Many entrepreneurs think that they only need a lawyer for two things: to comply with government regulations and when they’re getting sued. But any good entrepreneur knows that having a business lawyer on retainer can help your business grow. They deal in all sorts of things, from incorporation and zoning compliance to advising you about patents and trademarks.
As a rule of thumb: If you’re in urgent need of a lawyer, then it’s already too late. Lots of people take advantage of the fact that many small businesses put off hiring an attorney until they have to deal with a legal problem. Once a Queens process server has served you, then you have no choice but to resolve the issue through the judicial system.
1. Pick someone honest to a fault
When meeting with lawyers, make the most of the initial free consultations. Take this opportunity to ascertain the lawyer’s character. You want to pick someone who’s forthcoming and honest to a fault. If you’re the type who can judge a person’s character right away, then this should be easy for you. But if you need a little help, here are a few things you should look out for.
For starters, try to make eye contact with the person. If they try to avoid eye contact, that could be a red flag. Stay away from lawyers who promise guaranteed wins or try to avoid a discussion about payment. Ask them about similar cases they’ve handled in the past.
Before hiring a lawyer, you want to make sure that you trust them to handle your legal affairs. Since your lawyer is representing your business, it’s in your best interest to choose someone honest and well-respected in the community.
2. Constant communication is important
A good business lawyer is someone who is responsive to your needs. During your free consultation, make it a point to ask if you can personally contact them to discuss the case. If you get the impression that communication will be a problem, that could be a sign that they won’t give your affairs the attention it deserves.
You need to clarify whether updates will be given in writing or by phone. Do understand that it’s not uncommon for attorneys to delegate communications to a junior partner or paralegal, especially in larger firms.
3. Be upfront about costs
Good lawyers cost money—lots of it. Unless you have bottomless pockets, you want to find a lawyer that’s within your price range. You need to discuss from the beginning the potential costs of litigation and representation.
Transactional cases usually have a set price, but there’s no telling what open-ended litigation might cost you. Negotiate a contract that indicates your budget ceiling as well as an itemized list of all expenses.
These are just some of the things you need to bear in mind when looking for a business lawyer. Good lawyers cost money, but you might end up spending a lot more in the long run if you don’t have a skilled attorney defending your interests.