If you own a business, or are considering starting or buying one, you need an experienced and adept small business lawyer at your side. They may assist you with a question about intellectual property, hiring employees, or a vendor agreement.
A big question that is bound to arise is, “How much is the lawyer going to charge me?”
Obviously, no one article is going to be able to answer that question, but we can explain how attorneys work with their clients.
Attorney Fee Arrangements
Attorneys charge for their services in a variety of ways:
- Hourly. Many attorneys charge for their services on an hourly basis. This means that you pay the attorney for the time they spend working on your matter – talking to you on the phone, reading emails, reviewing documents, drafting documents, and more.
- Retainer. There are two common uses of this terms. One is meaning the minimum amount the attorney estimates your case will cost but doesn’t mean the cost can’t exceed the retainer. This is couple with the hourly arrangement and is money paid up-front. The second meaning is a consistent amount of money paid to an attorney to be on-call and to perform services for you on a regular basis.
- Flat Rate. This rate is usually for preparing and filing forms, such as a trademark application or an entity formation. It provides cost certainty.
- “You Don’t Pay Unless We Win.” This is called a contingent fee arrangement. An attorney won’t charge for legal services until your case has been resolved and you’ve received a monetary settlement. The law firm works for free until you receive compensation, but it may require you to pay expenses up-front. The attorney gets a percentage of your monetary award. This is common in personal injury cases.
These are the basic arrangements that attorneys use to determine how to engage with a client. But beyond the price tag or cost is the service’s value or worth.
At LOVE LAW FIRM, we try to work with our clients on a Flat Rate basis as much as possible. We know that clients enjoy cost certainty and containment.
What’s the Difference Between Cost and Value?
Cost is a dollar figure. It is the price we will pay in a commercial transaction. The price is the amount to be paid to get the product or service, like legal advice and counsel. A lot of folks think that the cost and the value of a service are the same thing. However, that’s not the case.
Value is the benefit derived by the customer from the service. In other words, it’s what a client sees that the service is worth to them. An attorney’s value depends on the value he or she offers. A person of value is genuinely interested in you and your business enough to solve your specific problem.
So, rather than simply asking how much a lawyer will cost, consider the value you place on the fact that:
- You company is set up correctly with the appropriate business organization (corporation, LLC, or partnership);
- Your personal assets are protected;
- You are implementing the proper procedures for hiring and terminating employees in New York;
- Your company is complying with state employment discrimination law;
- Your business has a succession plan or exit strategy in the event that a partner wants to retire, sell, or passes away;
- Your company’s brand is protected, along with your customer lists, logos, and processes;
- You have employees and independent contractors classified correctly;
- You know how to respond to a potential data breach; or
- You know what to do if your business receives a demand letter from someone who threatens litigation.
These are just some of the ways you can see that a small business attorney has value in what she does and how her services can add value to your business.
If you try to put a number on the cost of hiring a small business attorney, you will soon see that they’re priceless.
Reach out to us with your legal needs and we’ll let you know the value we bring and the cost we charge. You’ll find that our motto of “Build. Not Billed.” Is true. We are here to help you Build your business, and not just Bill you for it.
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Francine E. Love is the Founder & Managing Attorney at LOVE LAW FIRM PLLC which dedicates its practice to serving entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses. The opinions expressed are those of the author. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.