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Operating a business requires a significant amount of paperwork and vigilant adherence to state and federal laws and guidelines that have been set forth to regulate your particular line of business. At any time you may find yourself facing legal quandaries that you cannot sufficiently resolve on your own. In the event that your business becomes overrun with a mountain of paperwork and legal issues, obtaining the aid of a professional legal service is most often the wisest action to take. Lawyers are available in many specialized fields, from contracts to construction, and acquiring the services and expertise of a skilled law firm or lawyer ensures that you stay ahead of ever-changing business laws and avoid costly legal complications.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, more than 25 percent of lawyers are self-employed, working either as single practitioners or as partners in a law firm. The remainder work as employees for government, nonprofit, or for-profit corporations or for law firms. In smaller communities, each lawyer may need to meet a wide variety of legal services, whereas lawyers are more able to provide specialized legal services in larger communities. Legal services are sometimes provided as collaborative efforts among lawyers who refer clients to each other when more specialized legal services are required. The growth in availability of lawyers is expected to match the growth for all occupations.
Any business or individual requiring legal services will find a large array of individual practitioners and law firms that can meet their legal services needs. Legal services may be needed for only one hour of advice, or the need might be for an ongoing time commitment, with the direction of legal services required for more complex tasks such as lawsuit representation, estate management, patent applications, or criminal defense.
The required flexibility in each legal service discipline is related to the significant legal complexities faced by businesses and individuals and, in many cases, to the complexity of the law itself. For instance, unlike medicine, in which there are often straight lines between diagnoses and solutions, legal services are provided in the context of competing corporate and individual interests, varying interpretations, challenges to existing laws, and even to the burden of individuals and businesses that face legal services options such as whether to proceed with a lawsuit.
In Good Times and Bad
Variations in the need for legal services are related to changes in the economy, competition from other services that can do what lawyers do, and increasing complexity in businesses such as medicine, communications, and manufacturing. Over time, these changes may require shifts in both the volume and type of legal services required. Legal service providers have demonstrated good success in adapting to those variations.
Limits and Expenses as a Legal Services Provider
In May of 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released legal salary information that set the median salary of a business attorney at $69,100 per year, and only nine months after graduation. For a business providing legal services to grow, new legal employees are necessary. For each new employee though, the company needs an equal influx of new legal business to cover the employee’s costs. Thus, growth in the legal services industry is slowed by the need for an equal growth in the demand for these services.
Costs of Continuing Education
The law is constantly changing, and no matter how specialized a legal service business may be, there is a constant need to keep up with the changes made. This requires a commitment to continuing education for the attorneys of the business at all levels.
Although having an education keeps lawyers functioning efficiently in the field by providing clients’ businesses with the best representations possible, there is a cost in continued education in terms of time and money. The cost of training falls to the business, which must keep lawyers occupied away from business operations while they learn of new developments in their field.
Limited Profits through Generalization
Working within the field of general legal services still means limiting your offered services to a small number of activities. No matter how large your firm, the nature of legal services is toward specialization among specific attorneys. The best services that can be offered to a customer are these specialized services, with each attorney offering guidance to clients in a very narrow legal area. The greater the specialization, the more desirable each attorney’s services become. The danger of a generalized services operation is the need to keep a large number of attorneys employed to maximize the coverage of business law. Unfortunately, the more complicated the legal matter, the more specialized attorneys are needed. This leads to an increase in the overall price of services for the job and also limited profit margins for those services.
Any business serves as a training ground for its employees. For a legal services operation, however, retention can become a large problem due to the increased opportunities for employment change. Sending attorneys outside the business to mix with other firms or companies that may be looking to hire their own in-house representatives offers greater temptation to your own employees for change. The more successful your business, the more coveted the attorneys working there become. The loss of an employee does not only mean the loss of the income generated. With the personal nature of legal services, the loss of an employee can also mean the loss of the confidence of a client who depends on that particular attorney’s advice.
Retention plans for legal service personnel can grow expensive over time, and eventually the business hits a point where retaining an employee outstrips the employee’s worth to the business as a whole. When considering whether it is worth the loss of an employee’s services, the business must also look into the relationship it separately has with the clients served by that employee and make efforts to ensure that the company retains them through the employee transition period.
Using a Lawyer
Legal services can help keep your business out of trouble and serve as a go-to guide when difficult situations, patents, or other items need to be completed with legal assistance. Lawyers can come at an expense, however.
The Cost of Legality
In May 2008, the median wage of a lawyer per year averaged at $110,590. Legal services have a variety of fees, including contingency fees, consultation fees, hourly rates, and more. Hourly rates alone can range dramatically, depending on the experience of the lawyer you choose. Hourly rates are usually charged by the 1/10 or 1/25 of any hour. Average fees are between $100 and $1,000 per hour. Contingency fees can range from 25 to 50 percent of the amount you recover from another party.
A lawyer is better equipped to navigate the complicated terrain of business laws. Lawyers specialize in many different fields, such as business, and within a particular field, they may advertize skills in a particular subspecialization, such as contracts or arbitration. No matter what legal problems your business may be facing, you can no doubt secure an experienced lawyer to help you resolve legal issues in an efficient manner. A lawyer’s expertise tends to come at a significant cost, however, and for smaller businesses or companies with strict budgets, acquiring the services of a professional legal service may not always be a likely possibility.
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Have you found yourself in need of legal services and just unsure where to turn? Understanding the complexities of the law can often be a nightmare and this is the reason why many people become some frustrated when it comes to legal matters. If you are running a business, there is no doubt about it, the benefits of having an experienced lawyer on your side can make all the difference in the world. From things such as filing notions to complex lawsuits, having the appropriate legal services can make dealing with legal motions a simple process
Many business owners will take to proactive route and have an attorney on retainer in the event that they need one. This can be a very wise choice. Since the law is so complex and contains many different avenues of the law, be sure to spend the time to do your homework when it comes to choosing an attorney to help with your legal needs. One place that can offer you some insight to the legal world is that of Business.com. Why not click on the links to the left and begin your search right now?