The savviest small business owners recognize the importance of having access to good legal counsel. The right attorney can help you avoid many costly lawsuits and regulatory issues that can cripple a small company. However, a business lawyer can be expensive. It is important to find one who is a good value and fits your budget. There are several ways to do this, including looking for a flat fee and seeking referrals.
Most of us have heard about the online “legal help” sites such as LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, which offer a variety of basic legal services at low rates. However, these types of services should only be considered as a supplement to the services of a real business attorney. Many of these sites use generic forms that may not comply with the laws of your state and might not hold up in court. A reputable business attorney will keep abreast of the latest changes in the law that affect your business and provide you with updated documents that will help you stay compliant.
When it comes to choosing a business attorney hiring business lawyers, the best choice is to seek referrals from trusted colleagues and associates. Business owners are often hesitant to ask for references, but if you are comfortable asking others in your network, they will be willing to provide you with names of business attorneys that have provided them with good service. If possible, try to meet in person or at least talk on the phone with a few potential candidates before hiring one. You will be working closely with your attorney and will be providing them with sensitive information about your company, so you want to ensure that you can trust the person you hire.
Some business attorneys offer discounts to small companies on their hourly rates and flat fees for services such as forming a business, trademarks and patents, and first contract reviews. It is also helpful to find out whether a lawyer is licensed in your state and has a clean record with the bar association. A quick check of the regulating body’s website can confirm this information for you.
Another tip is to choose a lawyer with experience handling the type of businesses that you own. This will make them better able to protect your company from legal issues that are specific to the industry. You should also find out how much a lawyer charges for each service they offer, and make sure that there are no surprises when you receive a bill.
Having access to an experienced business attorney is an invaluable asset for any company. It is not cheap, but it will save you money in the long run by avoiding legal problems and costly litigation. Investing in a good business attorney now will pay dividends when it is time to buy or sell a business or when you are facing a regulatory issue. The best time to start the search for a good business attorney is before you are served with a summons from a sheriff.