From settling disputes with neighbours and business partners to having to deal with more serious legal matters or simply needing advice on an issue, the time may come when you might need the help of a lawyer irrespective of whether you're an individual or a representative of a large company. Serving as a one-stop-shop to all your legal, accounting and business consultancy services, law firms across the island boast an extended portfolio of professional services and can provide tailored business solutions to your needs.
Solo law firms versus large legal firms
Local law firms come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with some dealing with all sorts of general legal matters, whereas others tend to focus on specific areas, such as Gaming, IT and Telecoms. As the name implies, solo law firms are generally run by one professional who operates from their private office and who may either be specialised in a particular area of practice be it public or civil law or may handle general legal queries that could range from personal injury law to family law. Solo firms are a good option if you want to resolve a particular legal issue, but more importantly, if you're looking to reduce your legal costs since these tend to be less expensive than larger, well-known practices. In addition, you might be able to enjoy a more individualised service, most especially if the lawyer you have selected works on a case-by-case basis.
Generally in operation for several years, large legal firms tend to be well-established and may vary in size with some employing two or three professionals, whereas others may have several employees. As a result, large firms tend to specialise in all areas of the law and can handle all sorts of legal work. Typical clients consist of large organisations and businesses, as well as individuals. What's more, bear in mind that these companies may offer their services at a higher cost.
Determining what type of lawyer you need for your case should be the first step when deciding to hire one. For a full list of professionals, you may have a look at the lawyers listed on Yellow. Alternatively, the Chamber of Advocates also has legal practitioners listed. Naturally, it would be wise to employ someone with a wealth of experience, most especially if your case is a somewhat complicated one and ideally you should get referrals and recommendations from friends and family to ensure that the professional you have selected is a reputable practitioner.
A wealth of services
The spectrum of services offered across the island is truly wide. Below are some of the most common legal fields that local lawyers operate in.
Legal practitioners can assist with all aspects of legal and regulatory formalities in relation with establishing your company in Malta, whereas they can offer continuous and on-going advice with any compliance and operational issues that may arise.
Gaming, IT and Telecoms
As numerous iGaming companies have mushroomed across the island generating substantial economic activity, many law firms are offering consultation and advice on gaming legislation such as company registration and the preparation of all documentation related to the acquisition of Remote Gaming Licences, as well as ongoing support once the company has been established locally.
Blockchain & Fintech
Despite being a relatively new sphere, an increasing number of firms have been working hard to acquire the necessary legal knowledge to assist clients with blockchain based projects and cryptocurrency enquiries. This is all the more important when bearing in mind that Malta has become one of the first countries to set out a complete legal framework to regulate companies wishing to issue a distributed ledger technology (DLT) asset.
Tax & Corporate
From corporate and tax structuring to taxation of collective investment schemes and any issues pertaining to Maltese tax, lawyers can help both local and international clients with consultancy and advisory services in this field. Other areas that may also be covered include but are not limited to, income tax, capital gains tax, stamp duty and VAT in relation to companies, individuals, partnerships and trusts.
Other areas of practice include investment licences and funds, intellectual property, aircraft registration, foundations and escrow services, personal injury, acquiring Maltese citizenship, as well as accounting services and real estate, amongst others. If you're unsure whether your lawyer or firm can undertake your case, a quick ring at the office or a search online will answer any questions you may have.
Appointments, typical procedures and pricing
Visiting a legal professional is strictly by appointment. A lawyer would generally have set opening hours during weekdays, whereas some may even be open on Saturday mornings. Operating hours would be displayed outside their office, whilst many have websites and Facebook pages where you can have a better look at the services on offer. Make sure you give the office a ring in advance to set an appointment.
Most firms usually ask clients to sign an engagement letter whereby the level of service the firm will be providing is notified, as well as the basis upon which you will be charged. Usually, legal work is charged on an hourly rate with a final bill sent to clients either at the end of each month or once the case has been finalised. Pricing varies from firm to firm and from lawyer to lawyer, with this depending on the seniority of the lawyer, the experience at hand and the nature of the case itself. Ensure that everything is clear in advance and make sure that any queries that you may have are resolved.
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