No matter the size of your business, if you are a business owner, you will probably find the need for a corporate lawyer at some stage. Having a corporate lawyer that you trust is very important should your business get into any legal issues, and you don’t want to be scrambling to find a trustworthy corporate lawyer when in a difficult situation. Therefore, you should have the number of a corporate law firm on your phone that you would be happy to use at a moment’s notice.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of a good corporate law firm and how to find one that suits your business.
What is a corporate lawyer?
A corporate lawyer is someone who specialises in business law. When a business hires a corporate lawyer, they represent the entire company, not individual employees or shareholders. Corporate lawyers are legal professionals who offer a wide variety of legal services to business owners.
You may think of a corporate lawyer as someone whose main purpose is to represent you in court should you be dealing with a large legal matter, but most of the work that corporate lawyers do is transactional and administrative in nature.
How a corporate law firm can help your business
A looming court date is not the only reason to hire a corporate lawyer. There are many other ways in which a corporate lawyer can help your business, including:
Reviewing legal documents
As a business owner, you have many legal documents that you’re responsible for, and it’s important that these legal documents are in order and in line with industry regulations and relevant laws. The type of legal documents that corporate lawyers can help you review include supplier contracts, employee contracts, investor contracts, property agreements, franchise agreements, and many others. Corporate lawyers make business dealings easier as you aren’t held back by unnecessary contractual disputes.
Advice on legal matters
Having a corporate lawyer that you trust and can ask advice from is highly advantageous for you as a business owner. Obtaining legal advice before making any big business decisions helps ensure that you’re always above board. In addition, corporate lawyers have a good knack for anticipating issues in the future and are skilled at weighing up risks.
Securities law compliance is rather complicated, and it’s a good idea to have a corporate lawyer by your side to guide you through the various regulations regarding preventing fraud, confidentiality agreements, privacy policies, and so much more.
If you’re a business owner for long enough, unfortunately, there may come a day when you need to deal with some sort of dispute. Disputes can be tiring and stressful and need to be dealt with professionally. A corporate law firm can offer you expert legal advice no matter what type of dispute you are dealing with, and if the matter were to go to court, a corporate lawyer would need to represent you in court.
Protecting intellectual property
There are many laws surrounding intellectual property and copyrights that new business owners may not be aware of. A corporate lawyer can help guide you in taking the steps to protect all of your product designs and intellectual property in such a way that your competitors are not able to steal them.
Digital marketing and social media advertising laws are changing all the time. A corporate lawyer should keep up to date with all of these changes and be able to work with your marketing team to ensure that all of your advertising efforts are above board.
If there is a competitor company or individual who is defaming your company, this could have a highly negative effect on your reputation, and you may need a corporate lawyer to assist you in dealing with this defamation in a way that is completely legal and that will improve your reputation once more.
What are some of the most common legal issues in the workplace?
When you are starting up a business, you are probably not very focused on the vast amount of legal issues that you could encounter. But it is important to be aware of these so that you can avoid them as much as possible and be prepared for them should they arise. Some of the most common legal issues, all of which a corporate lawyer could assist you with, include:
- Defective products
Have you heard of an implied warranty? There is an expected timeframe for which consumers expect your product to work based on the cost and the way that you have marketed your product. Defective products could cause you a wide range of legal issues.
- Workplace health and safety
Workplace health and safety should be a huge priority for every business owner as they have a responsibility towards their employees. Workplaces should be free of hazardous chemicals, and there should be good heating, ventilation, and enough space if you want to prevent legal issues.
- Wrongful termination
Once you hire someone, it can be quite difficult to fire them. So ensure you choose your employees carefully. Wrongful termination can land you in a lot of trouble.
- Breaking confidentiality clauses
Your confidentiality agreement between your company and employees should be as clear as day. You can’t use employee information and photos without first gaining employee approval. Unfortunately, confidentiality breaches happen frequently.
In this day and age, you really cannot afford to be discriminatory in the workplace. Not only is it unethical, but it is also illegal and could leave you with some heavy legal consequences.
- Patent infringements
Patent infringements happen with start-ups all the time, and this is why it is so important to be aware of relevant patent laws.
- Working hours
If your employees are working overtime, you better be paying them overtime. What’s fair is fair and will save you from getting into any sort of legal issues with your employees.
