In order to maintain a successful business, there are many legal contracts and documents that must be drafted, reviewed, and agreed upon. In many cases, a business will not hire and retain an in-house lawyer due to the infrequent need and business industry. Therefore, it is key to find a lawyer that is qualified to aid your business and accurately document and handle contracts and other legal documents. The right lawyer will be licensed in your state, well-versed in contract and intellectual property, and able to handle transactional and litigation matters with ease.
It is important to hire a lawyer before you really need one–such as before any important meetings or contracts in order to allow your lawyer enough time to review materials and prepare. Waiting until the last minute only makes the attorney’s work more difficult and more expensive. Read on to learn how to find the right business lawyer for your unique business or contract needs.
Talk to friends, family and business colleagues to get an idea of which lawyers in the area may be available to handle your legal business needs and their experience. A good referral goes a long way. If you don’t have any referrals or are unfamiliar with local attorneys, look at a lawyer’s online ratings and other people’s experience working with them. Client testimonials and reviews or “digital referrals” or can give you an idea of how other business owners and individuals feel about the lawyer’s service and abilities.
Lawyers.com, Avvo.com, Google, Yelp, and Facebook all provide reviews to help you find the right business lawyer, and clients are usually more familiar with using these types of websites to post honest reviews online. They will also generally keep a record of any disciplinary actions or unsavory behaviors. Candid feedback from others’ experience with local attorneys can help guide your decision and interactions with the attorneys you look up. In addition to social media and reviews, industry websites for your business may have a listing or suggestion of local lawyers that could point you in the right direction.
Review credentials to ensure that a lawyer is licensed by the local or state bar association and can practice law. This can be done by calling the office of the bar association in your area or checking their website. A bar association is a professional organization of lawyers that ensures qualified attorneys and provides listing of local lawyers or law firms, generally arranged by location or area of specialization, and can help you find the right business lawyer.
You can research an attorney by name to find their current license and whether they have received any disciplinary actions, along with information about them and the number of years they have been practicing law. Additionally, review a lawyer’s website, LinkedIn profile, and any social media or professional associations. Their behavior online and records will provide you will the information to ensure they are qualified to handle any legal service or advice your business may require.
Select a few lawyers from your list of referrals that you think can best serve your business needs. Call the attorney’s office or fill out an online form to make contact and ask if they handle your type of business or organization’s legal needs. You will have to give them a bit of background on yourself, your business, and the type of legal issues you have, in addition to any other parties you are dealing with (such as contracts to ensure the attorney has no conflict of interest).
Confirm that the lawyer handles your type of business concerns, or that they are willing to take you on as a new client. If they handle legal matters related to your business and are willing to take you on as a new client, set up an in-person meeting to further discuss hiring them as your business lawyer.
Get A Consultation
Make introductory consultations to get to know each lawyer you have researched. Once you have narrowed down your search to a few candidates, set up an appointment with each lawyer to discuss your specific business needs. Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation, so take advantage of this opportunity to meet with a few attorneys and select one that can provide the services that will best fit your needs.
The attorney should be well-versed in contracts and have experience dealing with both large and small businesses. In an initial consultation, the attorney will introduce themselves and give you some information as to their background, in addition to asking about your business needs and current situation.
Hiring an attorney can save you a lot of money in the long-term, but it is an investment. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a reliable attorney that is cost-effective for your business needs, but also keep in mind that your attorney must be qualified and worth investing in. Examine all options, cost, and benefits. If you are just starting out with your business, consider contacting business lawyers and inquiring about their basic services–such as documents for business formation or an initial consultation or basic legal documents.
Discuss their fee structure, whether it is an hourly rate, fixed fee, or a hybrid of hourly and fixed fee billing. If your business needs help with a complex contract negotiation, a lawyer may decide to charge hourly billing since it is difficult to estimate the amount of time such a task will take. If they are handling a simple task or dealing with an issue they have experience doing for many other clients, an attorney may set a flat fee. The most important aspect of the conversation surrounding fees is to ensure that it works for you and your business. As long as each party is up front about their expectations, it should be a simple discussion.
Ask The Right Questions
Once you have set up an initial consultation with a lawyer and explained your business’ legal needs, be sure you ask the right questions. Although you may have already done some prior research, be sure to ask how long the attorney has been practicing law, and how the experience they have with business law in particular.
Although specializations and practice requirements vary by state, it’s important to select a business lawyer that is familiar with the local area and has represented individuals in a similar manner in the same jurisdiction. A business lawyer will be much more able to provide helpful advice and have familiarity with legal documents if they have been practicing in the area for a long time, as opposed to someone new to the area or unused to local practice.
Find Someone You Trust
Finally, in order to find the right business lawyer, you must meet with choose to hire someone that you are comfortable with the feel you can trust. You’ll be working with the lawyer you hire and may have to discuss difficult topics. Make sure you are alright with your attorney’s abilities and demeanor. Additionally, ensure that you are comfortable with their level of accessibility.
Can you easily get in touch with them or set up an appointment or time to talk with their office? Do you feel they are responsive to your inquiries and you can trust them? These questions are essential to hiring the right business lawyer, as you will need to let them know every aspect of your business in order for them to adequately provide legal service and expert advice.
If you’re in search of a business contract lawyer to handle your needs, reach out to The Law Office Of Scott S. Ives at 703-444-6600 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free initial consultation to discuss your legal needs.