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Average hourly wages for a corporate attorney can range from $100 an hour in a small town to over $1,000 an hour for a senior partner in a big city law firm. Given these rates, it’s no wonder that many small business owners want to know if they can get free legal advice for their business.
Although free and low-cost legal services are not easy to come by, they are available if you know where to look. Here’s a summary of where to find free legal services, as well as advice on when to seek the help of a business lawyer.
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Most small business owners do not seek legal help until after they have been sued or faced with legal problems. The reality is that finding free legal advice can take time, so it’s best to go this route only when you have the time.
If there is a legal emergency, you have a deadline to meet, or if there is a lot of risk or money involved, it is wise to hire an attorney as soon as possible and negotiate the best rate.
Most state bar associations responsible for licensing and regulating attorneys in the state have pro bono or pro bono hour requirements that attorneys must complete each year. Lawyers can meet these requirements in a number of ways, one of which is to participate in free legal clinics and seminars.
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Free legal aid clinics can fill up quickly, so be sure to make an appointment in advance.
For more information about legal aid options near you, visit the American Bar Association’s online directory and search for your state or city. You can also call law schools in your area to find out about clinics.
Many attorneys offer free initial consultations to meet state bar requirements for pro bono hours. This consultation is an opportunity to ask the first questions and find out if the lawyer is right for you and your business.
Ways To Get Free Legal Advice For Your Business
Sometimes an initial consultation can provide enough information to resolve a legal issue. However, in most cases the consultation will only give you a starting point and you will need to make further appointments with a lawyer (which will be charged at a lawyer’s standard hourly rate).
You may be surprised to learn that many lawyers these days are open to creative settlement arrangements to attract more small business clients. Instead of an hourly rate, business lawyers can use a contingency fee structure or alternative arrangements.
A contingency fee structure means that you only have to pay the lawyer if you win the case. Your attorney’s fee is then deducted from the money awarded to you. While this payment model is not “free” legal advice, it does provide you with a risk-free way to obtain legal representation.
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Contingency fees are primarily used in personal injury lawsuits, but they can be used in any situation, including business litigation. If your business has been sued and you need to defend yourself in court, consider finding a firm that will work for you on a contingency fee basis. The fee structure not only works in your favor, but also encourages the attorney to work harder on your case to get you paid.
To find a contingency firm near you, you can call your local bar association and ask for a referral, or you can simply search for “[your city] + business + contingency.”
Although still not common in large law firms, smaller firms may be open to “flat fee” or “task” pricing, where they will charge a certain amount for routine projects. For example, instead of charging an hourly fee for a contract review, they can quote a price at the very beginning of the task.
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There are several online legal services that offer legal help for free or for a small flat fee. They can be a great resource for finding legal forms, getting advice on how to structure your business, and finding local lawyers.
A final option for free and low-cost legal help is online courses for entrepreneurs and business owners. Some online education providers offer business law courses to help entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of starting and running a business.
These courses are a good way to get an overview of the business legal environment. However, if you have a specific question about your business, some free legal advice up front may be better for you.
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In the last few years, a number of legal websites have appeared on the Internet that once required the assistance of a lawyer, often with just a few clicks.
Below are some things that usually don’t require you to hire an attorney. Of course, if your situation is unusual or you have specific questions about your business situation, we recommend that you hire an attorney.
There are several areas of your business where you can save dollars. For example, it’s easy to cut your budget with a marketing approach that doesn’t work or take on additional responsibilities in exchange for spending fewer hiring dollars. However, law is one area where it is important to hire someone who is qualified to give you an informed professional opinion. If you need an attorney to represent you and try to do it all yourself, you could face fines and even lawsuits.
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This does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money on legal fees. Just make sure your attorney has experience in your industry and the type of problem you’re trying to solve, and make sure your fee agreement is clear and in writing. This will ensure a happy journey for you, your business and your attorney.
Your budget shouldn’t stop you from getting the legal advice you need for your business. There are several great options for finding free legal help, from local legal clinics to online legal courses. With so many options, you’ll get all the legal help you need to take your business to the next level.
Priyanka specializes in small business financing, lending, legal and insurance, helping business owners navigate complex concepts and decisions. After receiving her law degree from the University of Washington, Priyanka spent half a decade writing about small business financial and legal issues. Prior to joining, Priyanka was the editor-in-chief of a small business resource site and a staff advisor at tech startup Y Combinator. The world in which people live is full of actions and decisions that are considered right and wrong. Our laws define certain things as right and wrong, but society and morals judge different actions that way. These differing laws and opinions quickly lead to confusion and contentious scenarios. The laws of our society are designed to protect the people as a whole. They serve as guidelines, but can cause confusion and worry for many citizens. That is why there are lawyers who serve ordinary people. Everyone deserves justice, and lawyers make sure that happens to their clients as well.
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Our design resources today are dedicated to this prestigious calling. This vector illustration created in Adobe Illustrator shows a lawyer, smartly dressed and looking smart as always, poring over a seemingly endless document. The thick books and scales of justice rightly form the basis that a lawyer faces in everyday life as he keeps abreast of the laws of the land while maintaining his morals and impartiality. You can use the illustration to decorate your website, app, blog or promotional prints related to your law firm, legal blog or any other activity that supports justice and land rights!
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