you’re hesitating between someone who costs you $250 per hour and someone else at $350 per hour, don’t make your decision strictly on cost. What matters are two things: first what the final bill will be and, second, what value who will have received. The hourly rate is a red herring. What is the point of asking someone to do a job for you at $250 per hour if the person needs 40 hours for the job where the other lawyer at $350 per hour only needs 20 hours? Particularly if the other lawyer can do a better job for you. Billing policy is too much of a thorny and elaborate issue to address in a few lines. My point is simply that the hourly rate is not the be all and the end all.
- Look for someone you would be happy to have a drink with. If your relationship with your business lawyer is going to be successful, you need to connect with him (her) on a personal basis. It is to your advantage to let your lawyer into your life as a quasi-friend. For this to happen there must be personal chemistry.
- Look for business experience. If your business lawyer is going to advise you on your business, it is trite to say that having business experience is a must. Again it goes to the difference between dealing with a junior associate just out of school and someone who has real practical hands on business experience.
- Look for someone open to a fixed fee arrangement. No one I know wants to retain a lawyer not knowing what the final bill will be. While this is often difficult for a lawyer to estimate, he (she) may be open to a flexible or fixed fee arrangement. And he (she) should be able to give you at least a good idea on the fees.
- Look for a deal maker not a deal breaker. In any business deal, there can be dozens of reasons why the deal can’t work or why the agreement is not right. You don’t want a lawyer that throws unnecessary obstacles to making the deal work. It takes a practical approach. It is all about business risk and your lawyer should give you the pros and the cons and provide advice rather than blocking the deal.
- Think of your business lawyer as your part-time VP legal. Some business lawyers are open to retainer arrangements where they will agree to act as your part-time VP legal at a lower cost than hiring a law firm. A lawyer could for instance offer to work a certain numbers of days per month for you at a fixed fee. It could save you money and help you grow your business with a smart person on the inside who gets to understand your business inside out.
- Find someone with good business connections. Getting things done in this world often requires a good business network. Having access to this through your lawyer is invaluable.
- Find a people person. If you want your lawyer to make things happen for you, he (she) will need to be someone who does not antagonize everyone around him (her). Having someone who relates well with other people can be a key to making something work.
- Think bottom line. Lawyers cost money but I submit this should not be your first thought. What you should be thinking about is whether by spending say $1,000 your lawyer can help you generate $2,000. If so, the lawyer is not a cost. He (she) is a co-generator of a rate of return of 100%. If you think about it that way and your lawyer delivers, the cost will not be so bad to digest.
With these elements, you will be in a position to make the best decision for what works for you.
A lawyer is a professional providing legal advice to its clients. The salaried lawyers work in nonprofit organizations, corporations, law firms or in government. They are either self employed or practice as partners in law firms or doing solo practices.
They who are partners in a law firm earn more than lawyers who do individual practices. They working in legal services also earn less as compared to the corporate lawyers. The individuals who have started their individual practice as a lawyer should also resort to doing other part time jobs to earn more income till they are well established as a lawyer. This high salary is one of the important factors which have lured many individuals to opt for this profession. The starting salary of a lawyer is about 57,000 USD per year and the average salary is about 94,000 USD.
There are some factors which affect a there salary. They are:
•Experience: An experienced lawyer would earn more than a new lawyer. The salaries of experienced lawyers also depend on the location, size and type of their employer.
•Level of education
•Field of specialization, whether it is criminal or corporate
•Size of the firm
•Location of working
•Type of employer or your clients
Lawyers usually specialize in some specific areas such as family law, civil, criminal company laws or environmental laws. Based on these specializations, lawyers are categorized into different types. Here we provide you information about the different types of lawyers and average salaries earned by them:
•Assault lawyer: The average annual salary of an Assault lawyer is about 49,000 USD. The salary depends on the factors such as location, educational qualification and employer.
•Divorce lawyer: The divorce lawyers settle some common issues such as property division, spousal support, alimony and child custody. The median salary range for divorce lawyers is about 48,000 USD to 80,000 USD. The average salary earned would be about 96,000 USD per year.
•Nursing home lawyer: Nursing home lawyers should be well informed about the laws relating to the nursing homes. The average annual salary for nursing home abuse lawyer is about 97,000 USD.
•Insurance lawyer: The average insurance lawyer salary is about 65,000 USD.
•Criminal lawyer: The salary of the criminal lawyer depends on factors such as experience, location, size of the law firm, type of criminal law practiced and the lawyer’s specialty within the law. The median salary for a criminal lawyer in private firm is about 78,593 USD and for the lawyers doing individual practice is about 95,195 USD per year.
•Employment lawyers: The average salary of employment lawyer is about 60,000 USD.
•Corporate lawyers: These lawyers handle cases related to business and industry. The average salary of a corporate lawyer with about one to four years of experience is about 65,872 USD to 122,121 USD.
•Intellectual property Lawyers: An intellectual property lawyer is an excellent career option for all those individuals who have strong understanding of the intellectual property laws. The average salary of intellectual property lawyer is about 89,000 USD.
Thus, the information mentioned above gives you the details about the salary for different lawyers and factors that determine their salary.
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