How to Find a Good Lawyer
In the business world, having a knowledgeable, reputable lawyer is invaluable. There are a number of reasons a business should have legal representation, as a qualified attorney can help them avoid legal snares associated with employees, taxes, or litigation.
Some common reasons a business would go about hiring a lawyer would be:
When forming a new business
Drafting employment agreements
Merging or selling the business
Disputes between shareholders
Environmental and regulatory compliance on both the state and federal level
Ensuring the business complies with state and federal employment laws
Defense of employment related claims such as harassment and discrimination
One need only open the Yellow Pages to discover that most cities have hundreds of lawyers, so narrowing it down to the right one can be a lot of work. In order to find a good lawyer who can represent your business and employees effectively, there are a number of things to take into consideration when narrowing down the prospects.
First, find an attorney who specializes in your area of need. If you have a property management business, for example, you wouldn't want to hire an accident/injury attorney or a criminal lawyer. Once you have compiled a list of attorneys that specialize in your specific field, you can then go about finding a good lawyer.
Ask for referrals. Business associates, friends, and lawyer referral services that can be found on the internet can be very helpful. If an associate or acquaintance has had a good experience with their attorney and refers you to him or her, it can eliminate the guesswork associated with finding a good lawyer.
Understand their fees and the work they will be doing before you hire them. This way, you will know exactly what you can expect (or not expect). In addition, if you hire an attorney and find he or she is not meeting your expectations, do not hesitate to fire them and find another lawyer who will better meet your needs. In addition, it may not be a good idea to have just one lawyer for all your needs. For example, you may have one lawyer that specializes in employment law, and another in tax law.
Ask the Right Questions
Once you have narrowed down your list to a few prospects, you should be prepared to ask your prospective lawyer a series of questions. This is usually done via a phone consultation, which you will most likely need an appointment for. Some things you may want to ask include:
How long have you been in practice? (Ideally, the more experience, the better.)
How much experience do you have in my area of need?
Do you charge a fee for your initial consultation?
Do you have a standard basic fee, or is it hourly?
In addition, you will want to check the State Bar Association on your own to make sure they are a lawyer in good standing with the bar. Make sure you take notes during all your meetings with prospective lawyers, and then review them carefully before making a decision. If you have business partners, you will want to include them in the decision as well. One important thing to note is that it's important that you get along with your lawyer. He may be an excellent attorney, but if you find that you don't get along with him or don't like dealing with him, your business could suffer.
Finding a good lawyer takes a little homework and hard work on your behalf, but the payoff is a good lawyer who will work hard for you and your business.