Today, it is practically a given for any company to have a legal team to call on to oversee a vast amount of proceedings, from contracts and documentation to civil and court cases. While large companies will often have their own in-house set of lawyers, individuals and smaller enterprises may have to hire a law firm to represent them and handle their legal affairs.
In the United Kingdom, lawyers are actually subdivided into two “types” that are differentiated according to their functions. While the term “lawyer” generally applies to anyone who possesses a law degree and practices law, a lawyer may be a Barrister or Solicitor. Barristers are those who are tasked to appear in court and advocate on behalf of a client. Solicitors, on the other hand, are in charge of all the work before a case goes to court. This includes providing legal advice and services, as well as attending to the day-to-day legal needs of a client.
Especially in large cities like London, solicitors normally work as a part of firms. Hence, any company that is looking to outsource its legal services typically contacts and engages with a firm, rather than individual Solicitors. Thus, the company must ensure that the firm it chooses is able to provide top-notch services that are suited to the company’s needs.
Here are some questions to consider when choosing a law firm to represent your company:
1. What is their record of service like?
You would want a firm that has a proven record of success, whether it be in terms of cases won or in terms of the satisfaction of its clients. One way to be sure about this is by asking for any references to previous clients. If they have a good reputation in the industry, the odds are that it is deserved, and you are thus in good hands. Hence, the importance of doing a background check on a prospective law firm cannot be understated.
2. How much do they know about your industry?
Each industry comes with its own set of challenges. You want to be sure that the firm you choose has adequate knowledge of the industry to be able to provide the correct advice and determine the best way forward for your company. Having a lawyer that is also familiar with the industry you work in can also bring added benefits, as they might even make you aware of certain aspects you did not know about, as well as guide you properly through your legal challenges.
3. How much do they know about your company and its goals?
You cannot expect a firm to represent your company well and defend it in the court of law if it does not even know what your company does. Furthermore, it is ideal for your legal team to be aligned with your company’s goals and principles so that they may be able to effectively provide the exact legal services that you need.
4. What associated costs do they charge?
Lastly, it is always helpful to familiarize yourself with their rates before you sign them on. Find out if they have any additional charges, such as filing fees or copy fees, on top of their basic fees. That way, you will not be surprised when the bill comes around, and you have no idea where the numbers came from.
Choosing a good lawyer or law firm to represent your company is an important step. Hence, it is paramount that you consider your options carefully in order to choose the best one for you.