When foreign business owners operate in Japan, knowledge and understanding of the law are essential. However, simply understanding information about Japanese law and business can be a daunting challenge for them. In such cases, hiring a legal advisor can be one of the best choices. A legal advisor is a lawyer who provides ongoing legal advice and support to their clients, on monthly or yearly basis. However, it can be confusing to know which lawyer to choose. This article explains the checkpoints for choosing a legal advisor and the selection methods to avoid.
4 Key Points
- Knowledge and experience
- Understanding of your business and industry
- Fee plan
When choosing a legal advisor, it's important to consider their ease of communication. This means taking into account their language skills, as well as the range of communication methods they offer. Additionally, it's important to find out how quickly they respond to your queries, how well they understand your needs, and how easily they can explain legal concepts to you. A lawyer who is easy to communicate with will be able to provide better service and make the process of resolving legal issues smoother for you. Therefore, it's crucial to carefully assess a lawyer's communication skills before hiring them.
Legal Knowledge and Experience
It's important to ensure that the lawyer you choose has the necessary expertise in corporate law. Different lawyers specialize in different areas of law. Some may have more experience working with individual clients, while others focus on working with companies and business owners. It's essential to confirm that the lawyer you select has the knowledge, experience, and skills required to address your specific business needs.
Understanding of Your Business
A corporate lawyer with a deep understanding of your business or industry can provide more effective and appropriate advice. If they have sufficient knowledge about the industry landscape, business operations, and relevant laws, they can identify potential risks and provide advice on how to conduct business efficiently within the scope of the law. It is important to confirm whether the lawyer has a deep understanding of the business you are engaged in.
Check how you will be charged in advance. Fee plans for corporate lawyers often have a base fee of around JPY 50,000 per month, with adjustments based on the size of the client's company and the amount of work expected from the lawyer. Some lawyers may charge separate fees for individual tasks, such as reviewing contracts, in addition to the monthly base fee, so it is important to be aware of this even if the base fee seems low. On the other hand, some lawyers may have a set amount of work or time covered by the base fee each month, with additional fees charged for any excess work or time. Many law firms do not clearly disclose their fees or calculation methods on their websites, so it is recommended to confirm these details thoroughly before signing a retainer contract.
Mistakes to avoid when you choose legal advisors
When it comes to choosing a corporate lawyer, there are a couple of mistakes you should avoid.
First, don't rely solely on a lawyer's website to make your decision without communicating with them directly. While checking a lawyer's website is important, it doesn't give you the full picture. To ensure you're selecting the right person for the job, it's essential to communicate with them directly.
Second, don't select a lawyer based solely on their low fees. While the prospect of reducing your fixed expenses by paying lower monthly fees may be attractive, it could end up costing you much more if you encounter legal issues. To prevent potential legal troubles and stay focused on your business, it's important to choose a lawyer based on their overall value, not just their fees.
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