Setting up a business may be exciting yet frantic. You may find yourself surrounded with new responsibilities, along with managing your work and coping with employee issues. Navigating taxes, corporate liability, regulations, intellectual property laws and many other legal issues, may require you to hire a qualified business attorney. Though a business legal representative may help you in clearing your hands off such issues, it is important to find out whether you are choosing the right one. Here are 10 questions to ask your business lawyer before you hire one.
#1 Are you experienced enough to take care of legal issues of my business?
The most common mistake one makes while choosing a business attorney, is not evaluating the relevant experience of the legal advisor. This may particularly prove harmful for your firm. It is always best to ensure, that the lawyer you are hiring is highly qualified, has adequate knowledge about your industry and can handle issues effectively.
#2 Would you handle my work directly or there is someone else too with you?
Some lawyers delegate their work to other attorneys due to lack of time or if the case needs special skills or attention. It is imperative to understand how someone is going to handle your work and whether any paralegals, researchers, investigators and even language translators are required for your business.
#3 Do you work for the clients who could be an obstruction to my business?
Many times, the attorney you hire has worked or is working for a client, who is your competitor. And if not a direct competitor, may be a previous business partner. Under such conditions, your competitor might create a conflict and would need legal attention. It is better to avoid the lawyers who are or have worked with such companies.
#4 How effectivelydo you resolve a conflict?
An experienced lawyer should be able to resolve any conflict with ease and win you over odds. Make sure you inquire about how efficient he is in resolving conflicts. This can be done by finding out how much time your lawyer spends in court battling over issues or in dispute mediation. Settling a case should not be an issue for a good lawyer, though there are some highly litigious attorneys who are not always ready for mediation. Avoiding such lawyers may prove beneficial for your business.
#5 Are you easily accessible?
Accessibility is yet another question to be asked before hiring a business lawyer. It is quite obvious to understand that you might need you lawyer anytime according to your legal needs and to avoid any loss in your business. Hence, ask your lawyer about his accessibility and how long does he takes to get back to his clients when asked. In some cases, you may need to talk to paralegals first before getting an access to your lawyer after several days. If you are not ready for this kind of interaction, look out for an attorney to whom you may reach easily.
#6 What is your mode of communication?
Find out how your prospective business lawyer is going to communicate with you. It can be either via phone or email and even other modes of communication. Some lawyers prefer fixing specific timings of meeting and may not entertain you beyond that.Recognizing this will help you in understanding the actions to take immediately when you need legal advice.
#7 Will you refer some other lawyer if my case needs specialized understanding?
Ask you lawyer, whether he may provide a referral to other legal representative if your case requires a special legal attention. A good lawyer will definitely do this for the sake of your firm while a fake one will back down due to fear of losing his business even though if he lacks experience on a certain field.
#8 How is the billing done?
Billing is another great issue to consider. There should be a transparency regarding how much your attorney is charging at all times. Though most lawyers bill on a per hour basis, there may be some who charge high rates for lesser time. It is thus important to talk about it to reduce bad surprised later on.
#9 Is there any way to reduce cost?
You may also ask whether your lawyer may help you in reducing cost of services provided by him. This can be done by personally making the synopsis of legal case yourself or investigating on some issues at your level. This may also help you in hiring an attorney with high fees with otherwise reduced cost of additional services offered by him.
#10 Are you a member of a reputed lawyer’s association?
Being a member of any lawyer association like specialized bar association, business advisory board or a national legal organization may aid you in finding whether you are hiring a genuine lawyer who is up to date with the industry trends. In this way, you can make sure that you are handing over your legal needs to the right person.
Robin Fitzpatrick is blogger for Surratt Law. He likes to write about law, various legal issues related to family law and also on different SEO related topics.