What is a Business Lawyer?

Business lawyers are attorneys who focus their legal practice on the issues that affect a business. They offer advice on areas such as taxation, transactions, and intellectual property. 

There are two types of business lawyers - business litigators and transactional lawyers; explains Dr Ann Morrison, a mum of 3 children and a lawyer at steinpag.com.au law firm. The business litigators handle lawsuits while the transactional lawyers handle contract and corporate matters.

Why hire a Business Lawyer?

In today's fast-paced world, businesses and the laws governing them are changing as quickly. Managing the tasks such as planning and meeting all legal requirements to run a business need a professional. The business law focuses on the acquisitions, mergers, the formation of a company and rights of the shareholders. It also covers employment laws, taxes, and contracts. 

Responsibilities and duties of a business lawyer 

·         The first responsibility of the business lawyer is to get all the legal requirements out of the way while setting up a business.

·         They draft the agreements and contracts for vendors and employees. They analyse and verify each business agreement for mutually acceptable terms and conditions. They make amendment if changes are requested.

·         They review and bring into practice the new regulations introduced by the government authorities. This ensures that your business is compliant with the federal laws.

·         If an employee or customer have pressed charges or your business has caused damage to them the business lawyer represents you in the court of law.

·         They can also represent your business house at a public event or public speaking.

·         They offer vital assistance in every aspect of your business such as basic zoning compliance and copyright to advice on formal business incorporation, liabilities, and lawsuits. 

Skill sets 

Like doctors; lawyers specialize in various branches of law. Your business lawyer needs to possess the following set of skills. 

·       Contracts - your lawyer needs to understand your business quickly and deeply to prepare a standard form of contracts that you will need to deal with customers, suppliers, and clients. The lawyer also needs to help you respond to the contracts others want you to sign, too.  

·       Business organization - your lawyer should help you decide if your business should be run as a limited liability company or a corporation. This decision will help you organize our business and ensuing paperwork in accordance with the laws governing each of these models.  

·       Real estate - your lawyer should help you draw up leases for commercial space. The leases for retail stores and office space can be complex and are usually drafted to benefit the landlord. Just because they are printed as forms, they shouldn't fool you into thinking that they are non - negotiable. Your lawyer knows better; they can add a standard "tenant addendum" to ensure provisions are made to benefit you. 

·       Licenses and Taxes - your lawyer should register your business for state and federal tax identification numbers. They understand the consequences of every transaction your business engages in. 

·       Intellectual property - if you are a creative company that is in media or design; then your lawyer should help you register your services and products for trademark and copyright protection with federal agencies. Though these tasks are performed by intellectual property specialists if your lawyer says, "they specialize in small businesses"; then they may be working with such a specialist. 

In Conclusion

Interview your business lawyer with questions like; tell us about your experience? Tell us about your business connections? Place a situation before them to study their diagnostic abilities. It could be a problem or a situation you usually face in your business.

As different businesses have specialized needs and no person can know everything about every area of law - ask if they have clients in your industry? Last but not the least, trust your gut instinct about the person you are about to hire as your lawyer. 

Comments have been turned off for this post.