How to pick a lawyer? I meet with business owners every day. Some are sole proprietors, some are single member LLCs, others are partnerships with a few employees, and yet others are companies with varying degrees of ownership and many employees. All of these companies have one thing in common, they all need legal help and guidance. However, not all of them need the same lawyer or law firm. So how do they choose which attorney or law firm is right for them?
Here are 5 key considerations how to pick a lawyer for your small business.
Personality matters. Perhaps even more than some of the other considerations below. The bottom line, if you are using your attorney properly, you will need to get along with him/her. Here are some things to think about as you pick a lawyer for your company.
What is the personality of your company?
Formal v. Casual?
Strict v. Indulgent?
Risk Averse v. Gambler? How will the lawyer or law firm you hire fit in?
Big Firm v. Small or Solo
Big firms are great for large companies with a lot of day-to-day legal needs; but may be cost prohibitive for smaller companies. This causes a problem for many small companies, since the fear of the legal bill outweighs the fear of making a mistake.
Small or Solo Firms are a wonderful fit for many companies. However, you’ll want to know where the firm focuses its practice. Do they handle all aspects of business law, or are there some areas where they’ll need to recommend outside counsel to assist? Ask these questions upfront before you pick a lawyer, so you don’t find yourself surprised down the road.
Does the law firm offer competitive pricing for its experience and ability? This doesn’t mean find the cheapest lawyer. It means, finding the lawyer with the right mix of knowledge, experience, and flexibility. Does the firm only work on an hourly billing cycle? Do they offer flat/fixed fees? Do they offer any sort of subscription or retainer programs for routine questions and answers?
What are your expectations of the lawyer-client relationship?
A more traditional lawyer-client relationship where you only engage when an issue arises? Or, are you looking to add an advisor to your team. In other words, someone you integrate into many of your business decision-making steps.
Do you need an order taker and product maker? Or, do you want someone who will educate you on why they make the recommendations they do and walk you through the legal implications of your decisions? Your own expectations of this relationship is vitally important as you pick an attorney.
Do you trust the law firm you are hiring? Do some research. A quick web search will give you insight to what others say about them (caution: even the best professional can get a bad review, so read a few). Does their website match up with what they are telling you? For example, if the law firm or lawyer says it focuses solely on business/corporate law, but their website says they do family law, criminal law, personal injury, etc., are they being forthright with you from the very beginning?
As with all professional relationships, there are many factors to consider as you begin the process of adding a lawyer to your team of advisors. We would enjoy hearing from you if there are others that you have considered or would consider when selecting a law firm for your company. If you want to learn more about Welch Law, contact us here.