“Prevention is better than cure”
Is corporate retainer services an expense or an investment in your business?
Imagine coming to your office thinking it will just be a regular business day. As you go through your morning routine of reading and responding to your e-mails, your phone suddenly rings. You pick up the phone and ask the reason for calling. The manager told you that your company received a notice from a government regulatory agency saying that your company had not been registered in the agency and threatening to close down your business if you did not comply within a certain period.
Now, you are scrambling to search for and engage the services of a lawyer since the agency only gave you a few days to comply. But where do you look for a competent and available lawyer at the soonest possible time? Whom do you ask for legal advice? You think that you should have had legal corporate retainer services.
“Prevention is better than cure” is a cliche but is good advice to note, especially when running a business. Having legal corporate retainer services for your business prevents or, at the very least, minimizes the risk of a catastrophic business disruption. Experts agree that doing things right from the beginning costs less than fixing the problem when it arises.
Aside from the business’s day-to-day operations, you need to be mindful of the regulations, compliance reports, and documentation you need to submit to government regulatory agencies. Violation of their rules, non-submission of reports and documentation, and non-compliance, in general, may result in your business’s temporary or permanent closure.
In addition, you have contracts and agreements with your employees, your suppliers, and your stakeholders that you also need to create, manage, and monitor. Any breach of your contract or agreement may cause a temporary stoppage of your operations, negatively affect your finances, or induce an intra-corporate controversy.
Having legal corporate retainer services is the preventive medicine you need to take to avoid any business “disease” that could paralyze your operations. In addition, having a lawyer available when you need legal advice or service gives you peace of mind.
Let us discuss the different fee arrangements with lawyers and see why getting legal corporate retainer services is the most beneficial for your business.
What are the different fee arrangements with lawyers?
Lawyer’s fees vary depending on the difficulty of the matter, the scope of the work, the estimated time that the lawyer would finish the legal work, and the capacity to pay of the client, among others. But there are, in general, some fee arrangements that lawyers follow:
- Hourly Rate. Under this arrangement, the lawyer is paid by the hour or a portion of an hour. As soon as the lawyer’s services are engaged, from a simple call to the drafting of a complex legal document, the lawyer will charge for all the time he has spent doing the legal work. This fee arrangement may cover all legal services from simple advice to a specific matter like drafting a pleading or appearing before a court.
- Flat or Capped Fee. Under this arrangement, the lawyer shall work on a specific matter or project for a flat fee. Compared to the hourly rate, this arrangement is not time-bound but is purely project-based. Hence, no matter how much time the lawyer spends on a specific case, you will not be charged more than the agreed fee. Lawyers usually charge a flat or capped fee for simple matters like drafting a simple contract or agreement or a specific phase of a case like the preliminary investigation before the prosecutor’s office.
- Contingency Fee. This fee arrangement is also known as the “success fee.” Lawyers usually charge a contingency fee in litigation or alternative dispute resolution like arbitration or mediation. The lawyer charges an acceptance fee and gets a percentage of the money or property awarded to the client. Given the risk involved, lawyers usually charge a high contingency fee.
- Retainer Fee. This fee arrangement is usually agreed upon based on a corporate retainer agreement. Under this arrangement, the lawyer is paid in advance for a fixed fee, usually monthly, for legal services to be done. There are two kinds of legal corporate retainer services:
- General Retainer. Under this arrangement, lawyers provide general corporate services like consultation, advice, rendering of opinions; preparation of simple contracts and legal documents; and other legal activities required in the ordinary course of a client’s business.
- Special Retainer. Under this arrangement, lawyers provide special services, usually for a specific period or completion of a particular project, like legal due diligence in acquiring another company or real property.
It might be possible for a legal project to have a combination of fee arrangements. Let us say, for example, that you want to register your business with DTI, a lawyer can charge a flat fee for legal consultation on the proper business structure for your business, an hourly rate for drafting the documents needed for registration with DTI, and a capped fee for facilitating the registration with DTI and other government agencies. So, when negotiating a fee arrangement with a lawyer, you should always be guided by what you need and what is most beneficial for your business.
