One of the most vital decisions you will need to make as an entrepreneur is choosing an attorney for your business. You will need to hire the services of an attorney when forming a corporation, buying or selling your business, filing a patent, making special allocations or facing litigation. Since hiring an attorney usually means establishing a long-term relationship, you need to make your choice wisely.
Here are some of the things you need to consider before hiring a business attorney:
See also: How to Hire a Good Lawyer
1. Experience in the industry
It is very important to find an attorney that has specialized knowledge in your industry. For instance, if you are involved in the music business, the best attorney would be one who is familiar with the nuances of the music industry. Working with someone who has little knowledge in your area would be unwise. Therefore, ask the attorney if they have worked with other businesses in your industry. Get in touch with some of their previous clients and ask about their experience working with the attorney. Check the Internet for reviews about the attorney or their company.
2. Fee structure
When it comes to choosing a business attorney, fees should be a major consideration. You don’t want to find yourself facing a bill which is way above your budget. Therefore, ask the attorney how their fees are charged, whether it is a flat fee, hourly billing or any other method. In case it is hourly billing, find out approximately how many hours would be required to deal with your issue. If many hours are required, negotiate with the attorney about capping the fees at a certain limit which is within your budget. You should also find out whether the attorney expects the fees to be paid upfront or in installments. Discussing money matters from the onset will help avoid any misunderstanding later on in the legal process.
3. Client communication policy
Besides money matters, the other important thing that needs to be discussed is how attorney-client communication will be conducted. While some attorneys communicate with clients on a regular basis, others only get in touch when there is a major update. Some communicate mainly through phone calls, while others prefer email. Some might even bill you for the phone calls made. Therefore, take time to understand the attorney’s communication style and decide if it works for you.
4. Scope of representation
When looking for an attorney, you should choose one that you can work with in the long term as your business grows. This will help you avoid hopping from one attorney to another. Therefore, take time to share with the attorney where your business is headed and find out if their representation might be limited at any point. For instance, an attorney might be able to handle business entity formation but be limited when it comes to tax laws.
5. Possible outcomes and alternatives
An attorney should be able to give you an idea of the possible outcomes of a matter. For instance, let’s say the attorney is representing you in a case which involves copyright infringement. Ask them to explain what alternative course of action can be taken in case you lose the case. You should also find out the additional fees that will be required for the extra work. This will help you prepare for the worst case scenario.
See also: 5 Tips for Dealing with Litigation
What has been your experience when dealing with business attorneys? Please share with us in the comments section below.