When Do You Need to Hire A Commercial Lawyer?

How do you know you need a commercial lawyer? Many people who enter the business world are often focused on making profits, not realizing that there are more that can be done to make their daily operations more efficient. The financial aspect of a business is one thing but to promote a high standard and stable company would mean taking small details into consideration. It is true that legal matters can sometimes be given the least importance but would you rather wait for your company to lose a lot just because of legalities and formalities? The simple task of making company contracts secured may never be possible without the help of someone specializing in the judicial system. So how do you know you need a commercial lawyer?…You don’t need to think for a lot of reasons because you will need a commercial lawyer long as your business is operating.

You will need the services of a commercial law firm at a certain point and so it is important to establish a relationship with a qualified lawyer as early as now. The success of you business with any case or legal matters depends on how well your lawyer knows the ins and outs of your business. A lot of known cases are reported wherein companies lose a lot of assets because of their incapability to protect their interests legally. The judicial system is a vast universe of laws and regulations and you can’t possibly handle legal dilemmas on your own. You will always need the help of a professional who spent years studying and mastering the judicial system. For any commercial establishment or business, a commercial lawyer will be the main defender.

Some businessmen would rather wait for anything unexpected to happen before taking appropriate actions. Situations become more unpleasant in cases when rushed legal advice or defense cannot help in any way because it is already too late. These are the times when all you can do is to follow what the law dictates.

Times when competitors violate your interests are just some of the instances when you will need a commercial lawyer. Other instances are: employment contract concerns, fraud on business transactions, merging companies, legal issues, securities, legal paper works, expansion, and many other legal tasks related to businesses. The role of a commercial lawyer is important in maintaining the professional image of a company. He may also serve as the representative of the whole company to other businesses.

Finding Quality Business Lawyers for Business Legal Advice

Most business owners end up needing some kind of legal advice along the way. Whether you are getting ready to start a new company or you already run a well established company, good legal advice may be able to save you money and future problems. Business owners today have many legal issues to deal with, including leases, copyrights, trademarks, collections, licensing and even business disputes. For this reason, finding a good attorney is important. If you’re looking for quality business lawyers for good business legal advice, the following tips will help you make the best decision for your business needs.

Tip #1 – Know Your Company’s Legal Needs

Remember, each company has their own specific legal needs. The best attorney for one business may not be the right choice for another business. Your business may require some specific experience or knowledge or you may prefer to work with a lawyer that has a specific personality type. Two types of commercial lawyers exist as well – transaction and litigation attorneys. While some may handle both types of business law, most have a specific area of concentration. Depending on your specific legal needs, you’ll need to determine whether a transaction or litigation attorney is the right choice for you.

Tip #2 – Finding Attorneys to Consider

When you’re trying to find quality business lawyers, it’s a good idea to get referrals from friends, family or acquaintances. Talk to people who already run businesses. They may be able to refer you to a quality attorney that they are familiar with or someone they have worked with in the past. You may also find professionals from bar association listings, in online directories or through simple local internet searches. Once you have a few names to consider, then you can move on to the next step.

Tip #3 – Investigate Your Options

After you find a few attorneys that work in business law, it’s time to investigate your options thoroughly. It’s important to do your due diligence to ensure you make the right choice. First, start by reviewing the website of the law firm. Find out about the attorney you’re considering and the rest of the firm. You should also check to see if this lawyer has any disciplinary complaints against him. If there are complaints, ask about them when interviewing the lawyer. Talk to people you know in the area as well. They may be familiar with the attorney’s name and may offer some insight on that professional’s reputation.

Tip #4 – Conducting the Interview

Before choosing from your list of business lawyers, make sure you interview those on your short list. A face to face meeting is the best option. Find out if the attorney has handled similar business matters or dealt with similar businesses in the past. It’s a good idea to ask about their experience, their fees, availability and more. Come up with a good list of questions to ask during the interview so you get the information needed to make your final decision.

With these tips, you can easily choose the right attorney for your business needs. Then you can be sure that you have a good professional on your side, offering you the legal advice you need for your business.

