- June 27, 2014
- Category: Business
Running a successful business typically requires seeking the services and advice of a variety of professionals. One such professional, an attorney, may be a particularly important part of the equation. He is the person who can provide guidance on issues crucial to your business, from tax problems to creating legally binding documents. If you are in the process of picking an attorney, you may feel a bit daunted by the options. Here are just a few helpful tips to make your decision with confidence.
Experience is Key
You will find plenty of lawyers out there who handle an eclectic mix of issues for clients, and for some legal needs, this type of attorney is just fine. But, when it comes to your business, you want a lawyer who is knowledgeable about business law, and has experience handling the myriad issues of corporate clients, from fighting a lawsuit to drawing up contracts for employees and customers. One small oversight in a contract, for example, can leave you on the hook for loads of money, or little recourse should something go wrong.
While on the subject of experience, it is important your search for a business attorney, take into account experience in your particular type of business. While all businesses have similar core needs, there are vast differences among them, and an attorney who already works with clients similar to you will be in the best position to help you.
Consider the Range of Services Offered
When looking for a business attorney, it is important you give some thought to what you want and need from him; how do you plan on utilizing him? Some lawyers may focus on very specific aspects of business law, while others offer a greater ‘buffet’ of services, handling everything from litigation to payroll. Consider the firms that can handle everything you need from a lawyer, rather than having to work with different attorneys for different aspects of your business.
Before you start working with any lawyer, it is vital you have a full understanding of how he charges for his services. For the most part, attorneys charge hourly, though certain projects may come with a flat fee. As for hourly rates, inquire at what point that whole hour gets charged. For example, if you only meet with him for 30 minutes, will he still charge you for an hour? How much will a 10 minute phone call run you?
Don’t hesitate to discuss financing options; inquire about the possibility of reduced fees initially if you happen to just be starting out. There also may be the option for alternative fee arrangements on certain projects.
If a lawyer broaches the suggestion of getting a percentage of your business profits in exchange for his work, keep looking. A lawyer is expected to be objective in his work, and financial stake in your business may create conflicts of interest that could be bad for your business.
Remember high fees don’t necessarily mean a better lawyer, but better lawyers tend to charge more. Don’t skimp on a good lawyer simply because of fees. It is important to remember the value you are getting from this relationship. You are working with someone who has extensive knowledge of complex matters that you can’t handle on your own. His knowledge will help you avoid myriad problems down the line.
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