Business Guides

Breaking Down the Cost of a Business Attorney

Last updated on March 24, 2021

Jacques Famy Jr

Many companies hire business lawyers to help them with various legal matters and advice. No matter what size your business is, you could benefit from hiring a business attorney. Larger companies often keep a team of lawyers on staff, while smaller businesses might hire an experienced lawyer to help them with some tasks regarding starting and running their business. Whatever reasoning you have for needing legal help, it’s always best to find an attorney with the right expertise. This article will break down the cost of a business attorney and a little more about why they’re so helpful.

What is A Business Attorney?

Business attorneys handle a variety of tasks relating to the legal matters of a business. They help companies with legal advice and issues, like conflict resolution, business formation and structuring, compliance, and mergers and acquisitions. It can seem complicated to define exactly what business attorneys do because their work varies so much across the board and by company. Business lawyers often have a variety of experience in either large corporations or small businesses. They can be hired out for special litigation proceedings if they have expertise in the particular area needed.

What Do Business Attorneys Do?

Exactly what a business attorney does depends on how big the business is and what industry they operate in. Business lawyers can assist with everything from contracts and agreements to risks and liabilities. They help with any legal issues the company may have and are usually present when a business is created, restructured, or sold. Some larger corporations have a team of lawyers on staff, while small businesses may consult with an attorney only when they need specific help. If a company requires outside counsel, they can find the right attorney for the job. Regardless of what industry your business operates in, chances are you will need a business attorney at some point. Here are a few items a business lawyer can help out with:

  • Contracts and agreements, ensuring you know what you’re signing and any legal implications.
  • Registration of business structure and other necessary licenses.
  • Conflicts regarding the sale and purchase of stocks or the company.
  • Data or security breaches.
  • Tax forms, audits, and knowing which type of tax deductions to expect.
  • Risks and liabilities to help you avoid any lawsuits.
  • Navigating finances.
  • Lawsuit mitigation to avoid lawsuits and keep situations from escalating.
  • Operating businesses across state lines and through eCommerce.
  • Company restructuring and helping a business adjust to a new law or new ownership.
  • Transferring shares in a company.
  • Drafting, reviewing, and negotiating business contracts.
  • Ensuring all relevant laws and regulations are followed.
  • Examining legal matters and reporting any problems to appropriate parties.
  • Overseeing the process when a business dissolves.

Cost of a Business Attorney

Your business attorney’s cost will depend on their experience, the firm they work for, the case’s complexity, and the average hourly rate in your area. Small business attorney fees will differ from services provided by more prominent law firms. Larger firms tend to charge more per hour since they have more resources available to them. Business lawyers may charge different fees depending on the task and what is required. For example, their rates for doing legal research might be lower than they would be for appearing in a court case. Hourly fees for business attorneys typically range from $150 to $325 per hour. But, these fees can vary depending on the factors mentioned. When you hire a business attorney, the amount they charge is dependant on these factors:

  • Experience of the lawyer
  • The complexity of the specific case
  • Size of the firm they work for
  • The average hourly rate in your area

Business Attorney Fee Structures

Business lawyers generally structure their legal fees as hourly fees. Others might prefer a flat fee if the case is relatively simple or routine, like reviewing business contracts. Two other billing structures could be used, called contingency fees and statutory fees. They are only used in particular cases, such as settlement and bankruptcy cases. The best fee structure is whatever is best for the client, so lawyers will make sure that the pay structure works for you and your company.

Hourly Fee

As mentioned, hourly fees are very common for business lawyers. Using this type of fee structure, the number of hours the lawyer works is multiplied by their hourly rate to give you your total. Hourly fees work well for business lawyers when handling a wide variety of their duties, including writing business contracts and operating agreements, handling breach of contract litigation, and completing other business-related services.

Flat Fee

Flat fees are also commonly used by business lawyers because there are many services they offer that are standard. They might draw up a commercial lease, write contracts, or help with the business formation. These tasks and others are all pretty typical for business lawyers, and since they know what to expect, it’s easier to charge a flat fee. This flat rate doesn’t always include legal costs, though, which the client should pay directly.

Value of a Business Attorney

The value of a business attorney is in their expertise. Hiring a lawyer to help your business throughout the formation and restructuring process is vital, as is having someone knowledgeable to turn to when you need contracts written, are going through an IRS audit, or need litigation advice. Every kind of company, from startups to large corporations, will benefit from using a business lawyer. They can help you avoid lawsuits and other litigation that could be detrimental or distracting to your business while also making specific processes in your business’s formation and structuring that much easier. Whatever your reason for hiring a business attorney, knowing how they structure their fees can help you decide what your business can afford and what tasks would be most helpful for the attorney to handle.

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