As a business owner, you understand the importance of hiring a lawyer that will best represent the interests of your business. You probably also have realized that choosing a lawyer is not the easiest task. The following tips will help ensure that you find the best lawyer for your business:
1. Research carefully and thoroughly to find the right legal expert. You want a lawyer that has an interest in your business and a desire to help you. Ask trustworthy professionals (i.e. accountants, bankers, other business-owners, etc.) around you for referrals. You might even consider checking with your state Bar association for a list of lawyers who specialize in business representation. When searching for the right lawyer ask for the lawyer’s references, and don’t hesitate to fact-check or call their references.
2. Interview a prospective lawyer. While good references are important, you shouldn’t base your final decision on what other people tell you. Most lawyers will charge a consultation fee, but realize that this is a small amount to pay to ensure that you choose the right lawyer to represent your business’ needs. When meeting with lawyer:
a. Be sure they have the right knowledge and experience to help you with your business’ particular needs. Ask lots of questions about how long they have been practicing, their specialties (i.e. bankruptcy, patent, merger and acquisition lawyer, etc.), past cases, etc.
b. Discuss legal fees and costs, how you will be billed, and what you are expected to pay.
c. Don’t rush the interview be sure that the lawyer has an adequate understanding of your business and your industry.
d. Find out their availability and how accessible they will be to help you when you need them.
e. Make sure they know that it is not acceptable for them to turn your case over to a legal assistant after your retainer is paid.
f. Ask to see samples of the types of legal forms that may be used for your business in the case that you may need your lawyer to prepare contracts and legal forms for you.
3. Once you’ve chosen a lawyer, be sure not to dump all of your problems on them at once. Instead, work with your lawyer to determine a strategy to tackle your questions and problems and don’t expect the lawyer to do everything for you. It is important that you do the things you are able to do, and let your lawyer do the things that he or she is there to do. That way you are both working together and on the same page.