Found yourself needing legal assistance but you have no idea how to find the right legal professional? Not anyone will do, this is your business after all, and all the legalese is making your head hurt! We get it; we ask Babs Jamieson of Jamieson Law to share her insight into how to instruct a legal professional in a hassle-free way and get her input on common questions you may have prior to instructing for your business
Solicitor, Lawyer, Attorney, Legal Consultant… What is the difference?
These terms are very often mixed up in the world of legal, so clarifying the difference is important. A lawyer is a generic term that covers anyone involved in the practice of law (so you may see that solicitors and legal consultants are often termed under the umbrella of a ‘lawyer’). A legal consultant is very similar, advising individuals, businesses and organisations around the legal obligations that they need to be aware of. ‘Solicitor’ is a UK term, and a solicitor is regulated and authorised in the jurisdiction they practice in. An attorney is the same as a solicitor, but this is a US term. For example, I’m a ‘UK’ solicitor qualified in both Scotland and England. However, I’m also qualified in New York and California where I would be deemed an attorney.
So, who do I and my business need?
In my opinion, an SME in the UK should instruct a solicitor. As mentioned, a solicitor is regulated and authorised where they practice, i.e., the UK (England, Scotland etc.). They will be able to give you the necessary legal advice, documentation or legal work you need as an SME, whether that be drafting a client contract, a supplier agreement, an employment contract (for example). A solicitor specialising in business law should also be able to assist with other compliance and regulatory aspects regarding SMEs, including GDPR and data protection regulations. Many solicitors specialising in business law will cover a range of services, such as trademarking, funding advice, investment, and company selling. As an SME, having a solicitor that covers everything you need from a legal perspective saves you time, energy, and money in the long run. I myself specialise in business law and brand protection, and my firm (Jamieson Law) covers a large variety of services for SMEs, ranging from contract drafting, trademarking, copyright advice, data protection regulation, HR support, and corporate law.
When should I instruct?
Ideally, you would instruct a solicitor at the very beginning of your SME journey. However, I completely understand that at this stage, many businesses try to keep the costs as low as possible. Instructing a solicitor at the beginning means you’re starting off on the right foot from a legal perspective, ensuring you have the basics covered. You may wish to instruct a solicitor to get the correct initial legal documentation in place. If at the start you are keeping costs down, I’d recommend creating your own contracts/documentation rather than having them drafted from scratch, and having a solicitor review them for you. This means costs are kept low, and you know the documentation is airtight, covering you as best as possible. A great option is to utilise free legal advice calls. Here at Jamieson Law, we offer completely free initial legal advice calls for SMEs, so individuals can ask any of their legal questions and queries and we can act as a soundboard for you. These calls are without obligations, and you can ask as many questions as you like in the time given. Book a free consultation with me now via LegalDrop.
Okay… but what will it cost me?
There are probably very few cost differences between the different legal providers, although a US attorney will always be more expensive. Top tip – whichever provider you go for, always make sure they offer fixed fees. This is something we do here at Jamieson Law and via LegalDrop- it means you will be given a quote you can plan for and avoid spiralling costs.
Can I instruct via LegalDrop?
Of course! All of the experts you see on our experts’ page, including Babs, are trusted, vetted, and experienced in their fields. They have pre-set services available to buy now and some offer a free initial 15-minutes meeting. Alternatively, you can get in touch via LegalDrop to inquire about tailored services or any of your legal needs.
Instruct away, your business is in good hands.
contributed by Babs Jamieson, Jamieson Law