Whatever your sector, there is one rule of thumb which could save you some serious money when instructing a lawyer. This insight may not sound revolutionary, it may not sound groundbreaking, but your wallet will thank you.

2016_JUN_UK_MONEY - The top 3 legal services you may need and what you should pay for them

So here it is, the big reveal: Always find a specialist lawyer for your work. It’s that simple.

When looking for the right lawyer, you should approach it like searching for a specialist doctor. You wouldn’t go to a GP when you needed heart surgery. Law, like medicine, is a complex field and so no lawyer can claim to be a specialist in everything.

Some solicitors may tell you they can carry out your work no matter the field, but in reality they’ll probably take hours researching a topic and even then, might be focussing on the wrong specifics. Since you’re likely to be paying them an hourly rate, this could cost you an astronomical amount.

Choosing a specialist, who may be more costly per hour, sounds like a counterintuitive way to save money, but they will be able to help advise you with precision, speed and authority.

Lexoo is a curated legal marketplace, helping our customers easily source transparent, fixed fee quotes from the UK’s most talented independent lawyers within 24 hours. These are the areas that we’ve seen specialists thrive in, and the prices you can expect to pay when you come through Lexoo:

1. Commercial lease

Leasing a business premises is one of the biggest investments you’ll make. It’s a commitment to paying thousands of pounds in rent each month, for 5-10 years, perhaps more.

A commercial lease (or commercial tenancy agreement) is a contract between you (the tenant) and the landlord. It sets out your rights to occupy the premises, and your obligations to pay rent and abide by the rules set by the landlord. These rules can be complex and vary from lease to lease. They depend on the type of business you run, the premises you’re renting, and your bargaining power. Finding the right expert to help you understand and negotiate these rules is vital to ensure you get a fair bargain.

Although prices can vary greatly, we’ve seen hundreds of enquiries for commercial property leases come through Lexoo. The fixed-fee quotes we’ve typically seen range between £750 to £1,000 for straightforward leasing transactions for smaller tenancies such as retail shops, cafes and small businesses.

For larger, longer term office leases (like a 10 year, £160,000 per annum lease for a 4,000 sq ft tenancy) they often require more extensive negotiation. Quotes for these have typically ranged from £3,750 to £6,000 plus government fees and taxes.

2. Terms and conditions

Online terms and conditions set out your agreement with your customers, users and suppliers. They can range from simple, standard terms for ‘information-only’ websites, to complex e-commerce rules governing buyers and sellers in a highly regulated sector.

There are hundreds of templates freely available on the internet, but which one is right for you? You can spend countless hours trawling through search results for the right one, or navigating “Q&A” forms to generate a ‘customised’ document to save money upfront, but is it worth it. It could end up costing you more down the road if they turn out to be wrong, and your investors may not be satisfied with standard T&CS to protect your business.

Your business might operate in a highly regulated sector or in a way that falls within particular legal regimes. Here are some common areas of expertise that our solicitors can advise you on:

  • Ecommerce Regulations
  • Distance selling under The Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges Regulations
  • Unfair Trading Regulations / Unfair Contract Terms Act
  • The Defamation (Operators of Websites) Regulations (especially if you’re allowing user generated content, like a social network)
  • Website privacy and data protection laws

Although prices can vary greatly, we’ve seen hundreds of enquiries for terms and conditions come through Lexoo, and the fixed-fee quotes we’ve typically seen range between £450 to £1,250. The lower-end quotes tend to cover straightforward tried-and-tested business models with stable legal rules, such as an online clothes shop. The higher end quotes deal with more disruptive businesses covering new ground or businesses that operate in a legal ‘minefield’, such as FinTech or the employment sector.

3. Sponsoring foreign talent

Hiring the best talent can give your company an enormous edge. If you’re looking to hire someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, your best bet might be to sponsor them under the Tier 2 Sponsored Visa Scheme.

To do this, your company will first need a sponsor ‘licence’ from UK Border Agency, then meet a number of strict hiring and job requirements. There’s a tonne of paperwork and the rules are complex, but as a licenced sponsor you’ll be able to tap into a truly global workforce.

At a minimum, it costs around £1,500 to sponsor a candidate (if you go it alone), and anywhere from approximately £3,000 to £6,000 with legal help. So either way, it’s a considerable investment.

With a lead-time of around 3 to 6 months, from registering for a licence to actually making a hire, the process of sponsoring a visa can be long, complicated and takes a lot of resources.

Why is Lexoo so cost-effective?

Lawyers no longer need to operate out of expensive offices in the centre of town. All a lawyer needs to service clients properly is a laptop, a phone and a Wi-Fi connection. We use technology to connect our customers directly with over 200 of the UK’s most talented and experienced independent lawyers.

Our lawyers typically started their careers at larger city firms and are therefore very specialised. However, now they often work from home or from co-working spaces so they don’t have the expensive overhead constraints that big law firms have. They also know that they are quoting on a competitive platform, therefore they offer their best price in the first instance – meaning that customers get the best value for money.

These factors mean that Lexoo customers pay an average of 46% less.

Daniel Van Binsbergen Xero

Xero is beautiful, easy to use online accounting software for small businesses and their advisors. Xero provides business owners with real-time visibility of their financial position in a way that’s simple, smart and secure.
Xero has over 700,000 customers in more than 180 countries around the world and is listed on the NZX and ASX.