12 Things to Look Out for When Hiring A Corporate Lawyer

Business law is complex, and you cannot afford to make mistakes. That’s why choosing the right corporate law firm in Singapore is something you can’t rush. You need to be as diligent in choosing a corporate lawyer as you would do a key employee.

The problem is that there are many choices when it comes to a legal firm in Singapore. How do you tell the difference between a great Singapore law firm and a mediocre one? Is a boutique law firm in Singapore the best match for you, or do you need a more general litigation law firm in Singapore?
In this post, we’re going to go through the top twelve things to consider before hiring any law firm in Singapore.

What Should You Look for When Hiring A Lawyer?

Do you look at the firm’s rate? Do you check their previous case history? See what specialisations they have? The answer is, “Yes” to all of these questions. Here are all the things that you need to consider before making your selection.

How Long has the Firm Been Operating?

A firm that has been around for a long time is not necessarily the best one, but it is better to choose a more established firm. The caveat is that they should have experience in the area that you most need them for.
A firm that has been in business for twenty years, but has only handled personal litigation is not going to be a good bet as a corporate lawyer.

How Much Clout Do They Have?

You want a firm that can schmooze with the best of them…a firm that has the contacts to get things done. Preferably a firm that is intimidating to other legal firms. It’s a significant advantage in this game to have a team that others are afraid to go up against.

What Kind of Reviews Do They Have Online and in Legal Publications?

Do check the firm’s background to see what reviews they have online. Every firm will have a few unhappy clients. There will be clients who are never satisfied with the outcome of events. That’s the nature of this business.
That said, the negative reviews should be in the minority. If there are more negative reviews than positive ones, it’s time to look for an alternative solution.
Legal publications are also a great source of reviews on different firms.

What Experience Do They Have in Your Industry?

You need a lawyer that knows something about your industry. How will they be able to represent you adequately if they know nothing about the work that you do? At the very least, they should show a willingness to learn more if they don’t have experience.
You don’t want a firm that is going to try to apply generic solutions to every issue faced. They need to be more creative to get the best solution for you. They can only do that if they understand your industry.

How Does the Law Firm Bill for Their Work?

You need to know exactly what you’re going to be paying for. Most firms will charge you per hour, but how do they charge when it comes to minutes instead of hours?
• Do they round up to the nearest hour?
• Will they divide the hour up into quarters instead?
• Do they work on a per minute rate to make up the time?
Also, find out exactly what you are going to be charged for. If you phone in with a quick query that takes next to no time, are you going to receive a massive bill in the mail?

Do the Lawyers Work on A Retainer or Hourly Fee?

Which is better for you will depend on your needs. Let’s have a look at this a little more closely.
• Retainer: This is a good idea when you have a fair amount of work to get done. You’ll know exactly what your costs are upfront. It’s like paying a subscription fee of sorts.
• Hourly Rate: This is likely to be a better option when you only have a little bit of work to get done.
• A Combination: The ideal for many businesses is a cross between the two. Speak to the lawyer about paying a retainer for day to day business. For anything over and above that, negotiate an hourly rate.

Which Lawyer in The Firm Will Be Handling Your Case? (Partner, Associate, Legal Intern?)

The more senior the person handling your case, the more you can expect to pay. That means that you don’t want the senior partner handling a simple company registration, for example.
You want to know that the person who will be dealing with your matter has the necessary qualifications and experience.

What Area of Practice Does the Firm Specialize In?

It’s important to find a firm that has a speciality that is closely aligned to your needs.

Can I Come in For Advice on Aspects Outside Your Area of Speciality?

You don’t want to have to start the process of looking for a new lawyer if you have a question that is outside of their speciality. Can you also get more general advice?

How Responsive Is the Firm to Your Needs?

This is something that is difficult to gauge before you’ve hired the firm. A good indication, however, is how flexible they are willing to be during your meeting. How willing are they to make adjustments that suit you? Are they going to treat you as a valued partner, or just another number?

Are They Proactive When It Comes to Contacting You?

Find out upfront what their policy is when it comes to touching base with their clients. Most lawyers will act quickly to put out fires. That’s good, but great lawyers will keep in touch, and apprise you of developments that might affect your business.

Are They Transparent About Their Policies and Fees?

Great lawyers will be upfront with you about what kinds of fees you can expect to pay and their policies. While it might be impossible to say precisely what the final tally may be for a particular case, an experienced lawyer will be able to give a rough estimate.
Be very wary of firms that are not transparent about their pricing and policies. You need to know exactly what you’re getting into, and a good firm will understand that.