Outsourcing is an ever growing trend in the business world and is a practice particularly familiar to veteran entrepreneurs. However, if you own a business, chances are that there are certain business functions that you would love to outsource, but because of financial constraints and wanting to keep your expenses low, you would very probably opt to perform some of these business functions yourself, or at least keep them in-house. Functions such as marketing, IT, payroll and accounting, and a few others.
There is however one business function that is extremely difficult to perform yourself, or otherwise assign to an employee, if they are not adequately trained in this function. This function is the legal function.
The complexity and depth of the law guarantees that only those who have been properly educated and trained in it can hope to successfully navigate the legal minefield. Additionally, there is also the fact that more often than not, only qualified and licensed legal professionals can perform certain legal functions.
To this end, while many business owners would want to cut costs related to any legal function that their business requires, and perform these duties themselves, it is not always a good idea to do so. Not to mention the fact that it is not even always legally possible to do so.
36 – 53% of Businesses Will Face Legal Action Each Year
It is a matter of fact that at some point in their business life, the vast majority of businesses will come across a legal issue of one type or another. As a matter of fact, according to the Small Business Administration, 36% – 53% of business are involved with one form or type of litigation or another each year.
So what are you to do if your business finds itself in such a situation? One option available to you is to outsource it by hiring a lawyer. Not necessarily only when you are faced with a litigation, but even for such simple things as drawing up a contract document to be signed by your business partners.
Once the decision has been made to outsource the legal function within your business, the question then remains how to go about doing it, and more importantly, how to do it properly? Perhaps one other consideration to make is whether to hire a local lawyer, or go with a national law firm? Both of which have their advantages and disadvantages.
However, perhaps the first step in properly outsourcing your business’s legal needs is to determine exactly what you need such a legal professional for. Once that has been determined, you next need to determine where the best places are to look? While traditional methods of finding a lawyer are still relevant; methods like referrals from family and friends, using the Yellow Pages, checking the newspapers and such, perhaps none of these methods are as effective as using the internet to find what you are looking for.
Search engines like Google and Bing, as well as lawyer directories like Justia are sure-fire ways to find a lawyer for whatever legal needs you have. However, before you begin speaking to, or at least short-listing any lawyers or law firms, you should be sure to have a set of questions that you are going to ask each of them, to help you determine the suitability of each lawyer, and if they have what it takes to represent your interest as you need them to.
Questions such as what their billing method looks like, what experience, if any they have with the industry in which your business operates in, how many lawyers and/or paralegals the particular law firm has, and several such questions are key to helping you know who you will be dealing with.
Choosing the Right Legal Counsel
The first, and obvious, thing to consider, is choosing an attorney specializing in business law. However, that isn’t always enough. Not every business lawyer is going to be the best fit for your business’s needs. As a business owner, you want to ensure your company is in the best hands possible, legally. So choose a lawyer only after you have met and spoken with several of them. Ensure the chosen lawyer knows the vision you have for your company, knows your customer pool, and most importantly, has experience with the tasks you are going to require of them.
While the attorney you choose will be part-time, you want to choose an attorney who can dedicate themselves to your company whenever you need them to. One who will remember you when you call, keep their notes from past tasks you hired them for, and be able to continue to develop knowledge of and interest in your company.
Businesses who outsource their legal needs more often than not will benefit greatly from having an attorney whom they can call on whenever needed, but not necessarily having to incur the cost of hiring one full time. By outsourcing the legal needs of your business to a law firm or attorney, it allows you to focus exclusively on your company, helping it grow and prosper, while not falling victim to legal issues and spending large sums of time and money in handling them.