Typically, a securities attorney is considered outside counsel. Public companies may have their own attorney that will perform recording requirements, which are meant to inform your investors about how the company is doing. Securities is all about disclosures and letting people know how the company is doing and being straightforward. You could have an in-house attorney do some of these aspects, but it’s typically done by outside counsel. Attorneys will either be on retainer, or they will work project-to-project based on what the company can do.
It’s always best to have somebody on retainer so that you can use them as needed, but attorneys also will work on a project-by-project basis and will typically, even though they bill by the hour, give you a good understanding of what it’s going to cost to do certain projects, such as raising money or going public.
What Qualities Should I Look For In An Experienced Securities Attorney?
Something key is a diverse background. Sometimes you’ll work with a practitioner who all they’ve done is a very niche area of the law, and they don’t know much about bankruptcy, loans or real estate, other areas of the law that typically will impact securities law. Any time somebody goes to an attorney that’s so specialized that all they do is one thing, they usually only have one answer for you, and that’s what they’ve always done. It’s important to have somebody who’s well-versed in securities law, but also somebody that may have a more diverse background so that they can recommend things to you and have a wider view of the best way to solve your legal problems.
Why Don’t A Lot Of Attorneys Practice Securities Law?
It’s a very specialized field. Attorneys are scared of securities law, and the reason they’re scared of it is because it delves into federal law. Any time you’re dealing with the federal code and administrative rules, it gets very complex, and the amount of liability goes up. It does scare some attorneys away; it scares a lot of attorneys away.
How Do You Stay Current And Up-To-Date On Securities Laws?
The funny thing about law is that lawyers go to law school, and they are not required to specialize in any certain field. It’s not like you need a certain amount of training in law school; it’s not like medical school where you have a track afterward that you have to pursue in order to qualify for something. There is no separate bar exam for it. There really are no formal qualifications. You just want somebody who is involved with their local bar and who has enough of a track record that they can point to projects and clients they’ve worked on and be able to get recommendations from those clients.
Additional Information About Securities Law
Most companies do need the advice of an attorney, and a lot of times they’ll go to an attorney that has no knowledge of securities law. These attorneys will counsel clients, and they’ll have their business perspective, but they won’t have a broader securities law perspective. The advice they give a lot of times can conflict with securities law. I would just caution clients, when they are working with a business attorney, to make sure that the attorney has a good feel for what securities law is and how it can impact the business because it comes up more often than most business owners realize.
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