The recent years of economic boom have offered ample opportunities for the creation and development of businesses. As a result, the expertise of commercial solicitors have been in high demand for both the set up and subsequent smooth-running of businesses. However, as many businesses find themselves cutting back - or worse, failing - the workload of commercial solicitors has evolved to meet a new set of demands. |
During the recent years of financial prosperity, the role of a commercial solicitor has predominantly focused on nurturing healthy business. This begins immediately after the conception of the business, when the legalities of setting-up need to be formally undertaken. A commercial solicitor will, for example, advise on whether their client should trade as a limited company, partnership or limited liability partnership: technicalities which will have a profound impact on the running of the business thereafter.
As the business evolves the expertise of a commercial solicitors continue to be of the utmost importance. Any incorporation, sale or purchases of the business need to be handled by a legal professional, as do the undertaking of intellectual property protection, corporate restructuring and financing.
However, the economic situation has significantly altered the landscape in which commercial solicitors operate. Not only is it a very hostile environment for the setting up of new companies but because of the reluctance of banks to lend, businesses have been forced to postpone any plans of expansion for the time being. The uncertainty of the economic climate has also made businesses more cautious about investing, which has significantly reduced commercial work for solicitors.
However, the altered economic climate brings its own new challenges, so that whilst one area of work may be reduced, elsewhere commercial solicitors are finding themselves in demand. An area of particular growth is litigation. As clients and suppliers attempt to avoid obligations which have suddenly become difficult to fulfill, commercial solicitors will find their services heavily called upon.
However, the field of work most rapidly expanding under current conditions is employment, and in particular redundancy. The employment laws for businesses are extremely strict and employers will find themselves in hot water if they do not abide by them very carefully. With unemployment anticipated to rise, companies who exercise any form of caution will undoubtedly be consulting their lawyers.
So, whilst the set-up and expansion of businesses may temporarily be on hold, commercial solicitors should find themselves faring a little better for work than many other professions. The current financial crisis will undoubtedly throw up an abundance of tricky commercial employment solicitor issues which should, for the time being, keep commercial solicitors busy.
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