It doesn’t matter whether you are a startup wondering if you should register as an LLC in Delaware or have been in business for years. Most companies delay hiring a business lawyer because they fear high legal fees. The ongoing changes to laws regarding business civil lawsuits in Florida are why hiring a business attorney is financially wise.
The Florida Supreme Court is changing how business litigation is handled. The first change, regarding summary judgment, became effective in May 2021. A change regarding the apex doctrine for depositions took effect in August of 2021.
On April 1, 2022, a change to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure makes orders granting or denying punitive damages immediately appealable Fla. Stat. § 768.72(1). The supreme court is now considering changes to the proposal for settlement rules. Proposals for settlements activate attorney fees liability.
With more changes on the horizon, every business needs to make sure they have a business lawyer who is available to handle legal issues as they arise. Keep reading if you wonder what legal business fees your company is liable for.
When to Hire a Business Lawyer
The best time to hire a business lawyer is before starting your enterprise. The attorney will make sure everything meets legal requirements before you begin. This prevents you from paying costly fees to remedy a mistake.
Your attorney will help you establish ownership and equity rights, set up your business entity, advise you on the best method of filing taxes, and more.
Some businesses have their bubble burst early in their development by the Florida Department of State dissolving them due to improper filings. Don’t get caught paying additional fees to resolve problems.
Attorney Fees in Florida
Every lawyer establishes their fees using a variety of factors. This includes the type of fee arrangement, how much legal experience they have, the kind of law they practice, and the type of billing.
In Florida, lawyer fees average between $199 to $420 per hour. The attorney you hire may charge outside this range depending on their experience and your company’s needs.
When you hire a business attorney, you sign a written wage agreement. This agreement specifies whether the attorney works on a flat or hourly fee and how they calculate charges. In addition to attorney fees, you are responsible for additional costs, such as filing fees, a task requires.
Established Business Legal Fees
If you are operating a business, a business attorney can ensure any mergers or acquisitions go smoothly and help with any compliance issues.
Business attorneys handle a wide range of tasks. Their fees vary depending on the legal assistance they provide:
- Business disputes
- Business termination or transfer issues
- Buying and selling a business
- Changes in organizational structure
- Compliance issues with business laws and regulations
- Conflicts regarding the purchase and sale of stocks and other securities
- Drafting and renewing business contracts
- Filing incorporation documents
- Negotiate, prepare, and review business contracts
- Transportation of goods and other interstate and international legal matters
- Violations or improper use of trademark materials, protected business information, and copyrights
Your business lawyer will serve as a sounding board to ensure everything is done according to the law.
Business Startup Legal Fees
Florida has more than 100 startup businesses for every 1,000 firms, the second largest density of startups in the United States. With so much competition, you want to make sure you cross your t’s and dot your i’s when navigating through all the startup red tape.
Legal fees for a startup will depend on what services you need and how complicated your business model is. The majority of businesses are sole proprietorships, partnerships, or LLCs. Your attorney will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each business entity and the preparations necessary.
Example 1: Opening a Small Coffee Shop
If you are opening a small coffee shop, your legal fees may include assistance in forming the entity.
There are three main business entities: a for-profit corporation, a non-profit corporation, or a limited liability company (LLC). The entity type is important because it determines owner liability and how you pay income tax.
The attorney will advise if a corporation or partnership, limited liability partnership, a Florida limited partnership, or a foreign limited partnership is better.
Your attorney may prepare and file your articles of organization for an LLC and draft an operating agreement. They will advise you on registering a trademark, obtaining any necessary licenses, helping you negotiate a commercial lease, and advise on the best method for filing taxes.
Example 2: Developing an Investment Product
Your business lawyer will structure and develop a business entity, draft all documents and bylaws, and develop an agreement. This includes the preparation of all operating agreements and filings, plus all paperwork necessary for numerous investors.
With this type of business, your costs will be much higher. The attorney will break down the costs if you are on a flat fee agreement. If you are on an hourly rate, they will bill according to the time it takes them to complete each task.
Your business lawyer may act as a registered agent for your company. A registered agent is a primary contact for all company legal matters. This is a service they may charge an additional fee for.
The registered agent accepts service of any legal notices regarding the business. This ensures they are aware of any legal issues immediately and can begin taking responsive action.
By acting as your registered agent, your business attorney can take any legal action against others if a need arises.
Depending on the type of business, you may need your business attorney to prepare non-compete agreements for your business. If these contracts do not fulfill the legal requirements, they will not protect your company.
When your business has employees, you have additional legal obligations. This includes unemployment insurance, social security, Medicaid, payroll, health insurance, etc. Your attorney will advise you on meeting all legal obligations in these areas.
As straightforward as you think your contracts are, almost anything can turn into litigation. Imagine a breach of contract for dying, a business adventure killing a friendship, or advertising that creates the wrong type of publicity for the client. These are actual events, and the reason properly preparing business contracts is critical to your business.
Do I Need a Business Attorney?
The size of your business does not determine your need for legal counsel. Many companies make the mistake of waiting until they are the defendant in a lawsuit before they seek legal advice. This is more costly and can jeopardize your reputation.
Having business legal help makes sure you meet the legal obligations of your business. They will assist you in mitigating your company’s risk, providing services in all areas of business law.
The Bottom Line
The best way to find out the bottom line on business attorney legal fees is to schedule a consultation with Boyer Law Firm. They will review your business structure and your legal needs, explain the services they provide, and quote you a fee that fits your needs.
We require written fee agreements for a clear understanding of services and fees. We will make sure you understand the agreement before you sign. Use our online form or email us at [email protected] to learn what we can do for you and your business.