There are over 1.3 million active attorneys in the US. That is a large pool of potential lawyers. So how do you know which one to hire for your business?
You need a reliable team supporting your business, and that means having the right lawyers. The best lawyer for your business will have the right knowledge, experience, and approach for your needs.
Keep reading to learn how to find a good attorney.
Small or Large Firm
The larger the law firm, the higher the overhead costs and the greater the hourly fee will be to you. But this doesn’t automatically mean you want to find the smallest firm possible.
A solo practitioner may not have the right background or skill set needed to address your company’s legal needs. A larger firm will have more attorneys and therefore, more knowledge and experience.
Another advantage is the clout that you garner by using a well-known powerhouse firm. If you need a stern letter written, a renowned firm will pull more influence over someone the defendant has never heard of.
The Right Type of Attorney
Just like doctors, lawyers specialize in different types of law. You need to select an attorney that specializes in the kinds of things that your business will need.
Does your business participate in real estate transactions? Then you need an attorney who specializes in the buying and selling of real estate. For further specialization, you need to think about what type of real estate you will deal with.
There is residential and commercial real estate. An attorney who only deals with residential homes may not have the skills necessary to represent you in a commercial lease or sale.
Does your company own vehicles that your employees drive? Then consulting with a personal injury lawyer can protect you from possible liability.
These lawyers can help you prepare for the day one of your employees gets into an accident. You need a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases such as auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, and truck accidents.
Your personal injury lawyer can also help you consider your liability for product liability or premises liability cases. Both of these are lawsuits that customers can bring against your business.
If you are in business, you will deal with contracts. You need a lawyer who can quickly understand the needs of your business and prepare the necessary agreements.
Look for someone who pays attention to the details. Lawsuits over contracts are won and lost over the details.
You should also have your attorney review every contract that someone else asks you to sign.
Taxes and Licensing
You will hire an accountant to prepare financial documents and taxes. But a lawyer will help you register your business and obtain any necessary licenses.
Specific industries have strict licensing requirements. A lawyer will ensure that your business stays in compliance.
There are three types of intellectual property that your business may have. Patents, copyrights, and trademarks can all help you protect your business assets.
Patents can protect your inventions or innovative designs. This could be anything from a gadget to computer code processes.
Copyrights are essential for anyone with a creative-type of business. A lawyer can help you protect artwork, designs, or media.
Before you decide to hire an attorney, ask them what kind of experience they have. Ask direct questions about the lawyer’s past experience with tasks that you will need to be done. This is also the time to ask if the lawyer represents any other companies in your industry.
Number of Connections
No single lawyer will be able to represent you in every area of legal need that you have. Your attorney should be able to identify potential problems and then suggest a solution. This could even be recommending another lawyer that specializes in specific areas of law.
Business lawyers are not like personal injury lawyers. You will not have the contingency fee options when it comes to how the lawyer gets paid.
But you do have the ability to negotiate with a potential attorney. Talk with the attorney about paying a retainer and how much that amount will be.
Then arrange for a monthly schedule. If your business is a startup, then you may be tight on cash. So it could be essential to find an attorney that understands these constraints.
Have a First Meeting
The smartest thing you can do is hire an attorney before you need one. Schedule a consultation with potential lawyers to get a feel of them. That way, when a need arises, all it takes is one email or phone call, and you have legal representation.
During your meeting, pay attention to how the lawyer acts. Some lawyers get frustrated by being “on the sidelines”. Don’t hire a lawyer who tries to tell you how to run your business.
You also need to think about how the lawyer communicates with you. You need someone who focuses on you and pays attention. Look for someone who will actively suggest solutions to your problems.
Finally, do you even like this person? Don’t forget to listen to your instincts. If you have a bad gut feeling about someone, then you have your answer.
If you are facing a legal problem, you want someone who you will be happy to work with.
How close is the lawyer’s office to yours? They don’t need to be next door, but you also don’t want to have to drive a few hours each way for every meeting.
Now You Know How to Find a Good Attorney
Now that you know how to find a good attorney, there is no excuse for why your business doesn’t have one yet. As you can see, you will most likely need more than one lawyer.
The best thing you can do is start assembling your legal team before you need them. This will give your lawyer time to learn about you and your business.
Check out the business section of our blog for more advice on how to make your company a success.