How to Find the Right Lawyer for Your Business?
One of the problems most businesses face is getting sued. Irrespective of how a business owner carefully carries out a business, it can negatively affect the owner when a business deal goes wrong or hires the wrong worker. A business owner’s best bet against possible legal issues is investing resources and time to get an excellent lawyer.
Having a business lawyer is similar to having a business partner who can help you through difficult times in your business. Additionally, business lawyers can answer your legal questions and provide the legal services you need. It could be raising money, drafting documents, and even lawsuits like employment problems.
You don’t necessarily need to spend more than your budget to hire a business lawyer but hiring one can save you from future legal issues. Let’s find out the ways to find the right business lawyer.
- Check for lawyers close to you through local directories or your network
You might be looking for legal advice now or trying to find a business lawyer before you need one. There are specific steps you can follow to find the lawyer who best suits your business.
Hiring a business lawyer is like searching for your next employee, accountant, or business lender. This means that it would be best to have several options for comparison. So, meet with different lawyers and choose the individual who best suits your business.
So, say you live in Tampa, Florida, and an excellent way to search for a Tampa business lawyer close to you is through online legal directories close to you. In most states in the US, bar associations usually have an updated list of every licensed lawyer in the state. This list is often sortable through their area of focus.
Additionally, there are also curated attorney listings. But these lawyers usually work at expensive and large law firms. You can also check the website of the Small Business Administration and your local chamber of commerce. These places typically have relationships with experienced business lawyers.
Another place you can check is legal platforms that offer resources for finding business lawyers like UpCounsel. Such sites have a comprehensive list of lawyers and their reviews. Though you must be diligent in vetting the business lawyer you find, you shouldn’t place all your trust in online reviews.
Only some sites will have verified reviews, and no context is usually provided about the client’s legal issue. On the other hand, you can also source for potential business lawyers close to you through your professional and personal network.
A good recommendation can come from a family, friend, or business owner in a similar industry. This is very important because they might have faced similar legal issues that you are currently facing. You can also seek a recommendation from business professionals you have worked with, such as accountants.
- Compare business lawyers through the right questions
After getting different business lawyers, you need to book a meeting with each. Some lawyers will provide a half-hour or one-hour free consultation to discuss with potential clients. The consultation would be an excellent way to know which lawyer fits you before committing.
Make sure to book an in-person consultation, as this will help you determine if the lawyer attaches importance to building a relationship with you and wants to create time for you. When you meet a lawyer in person, you will better understand their personality and know if you can work with them.
It would be best if you asked a business lawyer several questions during the consultation. Some of them are:
- Do you have experience similar to my legal issue?
- What experience do you have working with business owners?
- How will we communicate?
- Are there any conflicts of interest with my business?
- Would you work with others on my business legal problems?
- Would you refer me to other business lawyers when it is needed?
- Ensure you and the business lawyer arrange a fee that fits your budget
Every business owner usually works on a budget. Therefore, the cost would be one of your concerns regarding working with a lawyer. Business lawyers typically charge hourly from around $150 an hour for a junior lawyer in small cities to around $1,000 an hour for top lawyers in a big city firm. Knowing this, you must ensure your fee agreement is put in writing.
This will help you know the exact amount you are to pay for your business lawyer. With this, there are different fee arrangements that most business lawyers provide for business. Let’s take a look at some of them,
- Flat fee: flat fees usually depend on the type of legal service you require. The lawyer will either charge you a flat fee or an hourly fee. Flat fees save money, especially if your legal problem is one that the lawyer regularly attends to.
- Contingent fee: when your legal issue involves litigation, your business lawyer might create a contingent fee arrangement for your case. A contingent fee is given to a lawyer when they win the case for you.
- Retainer agreement: if your business involves a lot of legal work, it would be beneficial to have a business lawyer on standby. A retainer lawyer is usually always on call to help resolve any legal issues your business faces.
- Business equity: here, the business lawyer will be given an equity portion of your business in exchange for their services. This option is not very popular since most lawyers may not have as much confidence in smaller businesses, which will leave them with no guarantee for payment.
The main reason business owners hire business lawyers is to save them time and money. Experienced business lawyers know that being proactive about getting legal help before they need it is the best bet. As mentioned above, you can get business lawyers through various sources, and these lawyers would gladly arrange a fee that suits you.
However, ensure that you discuss with them irrespective of how you find a lawyer. Make sure that they are the right fit for your business both presently and in the future. Know that you are the client, so you should be pleased with the lawyer you intend to work with.