Having your own business doesn’t mean you can and should everything on your own. There are some aspects of your business that you simply can’t handle yourself and are better to be done by an expert. For this reason, you should know the right time to hire an attorney and the right ways to find a reliable one.
As an independent entrepreneur, you may feel reluctant to hire an attorney because you feel they are redundant for your daily business. However, you need to be aware of some of the situations where you need a lawyer to protect your company’s interest.
Every time you obtain financing (public or private), negotiate employment contracts, obtain trademarks and guard trade secrets – that’s when you need a lawyer. Additionally, look for a lawyer when you prepare drafts for internal procedures and policies, documents for meetings and articles of bylaws. Lastly, when you’re dealing with tax returns, reports and licenses, as well as with obtaining or selling a business, consult a lawyer as well.
Once you decide you need a reliable lawyer, start from word-of-mouth. Your friends and business associates will probably have a good recommendation.
Another option is to ask for a referral from a professional organization or chamber of commerce. Also, you could contact your local bar association or talk to a paralegal acquaintance who could point you into the right direction.
When you collect a couple of reliable recommendations, you could filter the search by identifying the location of each lawyer. It’s convenient if you can reach your lawyer quickly. However, their competence is far more important, so consider hiring a large firm. Many bigger expert firms such as David Kam & Co Solicitors have covered different legal areas, which makes them useful in every aspect of business. You never know when the need for an attorney will arise in other aspect of your life, too.
Before you make the final call, interview a couple of attorneys. You should feel comfortable confiding in them. Pay attention to how good they are at listening to you, how aggressive they are when it comes to their attitudes and how clear they are when it comes to explaining you the matters you’re not very strong at.
On the other hand, you also need to be straightforward with the attorney when it comes to your goals and expectations. Only then can your relationship be stable and fruitful.
In order to be sure your interview will show you which attorney is the right one for you, have a list of questions that you should ask each one of them.
You should ask whether they have represented anyone from your niche and then ask for references. Find out how long it usually take them to call you back and get in touch with you when it’s an emergency and whether you will ever have to deal with other attorneys beside them.
Next, ask them about their previous experience – what their area of expertise is and how long they have been practicing in the particular area. Find out whether the majority of their clients are companies or individuals and how much they charge a retainer, as well as the way they assess the fees.
Every private business will be highly successful only if it has a group of capable people taking care of it. In other words, it isn’t just about how competent you, as the owner, are. It’s also about what type of other professionals you hire. Together, you will ensure your business is stable and thriving.
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