How much does a business lawyer charge?
Every company has a budget, and when there is a need to spend money, regardless of the reason, the cost is a necessary consideration. This also holds true when a company recognizes the need to hire a business lawyer, whether it is a proactive measure or a litigation issue has arisen. Not all types of lawyers share the same pay rate scale or payment terms. For example, personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency basis. This means that they will earn their fee only if they are able to negotiate a settlement for their client, and it will be a percentage of that settlement. Most business lawyers do not work on a contingency basis, but regardless of how they charge and how much they charge, it’s important to understand their arrangement before signing a contract for their services.
Do business lawyers charge a flat one-time fee?
For some matters, a business lawyer may charge a flat one-time fee. Usually, it is limited to routine legal matters such as forming a company’s business structure. That said, the law firm may not volunteer this as an option, so be sure to ask. If they do charge a flat fee, be clear on what all is included such as the lawyer’s out-of-pocket expenses such as document delivery charges and filing fees. Otherwise, those are likely to be added on top of the flat fee. You will also want to know if they require payment before, during, or after the legal matter is settled.
If a business lawyer requires a deposit (known as a retainer fee) in advance, it’s important to ask them if the money will be held by them indefinitely, or if the unused amount will be returned to you at the conclusion of your legal matter.
How can I save money when hiring a business lawyer?
Even the least experienced lawyer is unlikely to provide free or nearly free legal services. In addition to a company’s existing accounts payable line items, paying for legal representation may not be in the budget. However, hiring a business lawyer may be the smartest investment that a company could make. Additionally, there are some ways that you may be able to reduce the cost somewhat. Here are some tips:
- Ask the business lawyer for a written cost estimate for any legal service prior to approving it. At the conclusion of the work, if the cost is significantly higher than the estimate, inquire as to why this occurred. If this becomes a pattern, you may wish to consider terminating your relationship with them and hiring a different business lawyer.
- Ask the business lawyer if they offer a cap (in writing) on the fee they will charge for a particular legal service. This will provide you with a clear understanding of what you may pay and will eliminate a painful surprise.
- Ask the business lawyer how they structure their increments of time when billing. For example, do they bill clients in increments of 10 minutes, half an hour, or an hour? In other words, if something takes them five minutes, is the billing time bumped up to 10 minutes, half an hour, or an hour?
Talk to a business lawyer in Bethesda, MD to learn how they can help your company.
Thanks to Brown Kiely, LLP for their insight into business law and how much a business lawyer will charge.