There are countless decisions you are faced with making when you own a small business. One of the most important is your choice of attorney. There are so many reasons you may need to consult with a legal professional, and with the number of lawyers there are to choose from, selecting the one that will best meet your needs can be a daunting task. Here are just a few tips to make things a bit easier, and allow you to select a lawyer with confidence.
Let Go of the Negative Preconceived Ideas about Lawyers
Let’s face it, the profession as a whole doesn’t exactly have the most sterling reputation and positive image. Many people see attorneys as greedy, dishonest, self-interested and just all around shady. But, don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch. The majority of lawyers are dedicated professionals who care about their clients, and work to achieve the best possible outcomes for them. While you do want to keep your guard up, and be discerning in your selection, don’t go into the process convinced everyone is looking to sweet talk and take advantage of you.
You want to focus on a lawyer who is well-versed in serving business clients. Lots of lawyers wear many hats, and for run of the mill, basic legal needs, this type of attorney will probably do just fine. But, when it comes to legal matters concerning your business, that is a whole different story. Not only do you want an attorney experienced in handling business matters, you ideally want someone who has handled clients like you, and the issues with which you are likely to require assistance. Carefully read over bios to get an idea of niche areas of each attorney.
When choosing an attorney for your small business, consider how well they can understand your vision and what you want to accomplish. For example, if you are a brand new start up, a big firm lawyer who recently went solo can probably offer some great insights based on his own professional journey.
Be Specific and Thorough when Outlining Your Needs
The more clearly you explain what you need in a lawyer, and why you will need one, the more you will be able to discern whether a particular attorney is the right choice for you. It will give you an opportunity to see how skilled the lawyer is, how much he knows about your business and your particular needs, and will open up a much more fruitful dialogue. The more you tell him, the more assistance and insight he can offer to you. Even if no money is exchanged and you hire someone else, any legal advice dispensed at this consultation will be protected by attorney-client privilege. Be sure to ask plenty of questions regarding any advice he gives so you have a better understanding of why he is recommending a particular course of action.
Attorneys are dealing with complex matters you can’t handle on your own. Their expertise will save you lots of money and headaches down the line. And as such, they command some decent coin for their services. Make sure you have a full understanding of how they bill services. Many work on hourly rates, but there may be other options, such as commissions or alternative fee arrangements.