What Factors Should I Consider When Researching An Attorney For My Small Business?
When researching outside counsel for a small business, it’s important to consider both the cost of hiring the attorney and the value that attorney will provide to your business. Since hiring an attorney is expensive, it’s important that business owners focus not only on how much they will have to pay the attorney, but also on how that attorney can help their business to either save money or make more money — in other words, how that attorney can provide value to the business. For example, if a business owner hires an attorney who charges $500 per hour to review and edit a contract, and in the four hours it takes to complete that project, the attorney identifies and addresses issues and clauses in the contract that end up saving the business $10,000, then that attorney has provided significant value. On the other, if that same business owner made the decision of which attorney to hire based solely on the hourly rate and retained an attorney at $150 per hour, that might seem like a great value at the time the business owner is writing out the check for the attorney’s fees. However, if the reason the less expensive attorney charged less is because of a lack of experience, knowledge or expertise, then it is likely that attorney will not recognize all the red flags and problem areas in the contract, which could cost the business owner a lot more in the long run. This is an example of a business owner prioritizing cost over value, and the key is to find the right balance — an attorney who is worth the cost because they bring added value to the business.
Does Every Business Need an Attorney? How Do I Know If I Do?
It is possible to start a business without an attorney, but in my opinion, doing so is a mistake. If a business owner has never even talked to an attorney about their business to find out what legal issues they need to be aware of with vendors and customers, then they are essentially just hoping for the best. A business might succeed for a time by doing this, but when that first legal issue or lawsuit comes up that could have been avoided by spending a little bit of time with an attorney at the beginning, the wisdom of talking to an attorney at the start will become apparent.
Most small businesses can go years without ever having to deal with an attorney on a regular basis, but occasionally checking in with an experienced business attorney who can review the legal language in the contracts and catch potential errors can be very beneficial. If someone fails to consult with an attorney, they may end up looking back and wishing they had spent a little bit of money upfront to get to obtain legal advice that would have save them much more money in the long run.
Does Your Firm Litigate Cases?
Yes, my firm is a litigation firm. I have been litigating cases since my first week as a lawyer. Litigation involves more than just going to court – it is formally researching the facts of the case and gathering evidence through a process called discovery, filing and responding to motions, providing mandatory disclosures and a host of other steps in the litigation process that are not always apparent to someone who has not actually gone through the process. For business clients who are wondering about what the litigation process entails, the unfortunate answer is that every case is different, but a consultation with an experienced business litigator will allow the business owner to get a firm idea of what she is facing if it looks like litigation is likely.