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A Guide to Using a Legal Consultant

Reading time: 6 mins

Using legal consultants or services is popular among businesses in Australia, as it is in many other countries. Legal consulting offers valuable expertise and guidance on various legal matters that businesses encounter. For example, contract drafting and negotiation, intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance and employment law.

Australia has a complex legal system with its own set of regulations and requirements. Businesses often seek the assistance of legal professionals to navigate this complexity for this reason. Whether it’s a small startup or a large company, businesses can benefit from the specialised knowledge and advice that legal consultants offer. This can help them make informed decisions and avoid legal disputes. It also helps ensure that their operations are in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Many businesses in Australia engage legal consultants on an as-needed basis. They also retain them as ongoing advisors to address legal issues. Additionally, the use of consultants can vary based on the industry and size of the business.

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To find the right consultant, it’s important to:

Assess Your Needs:

Clearly define the scope of legal assistance you require. Determine the specific area of law you need help with, whether it’s contract drafting, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, etc. You should also consider what resources you currently have and where there may be information or recruitment gaps.

Ask for Recommendations:

Seek recommendations from colleagues, friends, or business contacts who have used consultants in the past. Personal referrals can provide valuable insights into the consultant’s expertise and working style.

Use online directories, legal association websites, and professional networks to search for consultants in your desired practice area and location.

Check Credentials:

Verify the consultant’s credentials, education, and relevant experience. Look for their track record in working in similar industries, similarly sized companies or areas of law.

Read Reviews:

Check online reviews and testimonials to get an idea of the consultant’s reputation and client satisfaction.

Consult Professional Networks:

Reach out to legal associations, industry groups, or professional networks related to your industry. They might have recommendations or directories of trusted consultants.

Interview Candidates:

Once you’ve identified potential consultants, schedule consultations or meetings with them. Prepare a list of questions to ask about their experience, approach to your case, fees, and communication style.

Assess Compatibility:

During the interviews, pay attention to how well you communicate with the consultant and whether you feel comfortable discussing your legal matters with them.

Discuss Fees:

Have a clear understanding of how the consultant charges for their services. Some consultants offer fixed fees, hourly rates, or retainer agreements. Make sure their fee structure aligns with your budget and expectations.

A legal consultant can provide valuable assistance to a business in Australia in various ways. Here are some ways a legal consultant can help:

Regulatory Compliance:

Australian businesses need to adhere to various laws and regulations at the Federal, State and Territory levels. A legal consultant can help ensure that your business is compliant with all relevant regulations, covering areas such as employment law, consumer protection, environmental regulations, and more.

Contract Drafting and Review:

Contracts are a fundamental part of business operations. A legal consultant can help draft, review, and negotiate contracts to ensure that your business’s interests are protected. This could include contracts with suppliers, clients, employees, and other parties.

Intellectual Property Protection:

If your business deals with intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights, or patents, a legal consultant can help. They can guide you through the process of protecting and enforcing your intellectual property rights.

Employment Law:

Hiring, managing, and terminating employees must be done in accordance with Australian employment laws. A legal consultant can provide guidance on employment contracts, workplace policies, unfair dismissal, discrimination, and other employment-related issues.

Dispute Resolution:

If your business becomes involved in a legal dispute, a legal consultant can help you navigate the options for resolution, whether through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation. They can also provide advice on potential legal risks and strategies to mitigate them.

Data Privacy and Security:

With the upcoming changes to the Privacy Act and other regulations, protecting customer and employee data is important. A legal consultant can assist in ensuring your business complies with data protection laws and help develop privacy policies.

Commercial Transactions:

Whether you’re buying or selling goods and services, a legal consultant can guide you through the legal aspects of these transactions, including drafting terms and conditions, ensuring compliance, and minimising risks.

Licensing and Permits:

Depending on your industry, you might need various licenses and permits to operate legally. A legal consultant can help you understand and obtain the necessary licenses and permits.

Corporate Governance:

For larger businesses, corporate governance is essential to ensure transparency and accountability. A legal consultant can help establish and maintain effective governance structures and practices.

To get the most from legal consulting services, choose someone that you are happy to enter into a longer-term engagement with. If you provide an opportunity for a consultant to build relationships, and provide training on how your organisation works, you receive more efficient services. By understanding your organisation, the consultant will be able to develop strategies and solutions to overcome legal problems in a way that best suits your business.

You should also ensure that you introduce the person to the appropriate management and team members. It is important for a consultant to understand which role individuals have and how they can provide support. This is particularly important if they are working on a major project or projects that require teamwork.

What’s the difference between a law firm and a consultant?

A consultant offers more specialised legal services. Lawyers who offer consulting services generally do so on an individual basis or as part of a small law firm.

How can Prosper Law help?

Our legal team provide ongoing legal consultant retainers and assistance to Australian businesses. Our clients range from small startups, law firms and companies. If you are looking for proactive and professional lawyers to help your team, contact us today for a confidential discussion and quote.

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About the Author

Farrah Motley
Director of Prosper Law. Farrah founded Prosper online law firm in 2021. She wanted to create a better way of doing legal work and a better experience for customers of legal services.

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