A commercial attorney advises business owners on a variety of legal matters, such as managing contracts. Other commercial lawyers handle excess work from the legal teams of large corporations. In these situations, the lawyer is hired by a senior attorney and assists the company's sales team with negotiating contracts.

What's the Role of a Commercial Attorney?

Commercial attorneys manage contracts for businesses and make sure that there are no provisions that could harm the company. When there is a problem with a contract, the lawyer must decide if it is a legal or business issue and advise the client.

Some commercial lawyers, known as in-house attorneys, are hired by companies to represent their legal matters. They deal with many different aspects of business transactions, such as client agreements, contracts, or purchase agreements.

Other commercial lawyers work in law firms and represent multiple clients. They handle transaction disputes and work with the firm's litigation department. Still, others are employed by government agencies or international corporations and supervise international business deals, and trade or employment agreements.

Commercial attorneys perform many tasks, like composing commercial reports or preparing legal documents for their clients. They sometimes work with other lawyers, clients, or agencies to negotiate a transaction. Finally, commercial lawyers represent their clients in negotiations.

What is Business and Commercial Law?

Business and commercial law are two legal areas that frequently overlap. Most lawyers who practice in one of these areas have experience in the other area.

Commercial law covers the sale and distribution of goods and financial transactions. It is regulated by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), a set of laws that deal with selling goods and maintaining secure transactions. When hiring a commercial lawyer, make sure they are familiar with your state's UCC laws.

Business law focuses on forming companies, mergers and acquisitions, leasing commercial spaces, and shareholder rights. It is regulated by state and federal law. The federal law covers areas such as stocks, investments, employment practices and workplace safety. States can sometimes modify these laws, and they also pass laws in other areas like licensing requirements or rules for forming a business.

If your business sells products, then you need a lawyer who is experienced in both commercial and business law.

Other Considerations When Hiring a Business and Commercial Lawyer

Remember that it is best to find an attorney with experience in your industry. He or she can give you more relevant advice, help you resolve your legal issue, and is aware of industry practices.

Some business owners try to negotiate contracts on their own, which often leads to problems such as canceled contracts, financial losses, or even legal action. To avoid this, consult a commercial lawyer early on when trying to negotiate a contract. The lawyer will make sure your interests are represented and protected throughout the process.      

Tips for Hiring an Attorney

Here are some things to keep in mind about hiring a commercial attorney:

  • Don't put off hiring a lawyer until it's too late. Make sure you are connected with a good business lawyer before any problems arise.
  • While lawyers' fees are expensive, remember that the fees will be much higher if you have legal troubles later on.  
  • The larger the law office, the higher the hourly rates. This is because larger offices have more overhead costs.
  • Larger offices have some advantages, though. They generally have lawyers on staff with all the skills you need, and they have more name recognition and influence.

What to Ask When Interviewing Attorneys

When interviewing lawyers, here are some important questions to ask them:

  • Are you experienced? Make sure to ask about your lawyer's experience. For example, if you are looking to merge with another company, make sure that the lawyer has worked with mergers before.
  • Are you well-connected? Your attorney should have a network of legal specialists they can refer you to if necessary. This will prevent you from having to find a new lawyer when a different legal issue comes up.
  • Do you have other clients in my industry? Make sure your attorney has some familiarity with your industry and common legal issues that arise.

If you need help with finding a commercial attorney, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.