How to hire an attorney for your business

Every business usually needs two professionals from the beginning: a lawyer and an accountant. The reasons for hiring a business lawyer might not be obvious to everyone. However, a good lawyer will provide you with necessary assistance for every aspect of your business: copyright advice, trademark advice, and basic zoning compliance.

According to Jimmy Doan, the leader of Doan Law Firm lawyers, if you are being sued it is of paramount importance that you get representation from a trusted attorney. Better yet, you should have a lawyer before you are sued. Once you are served with a summons and complaint, it is already too late. The larger a law firm is, the greater its overhead will be – this means that you will end up paying higher hourly fees.

Types of lawyers

Attorneys are becoming increasingly specialized. Therefore, a person who specializes in wills or medical malpractice will not do your business any good. You need a lawyer to deal with different aspects of your business including:

Contracts – you need a lawyer who understands your business properly to handle your contracts. The lawyer will help you to prepare the standard form contracts that you need with clients and customers. Moreover, they will help you to go over the contracts that other people want you to sign.

Forming business organizations – if you are thinking about forming a limited liability company or a corporation, you need a lawyer who can advise you accordingly. If you decide to go ahead with this plan, your lawyer will help you to prepare the necessary paperwork.

Real estate – a lease on commercial spaces such as retail stores and offices is very complicated and usually made to benefit the property owner. Since a lease is a printed document, you might think that it is non-negotiable. Your lawyer needs to have a ‘tenant’s addendum’ that contains provisions to benefit you.

Licenses and taxes – although your accountant is responsible for preparing and filing your yearly tax returns, your attorney must understand the tax consequences of business transactions and be able to register you for state and federal tax identification.

Intellectual property – if you are in a media business, your lawyer will help you to register services and products for copyright protection and federal trademark. However, people who specialize in ‘intellectual property’ legal work usually perform these tasks.

What to ask during interviews

How to hire an attorney for your business

         – Are you experienced? – You should not be afraid to question a lawyer’s experience. For instance, if you want to incorporate your company, you need to know how much experience the lawyer has in incorporation.

         Are you well connected? – Your legal aid should diagnose your problem, solve it as necessary, or refer you to a specialist who can. No lawyer knows everything about all areas of law. Therefore, if your business has specific needs, the lawyer should either know that area of law or refer you to somebody who does.

         Do you have other clients in my industry?  – Your lawyer needs to be familiar with your company and its legal environment. If he is not, he should take the time to learn the ins and outs of your industry.

         Are you a good teacher? – You need to question your attorney’s ability to teach. Your lawyer should be willing to take some time out of his schedule to educate you and your staff about your company’s legal environment.

         Will you have flexible billing? – Because there are more lawyers now than ever before, you can negotiate your fees. This is a buyer’s market but there are limits. Business lawyers cannot work on ‘contingency fees’, which are paid once your case is completed in a satisfactory manner.