A small business attorney is any lawyer who specializes in issues and disputes that affect small businesses. These might include taxation, business transactions, intellectual property, business registration and contracts, to mention but a few.
Small business lawyers do not really differ widely from other legal practitioners, however, certain traits and occupational requirements set them apart from the others. It is these inherent differences that form the subject of the discussions that follow.
The rest of this article shall indeed be devoted to an in-depth examination of these unique traits, duties, and responsibilities of small business attorneys, more so when compared to other kinds of attorneys.
What sets small business attorneys apart from others?
Small business attorneys differ from other cadres of lawyers in the following regards:
Small business lawyers undergo the same training as their peers in other legal fields. They, however, have a bias towards the business fields. The entire curriculum, right from the pre-law stage through to the undergraduate, and finally to the postgraduate level is all leaned towards business. This is deliberately done to equip them with the right knowhow they require to fulfill their careers well. Their bar exams are also tailored to factor this business bias.
Professional Skill Requirements
Apart from the legal training, small business attorneys are expected to possess certain skills that are suitable for their practice. These include analytical reasoning, critical thinking, excellent research, persuasive/negotiation skills, and above-board writing skills. This is due to the sheer nature of the field business field.
Scope of the Legal Contract
As has already been alluded to previously, small business attorneys are almost always exclusively concerned with business related matters. As such, they are significantly different in their specialization as compared to other types of lawyers. They mainly aid business in registering, filing their tax returns, complying with legal/statutory requirements, battling court cases, and upholding fair business practices and more. These differ sharply from other lawyers such as child lawyers, criminal lawyers, civil lawyers, and others.
Being an intricate undertaking, business attorneys must also possess some amount of work related work experience in order to be able to discharge their duties effectively. Most law firms will usually prefer those with a postgraduate degree such as Master of Law. Almost all will normally want those who have practiced law at a lower level for some time. This is to ensure a fair mastery of all the intricate legal jargon. It is also to guarantee clients of nothing but the very best possible services. This requirement may not hold for some other kinds of attorneys.
It obviously goes without saying that their clientele is also different from those of other lawyers. They mainly interact with and serve small businesses, entrepreneurs, kiosks, tax collectors, local authorities, small-scale vendors, retailers, wholesalers, and small-scale suppliers. They never serve children, large corporations, criminal suspects, and other kinds of litigants.
In all, the field of small business law is a highly-saturated one. This stems from the high number of potential clients at any given time. As such, more law students will naturally have a bias towards this field as opposed to the others. Moreover, its curriculum is comparatively simple and is as such, quite easier to pass. This also contributes to the relatively higher number of such kinds of lawyers.
As of the year 2016, the average annual salary of general practice lawyers was $115,820. However, that of the small business attorneys was $108,000. This means that small business attorneys earn slightly less than their peers in other specializations. This is understandable given that most of their clients are persons who lack that much financial power such as startups or “solopreneurs,” kiosks and other such small-scale businesses. They also do engage in plenty of pro bono services as compared to most of their peers. This definitely has an impact on their total possible earnings.
As expected, most small business attorneys are based in urban areas. This is due to the fact that most of their potential clients are located there. This may not necessarily hold for other cadres of lawyers. This again is due to the fact that a good number of their clients are located both in the rural and urban areas in equal measure. Apart from the rural-urban spread, most small business attorneys are also concentrated in populated areas. This is due to the expected higher number of small businesses.
Regulation and Licensure
Different urban areas where small business attorneys are mainly located are governed by a distinct set of legal regimes. Because of these, the rules that govern the licensure and regulation of small business attorneys may vary widely from one locale to another one, even within a specific state. Other kinds of lawyers are not so much affected by this divergent legal jurisprudence or jurisdictions. Some kinds of lawyers such as constitutional lawyers are in fact subservient only to one regulation i.e. federal government/the US Constitution.
In closing, small business attorneys play a very vital role and contribution to any economy. Their uniqueness is, therefore, an issue worth knowing. Of equal importance is the fact that not all of their uniqueness has been discussed. This is due to the limited space and time. Indeed several others had to be inevitably left out.