Running a business is not an easy task by a long shot, and being prepared for every eventuality is the best way to ensure that you can keep your troubles to a minimum. Going into business for the first time can be even more fraught with peril as you will lack the experience and insider knowledge to prepare for potential problems.
It can be tempting to consult any lawyer who is cheaply available when an issue presents itself. But choosing a lawyer by their fees may cost you much more in the long term. There is no substitute for an experienced specialist. No one would hire a family lawyer to represent them in a divorce. An immigration lawyer would know exactly how to protect your employees and your business from fees and restrictions.
In this same way, a business attorney is your best bet to ensure that your business is on a strong legal footing. They can help check if it is up to date with all state and federal regulations and can withstand any potential issues whenever they may come.
If you’re a first-time business owner or small business owner, you have to be cost-conscious. While a good business attorney may be worth their weight in gold, you may not have the ability to pay what they are worth.
In this scenario, consider negotiating with the attorney regarding the number of billable hours they work for you. If you hire a law firm, they can offer you a contract of services depending on the retainer fee you can afford.
It may not be possible to hire a full-time business attorney, but a part-time lawyer or a legal firm can still be a great choice. It will not be too costly, and you will have someone knowledgeable to help you get your paperwork cleared and advise you on legal matters.
Know About Refundable Retainers
Make sure to thoroughly read the paperwork that the lawyer or law firm gives you. If they require a retainer fee, then have them confirm in writing that it is refundable and the time frame within which they will refund it.
Sometimes, there can be a difference in opinion of how legal matters should be handled. This can result in you having to part ways with your lawyer or law firm. Ensuring that the retainer you paid is refundable is the best way to recoup the money you spent and have a fund in place for hiring a new lawyer.
It is best to avoid a law firm that would keep your retainer as this is a somewhat unethical and questionable practice. If the law firm or lawyer you approach has this, as a rule, it is best to avoid working with them as they may not be as good at what they do as they are presenting themselves.
Check Their Previous Experience
You should take care to check the clients that your potential lawyer has worked with before. If they have extensive experience working with other small businesses or growing business enterprises, you can consider them a good candidate.
A lawyer who claims to be a knowledgeable business attorney but does not have a long list of business law cases in their record is unreliable. Their willingness to bend the truth will cause your company more harm than good. A thorough background check is the best way to ensure that the potential lawyer has the integrity and ability to defend your business.
Some general practitioners practice in several areas. But their need to jump from one area to another means that they may not have the detailed knowledge and experience that a specialist in the area would have. It is not worth taking the risk to hire a general practitioner to do a job better suited to a specialist.
Interview the Lawyers
Once you have narrowed down a list of prospects, reach out to them and arrange an interview. Make sure to ask if they will bill the interview. Few lawyers offer free consultations, and most will charge a nominal fee. Some may charge their full hourly rate, and you must find this out before meeting them.
A lawyer who is up for a potential full-time job should know their worth and be willing to show that they can be flexible.
It is highly unlikely that a small business will find itself needing to go to trial. But on the off chance that some disgruntled customer tries to take you to small claims court, you need to be sure that your attorney can handle the change from the office to the courtroom.
It is fine to hire someone who prefers the corporate environment, but they must be willing to go to court and comfortable addressing a judge and speaking in public. If your potential attorney says they want to avoid trials at any cost, then they may not have the necessary spirit and backbone you would want in a strong lawyer.