What is a Banking and Finance Lawyer?
Banking and finance are both an industry and an area of the law at the state and federal level. Banking and finance lawyers specialize in these laws and in helping clients with financial and banking legal issues. Some work for large companies and banks. Others work with small business owners and individuals. This area of the law is large and broad, and many lawyers have subspecialties:
- Business formation and finances
- Bank lending
- Project or real estate finance
- Business acquisitions
- Assets finance
- Financial services
- Securities and investments
What Does a Banking and Finance Lawyer Do?
Exactly what a banking and finance lawyer does depends on their specialty area and their clients. Many work for companies, often as in-house counsel. They help those companies manage financial transactions, acquire other businesses or assets, and comply with finance and banking laws and regulations.
Most people never work with a lawyer who focuses on corporations and financial institutions, but many need a lawyer expert in these laws for their individual issues and small businesses. For individual clients and small business owners, a banking and finance lawyer can do several things:
- Formation of a small business
- Ensuring a business complies with financial and banking laws
- Negotiate financial transactions
- Advise in borrowing and loans
- Settle disputes with a bank or other lender
- File for bankruptcy
- Assist with a tax audit or other tax issues
- Advise in debt collection rights
- Perform due diligence before making an investment
- Litigate when a client has been a victim of securities fraud
When Do I Need a Banking and Finance Lawyer?
Most individuals do not need to work with banking and finance lawyers. If you are thinking of starting a business or already run a small business, this kind of lawyer can be useful. As an individual, if you have legal issues related to debt, a loan, taxes, or investments, a lawyer can represent and advise you.
These are just a few examples of when you might need to talk with or hire a banking and finance lawyer as a small business owner:
- You want to ensure you comply with laws related to employee pension funds.
- You need to finance the purchase of major assets, like equipment, or real estate.
- You are thinking of acquiring another business.
- Your company will be investing in securities.
- There have been errors in your taxes, or you are being audited or charged for back taxes.
- Your company is in debt that threatens its existence, and you’re struggling to come up with a solution.
As an individual, you may need to consult a banking and finance lawyer for:
- Tax problems, such as mistakes in filing or an audit
- Filing for bankruptcy
- A dispute with your bank or lender
- Understanding a major loan contract, such as a mortgage
- Disputes with a financial planner, or if you suspect they have acted illegally or fraudulently
How to Find a Banking and Finance Lawyer
Many lawyers and firms specialize in banking and finance. You will need to narrow down your list of potential representation to those who specialize in your specific area of need. For instance, don’t hire a corporate or bank lawyer for your small business.
Look for lawyers who work with small business owners and individuals. If you need tax help, look for a tax lawyer. For bankruptcy, find a firm with experience helping individuals and businesses through this legal practice.
Friends and family may be able to recommend a lawyer. If you are a small business owner, your professional network is a good source. Once you have a few firms or individual attorneys lined up to interview, ask important questions:
- How long have you been working in banking and finance law?
- How many clients have you helped with issues like mine?
- What are your experiences in the area of the law that affects me?
- Can you provide me with references from past clients?
- Can you describe similar cases you have handled and the outcomes?
- What do you think of my situation, and how would you proceed with it?
- What are your fees, and how does payment work?
Working with Your Banking and Finance Lawyer
Any time you work with a lawyer, you’ll get the best results if you develop a strong, professional relationship. Consider your lawyer a partner in your legal issues. They are the experts, but you have a role to play as well.
Always provide your lawyer with all the information and paperwork they need to handle your case best and give advice. Be timely to meetings and be easy to contact so they can keep you up to date and get what they need.
Be an active participant, which means asking questions, insisting on staying informed, and taking your lawyer’s advice seriously.
Banking and finance lawyers are important advocates and advisers for business owners and individuals. If you have legal issues related to anything to do with money and finance, contact an experienced lawyer for guidance and representation.