Running and building a profitable business requires continuous hard work, innovation, and resilience. It is also a challenging prospect for anyone, regardless of the industry, as a business lawyer. When you throw legal issues into the mix, the situation becomes even more complicated. If you become involved in a lawsuit—whether you’re the defendant or the plaintiff—be prepared to make a significant financial commitment. Covering legal fees is not cheap, though your costs will vary depending on certain factors, as a business attorney can explain. Be aware of these before your legal proceedings begin.

How Complex Is Your Case?

Business lawsuits come in many varieties and scopes. You could find yourself suing or being sued for issues such as breach of contract, sexual harassment, discrimination, unfair labor practices and any number of other alleged violations of the law. How much you’ll have to pay in legal fees to defend your company or sue another one will depend largely on the nature of your complaint. If your case involves many layers and will require numerous witnesses and experts to testify on your behalf, be prepared to pay more.

How Long Will It Go On?

Related to the point above, the length of your case will also determine how much it will cost. The longer your case lasts, the more time your attorneys will devote to researching and building your defense or lawsuit. This will also require filing multiple court documents and participating in pre-trial hearings, depositions or other meetings. Some business lawsuits can go on for years, piling up hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in costs.

Will It Go to Trial?

Not all business lawsuits end up in front of a judge. Many find settlements outside of a courtroom when the two parties get together and discuss the matters, hoping to avoid the publicity of a trial. Out-of-court settlements can often occur when one side acknowledges fault and wants to avoid embarrassment or getting a bad reputation. A trial-free case will usually cost less than one the drags on in court.

The final legal bill will vary significantly from case to case. Keep in mind, too, that the type of lawyer you hire will also determine how much you pay. More experienced attorneys could charge up to $500 an hour or more for their services. Attorneys from larger firms will also have steeper fees. You can expect to pay around $50,000 even for moderate issues.