Although it may be dreaded to hear, there comes a point in every company where legal representation will be needed. You’ll hear the horror stories about small companies that have waited too long, right until they get sued, and then frantically are searching for a business attorney, only having to settle for one that may not be the best.
The process of hiring a business attorney, even for the most experienced entrepreneur, can be a daunting one. A good business attorney will help get you through some of your business’s most challenging times and be like a partner to your company. It can also be helpful to have a business attorney on hand, even if you aren’t getting sued, to answer legal questions.
Overall, having a business attorney is something that, for small businesses is a must. Fortunately for you, it doesn’t have to break your budget and it can be easy, even for the amateur. We’ve gathered some of the top tips and what you should be aware of when you begin your search for the perfect business attorney in this article.
Focus On When You Need To Hire A Business Attorney
As we said above, you need a business attorney even if you’re a small business. But the question of precisely when you need one can vary depending on your size and each company; of course, you never want to put it off and never want to wait until you’re being sued, but it may not be necessary to dive in instantly. Generally speaking, the sooner that you have a business attorney, have a solid relationship established with them and can turn to them for legal questions and advice the better.
However, finding the perfect business attorney isn’t going to be easy. It will take time and, if you have that time available, it’s best to take your time and wait until you find one that will work well with your company.
If you’re just starting with your company, start by contacting a few business lawyers and seeing how much they charge just for a business formation. Once you know, you can add it into the budget and, once your funds have built you can start meeting them.
However, the most crucial part is that you ensure you always have a business lawyer before doing anything that could get you in trouble. Never be willing to put the safety of your company off. If you’re entering a lease, forming a partnership, or anything else that could potentially harm your company you’ll want to already have a business attorney. It’s never worth the risk.
Find An Attorney That Knows Your Industry
If you’re going to be in business with this attorney and probably for a long time, you’ll want them to have an understanding of your industry and what you do. This isn’t to say that they need to only specialize in what your company does, but they should either have a foundation of understanding of your industry or be willing to learn.
A good business attorney will be willing to learn all they can about what you do, your customers, products, and understand how your company functions day to day. When giving legal advice or helping in a legal situation, this information can greatly influence the situation.
You’ll benefit greatly from your business attorney knowing nearly as much about your company as you do. However, for many businesses it won’t be necessary for your attorney to know the inside and outside of your company; a basic understanding of your industry will work fine.
Ensure That You Pick The Right Size Law Firm
When it comes time to choose a business attorney you’ll have the option of choosing a big firm, small firm, or solo practitioner. If you’re looking generally, then larger firms will cost you more, since their overhead is more and therefore their hourly rates cost more.
However, this shouldn’t be the deciding factor in which you choose for your company; larger firms come with their own set of advantages over smaller ones. If you choose to go with a small firm or solo practitioner, they may not have the skills needed to grow with your company. They may not be capable to handle lawsuits or negotiate your lease office or other issues that, as a small business, you may not be facing now but will probably become an issue once your company gets bigger.
Larger law firms will usually have all the legal skills you need available on hand. They’ll be able to deal with larger issues, and, if they’re large and well known, you’ll also have the power of a big law firm on your side. Receiving a letter from a well-known law firm with offices in multiple states can be greatly intimidating versus receiving one from a solo practitioner that no one has heard of.
If you’re looking for your company to grow, then going with a large law firm may be the better option. However, if you’re just starting then you could always start with a smaller law firm at first. It all greatly depends on your company and what you need.