Five Tips for Choosing the Right Attorney for Your Business

There comes a time in every business owner’s career when they need to retain legal services.  For some, shopping for an attorney can be rather intimidating.  So it is essential to be prepared in order to make the best choice. In this article, I offer five tips for choosing the right attorney for your business.

(1) Research the Firm

Understanding who you are going to work with is critical when choosing the right attorney for your business. You’ll want to do some background research before you walk into any law office. Has the attorney represented anyone in your network? If so, ask that individual or business about their experience. If not, make sure to read client reviews on Google, Avvo, or other third-party sources to get a better understanding about their reputation. Does the attorney have experience representing companies in your industry? For example, a food and beverage company may have very different legal needs than a technology startup. Retaining an attorney with relevant industry experience can help maximize the value of your professional relationship. Finally, try to review any material the attorney has recently published. Blog posts, YouTube videos, and other forms of content provide a good picture of the attorney’s expertise and can help you determine whether they can assist your business.

(2) Understand Your Business

The better understanding you have of your business and long-term objectives, the more helpful an attorney can be. At the end of the day, it is your company and livelihood at stake. Attorneys are also quite expensive, so the more information you bring to the table the more effective use you can make of their time. Review and compile any legal documents, organizational charts, business plans, financial statements and projections, or market analyses that have been created. Also be prepared to be transparent, attorneys really don’t like surprises. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers, but don’t withhold information that could be critical to receiving effective advice.

(3) Ask Questions

Make sure to ask questions about the attorney’s experience and professional standing. How long have they been in practice? Have they represented similar businesses? Do they have a professional network that could help your company? What makes their firm different from others? These types of questions will give you a more comprehensive look at who you are dealing with and whether they are a good fit.

(4) Take Your Time

Enlisting the help of an attorney is a serious investment of time and money, so you need to make sure you hire the right person. Before signing an engagement letter, take some time to think about your first meeting. Did the attorney appear knowledgeable? Were they friendly and enthusiastic about your business? Did they clearly communicate in plain english, or use a lot of legal jargon? Do you have any follow-up questions or concerns? Trust your gut. If it didn’t feel right, you should probably look elsewhere.

(5) Ask for an Engagement Letter

Once you’ve decided the firm is a good fit, make sure that they send you an engagement letter prior to commencing the attorney-client relationship. The letter should clearly spell out the scope of representation, their duties and obligations to you as a client, their fee structure, their invoicing & payment methods, and any termination procedures. This information sets clear expectations as to how the relationship will work to help avoid any potential future issues.

<em>About the Author</em>
About the Author

Joseph Shanley serves as the Principal Attorney and Consultant for Awen Innovations, LLC. Click the button below to learn more about Joe and how he could help you fulfill your business dreams.