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Things to Look for in a Good Lawyer for Business

Having a good lawyer in business before you face complicated legal matters can save you a lot of stress and time. Business lawyers can help you if you get sued or face other serious issues. They can also help you proactively make solid business decisions, whether you’re just starting a business or have years of experience.

When you look for a lawyer to help your business, find one who has a combination of experience, knowledge and professionalism. Learn why it’s important to find a good lawyer for your business, what to look for when you choose a lawyer, interview questions to ask and FAQs regarding hiring one.

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Why is it important to look for a good business lawyer?

What is a business lawyer, and what do business lawyers do? They can help you with all legal aspects of running your business, from choosing and registering your business as an LLC to representing you in court.

Your business should have strong legal representation to handle matters, such as trademark and copyright concerns, zoning compliance and licensing issues. Small business owners and those in leadership roles still learning how to function may need lawyers to teach them basic legal terms and help negotiate contracts.

Choosing a business lawyer ensures you get accurate legal counsel. Without doing your research and understanding how to find a good lawyer, you might end up losing money or making bad business decisions based on poor legal advice.

Things to look for in a good lawyer for business

An effective lawyer should have experience and be willing to build a strong relationship with you to learn more about your industry. Here are things you should look for when deciding how to choose a lawyer for your business:

Amount and type of experience

Narrowing your search down to business lawyers isn’t always enough. While some business lawyers handle all types of legal matters, many specialize in a certain type of business law. Some specialties include employment and labor issues, mergers and acquisitions, contracts, intellectual property and taxes.

If you have a specific legal matter, find someone who specializes in that area and has experience with similar cases. They’ll be better able to handle the case, since they’ve been through the issue before. If you want to hire a lawyer for business to manage ongoing legal matters or give you general business advice, a general business lawyer with varied experience can help you.

Look for an attorney with years of experience handling a variety of legal issues for businesses. It also helps to choose a lawyer who’s well-connected and has colleagues within their network who operate in different areas of business law. They can quickly refer you to these colleagues if a specific legal matter pops up.

Familiarity with your industry

Some industries are more complex than others, so your lawyer should know how yours operates, especially if you work in an industry with complex legal rules and regulations. They’re more likely to anticipate legal problems and give you sound legal advice if they’ve worked with other businesses in your industry. If they specialize in a certain industry, they’ll likely keep up with the regulations and best practices as they change.

Your business attorney should know what your business does, the types of services or products you provide and who your partners are. This helps them build your legal strategy effectively and allows them to know enough about your business to defend and represent it properly.

Willingness to teach and guide you

Many complex legal terms can be challenging to understand. If your business is undergoing a legal situation, you should understand the events taking place, so you can remain aware of where your business stands. Being knowledgeable of various legal terms and scenarios allows you to make business decisions that help you avoid future legal issues.

Hire a lawyer willing to educate you on basic legal terms. A competent lawyer should break down the legal issue with you and explain what they’re doing to solve it. They can handle the more complex problems of the legal situation while providing you with an overview of the problem, so you’re able to remain an active participant in the matter.

Interview questions to ask potential lawyers

When you interview potential lawyers to represent your business, try to find one you can build a strong relationship with who is knowledgeable about both your industry and your company. Common interview questions to ask business lawyers include:

  • Describe the success rate of your past cases.
  • How long have you been practicing law?
  • Do you have any experience in my specific legal matter?
  • Can you please describe your fee structure?
  • Are there any additional fees I’ll be paying for your services?
  • Do you have any client references I can view?
  • Explain your experience working in my industry.
  • Do you believe in teaching your clients about the logistics of their case?
  • What will you be willing to teach me?
  • Are you currently working with any clients in my industry?
  • What kind of legal connections do you hold?

Business lawyer FAQs

Below are frequently asked questions organizations may have when hiring a good lawyer:

Where can I conduct additional research on business lawyers?

If you have your selection down to a few choices and want to learn more about them, use these resources to find additional information:

  • Public libraries: Your local library may have a section with a directory of lawyers registered in the United States. You can search through the law firms in the directory and read biographies of current attorneys.
  • Online research:Research a lawyer or their firm online to gain more information about them. Read their website to understand their experience, specialty areas and the services they provide. There may also be reviews and articles online with feedback from clients who have previously worked with them.
  • Background checks:Before hiring a lawyer, ask to conduct a background check and talk to their references to hear about their methods from people with firsthand experience.

Should I hire a lawyer from a larger or smaller firm?

If your business is a startup, a smaller firm may work well with your budget. Smaller firms are also a better option if you need a lawyer for one or two legal matters. You tend to work with one lawyer and a set of familiar employees, while larger firms might pass you around to legal assistants or different lawyers. If you’re a larger company looking for a long-lasting lawyer to cover ongoing legal problems, you may want to consider a larger firm with extensive experience and resources.

What are the different ways lawyers might bill me?

Lawyers often bill clients depending on the service they provide and how long it takes to complete it. During the interview, ask how they plan to charge you. Common ways a lawyer may charge you include:

  • A flat, one-time fee
  • Per diem or hourly rates
  • Monthly fees
  • Contingency fees for successful cases
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