How to Find the Best Attorney for Your Business
Get excellent legal representation for your businessBy Canaan Suitt, J.D. | Last updated on January 11, 2023
Use these links to jump to different sections:
- What Are the Different Types of Lawyers?
- What Should I Look for in a Good Lawyer?
- How To a Find a Lawyer
- Questions for a Business Attorney
If you are a business owner, chances are legal matters will arise at some point, and you’ll need to speak to a lawyer.
Not all legal issues with a business are “bad.” There are many types of business law. Its diversity reflects the many factors that go into running a business.
Sometimes, businesses deal with litigation. “In the vast majority of disputes between companies, you would want to have a lawyer,” says Georgia business litigation attorney Benjamin I. Fink.
But it’s also a good idea to speak to a lawyer about many non-litigation issues. For example, if you’re:
- An entrepreneur seeking investors for a startup
- Devising a business plan
- Seeking to purchase real estate for your business
- Coming up with policies and procedures for employees
- Forming a contract with another company
These are all situations when legal counsel can be enormously helpful and even help prevent litigation issues in the future.
What Are the Different Types of Lawyers?
There are as many kinds of lawyers as there are legal issues. There are criminal defense lawyers who represent individuals accused of committing crimes, and there are lawyers who represent clients in many different areas of civil law.
Even within business law, there are different areas of specialization. The diversity of lawyers and specializations is a benefit for business owners. It means that whatever your legal issue, a lawyer can help resolve it.
A business can have many legal needs throughout its existence, including:
- Business formation documentation
- Contract disputes
- Breach of fiduciary duty, including conflicts of interest
- Intellectual property right infringements
- Employment issues
- Real estate transactions and zoning issues with local municipalities
- Personal injury or product liability cases
When these or other issues arise, having a lawyer can make the process go much more smoothly and ensure you get the best outcomes for your business.
What Should I Look for in a Good Lawyer?
Finding a good business lawyer is essential. What should you look for?
There are a couple of basic requirements you should make sure a lawyer meets:
- They are a graduate of an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school
- They are licensed to practice law in your state or jurisdiction
Beyond these baseline requirements, you want to consider a lawyer’s areas of practice and experience.
Most lawyers will have a bio or summary of their experience on their website or in the Super Lawyers directory. Consider:
- How long have they been practicing business law?
- What kinds of businesses or clients do they tend to represent (for example, small businesses or large corporations)?
- Do they have a particular area of expertise or issues they frequently handle?
- Do they have experience in other areas of law?
- What is their track record?
- Is it a large or small firm (and do you have preferences about size)?
Other sources of information you might consider are online reviews about the lawyer or law firm and the lawyer’s social media accounts.
Another factor to consider if a lawyer is right for you is how they charge their attorney’s fees. Fees and billing options will vary by the type of case or legal work you retain the lawyer for.
It’s good to be aware of the following:
- Retainer fee. In its most basic form, a retainer fee is money paid to a lawyer to secure their legal services. There are two kinds:
- General retainer. This is money paid to keep a lawyer on hand for legal services. There may not be a specific legal problem at the given moment, but if something comes up, the lawyer will be there to deal with it. General retainers are typically used when a business needs routine or recurring legal work.
- Special retainer. This is when a client pays a lawyer ahead of time for specific legal services, and the lawyer deducts their expenses from the amount as they work.
- Flat fees. This is when the client pays a one-time upfront fee to the lawyer for their legal services. This might be used for preparing a legal document, for example.
- Contingency fees. A contingency fee arrangement is when a lawyer’s payment depends (or is “contingent”) on the client winning their case. There are no upfront fees, and the amount the lawyer is paid if the client wins is some percentage of the client’s damages.
- Hourly rates. This means that the lawyer charges by the hour for their legal services.
How To a Find a Lawyer
There are many ways to find a good lawyer. The best way is probably an “all of the above” approach.
For example, one of your trusted colleagues may know a good lawyer in the area. Exploring personal connections like this can be fruitful.
You can make phone calls to lawyers listed in your area and see if they have free consultations or look at your state bar association’s listing of local lawyers.
An excellent way to find highly qualified and experienced lawyers in your area is through the Super Lawyers directory. You can learn about the Super Lawyers selection process by reading this article.
Questions for a Business Attorney
Whether you’re a small business owner or the executive of a large corporation, if you are confronting any legal matter related to your business, consider speaking with a business lawyer about your legal problem.
Even if you end up not going to court, getting legal counsel from a professional will ensure you take the best course of action for your business.
Many business litigation attorneys provide free initial consultations, allowing you to get legal advice and decide if the attorney or law firm meets your needs.
To get the most out of a consultation, ask informed questions such as:
- What are your attorney’s fees and billing options?
- What are your areas of expertise?
- What is your range of legal services?
- What are the steps in the litigation process?
- How quickly can my legal issue be resolved?
Once you have met with a lawyer and gotten your questions answered, you can begin an attorney-client relationship.
Look for a business litigation attorney in the Super Lawyers directory to find the right lawyer for your business-related legal issues.
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