As a business owner, you’re expected to be a “jack of all trades,” but it’s simply impossible to take on every responsibility and skill set. Especially when it comes to legal matters and concerns, you’ll need to enlist the help of a professional. Whether you’re about to engage in a business merger, struggling to choose between various business formats, or attempting to negotiate, you should take your time as you search for the right attorney for the job. Legal mistakes can have major implications, after all. To help you on your quest, today we’re discussing how to choose a lawyer for your business.
How to Choose a Lawyer for Your Business
Research Your Options. How can you hire a great lawyer if you don’t know who is available? The first lawyer you find will rarely be the best lawyer for you, so be sure to explore your options. Ask other trusted business owners if they can recommend a reliable attorney, search online for local lawyers with great reputations, and then research your candidates’ areas of expertise. You can also contact your Chamber of Commerce or bar association.
Request Consultations. Schedule consultations with your top choices, and be prepared to explain your situation and why you need a lawyer. You should also be ready to ask the attorneys questions about their practice and your situation, such as:
- How much experience do you have?
- Have you handled a case like mine before?
- Do you have other clients in my industry?
- Will there be anyone else handling my work (other lawyers, paralegals, etc.)?
- What are your rates?
- How do you bill your clients (i.e., what is your fee structure)?
- What is your process like?
- How do you typically communicate with your clients?
- What are my legal options?
- What kind of approach would you recommend for my situation?
- Approximately how long will it take for my problem to be resolved?
- What else can you or your firm do for me and my business?
Some lawyers will charge a fee for this service, while others offer complimentary consultations.
Scrutinize Their Rates and Fees. Finally, before you hire someone, be sure that you fully understand their rates and fees, because some lawyers charge clients based on time (hourly rates, daily rates), some lawyers charge clients based on the task (drafting a document, investigating facts, communicating with other parties), and some lawyers use a mix of the two. There are also lawyers who charge a flat rate, a retainer, or a contingency fee. Be sure that you’re satisfied with the payment schedule, figure out what you can afford, and go from there.
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Are you looking for an attorney to represent your business? If you live in or near Springfield, Missouri, contact the attorneys at Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell & Brown. Our experienced team can help you with a number of legal concerns, including business agreements and negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance matters, business organization and planning, deciding between different business formats (LLC, LLP, etc.) and business litigation. For more information, please give us a call at 417-447-4400. We look forward to hearing from you!