5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Joint Venture Lawyer
What to consider when hiring the perfect lawyer to facilitate your joint venture agreement.
The day is today. You’ve been planning the ins and outs of your joint venture for months, and it’s time to hire a lawyer to fill in the paperwork.
There’s only one problem. Forming a joint venture is not nearly that simple unless you wish for the joint venture to end just as easily. The relationships you create with your lawyer at this stage will determine how your joint venture carries through. The choice will determine how the joint venture withstands tough times and the sustained success of your joint venture.
There’s no need to panic at the sudden importance of this decision. We’re providing you with five key questions you can ask to find the perfect joint venture lawyer. These are questions that will assist when browsing through LawPath’s lawyer directory for joint venture lawyers.
1. Decide – Which sector are you venturing into?
It is important to know which sector it is that you are venturing into. For example, is it an e-commerce business, a local restaurant, or a local equipment hire business? There are many other sectors your venture may focus on and it is important to decide which one it is, as this will assist in choosing the correct lawyer for your needs.
Choosing the right lawyer is important as this will determine the expertise and wisdom they can bring to you in setting up your joint venture. For example, you will need contracts drawn up. For this, you will need a lawyer who has expertise in the specific sector you are venturing into as this will allow them to foresee certain complications and assist you in avoiding them.
2. Think – What are the rights associated with the joint venture?
Before meeting with a lawyer, you should first determine with your co-venturists, what rights and obligations the each of you have. For example, this could include:
- The proportions of share ownership;
- How much the each of you will ‘put on the table’ to enter the joint venture;
- What are the required contributions by each joint-venturist;
- What are the roles each joint-venturist will play;
- Who will manage or run day-to-day duties;
- Time expectations;
- Future financial contribution; and/or
- Profit distribution.
3. Plan Ahead – What do you need?
You must be prepared to discuss your entire joint venture arrangement with the lawyer so that they can understand exactly what your needs are. This is very important as the ‘legals’ you require will depend on the type of joint-venture and the type of business you are venturing into. For example, depending on the arrangement with your co-venturists, you may require:
- An umbrella agreement;
- Confidentiality agreements;
- Non-disclosure agreements; and/or
- Intellectual property protection.
4. Understand – What are the legal costs?
There’s many costs to take into account when starting up a business. The last thing you’d want is to be drowned in a wave of legal fees. However, you also want to balance costs with an effective legal plan that establishes your business for success in the long-term.
There are two common methods of payment.
Billable hours are when the lawyer charges for every hour spent on your issue. You should try and get an idea of how many hours the lawyer expects to take. Keep in mind that even a short five-minute conversation can add much more than that into your final charge.
A flat fee can provide a better idea of what you’re paying. The flat fee, however, may not cover all legal costs such as filing or updates to your plans in the future.
You can learn more about how lawyers charge clients by reading our legal guide on how much you should pay for a lawyer.
5. Will there be a conflict of interest?
This is a simple question, but one of the most important ones. If your lawyer is working with one of the other parties involved in the joint venture, do you really want that lawyer dealing with your interests as well? It’s against the lawyer’s duty, and against yours too in achieving terms independently negotiated for by each party.
As discussed, it is vital that you hire a lawyer with the relevant knowledge and expertise. It is also important that you build a long-term relationship with your lawyer so that in the event a dispute or implication does occur within your joint-venture, or you simply wish to expand or bring on another partner, they can assist you swiftly and efficiently. Keep the above question in your mind when browsing through LawPath’s lawyer directory for joint venture lawyers.
Require a specialist joint venture lawyer? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our lawyer marketplace or any other legal needs.
Mikail is a Paralegal working in our content team, which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. With a passion for increasing access to justice and how technology can enhance this, his research explores how the law is adapting to emerging technologies and how this affects consumers and businesses alike.