How to Choose a Lawyer to Work with Your Business - dummies

How to Choose a Lawyer to Work with Your Business

Believe it or not, most lawyers are nice people, and a lawyer can help you start and maintain your small business. Any business — even a home-based business — needs an attorney on its support team.

Your goal is to find someone who’s not only talented and affordable, but who also can grow with you and your company and become a long-term partner and trusted associate. Consider the following characteristics when you’re interviewing attorneys:

  • Qualifications: Hire a lawyer who’s as qualified and experienced as possible.

  • Accessibility: Make sure that your lawyer can meet your needs quickly, when you need them the most.

  • Price: Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best combination of skill, experience, and price.

  • Ethics: Your lawyer should have ethical standards that are just as high as the standards you uphold.

  • Compatibility: The ideal situation is to find someone who meets all your criteria and with whom you also get along well.

What can attorneys do for your business? Here are some of the most common tasks attorneys take on for their small business clients:

  • Choosing a form (legal structure) for your business

  • Writing, reviewing, and negotiating business contracts

  • Dealing with employee issues

  • Helping with credit problems and bankruptcy

  • Addressing consumer issues and complaints

  • Working with rental or leasing agreements

  • Outlining workers’ compensation and Social Security benefits

  • Advising you on your legal rights and obligations

  • Representing you in court

Be sure to seek out an attorney who specializes in working with small businesses and startups. Any other attorney may not have the exact skill set that you need.

Make a point of asking your attorney how much a particular task is going to cost — before you engage his or her services. You don’t want to get a bill that’s in the thousands of dollars when you expected to pay far less.