Hiring an attorney early on in the quest to achieve corporate success is important for many reasons. There are legal issues and regulations for entrepreneurs and business owners to think about from day one of launching a venture. Having an experienced business attorney can help you navigate potentially complex processes, maximize your chances of establishing and growing a successful business and lower the risks of running into problems related to employment contracts, disputes and non-compliance. If you’re looking for an attorney for your business, here are some tips to help you make the right choice.
There are thousands of law firms in the US, so how do you go about choosing the best attorney for your business? To help you narrow down the options, here are some pointers:
Many of us trust our friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors and we want to hear about peoples’ experiences first-hand to enable us to find companies, firms, and agencies that are trustworthy, reliable, and reputable. If you know of friends or colleagues who have used business attorneys in the past or you have connections who may be able to offer recommendations, it can be reassuring to use a firm that is familiar to people you know and trust.
One of the most common questions people have about hiring an attorney is ‘Which is better: small or large legal firms?’ There is no universal answer to this question and there are pros and cons for every business. Small firms may be more limited in terms of practice areas and experience of specific corporate services, but you might find that larger firms provide a less personal service. Think about your individual requirements, the services you are likely to use, and your expectations before you make a decision. Additional factors, including your budget, may also play a role. If you are looking for a business attorney to cover every legal aspect of setting up or managing your company, a small firm may not be able to cross every box.
Attorneys are becoming increasingly specialized in terms of the areas they cover and the skills they possess. Just as you would visit a specific type of doctor for different types of ailments, you can now seek advice from attorneys with in-depth knowledge of specialist areas of corporate law. When deciding which business attorney to hire, explore practice areas and expertise and focus your search on lawyers who specialize in the areas relevant to your business. If you’re drawing up contracts, for example, you may need a different attorney to a company director hoping to seek advice about patenting or intellectual property.
When hiring an attorney for your business, it’s crucial to establish a strong relationship. You want to have confidence in the firm and trust that it will deliver. It can be difficult to get a sense of how teams and individuals function and how attorneys interact with and treat clients from reading web pages and looking at ‘About Us’ sections. If you are offered a free consultation or a phone call to find out more about the services on offer, make use of this session or conversation to get a feel for the practice, to get to know the attorneys, and to learn about what they can offer. We often form impressions very quickly and it’s useful to use your intuition to hire people who give you confidence. Look for attorneys that listen, those who deliver tailored services, and firms that respond to customer inquiries promptly and politely.
When you call an attorney or you arrange a consultation, it’s useful to have a list of questions prepared so that you can gather as much information as possible before you make a decision. Sample questions you may wish to ask an attorney you’re thinking about hiring include:
Once you’ve asked your questions, take time to think about, digest and process the responses. It’s important not to rush into making decisions. Some questions you may want to ask yourself before proceeding include:
Hiring a good business attorney is incredibly beneficial for companies of all sizes across all sectors. Business owners are likely to need legal advice from the outset and they may need expert help and input for a broad spectrum of reasons. From employee disputes and mergers to drawing up contracts and deciding how to run your business, having a reliable expert with an outstanding track record in your corner can make all the difference.