In the world of business and commerce, disputes are common and competition is fierce. The large sums of money involved, or the extensive assets being controlled, means that business or commercial disputes can be ruthless affairs. A commercial lawyer can provide legal assistance which may prove to be the difference between a devastating loss and a beneficial outcome. Commercial law firms often specialize in disputes within specific industries or areas of business, but there are many issues that are common to all these areas, such as contracts. It is important to choose a commercial lawyer who has some experience with your industry so that any advice or representation is tailored to your interests.
Most areas of commerce are subject to regulation and commercial law, so a commercial lawyer will be able to assist you with issues regarding anything from transactions to the acquisition of licenses or permits required for your operations.
A good commercial lawyer has extensive experience in court, but their aim should always be to avoid court proceedings wherever possible. This can be achieved through the drafting and review of effective documents and contracts. Such documents can be critical to the success of a business or the commencement of its operations. Examples of some areas of commerce which are known to have particularly complication requirements are:
- Shareholder agreements
- Company law
- Franchising and licensing agreements or contracts
- Distribution agreements
- Terms of trade
- Buying and selling businesses
Success often relies on good communication. For this reason, it is important to choose a commercial lawyer who can be reached easily when you need them, and who understands how to have a human conversation. Some lawyers have a habit of using over-complicated jargon or legalize type language in their correspondence, which can serve to confuse or intimidate clients. Rest assured that such manners of speech are not common to all lawyers; in fact a good commercial lawyer knows how to keep clients engaged through understanding and a building a solid rapport.
Disputes and litigation
In the event that a debtor refuses to meet their obligations, shareholders cannot agree on anything, a contract’s terms are not met, or any of the many other common disputes that regularly occur in business, you can rely on a commercial lawyer to provide dispute resolution services. This should always be the first step before litigation, as settling a dispute privately out of court is more likely to be mutually beneficial and to incur less costs.
If you are one of two or more shareholders in a company it is recommended that you put a shareholder agreement in place. Such an agreement manages the relationship between shareholders in areas such as:
- Rights and obligations of shareholders, including minority shareholders
- Funding requirements and the value of shares
- Policy decisions
- Processes in place for shareholders selling their shares – exit strategies
- The incorporation of new shareholders
Shareholder disputes can be costly, so a shareholder agreement is essential for minimizing the risk of such a dispute occurring. A commercial lawyer will be able to assist in the drafting of a shareholder agreement.
A commercial lawyer will be able to advise you as to your obligations under company law, including fair trading, business conduct and consumer affairs. Past cases often influence specific circumstances, so an experienced solicitor will understand the context in which your business is operating and offer advice accordingly.
It is important to remember that assistance is available, even when the mountain of documents seems too large to conquer, or the threats from a competitor seem to daunting to challenge. A good commercial lawyer will be familiar with your circumstances and any relevant legislation so that they can give you appropriate advice or representation.