As a small business owner, you put your blood & sweat into building and growing the business from ground up. However, the business world is complex and protection against legal issues across a plethora of stakeholders including clients, suppliers, employees becomes critical to ensure that you can focus on building your business while taking care of any legal hassles that may arise as part of running the business.
Most small business owners tend to either have a legal firm on payroll or have some sort of contract/project based arrangement with a law firm or a lawyer who helps represent the company against any unlawful allegations towards the business or the promoter. In most cases, most legal issues tend to fall within the purview of civil or business law and most legal firms providing legal services have in-house expertise to manage such issues. In anycase, most small business owners also don’t think of any need for more specialised legal services that may require for their business.
However, Workplace crime alone costs U.S. businesses $50 Bn a year which includes all kinds of stakeholders including vendor fraud, employee fraud as well as funds theft. In cases like these, while large businesses have the luxury of having top notch legal firms on retainers and can access legal expertise across corporate, civil as well as criminal law small businesses often are left hanging not having ready access to a criminal lawyer. Hence, it is critical for the small business to find a good criminal lawyer and negotiate a formal contract with one should a need arise.
While criteria for evaluating a good criminal lawyer is fairly similar to any other legal expert, here are some aspects to consider.
- Understanding & Experience In Your Business Area: While you will have access to a lot of criminal lawyers with enough expertise and understanding of criminal law, it is important to probe and understand if the lawyer has understanding of your business area and the potential criminal charges that could be associated. For instance, if you are facing breach of contract charges it might actually help to hire a criminal lawyer with prior experience in handling such cases.
- Check Affordability: Legal services are expensive but necessary. More so in the case of a criminal law because the stakes are much higher and as such criminal lawyers might charge more fees than other lawyers. It is important to discuss upfront and evaluate if a certain criminal lawyer is affordable for your business
- Range of Services: While the immediate need might be very specific, it is always a good idea to plan ahead and evaluate legal firms of their expertise across a wide range of services. This comes in handy because you don’t want to be shopping around for a new lawyer everytime your business or any one employed gets hit with a unforeseen and unexpected criminal charge
In essence, while it may not sound like a good omen to be hiring a criminal lawyer it is imperative that every small business owner be prepared because nothing matters more than the sanctity of life and reputation.