Hiring a lawyer for any reason can be a confusing and often frustrating task, but hiring an attorney to represent and protect your startup is even tougher. Here are some things you should look for when hiring an attorney to make things simpler and ensure that your lawyer is the right fit.
A Good Fit
First things first, it doesn’t matter how many rave reviews a lawyer has received or how many cases he or she has won if you don’t get along with one another. The best place to start is with a list of referrals. When contacting attorneys, ask them questions about the things that are important to you. For example, if you prefer that they have an interest in and passion for your line of business, ask them how they feel about the type of work you do. Your lawyer should be able to relate to you as a startup business owner.
Plenty of Experience
As a startup business owner, you might feel overwhelmed by many of the decisions you need to make each day to keep your company up and running. For this reason, it’s best to find an attorney who has been around the block a time or two and who has helped other startup companies succeed in the past. This way, you can rest your mind at ease when it comes to legal issues because your attorney has likely seen them all before. What’s more, he or she can provide you with advice and guidance in several situations that you may find challenging on your own.
The Right Level of Seniority for Each Task
Having a bit of understanding about how legal firms work can help you make better choices about the attorney you hire, too. For example, if you choose to hire a firm rather than an individual who operates his or her own legal practice, you’ll have much more expertise available to you. However, you’ll want to make sure that you won’t have a third-year lawyer handling your important negotiations for you. Along those same lines, you shouldn’t expect a 20-year partner to spend his time drawing up your incorporation documents.
Responsiveness and Competency
Experience and a good fit are always nice, and ensuring that you have the right level of seniority to handle the tasks at hand can provide you with peace of mind. However, even if an attorney fits all of these descriptions, if he or she isn’t competent – or if the attorney doesn’t respond to your calls or emails in a timely manner – then that lawyer probably isn’t the best choice for your startup company. You’ll need someone who can be there for you to answer tough questions and make sure you make all of the right choices as those choices come up. That’s why responsiveness and competency are so important.
Running a startup takes a lot of time and energy, but you shouldn’t have to spend your time worrying about the legal aspects of things. Although hiring a lawyer might seem complicated, the tips above can help you make the best choice for yourself and your company.