When you start your own business there are going to be surprises and unknowns around every corner. It’s a great idea to secure the services of a lawyer to help you navigate through all the legal components of starting and running your own business.
Business lawyers can be helpful in many types of situations. Business owners may need legal assistance when:
● Entering into contracts
● Negotiating contract terms
● Conducting business deals
● Navigating complex labor laws
It’s also great to know that you’re ready and have someone to turn to when something comes up.
Here are some tips for finding the right lawyer for your business:
Ask for Recommendations
Unless you’re trail blazing in a new industry it’s likely that there are people who have been through what you’re currently going through. Whether you are diving into the world of tech start-ups or starting your own non-profit, there are people who have been through the process and it would be a good idea to seek out their advice. These people know first-hand the legal obstacles that you’re up against and what kind of attorney will best help you meet your legal needs. Getting recommendations is a great way to find out a few things about an attorney ahead of time, like how available a particular attorney is for questions, and whether or not they deal with clients personally. Additionally, recommendations may help you learn more about the range of fees charged by attorneys with the expertise you’re looking for. Of course, a recommendation is only a starting point; you will still have to assess whether or not a lawyer might suit your business’s unique needs.
Experience is Everything
You might have all the business savvy in the world but having business smarts is only one of the key components to starting a business. Having the legal know-how to manage your business endeavor can make all the difference. From helping you pick your corporate structure to making sure you are in compliance with government regulations, hiring a lawyer who has experience working with your kind of business will be incredibly helpful. Some lawyers handle complex tax laws and malpractice suits while others concentrate on real estate. It’s important to find an attorney that specializes in an area that’s compatible with your business. A specialized attorney can guide you through complex issues and hurdles with real-world experience from working with other similar clients.
For instance, an online start-up would need to seek the services of an attorney familiar with online business protocols. The attorney would need to have experience dealing with businesses that perform online transactions in various venues and the federal and local tax requirements involved throughout the process.
Businesses that sell food from mobile locations might need the services of an attorney that is familiar with the needs of food-related businesses. The attorney would need to be familiar with local ordinances and licensing requirements as well.
Schedule a Consultation
You wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it first. You wouldn’t buy a house without doing a walkthrough of the property. And you shouldn’t hire a lawyer without making sure that he or she is a good fit for your budding business. Sometimes the most effective way to choose an attorney is to schedule a consultation to determine if a lawyer can offer specific services that are compatible with your business’s needs. Many attorneys may offer initial consultations for free. Don’t expect extensive legal advice during a consultation, but do feel free to ask the attorney questions that can best determine how well they might fit in with your business needs. Consultations usually last from 30 minutes to an hour, and most lawyers don’t expect to be hired on the spot. However, it does happen if a client feels particularly comfortable with an attorney.
Always Ask Questions
Even if an attorney comes highly recommended, he or she might not be the best fit for your company. Say you’re starting a non-profit and an attorney comes highly recommended but he only has experience with big corporations, so his expertise might not be beneficial to you. Even if his resume looks great, don’t be afraid to ask questions and delve deeper into the attorney’s credentials, education, and experience. Also, it’s appropriate to ask questions about fees and whether a retainer must be paid in order to receive services.
Hiring an attorney is one of the most important business decisions a business owner can make. It’s extremely important for a business owner to feel comfortable working with an attorney. It is best to interview two or three potential attorney candidates before making a final decision on who to hire.
Need help getting started? We can help you get an initial consultation and find the right attorney for your business’s needs.
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