Let us now learn why corporate retainer services are the most advantageous for your business.
5 Advantages of Getting A Corporate Retainer Service
You might be thinking, why would you pay a lawyer in advance for work he has yet to do. There are several reasons why it is beneficial for your business to have a legal corporate retainer agreement. Here are just five of the reasons why it is most advantageous for your business to have a lawyer or, much better, a law firm under retainer:
1. Availability/Accessibility. Time is the most limited resource that any person can have. Everyone only has twenty-four hours. A person can have more of anything, but he cannot have more time. The same holds for lawyers. When you have a corporate lawyer under retainer, he promises to be available and accessible to you when you need his services. In other words, he is reserving his limited time and resources for your benefit. You can tap his legal knowledge and experience when you need it.
2. Relationship. The lawyer works with and for you when you have a corporate retainer agreement. The success of your business is also his concern. The lawyer is with you for the long run and not just for the short term. He intends to have a good business and working relationship with you. It is part of his duty as a lawyer to owe fidelity to your cause and be mindful of the trust and confidence you reposed in him (Canon 17, Code of Professional Responsibility).
3. Expertise. In the case of having a corporate retainer services agreement with a law firm, you have at your disposal the expertise of the lawyers of the law firm. Aside from your usual corporate or commercial concerns, you can also ask for legal advice or opinion about the firm’s other practice areas like labor and employment, taxation, intellectual property, and specific special projects. Having a law firm under retainer saves you time and money looking for other lawyers for your particular legal concerns.
4. Affordability. A corporate retainer services agreement is usually more affordable than the other fee arrangements. As stated earlier, doing things right from the beginning costs less than fixing the problem when it arises. Also, the cost of corporate retainer services is usually more affordable than creating and managing an in-house counsel team or department that could handle your business’s various legal concerns. As stated earlier on the matter of expertise, a company may have other legal problems covering different legal practice areas.
5. Risk Management. Part of good corporate governance is managing risks, especially legal risks. As stated earlier, there is a possibility of business disruption and even business closure if one cannot handle the legal risks properly. Having a corporate retainer service agreement can help you manage those legal risks. Due to their expertise and experience in a specific industry or practice area, lawyers can immediately spot legal loopholes in your business, anticipate problems that may arise, and provide advice and solutions to plug those loopholes.
Why FBRT’s Corporate Retainer Services Is The Right Solution For Your Legal Concerns
- FBRT’s lawyers will be at your disposal. One of the advantages of having legal corporate retainer services is having lawyers readily available and accessible. FBRT is composed of young, extremely able, and zealous attorneys who would be available to you as may be required in the ordinary course of your business or undertaking. When you enter into a corporate retainer agreement with FBRT, you feel secure in having external legal counsel address your day-to-day legal concerns. In effect, you have the services of an entire law firm at your disposal, and you will be given the privilege of communicating with them via all the fastest means available.
- FBRT has a wide range of legal practice areas. As earlier stated, your business has several legal concerns. In addition to lawyers being available and accessible, you have a wide range of legal expertise and experience at your disposal. FBRT has expertise and experience in Business and Commercial Law, Taxation, Labor and Social Legislation, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property, and Data Privacy Protection, among others. You need not look for other lawyers for your specific legal concerns.
- FBRT’s basic corporate retainer agreement minimizes your legal risks. A Retainer Agreement covers consultation and advice; preparation of ordinary contracts and legal documents; rendering opinions; and notarial services. In the case of corporate clients, it includes ancillary corporate secretarial services, such as the recording of all meetings of the Board of Directors and stockholders; the keeping of record books required by law; and the preparation of reports required by law of a Corporate Secretary or by the By-Laws of the relevant corporate retainer client. Hence, you are assured of the proper legal services for your business needs.
Now is always the best time for your business to have legal corporate retainer services. FBRT would love to hear from you about how it can help your business through its corporate retainer services.
- Why Your Business Needs Legal Corporate Retainer Services
- FBRT is ready to assist you in your Data Privacy Compliance Journey
- How to register your business with DTI