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Business law, also referred to as commercial law, refers to the different laws that govern business entities in all types of commerce, including sales, trade and merchandising. Business entities can be any type of business from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or a corporation. Any entrepreneur wanting to start a business in Hopedale will end up knee deep in many types of business law decisions, which will require different sets of skills.
Business owners are faced with countless business law situations, which can range from starting a business and choosing its legal structure to business finances and taxes. These decisions could make or break your financial future and the stability of your business. A business law firm will be able to guide you through these decisions.
The hiring and firing of employees also falls under business law as does forming the right business partnerships. Creating legally binding contracts is crucial to your business being successful. A business law firm can help you with these situations as well.
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
A reputable attorney will be very upfront about how he/she will charge you. The three most common fee structures that attorneys use to charge for their services are:
Depending on your specific legal situation, it's possible that only one type of fee structure is available. For instance, criminal defense attorneys almost always bill by the hour. In a flat fee arrangement, an attorney accepts a one-time payment to help you resolve your issue. With a contingent fee agreement, the client pays little to nothing upfront and the attorney receives a percentage of the money recovered if you win your case.
Pro se - This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute - Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction - Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.
Lead Counsel's objective process independently verifies attorney records, conferring with state bars across the country and conducting annual reviews to confirm that the attorney practices in the legal categories as indicated, possesses a valid bar license, and is eligible to practice in the specific jurisdiction.