Five Tips for Hiring a Corporate Lawyer

It is important when hiring a corporate lawyer that you receive the right advice. You also need to make sure that you choose the right lawyer to represent your business. You need someone who you can trust, who you know will do a good job and who you feel comfortable with.

Quality

Basically when hiring a lawyer you get what you pay for. Legal advice does not come cheap, and if you want good professional advice you need to invest in a good lawyer. Do your research and contact several lawyers before you make your decision. Ask for references and do not be afraid to ask them about their background. Ask lots of questions and get them to explain the basics to you. You need to be sure that you understand procedures properly so ensure that you listen and try to learn as much as you can. Not only will you learn a lot but you will be clear on what is going on at all times.

Fees

Usually corporate lawyers charge by the hour but if you are a small business or just starting up this kind of expensive could be out of your reach. It might make more sense for you at this stage to negotiate a fixed fee. If you feel it is possible you might need advice from a corporate lawyer on a regular basis then a retainer could be something you might want to suggest. Make sure it is made clear to you what their fees include as you don’t want to get any surprises down the track.

Advice

This does seem obvious but don’t just assume the lawyer knows what it is you want. Many business owners can have a preconceived idea that corporate lawyers deal with exactly the same situations over and over. It is not often just a case of getting documents filled in. Corporate lawyers will often be involved in drafting up contracts, but they can also give you great legal and business advice in regards to negotiating positions. You will find that your lawyer will mostly give you advice, above anything.

Relationship

It is a good idea to build a long term relationship with your lawyer, this is why it is important to find that right person in the first place. For the success of your business you need someone who has been with you for a decent amount of time and understands the ins and outs of your business. A growing business will need advice often so it is worthwhile getting a long with this person.

References

It does help to ask for references. Ask around amongst your friends and family, and also contact other businesses. They might be willing to share advice on choosing a good corporate lawyer. You may find references in unlikely places, like via social networking, or do a search on the internet. Industry magazines or legal publications may be able to help you find the right corporate lawyer as well.

Commercial Law – Unfair Contract Terms – Accommodation for a Business

The case of Regus (UK) Ltd v Epcot Solutions Ltd [2007] highlighted the use of unfair terms in a commercial contract. The claimant in the case was a British company which was part of a large group of companies supplying serviced office accommodation in 50 countries. The defendant was a small company providing professional IT training which intended to develop a franchise in the field. The defendant company decided to use one of the claimant’s locations at Heathrow.

Accommodation by the defendant company was taken on a day to day basis in 2001. In August of that year, the parties signed an agreement which was to last for 12 months. In August 2002, the defendant renewed the agreement for a further 12 months. However, in November 2002 the defendants were told that the Heathrow location was due to close in February 2003.

The claimant’s terms and conditions in the agreement committed it to try to find alternative accommodation for the defendant. It offered the defendant alternative accommodation about three miles away. In addition to this, the claimant also offered to provide the necessary support for the moving of equipment, as well as a service to inform clients of the new location. The claimant also offered to maintain the same price for the remainder of the term.

The defendant accepted the new accommodation and, in March 2003, signed a new agreement for three and a half months. The agreement was on the claimant’s standard form at the time. Clause 23 of the agreement purported to exclude liability for any loss unless the failure relied upon was deliberate or negligent, and even then there was no liability:

‘… For any failure unless you have told us about it and given us a reasonable time to put right …’

It further provided that the claimant would not:

‘… In any circumstances have any liability for any loss of business, loss of profits, loss of anticipated savings, loss of or damage to data, third party claims or any consequential loss. We strongly advise you to insure against all such potential loss …’

Towards the end of March 2003, the defendant raised points about the air conditioning at the new accommodation. In November 2003, the agreement was extended for another 22 months. No additional complaints about the air conditioning were made until May 2004, at which point a series of correspondence ensued.

In October 2004, the defendant received a ‘notice of suspension of services’ followed by a second such notice and finally an e-mail stating that the defendant could not access its office after the 8th of October 2004. The claimant issued proceedings seeking sums due for office services for the period up to the 8th of October, when the services were suspended, together with £23,385.46 being the standard fee for the period to the end of October 2005. October 2005 would have been when the renewed agreement would have expired.

