The attorney you hire for your business is as important as an accountant. In almost every aspect of your business, having a trusted and skilled attorney is crucial. There are a few decisions you have to make in selecting your attorney and a few important action items that will help set your attorney up for success.
While choosing an attorney for your business, here are a few things to consider:
- Small firm vs. large firm – a solo practitioner doesn’t have the overhead or bureaucracy of a large firm, so they can closely work with you without costing an arm and a leg. However, a large firm’s can amass a large team w/ breadth of knowledge that may be necessary for larger businesses.
- Hourly, a flat fee, or monthly retainer – there are ways to cap the cost which depends on your attorney’s billing structure. Solo practitioners can offer flexible structures whereas established firms have fixed hourly rates.
- Experience with similar clients – your attorney should be familiar with your industry and the legal environment
- A good teacher and communicator – you’re likely going to notice this in your initial call or meeting. It’s important to evaluate if he/she is able to clearly explain complex legal matters and reassure you that he is understanding your business needs and concern.
- Last but not least, kindness – it’s important that the attorney you hire has a positive attitude. This is likely another thing you will notice in the initial call. Nice attorneys will care about your story deeply and fight for you.
Once you’ve chosen an attorney, it’s time to think about how you can make the best out of your experience with them. In order for business owners to benefit from having an attorney by their side but also keep a tab on their budget is to take initiative in setting their attorney up for success. I’m going to lay out a few action items that will keep this relationship efficient and successful:
- First and foremost, be open and honest – All sets of facts that are related to your case are important for your attorney to know. Even if you’re not sure, discuss those details with your attorney anyway. It’s important to keep an honest and open line of communication with your attorney at all times.
- Write the story of your case – this is something your attorney will likely ask you in the discovery phase. It’s important that you share the details of your case in chronological order. You can come back to your case story and add more details as you remember them.
- Be organized with papers, emails, and other relevant documents – similar to your day-to-day business operation, keeping information organized will cut down on the amount of time your attorney has to spend looking for information.
In any professional relationship, both parties have to help each other succeed. The relationship between a business owner and their attorney is no different. A few simple steps can ensure a positive outcome for your business and long-term growth.