You have decided to hire a business attorney, great news! Here are some things you need to think about before you pick a business lawyer for your company.
What Types of Law Will Your Company Need Help With?
Depending on your business, you are likely to need help with legal matters in many different fields. “Different business issues may require a specific business attorney that fits the problem. Instead of worrying about every eventuality, focus on the immediate legal issue that affect your business, according to a business lawyer San Diego, Brad Nakase, at the Nakase Wade law firm.
For example, if your business will involve renting or buying a lot of real estate, you should work with a lawyer with expertise in real estate law. If you plan to publish ebooks or make music as part of your business, then you will need an attorney who specializes in intellectual property protection. Employment attorneys can assist with drafting employment agreements and defending employee’s lawsuit. Work out the one or two areas of law where you will require the most guidance and find attorneys or law firms with that skillset.
How Will The Attorney Bill You?
Attorneys have a number of fee structures they may use depending on the service they are charging you for. You need to be aware of the fee structure and the amount you will pay for the service upfront. This will allow you to budget correctly and decide if you should ask your attorney about something or if it is easier to just google the answer.
Flat Fee Rate
- A set fee for a service
- The rate will not change regardless of the amount of time or effort it takes your attorney
- Used for simple services that do not require negotiation or legwork, like incorporation
- You pay per hour of the lawyer’s time spent performing a task
- There may be minimum time charges or rounding to the nearest hour
- You need to set a clear scope for the task and ask for updates to manage your budget
- A monthly fee to access your attorney for an allotted amount of time each month
- If you require more help than your allotted amount, you will be charged the additional time
- Great for businesses that need to contact their attorney to seek advice
Does The Size of a Law Firm Matter
Yes, but it should not be the only thing you consider. Large law firms will operate in a very different way to small law firms, and there is no general rule to say which is better or worse. You need to consider what works best for you.
For example, if you work with a large law firm, the person you speak to might always change. But, this means that you can always speak to someone on your team when you have questions. If you work with a small law firm or solo practitioner, you might speak to the same person every time and build a great rapport with them. But, this may mean that you can’t always get in touch with them.
You should weigh up the kind of support you need and things like your preferred communication style in the decision.
What Information Do I Need To Make A Decision?
Again, that answer will depend greatly on your business and how experienced you are with business too. We encourage California business owners to consider the kind of support they need and the kind of professional relationship they require before they even begin looking the best law firms.
Along with your personal list of information you need, consider the following things you might want to overlook. We see many clients who want to avoid making an attorney feel like they are “interviewing us”, but that is exactly why we provide our consultations. Just like you wouldn’t hire a manager or any other key member of staff for your business without an interview, you need to check our credentials and if we will fit with your business.
This is the question that most potential clients shy away from, but we are happy to talk about our experience. Ask lawyers about their wins and losses, what their areas of expertise are, and what kinds of companies they work with. The more information you have about an attorney’s experience, the easier it will be to make an informed decision on who will benefit your business the most
This may seem trivial, but whether a lawyer provides free information and resources or not is a big indication of how much they value their clients and prioritize their time. Not only does it massively help their clients to receive regular information about legal amendments and common situations, but it also saves them time fielding common questions and easily solved/prevented scenarios so that they can spend more time on complex legal matters.
Conflict of Interests
You do not want to work with an attorney who has one of your vendors, clients, or competitors as a client. This will create a conflict of interest and could mean that you don’t have your preferred representation during litigation. It’s a delicate balance to achieve between having an industry-experienced attorney and one who does not have a conflict of interest
When To Find an Attorney
Ideally, you want to hire a business lawyer from the very minute you start your company. Not only can they help with things like incorporation and advising you on the most beneficial business entity, but they will have a great knowledge of your business from the very start. All of their advice will be based upon knowledge of where your business came from, who you are as an owner and what your goals are.