… and How to Find a Great One!
Chances are if you are an entrepreneur, you have a little “issue” when it comes to controlling everything about your company — in other words, you find it hard to trust others when it comes to your “baby.” I understand. I was raised by entrepreneurs and am an entrepreneur myself.
Unless you are an experienced business attorney, you probably don’t have the knowledge — and most certainly the time — to understand the legal implications of just about every decision you will be making about your new business, including its structure, the agreements and contracts that will determine how your company will function and be profitable, and even hiring your first employee.
While entrepreneurs are generally great problem solvers, a good business lawyer is trained to see potential problems before they can adversely impact your business or put your personal wealth at risk.
A recent article at Entrepreneur.com provides entrepreneurs these tips for choosing the right lawyer for their business:
1. Look for a good fit. Finding someone to meet all your legal requirements may be much easier than finding a good fit personally, but face it — you want to be in business with this person for the long haul, since his or her good advice can continue to keep you out of trouble and save you some serious cash by avoiding litigation. Find someone you click with on a personal level and who can relate to what you need. Most importantly, look for a lawyer who will be proactive.
2. Do not use a friend. You need someone with total objectivity, and you want to be able to be completely honest with your attorney, so usually choosing someone who is not already a personal friend is your best bet. If you do use a friend who you really trust, don’t do it for a trade. Pay your lawyer. And make sure whoever you use really understands your business.
3. Ask for referrals. If you know other attorneys or friends who have used business lawyers, ask them for a referral. The interview those attorneys before making a commitment by phone or email. Use our hiring guide to ask the right questions.
4. Stay away from DIY websites. The do-it-yourself legal documents you can get online could get you into more trouble and end up costing you much more in litigation than you would have spent on a real, live, breathing attorney in the first place. If you are using a template document, have it reviewed by your lawyer before it’s finalized.
5. Consider size. Law firms come in all sizes, with pros and cons for each. Larger firms usually offer a fuller complement of resources, including multiple locations and more specialized practice areas, plus higher prices and less personalized services. Smaller firms and solos are usually more hands-on and can be more economical. Decide first what you need and choose the firm that can best deliver to those needs.
Whether you’re starting or already running a business, the best time to hire a lawyer is before you need one. Having a business attorney that understands the individual needs and unique circumstances of your company is key to helping your business thrive and prosper. If you are interested in learning more about legal protection strategies for your business and how we work with you as a partner in protecting your company, call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT™ (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit.