If you’re just starting a business, growing a business or your established company is navigating a period of significant change, now is the perfect time to consult with a business law attorney. But is hiring an attorney really worth the expense? And how do you find the right attorney for your company? Perhaps you are looking for a small business attorney?
Why You Need a Lawyer – It’s More than Just Paperwork
No one likes doing paperwork, and legal paperwork can feel especially tedious. Nonetheless, many thrifty entrepreneurs are willing to fill out legal documents they find online if it means saving money on attorney fees. It may be time to hire a company lawyer.
But this mode of thinking demonstrates a misunderstanding about what a business lawyer’s primary purpose is. Rather than helping you fill out documents, a good company attorney will be able to tell you which documents you need based on the specifics of your business and your goals for it. In other words, a company attorney should listen to you, help you strategize and give you the legal tools you need to be successful. No templated forms can substitute for such targeted advice and guidance.
Another reason to work with a company attorney is to avoid the mistakes and legal liabilities that could ruin your business and leave you in financial jeopardy. A small business attorney will help you comply with regulations and navigate relationships with government agencies, customers and even your own business partners or shareholders. Putting safeguards in place now could protect you and your business from disaster if and when something goes wrong.
What to Look For
Comfort Level: Working with a company attorney could turn into a long-term partnership, so it is important to find someone you feel comfortable with. You need to be able to ask questions and discuss the details of your business and feel confident that you and your company lawyer are on the same page.
Business-Specific Knowledge: The company attorney should have experience and knowledge with your particular type of business. You shouldn’t have to pay them to learn on the job.
Responsiveness: Does your attorney return phone calls quickly? Can you reach out when you have questions?
Transparency: Being transparent is especially important when it comes to billing. You should know how much your lawyer charges per hour, what types of communication are billed and what you will be billed for. Predictability and consistency are key when it comes to billing.
Signs of Trouble: What Should You Avoid When Hiring an Attorney
Here are just a few qualities to avoid when looking for an attorney:
· Someone who makes you feel like you are wasting his or her time
· Someone who seems to be wasting your time and billing you for it
· Someone who cannot speak with clarity and specificity about your business
· Someone who is difficult to reach when you need him or her
· Someone who isn’t willing to talk frankly about billing and hourly fees
As mentioned earlier, it is important to have an easy rapport with your company attorney. This is someone you will be working with fairly regularly, so you need to feel at ease and feel that you can trust the legal advice you are getting. Also, ask for references when you hire an attorney.
Hiring a business law attorney is an extra expense, but it is also an investment. And if you find the right company lawyer, it may be one of the best investments you’ll ever make. At LawTrades, we are committed to representing businesses in ways that fit their unique needs. If you are seeking legal representation, please consider consulting with our team today.