Business owners have many issues to attend to. Sometimes those issues include legal issues. No matter what type of business one owns, when facing litigation there is often much at stake. A wrong step could lead to loss of one’s business, lasting damage to goodwill that took years to develop, or to significant financial damages. It’s imperative to have a Biloxi business litigation attorney on one’s side that understands the issues as well as the laws that apply in each case.
What Is a Business Lawyer?
General business attorneys help manage a wide variety of issues, from the legal portions of business formation, contract writing, mergers and acquisitions, contract disputes, and more. Lawyers can also focus on different areas of business, including:
- Employment: issues regarding laws governing the employer-employee relationship
- Real estate: leasing, buying, and selling real property
- Taxes: planning for taxes and dealing with tax agencies
- Litigation: when a dispute can’t be settled and must be litigated through the Court system
A business owner’s first step is to determine what kind of business lawyer is needed for the issue at hand. For instance, a business looking to negotiate the terms of a lease for leasing office space may need a different type of lawyer than a business trying to recover monies owed or seek specific performance from a vendor, customer, or even insurer who breached a contract. Unfortunately, we see a lot of businesses facing disputes with the insurance companies on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. When faced with an issue that may end up in a court battle, it is essential that a business owner find an experienced Biloxi business litigation lawyer who will fight for his or her business, and who has the experience necessary to get the desired results. Follow these tips to learn how to select the best lawyer for the occasion.
Be Specific When Searching
Find a lawyer with extensive skill in the specific area of business litigation faced. This can’t be emphasized enough. There are limitless areas of legal experience. It is best to find an attorney who has experience dealing with the specific legal issues a business faces. As an example, one wouldn’t go to a plastic surgeon for heart surgery. Even the best plastic surgeon isn’t practiced in performing heart surgery. Similarly, one likely wouldn’t want to hire a divorce attorney for a business lawsuit. Divorce lawyers are excellent at what they do, but may not be skilled in business litigation. Some examples of specific searches a business owner may want to make include:
- Business or Commercial Litigation Lawyer
- Contract Dispute Lawyer
- Insurance Dispute Lawyer, or Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer
- Contract Formation Lawyer or Contract Negotiation Lawyer
- Business Formation Lawyer
- Business Tax Lawyer
- Business General Counsel
- Employment Dispute Lawyer or Fair Labor Lawyer
- Business Disability Lawyer
Of course, narrowing one’s search to the right kind of attorney is not the end of the story. Once the proper type of attorney is identified, a business owner needs to zero in on the right attorney to represent his or her business.
Communication is Key
Communications between a business owner and his or her Mississippi business litigation lawyer are critical to success. Be sure to meet with any potential attorney before hiring them. Ask such questions as:
- Do I feel comfortable and put at ease?
- Did the lawyer share relevant experience in the business practice area of interest?
- Did the lawyer answer all of my questions?
- Was I told what to expect?
- Were my rights and obligations explained?
- Were the lawyer’s fee structures clearly explained?
- Did the lawyer talk about his or her procedure for keeping me informed?
A business owner will also want to research any potential Mississippi commercial litigation attorney’s reputation. This may include researching what other lawyers or clients have to say about the attorney. There are also reliable sources on the internet that can help. Checking Google reviews and getting word of mouth referrals is always a good idea. One can also check to see whether the attorney has ever been disciplined for ethics violations by the State Bar of Mississippi. It is important to find a Mississippi business litigation lawyer who is:
- Respected by the Court and opposing counsel
- Honest and fair
- Willing to put one’s company’s best interest above his or her own
Christopher Van Cleave at Van Cleave Law in Biloxi is this kind of Mississippi business litigation lawyer.
Talk to a Few Attorneys
Most Mississippi business litigation lawyers offer a free in-person, phone, or virtual consultation. Once the list of potential lawyers is narrowed down to two or three, it is a good idea to take advantage of a free consultation with each. The business owner or representative charged with a hiring a business litigation lawyer needs to be confident that the chosen attorney will work towards serving the business’s best interests at all times. The right lawyer must be someone the business feels comfortable entrusting with sensitive and proprietary business information.
When meeting with or speaking to a prospective business litigation attorney, be sure to bring along two kinds of information. First, bring any relevant information about one’s business and any pending or likely legal case. The business lawyer will need this information in order to understand the situation, advise the business of its rights and obligations, and make recommendations. Write down notes before the meeting, highlighting what is known about the current situation, and what important facts are unknown. It is always helpful to bring pertinent documents related to the business dispute to the initial meeting with a prospective lawyer.
Next, have a list of questions ready for the business litigation lawyer. Some will be specifically related to one’s particular legal business concerns. Other questions should include:
- How long have you practiced business litigation law?
- What is your experience in litigation as it relates to my specific business matter?
- How will I receive updates about my case? Find out who in the lawyer’s office will be the primary point of contact, and if not the lawyer how easy it is to speak directly with the lawyer if desired. Knowing the answer to this question on the front end will significantly lessen anxiety as the matter proceeds through litigation
- Who will answer my questions? When I call or email with a question or concern about my case, will it be directed towards the attorney, or will a receptionist or paralegal return the call? Attorneys are typically busy, but sometimes it’s reassuring to get the answer directly from them.
- What are the fees, and what do they cover? The client is always entitled to a full understanding of the fee structure before making a hiring commitment. It’s essential to note what the discussed fee includes, or whether and to what extent there will be additional charges for things such as:
- Court and deposition fees
- Copies of documents’
- Travel expenses
- Other incidentals
When talking with a business lawyer, be alert for any “red flags.” It’s reasonable to anticipate clear communication and expertise in business litigation. Think twice about attorneys who dodge answering questions about fees, make vast promises, or seem hurried through the meeting.
You Can Trust the Business Litigation Team at Van Cleave Law
Business litigation matters often involve high stakes and high risk. If a business does not have quality legal representation from a reputable Biloxi, Mississippi business litigation attorney, there is often a lot to lose. Christopher Van Cleave and his firm, Van Cleave Law, are experienced and well versed in many areas of business litigation, including such areas as contract disputes, insurance disputes, fraud and fraudulent inducement, employment matters, and shareholder disputes (including corporate freezeouts). At Van Cleave Law, we will treat our client’s business like our own, and if we can’t help with the problem at hand we will try to help find the right lawyer for the occasion. Give us a call today at (228) 432-7826 to schedule a free business law consultation.