At least once in your lifetime, you will fall sick and have to seek the services of a doctor. The same parallel can be drawn for your business. At the very minimum, any company will have to go through the rough road of commercial litigation at some point. If truth be told, litigation is not fun. It can take a heavy toll on your finances and emotions. It will disrupt your time and schedule, and this is why you need a good lawyer. The article will provide a checklist on how to find a good business lawyer.
The first item that you must check off your list is the qualifications of your lawyer. Ensure that the lawyer you are dealing with has the experience your business needs going forward. Experience in this context refers to courtroom exposure as well as specialization in areas of law such as taxation, and arbitration.
The legal profession is mostly a buyer’s market. The reason being that the there is an oversupply of lawyers in the legal profession. The billing methods used by different law firms vary, some firms will charge by the hour while others charge a flat rate. There is also the possibility that you could negotiate with your lawyer to get favorable rates. As a business owner, go with the lawyer whose rates are a great fit for your business. In the same vein, flee from any lawyer who is willing to negotiate to bottom of the barrel.
- Check Out the Terms of Reference
The terms of reference that need to be sorted out before you get into a union with a lawyer include being in agreement with the scope of engagement, and discussing financial issues such as having an upfront retainer or how out of pocket payments will be sorted out. This is because once the agreement is signed, it is binding.
You need to gel well with your lawyer. At the very minimum, your lawyer has to listen to you. A lawyer who has poor listening skills, a condescending attitude towards your views, and dedicates little time to you makes for a poor fit in your budding relationship. If the chemistry is right, then you’re potentially on the right pick.
- Mode of Operation
You need to be clear from the outset of your relationship how matters will proceed during your court case. Explicitly ask whether the lawyer who handles your issue from the time of seeking representation will be the individual to see it through the court system. If it is a custom in a law firm that the case handled by a given law firm gets relegated to an associate or a paralegal, then it is in order to express your discomfort. Be comfortable with the mode of operation of any firm before proceeding with that relationship.
- City or State
The residency of your lawyer is also crucial. The residency status of your lawyer determines issues such as the frequency of your meetings, and any bills that might be paid for the lawyers travel. However, this last decision must be balanced with elements such as expertise of the lawyer in question and their billing structure.