Updated: Mar 5
Legal counsel are lawyers that are employed directly by a business. Legal counsel are often employed by large or complex businesses. However, legal counsel can also provide an enormous benefit for small businesses. This is particularly the case for small businesses requiring ad hoc, part-time or short-term legal assistance.
In this article, you’ll discover how engaging a legal contractor can help your small business. And the best part – it doesn’t involve breaking the piggy bank open!
Author: Farrah Motley, Legal Principal of Prosper Law.
Small businesses can afford legal counsel
Small businesses can afford to engage a legal counsel through a legal counsel retainer. This means paying a fixed fee to receive ongoing legal advice.
How much you can expect to pay will depend on the anticipated workload and complexity of the legal matters.
However, because the legal workload of a small business is usually less than larger businesses, this retainer fee is likely to be comparatively low and affordable for small businesses.
Further, engaging a lawyer on a retainer basis ensures that your legal fees are spread out over time, which can assist with cash flow.
Legal counsel can provide commercially sensitive legal advice
Lawyers that have spent their legal career working in a law firm, rather than within a business as an employed lawyer, can tend to be risk-averse and black-letter.
This means that their legal advice errs on the side of caution more than may be required.
This black-letter-law advice may not be commercial and may call for business decisions to be made that are not necessarily in the business's best interests or may overlook alternatives that are better for the business.
For example, a business may face a highly profitable opportunity that carries a level of legal risk. Rather than advising the business not to proceed with that opportunity, a legal counsel will advise of the legal risks, strategies to lessen or avoid that risk. The legal counsel will then facilitate the business to make an informed decision.
Small businesses do not need to employ legal counsel
As a small business owner, you don’t need to employ legal counsel to use their services. Instead, you can engage a business lawyer to provide legal services on a contractor basis.
This means the lawyer pays for their own insurance and provides you with a tax invoice for their services.
By engaging a lawyer on a fixed fee retainer basis, you will only pay a fee based on the estimated needs of your business. This may mean paying a part-time equivalent rate (rather than full-time rates).
The best thing about engaging a legal counsel as a contractor is that you can control legal expenditure and monitor the ongoing legal requirements of the business without worrying about employment issues.
Legal counsel have experience in working with businesses of all sizes
Having access to a lawyer that has worked with businesses of all sizes is a significant benefit for small businesses.
Just because you are a ‘small’ business now, you may not be a small business for long. If your business is pursuing a growth strategy, it is important to understand how the legal aspects of your business may need to be dealt with in a different way depending on how big your business gets.
For example, a small business will need to approach contract negotiations differently from a large corporate enterprise.
Engaging an in-house legal counsel that has worked with small, medium, and large businesses means that you will continue to receive commercial and appropriate legal advice. Moreover, commercial lawyers can explain things using plain English.
How can Prosper Law help?
Prosper Law’s legal services are provided by Farrah Motley, a senior Australian legal counsel. Farrah has experience working with small, medium, and large businesses to deliver first-class, commercially sensitive legal advice.
Contact the team at Prosper Law today to discuss our legal counsel retainer services and find out how we can help you – for a fixed fee.
Farrah Motley | Legal Principal
PROSPER LAW - A Commercial Law Firm for Businesses
M: 0422 721 121
A: Suite No. 99, Level 54, 111 Eagle Street, Brisbane, Queensland Australia 4000