If you’ve just launched your first small business or start-up, you likely don’t have the resources to have a lawyer on staff from day one. In fact, that’s likely to be a waste of resources!
While you could go to a traditional high street law firm, appointments are expensive, and even if you just want a simple review of a standard contract before signing, you’ll likely have to pay for a full hour’s appointment for a service that could be done in a short phone call or email.
In recent years online law firms have sprung up and become increasingly popular. They offer businesses access to all the legal expertise available in a commercial lawyers’ office without you having to leave your desk to visit them. Online lawyers are much more flexible, available when you need, by phone and email without a long waiting list for appointments.
One common service available that it makes sense to use a lawyer for, if you can access one at the right price point for you, is contract checking: whether that’s simply looking over the rental agreement for your premises or storage facilities, or a full IR35 Contract Review, making sure you’re compliant with the latest law governing contractors.
It’s the additional services that are where online lawyers really shine. In addition to having a pro rata legal team whenever you need one, if you go for one of the package of services that online law firms often offer, you’ll find some bonuses that can really help in the early days of your business.
Many, for example, offer secure online storage and sharing for your documents – like a doubly secure version of Dropbox or Googledrive. As well as keeping your business documents safe, this can also be used to share contracts with your partners, allowing them to read and sign them at the speed of replying to an email.
This is a boon in many ways: ramping up the speed you can do business means you can grow faster. It also means you can get paid faster: sending invoices through your secure online portal backed by your lawyers, for extra persuasive power.
While having an inhouse legal team is a great status symbol for larger, asset rich businesses, it makes far more sense for smaller businesses to use the convenient and easily scalable services of the newly emergent online law firms.