Millions of lawsuits find their way through the US legal system every year. While that number might not mean anything to you, it will the moment your name becomes attached to a case.
Most business owners never like to think that they’ll get dragged into a legal dog fight. The truth is, though, that at some point in your business’ lifespan, you probably will and when that happens, you’ll need a lawyer.
Finding a business lawyer can be trickier than it sounds. It takes research, talking, and ultimately, putting your faith in somebody to care for your personal and organizational well-being.
In this post, we walk you through a couple of pre-steps and then five core steps you should follow to get hooked up with the perfect professional.
Pre-Step: Get Incorporated
Before you run into legal trouble, it’s advisable to incorporate your business. Most people that run ventures do so without any means of formal incorporation. The reason why that’s not great is, when a lawsuit lands on your desk, your personal assets are at risk without the benefit of corporate protection.
Incorporation isn’t a foolproof means of shielding yourself from personal consequences that come out of a lawsuit. Believe us when we say though that the protection of your business being a separate legal entity can go a very long way.
Pre-step: Make Sourcing a Lawyer a Priority Before Legal Trouble
Finding a good business lawyer takes time. Trying to find one under stress, consequently, is never a fun process.
Given that truth, if you’re reading this post and haven’t found yourself in legal turmoil yet, start your lawyer finding process now. Doing online research and talking to a few people shouldn’t cost you more than your time and will make it so you know exactly who to call the moment adversity strikes.
Step 1: Focus on Specialty
With our pre-steps out of the way, it’s time to dig in and start looking for a viable legal candidate. The first thing you’ll want to do when setting out on your search is to focus on a specialty.
The law is a complex subject, and no lawyer is an expert in every facet of it. This is why attorneys focus on a facet to master and then sell their services in that vain.
Bottom line, if your business is facing criminal charges, search for a criminal lawyer. If your business has intellectual property questions, search for an intellectual property lawyer.
Step 2: Check Out Online Review Boards
A lawyer’s reputation is everything and should be of relevance to you. One of the best ways to discern how good a lawyer has been to their clients is to look at their online reviews.
Online reviews for lawyers can be found through several sites, including Google, Yelp, Avvo.com, and others. Browse through those resources to find an attorney that seems to have left a positive impression on the people they’ve worked with.
Step 3: Consider Location
If your business is operating in the United States, you’ll likely have to hire a lawyer that is licensed to practice law in the state in which you reside. In that context, finding an attorney that operates in this service area versus that one would be a consideration you’d need to mull over.
Taking things further, if you intend to meet with your attorney in person and not relegate your communication to a teleconference (which believe it or not is a growing trend), you’ll also want to reside within a reasonable drive of where your attorney’s office is.
Step 4: Schedule a (Free) Consultation
At this point, you should have considered an attorney’s specialty, their reputation, and whether or not they’re cleared to practice law in your area. Now all that’s left to do to make your legal decision is to take the time to meet your prospects.
Many lawyers charge for consultations which is their right, but frankly, too many outstanding lawyers give 30 minutes or so of their time away for free which, in our opinion, means that you should seek them out before engaging paid conversations.
Lawyers that offer free consultations will advertise that fact on their website. You might also find information regarding their consultations through profiles they have on popular legal sites.
Confirm with your attorney or their staff if you’ll be charged for your consult before it happens. The last thing you want is to misunderstand a firm’s policies and get stuck with an unexpected bill.
Step 5: Go With Your Gut and Assess Cost
When it comes to getting great legal help, many will tell you that cost isn’t something you should pay mind to. That’s a fair thought, assuming you have copious amounts of money to spend.
If you have a limited legal budget, once you find an attorney that resonates with you, ask them how their rate works. If what you’re quoted is out of your ballpark, thank a lawyer for their time and let them know that they were your top choice but that you can’t afford them.
In some cases, lawyers will bring down their rates to bring you on. In other cases, you’ll just have to move onto your second option.
A Good Business Lawyer Can Single-Handedly Keep Your Organization Afloat
Legal battles can decimate businesses, particularly small ones. A good business lawyer can single-handedly keep your company from going under when the going gets tough.
All you have to do is put the time in to find someone that meets your needs and put your faith in them.
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