If you have been following the news lately, you most likely have heard that the world’s richest man Elon Musk has acquired Twitter.
Musk is paying approximately $44B to take over the popular social media platform, and to ensure the acquisition goes smoothly, he and Twitter have hired some of the best transaction attorneys available.
If you don’t know what a transaction attorney does, you’re not alone.
For most people when you ask them what an attorney does, what comes to mind is the type of lawyers they see on legal TV shows and movies who are handling litigations in civil court, such as suing large corporations for billions of dollars, defending or prosecuting criminals, fighting for an injured employee’s workers comp, and ensuring a spouse gets the least number of assets in a divorce.
You should know, however, that there are two broad categories of attorneys, litigators – who everybody seems to know about – and transaction lawyers, who are a mystery to many.
In this post, I’ll explain in detail what a transaction attorney is, what they do, and what to look for in a transaction attorney.
What is Transactional Law?
If you’re a business owner, you should be interested in transactional law, which as the name suggests are the legal practices that should guide how you carry out business dealings with other companies or individuals.
Transaction law is wide, and lawyers who practice it can specialize in a particular area – for example commercial, intellectual property, entertainment, mergers and acquisitions, or real estate law. As an entrepreneur, it’s important you get yourself an experienced transaction attorney (also commonly referred to as a business attorney) who will offer wise counsel on various transaction laws relating to your business.
What Can a Transaction Attorney Do for Your Business?
A transaction attorney can help you ensure you properly do the following legal processes so you can avoid potential legal trouble:
- Register a business entity. When starting your business, you may not know whether to form it as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company, C corporation, etc. A transaction attorney can advise you on the best-suited business entity to form and perform the legal steps needed to register the company for you.
- Negotiate and draft contracts. The easiest way to get sued as an entrepreneur is to blindly enter into contracts with suppliers, employees, customers, or other parties you engage with while doing business.
To avoid any future litigation, you should hire a transaction attorney who will negotiate contracts and agreements on your behalf and verify these legal documents before you sign them to ensure they’re in your best interest and protect you from lawsuits.
- Carrying out due diligence. Transaction lawyers are heavily involved in business mergers and acquisitions and one of the roles they perform is legal due diligence.
This involves carrying out legal research to ensure a business you’re thinking of buying or merging with has been complying with the laws within its industry.
It also involves looking at whether the company has ongoing or potential legal issues that could cause you to experience costly legal problems should you proceed with the merger or acquisition. If a transaction attorney uncovers worrying issues during legal due diligence, the M&A deal can fall through, or you can use the information gathered to negotiate for a lower price for the business or ask for certain conditions to be met before the deal can move on.
During the M&A process, a transaction lawyer will also look into whether the deal you hope to achieve is doable under competition law and other laws that regulate the industry your companies are involved in.
The legal tasks a transaction lawyer can handle for a business are too many to write in detail about all of them, but here are a few more things a transaction attorney can help your business with:
- Providing advice on compliance matters and general governance
- Filing legal forms for your business, for example, tax exemption forms
- Designing employee policies
- Ensuring your intellectual property is protected
How Can a Transaction Attorney Help Individual Clients?
Transaction attorneys don’t only work with businesses. They also perform several functions for individuals including:
- Preparing estate planning documents such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorneys.
- Negotiating and drafting personal contracts such as tenant and employee agreements.
- Filing tax returns and other documents need to enjoy government benefits.
When Do You Need a Transactional Attorney?
If your business has a legal problem, you should hire a litigation attorney, who will go to court and fight for you or find a way to settle the issue out of court in the shortest time possible and at the least expense.
However, I recommend you get yourself an accomplished transaction lawyer at the start of your business, as they’ll offer you solid legal advice that should help you protect your business from lawsuits that have the potential of draining your business finance.
For an individual, you should work with a transaction attorney to create an estate plan once you begin accumulating assets.
Having an estate plan in place will ensure there is a clear plan of what will happen to your assets should you become incapacitated or die.
An estate plan will also help your family or beneficiaries avoid probate court, a legal process that determines who inherits your assets after your death. Probate can be long, expensive, and tough on your family, so you want to avoid it.
Some of the skills a transaction lawyer your considering working with should have include:
- Negotiation and drafting skills so they can provide you with watertight contracts and agreements that deter anyone thinking of taking legal action against you or your business from doing so.
- Analytical skills. Your transaction attorney should understand your business and be able to analyze and identify areas that could cause legal problems for you and offer sound solutions for potential problems.
- Exception legal research skills, which they can use to find legal information that offers you the best legal protection from being sued or the best defense if you’re already facing legal trouble.
- Communication skills. Your attorney should be someone who listens to your concerns and communicates well on how they can help you address them. The attorney should also be pleasant to be around as this can help you establish a good business relationship.
When searching for a transaction attorney, you should also look at how many years of experience they have in transaction law, what type of business transactions they specialize in, their reputation, their unique selling point over other transaction attorneys, etc.
Gallagher Krich, APC: Experienced Business Transactions Attorneys
If you’re looking for an experienced transaction attorney, get in touch with Gallagher Krich, APC. Our attorneys have 30+ combined years of successfully helping business owners and individuals with their legal needs.
With us, as your legal partner, you can focus on growing your business knowing that your legal business needs are well taken care of. Call us today at (858) 926-5797 for a free consultation.