The defendant counterclaimed for mis-representation under the contract, as well as breach of contract over the allegedly defective air conditioning. The initial hearing was concerned with aspects of liability. The issues to be considered by the court included whether the air conditioning had been defective and therefore in breach of contract, and whether the claimant’s terms of its standard form contract (in particular clause 23) breached the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.

The court ruled as follows:

§ It was entirely reasonable for the claimant to restrict damages for loss of profits and consequential loses from their potential liability. However, it could not satisfy the burden of reasonableness when the clause deprived the defendant of any remedy at all for failure to provide a basic service like air conditioning in what was the business equivalent of a hotel, not the lease of a flat. Such a broad exclusion under the contract was deemed not reasonable when one applied the factors identified by the 1977 Act. As it was not open to the court to sever a clause which failed to meet the requirements of the Act, clause 23 was therefore of no effect.

§ On the facts of the case, the air conditioning had been defective, making the room much too hot in the summer months. The inadequate air conditioning had been a significant, but not a real threat to the defendant’s business. The court held that if it had been, the complaints would undoubtedly have been reduced to writing. The failure to supply proper air conditioning was, however, negligent on the claimant’s behalf. The court decided that such failure was significant but not crucial as the failures had only interfered with the efficient conduct of business, but had not prevented it. Therefore, the court held that the appropriate measure of damage would be some percentage deduction from the fees paid unless the defendant could show additional specific loss attributable to the failure of the air conditioning.

Please contact us for more information on assessing damages due under termination of a contract at [email protected]

Visit http://www.rtcoopers.com/practice_corporatecommercial.php

© RT COOPERS, 2007. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.

Commercial Law – Why It’s So Important for Businesses to Have Legal Backup

The business environment can be tricky, and sometimes just plain nasty. Small businesses find themselves in a legal minefield/maze without warning, when a client, employee or business associate turns difficult. It’s always a good idea to have a working relationship with some commercial lawyers who know the business and understand the issues involved, to have someone on your side when you need backup.

Commercial law is often extremely complex in terms of its application to specific situations. Non-specialist lawyers often can’t help much, because this is a particularly demanding area of law. The sheer range of possible issues needs expert management.

For example, these are some of the areas covered by commercial law:

· Contract law
· Public liability
· Commercial practices
· Consumer law
· Commercial disputes
· Commercial property
· Supply chain issues

There are also possible combinations of these issues, and they’re never simple. There may also be multiple parties involved in a dispute, which further complicates the issues.

This is a typical case in point:

· Business A is a contractor installing kitchens for Business B. The situation is:
· Business A is waiting for kitchens to be supplied by Business C, an importer.
· Business B is complaining about breach of contract, because the kitchens are supposed to be installed by a due date under the terms of the contract.
· Business B further claims that an onsite accident was caused by Business A’s truck, injuring a construction worker.
· Business B is threatening legal action on both counts.

· Business A wants to put pressure on Business C to get the kitchens delivered by being sourced elsewhere.

This isn’t the sort of situation which a business can or should handle for itself. If legal action results, legal representatives need to be hand. They also need to get up to speed ASAP, to manage the situation. So it’s better to have legal representatives on standby at the start, not after the situation has escalated to the point of no return.

In this case, there are quite a lot of legal options:

· Business A can negotiate the contract issues with Business B on the basis that it’s simply unable to obtain the kitchens. In practice, contracts can’t be expected to require the impossible. Business A has been acting in good faith, and the efforts to get Business C to source the kitchens elsewhere is proof of its attempts to deliver on its contract obligations.

· The public liability issue needs to be assessed on its merits. The truck was in fact owned by Business C, delivering a kitchen. Liability may be on Business C, not Business A.

Not simple, is it? At the corporate level, issues like this can involve contracts worth millions of dollars, and corporate lawyers also have to deal with the related corporate law issues, which can be a range of statutory, as well as commercial problems as well.

That’s why small businesses need legal backup. They’re like insurance, something you pay for that you hope you’ll never have to use, but it’s nice to know you have the support when you need it.