Choosing an attorney to represent your business would be easy if you could open a business lawyer journal and read all there is to know about the attorney you want to select. Unfortunately, the process of choosing the right attorney requires some work on your part. The answers to the following four questions can help you to make the right decision.
I'm not being sued, so why do I need a lawyer?
Starting a new business venture can put a strain on your budget, so spending even more money to hire an attorney might seem like an unnecessary luxury. The truth is that consulting with an attorney before you run into problems can save money.
Lawyers do more than represent you in court when you are suing someone or being sued. A good business lawyer review documents used in your business and give you advice before you make decisions that could lead to disputes and litigation. Asking a business lawyer to review a contract before you sign it might help you to avoid disputes that could arise from it later on.
What areas of law should a business lawyer be capable of handling?
Business lawyers usually have knowledge and experience in the following areas of the law:
- Real estate
- Banks and financial arrangements
- Forming and incorporating a business
- General tax laws applicable to businesses
- Government compliance
An experienced business lawyer should be capable of recognizing and advising you about issues that can arise in your particular type of business and help you to deal with them. Some business lawyers also handle litigation involving businesses.
How do I find the right business lawyer?
One way to find a lawyer to represent your business is through recommendations from other business owners. You can also ask your accountant or banker to recommend an attorney. Local bar associations usually have referral services that you can call to get the names of attorneys in your area whose practices focus on business law.
What should I know about the attorney I hire?
You should schedule an appointment with the attorney you want to hire in order to find out more about the person. Some of the things you might want to know include:
. How long has the attorney been practicing?
. What percentage of the practice is devoted to representing businesses?
. What types of services does the lawyer provide? For example, does the attorney handle lawsuits?
. Does the attorney charge on an hourly or a flat-fee basis for his or her services?
. If there are multiple attorneys in the same office, which attorney will be representing you? Is the person you are interviewing the lawyer who will handle your calls and represent you in court when needed.
. Has the attorney written for any of the business lawyer journals published by law schools in your local area?
Most issues that arise on a day-to-day basis in your business can be handled without an attorney, but knowing that legal advice and representation from someone you know and have confidence in is only a telephone call away can be reassuring.