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California Corporate Lawyer Cost

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How much does it cost to hire a California corporate lawyer? If you have a corporation in California, you may need a corporate attorney to assist with legal matters that affect your company. A common question to ask before hiring a lawyer is how much legal representation will cost. Let us explore this question and some basic information about corporate lawyers.

Based on ContractsCounsel's marketplace data, the average cost of a California corporate lawyer is $150.00 - $575.00 per hour.

How Much Does a California Corporate Lawyer Cost?

A corporate lawyer specializes in corporate law and provides business owners with guidance on issues that affect businesses. A business owner can use a corporate lawyer for assistance with issues in tax law, employment law, contract law, and the regulations that govern corporations in California.

When a corporation decides to hire a lawyer, the cost of legal services is usually a significant factor in the decision. It is important to find out how much the legal services will cost and how the lawyer charges clients. The cost of a corporate lawyer in California will vary based on several factors like the city where the lawyer is located, the lawyer’s experience or specialization, and the amount of legal work that needs to be completed.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Set up a Corporation in California?

In California, you are not required to have a lawyer to set up a corporation, but a lawyer can provide valuable assistance in business formation.

Choosing a Corporation Structure

When forming a new corporation, a business owner must decide which type of structure is best for their company. California has several options for corporations including:

  • General Corporation
  • Closed Corporation
  • Professional Corporation
  • Non-profit Mutual Benefit Corporation
  • Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation
  • Non-Profit Religious Corporation
  • Common Interest Development Corporation

Each type of corporation offers different benefits and drawbacks. A corporation attorney will be familiar with all aspects of these corporations and can help a business owner choose which structure best fits the goals of the company.

Drafting and Filing Formation Documents

Once a business owner has decided what type of corporation they want to establish, they need to draft the formation documents required for the entity and file them with the California Secretary of State.

California requires new corporations to file Articles of Incorporation. If the Articles of Incorporation do not include the number of directors on the board, then the corporation will also have to file Corporate Bylaws. A corporate attorney will know how to properly draft and file both documents. Hiring an attorney to complete this task will help avoid costly delays in establishing a new business.

In addition to formation documents, corporations will need to file additional documents with the Secretary of State during the course of business. This can include an annual report, amendments to the Articles of Incorporation, or dissolution documents if the Corporation is closing or restructuring.

Drafting Contracts and Agreements

During the course of business, a corporation will need several types of contracts and agreements to run successfully. When forming a corporation, it is good practice to execute a Director’s Service Agreement to establish the rights and responsibilities of the corporation’s directors. A lawyer can draft this document to ensure that the rights of all directors are protected.

Legal Representation

In California, legal entities cannot represent themselves in court like an individual can. That means that a California licensed attorney will be required to represent the corporation in any legal proceedings in a court of law. This can include lawsuits, contract disputes, or employment issues.

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How Much Do Corporate Lawyers Take from Settlements in California?

The average percentage that a corporate lawyer takes from settlements in California is 40%, however this number will vary depending on several factors like the type of settlement and the specifics of the agreement made between the lawyer and the client.

Contingency fee agreements are most commonly seen in personal injury or civil litigation cases. Corporate lawyers tend to charge clients by the hour rather than agreeing to contingency based representation. Under an hourly rate fee agreement, the lawyer will keep track of all hours spent working for a client then bill the client at a predetermined hourly rate once legal representation has concluded.

When corporate lawyers do appear in court for a client, the fee will usually be determined by the hours of work completed by the attorney rather than the amount of any settlement or financial award.

How Much Do California Law Firms Charge?

The amount that law firms in California charge will vary based on practice area, city, and the experience of the attorney. It is common for lawyers across all legal fields to charge between $150 an hour to $575 an hour.

Here are some common rates for attorneys in various legal fields:

Factors That Impact Lawyer Costs

Area of Practice

The area of law in which a lawyer practices will greatly affect the cost of legal representation. If an attorney practices in a specialized area of law that requires additional education or certification like patent law or appellate law, they can usually charge more for their time.

Corporate lawyers usually specialize in various areas of law like contract law, tax law, intellectual property law, and corporate litigation. The wide range of the legal knowledge corporate lawyers possess makes them a valuable asset to many business owners.

In addition to practice area, geographic area also plays a role in how much lawyers will charge their clients. The cost of legal services tends to match the overall cost of living in a particular area. For this reason, you may find that a lawyer in a large city like Los Angeles will cost more than a lawyer in a smaller rural town.

Experience Level

An attorney's experience will play a significant role in how much the attorney will charge clients for legal services. Experienced lawyers with years of knowledge, a good reputation, and a proven track record in court are in high demand so these lawyers can charge clients more.

An experienced corporate lawyer will have expertise in advising business owners across a wide variety of industries. They will know how to draft iron clad contracts and what works and does not work to successfully run a corporation.

Amount of Work

Different cases will require different types and amounts of work, and this will affect the overall cost of legal services. Complex legal cases like a lawsuit that involves pleadings, interviewing witnesses, discovery, and court appearances will cost significantly more than a simple contract drafting project.

Corporate lawyers are typically hired to represent businesses on a long-term basis. This allows a business owner to consult with their attorney whenever they need legal guidance. The amount that the lawyer charges the client will vary depending on the number of hours spent working for the company.

Get Help with Hiring an Attorney

Do you need help with hiring a corporate attorney for a project? If so, post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to receive bids from corporate lawyers who are licensed to practice law in California and can handle your project. All lawyers on the ContractsCounsel's platform are vetted by our team to make sure you are provided with top-tier service.

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