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Nobody really wants to spend money on lawyers, but sometimes you just have to do it.
That's how it is, whether you are a sole proprietor, or a corporate officer. It's a modern-day cost of doing business. But instead of thinking of legal spend like a liability, try to look at it as an investment. That way, you might actually see a return on your investment.
1. How Much Should Small Biz Budget for Legal?
Some lawyers will tell you it's impossible to know exactly how much litigation will cost. In other words, budget as much as you can afford for legal fees or for settlement. But good business owners are learning to change that conversation. Instead of paying open-ended legal agreements, they talk about unbundled legal services and going in house. It changes the dynamics for businesses when they talk to law firms about legal spend.
2. Do Small Biz Need In-House Lawyers?
Yes, small business needs in-house lawyers just like big business. It makes all kinds of sense, especially when you can put in-house counsel on the payroll at a fraction of outside counsel's hourly rate. The real question is, what kind of in-house counsel does your business need? Full-time? Part-time? Contract-basis? It's about budgeting and need. You need a lawyer who understands the particulars of your business.
3. How Many Lawyers Does a Small Business Need?
If you're lucky, you can get by with one general counsel. The GC will then guide you about whether you need more lawyers, like when sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, or other litigation demands outside counsel. That's when you really don't want to spend money on attorneys.
The good news is, a good in-house lawyer can keep you out of court. By ensuring compliance with applicable laws, general counsel can save a company more money than it might otherwise use for legal spend.
Call it a good return on investment, or at least a good way to save money. If you want to talk to an attorney now about your business's needs, FindLaw's Attorney Directory can help.