When starting a business, your number one priority is figuring out how to make money. But before you can spend it, you need to have it first. However, making money is hard, and there are legal issues that you will have to face when you are fast-tracking towards success. One of these legal issues is choosing a business lawyer for your company. With today’s topic being about choosing the best attorney, we will cover some common topics that I recommend you take a look at before making this big decision. I have provided a buying guide for those who still need help finding the perfect lawyer for themselves or their companies; however, If you do not fall under any of these categories, stay tuned as I am sure this article.
- You don’t need an expensive firm
It is common for new business owners to assume that they need a big-name corporate law firm. Maybe you’ve already been approached by several and are asking yourself, “Do I really need one of these guys?” When starting up a new business, it is often tempting to take on a law firm. Some business owners believe that they need the help of a big law firm with lots of experience. These businesses have high profits, and they are going places. And it seems easy to use them for everything simply. But this may not be the best choice in the long run.
Although it might seem hard to believe, there is such a thing as small business law. You do not need to have an army of expensive lawyers advising you on how to best structure your company. In reality, there is always legal advice you can use from any experienced business lawyer.
- Ask about the billing policy
If you’re not that familiar with the corporate legal field, you might be surprised to know that your lawyer’s “billable hour rate” may not be as important as it seems. Indeed, many firms will charge higher hourly fees but offer valuable benefits such as payment terms or contingent fee arrangements.
In a lawyer’s case, many clients think the lower, the better. Other attributes make up for the value of a lawyer, though – experience, industry knowledge, and connections, to name a few. Take time to look beyond the billable hour rate when searching for legal help.
When I started out as an entrepreneur, I didn’t know what to do when it came to the services I would need for my business. It’s very important to hire a lawyer you can trust, which will be on your side. They are not always paid per hour or even by the billable hour. They are sometimes hired by results or as an annual retainer. It’s worth looking into because you may be able to get some valuable advice at a lower price point than expected.
- Choose a lawyer you’d be happy to have a tea with
A lawyer might seem like a strange person to consider for making new friends, but when it comes to your business – it’s crucial! Your lawyer is there to help you avoid trouble with the law and stop anybody who’s trying to take advantage of you. If you want your attorney to help you in this way, then your best bet is to make him (her) feel comfortable by getting him (her) involved in your life.
I spend almost 50 percent of my time at the office, and I am sure you do too. It is important to me that my physical environment is relaxing, comfortable, and conducive to creativity. I know your business lawyer also works in a professional setting, but is there anything you can do to make your attorney feel like he (or she) is in an inviting place?
- They must have a business experience
I have been asked several times about the question of whether business lawyers should have experience running a business. Of course, the answer for some is an emphatic “no.” They argue that a lawyer can give guidance as to what those businesses need to do from a legal perspective, but if he does not run a business himself, he will not provide the kind of direction they are seeking.
It is also true. Many people lack business experience but still become successful. That is, however, more by serendipity and hard work than anything else. If you have a legal issue, you are probably taking a big risk by having your lawyer advise you on your business (or any part of it). The expertise and skill required for law and business are different.
- Dealmaker or a deal-breaker
While the metaphor of a lawyer as a bulldog makes for some good posturing, it’s the wrong metaphor if you’re talking to a prospective client. The ideal client wants her lawyer to be the most effective advocate possible. That might mean swimming upstream, but that’s what the lawyer does.
They want to get a deal done quickly and for as little cost as possible. Professionalism on both sides is important to ensure the deal gets done. The decisions made or the actions taken by legal can provide their own obstacles that may prevent the deal from happening.
- Part-time VP legal
My business lawyer has saved me from making a costly mistake. When you start to scale and hire employees, it’s important to make sure you have a contract that defines working relationships with their new startup. Don’t put off contacting your business lawyer. They can advise you on the legal issues you face and help guard against discrimination, wrongful termination, breach of contract, and, most importantly, non-compete clauses. Your lawyer can help minimize the resources consumed on frivolous lawsuits while preventing potential losses in revenue and customer trust.
My business lawyer has helped develop our hiring agreement, policies and is there for us when we need advice on other legal matters. No other lawyer or professional can compensate for missing my business lawyer!