As you can see from the above list, there is a wide range of different legal issues that may affect your business, and these can crop up when you least expect them. That’s why it’s important to have a trusted corporate lawyer on call so that you can get the legal assistance that you need.
Some of the top corporate law firms in London
London has many corporate law firms, but here are some of the top ones for you to consider:
- Jamieson Law
- Cerulean Law
- Herrington Carmichael LLP
- Wellers Law Group
- Kingsley Napley
- Hudson McKenzie
- EM Law
What to look for when choosing a corporate lawyer in London
With so many great, and maybe not so great, corporate lawyers in London, how do you choose which one would best suit your needs? Here are some things to look out for when choosing a corporate lawyer!
Most corporate law firms should share reviews on their site, and you should be able to find Google reviews and social media reviews for more objective opinions. Based on these reviews, you should be able to get an accurate idea of what it may be like to work with the particular law firm that you’re interested in. Also, have a look to see how the law firm responds to negative reviews.
Many corporate lawyers like to meet in person to discuss legal matters. If you are expected to meet your corporate lawyer at their offices, have you considered how far they are away? Having a corporate lawyer who has offices in close proximity to yours is always highly convenient and may save you travel costs when going to meet with them. That being said, post-pandemic, there are many lawyers who are happy to discuss most matters over the phone and via email.
You want to work with a corporate law firm that has experience in a variety of different corporate cases. You never know what type of legal issues may crop up in your business, and you want a lawyer with vast amounts of experience behind them to offer you accurate advice and help you deal with your legal proceedings. It is also always advantageous to deal with a corporate lawyer who has experience within the same industry as your business.
Corporate lawyers in London can be very expensive. Unfortunately, any sort of legal expense that you encounter, corporate or not, is likely to be quite pricey. That being said, you should find a corporate lawyer whose rates are in line with your budget and what you can afford to pay.
Friendly and informative
Your corporate lawyer is someone that you may have to deal with on a regular basis, so it is important that your interaction be an enjoyable one. Your corporate lawyer should also help inform you on legal issues and compliance and always offer support and good advice. They should be someone that you can learn from and build up your corporate law knowledge.
Corporate lawyer red flags to look out for
As much as you should look for the positives that potential lawyers have to offer, you should also keep a lookout for red flags and know what should be avoided. Some red flags include:
Google is a very simple yet effective way to verify that the lawyer that you are interested in is licensed or not. Someone who is unlicensed yet is offering legal services is definitely not completely above board and should be avoided if you don’t want to get into further legal issues yourself.
A corporate law firm should be very responsive when responding to your queries. Certain legal issues can be very urgent, and you don’t want to be left in the dark if you’re in a difficult situation. You should get a good idea of a law firm’s responsiveness by the very first enquiry email that you send.
Suppose you can’t find any online reviews about a lawyer that you’re interested in. In that case, you should be able to ask for references so that you can speak to previous clients to get an idea of what their experience with the lawyer was like. If a lawyer doesn’t have any references to offer, they most likely do not have much experience, or they have not provided a quality experience to their previous clients.
Not enough attention to detail
When it comes to legal issues, precision is key. It may be difficult to know how much attention to detail a lawyer pays if you have not worked with them before but be on the lookout for any spelling and grammatical errors.
Your corporate lawyer is someone that you may have to deal with regularly, and if you do not get a good vibe from them, it is perhaps best that you go to someone else. It is painful and exhausting to deal with someone who has a bad attitude, especially if they are the ones who are providing you with the service.
Unprofessional website or offices
Legal services are highly professional services and should be presented as such. Lawyers make enough money to maintain clean and appealing offices and have a professional website that is easy to use and navigate. If you come across a lawyer with an outdated website or that does not maintain their offices, you should think twice. You should feel instantly welcomed and respected when entering a lawyer’s office.
As a business owner, you have many dozens of corporate law firms in London to choose from, and it should be relatively straightforward to find a trustworthy lawyer who gels with your business. Remember that even if you choose the wrong corporate lawyer, to begin with, you can always change your mind and find someone better suited!
Making contact with a corporate law firm should be one of the first things you do as a business owner as you want to ensure that you are compliant from the get-go. Legal issues can grow and grow, so make sure that you nip them in the bud. Have peace of mind by enjoying the services of a professional corporate lawyer!