There are many reasons why a business might need to hire a good lawyer. When most people think of business law, they think of the huge firms that represent massive companies. But business attorneys are useful for more than just massive corporations.
In fact, small businesses can sometimes need these attorneys the most. What if you own a business and you’re sued by a former employee? What if you need to recover money from a vendor that won’t pay? What if you need help organizing or navigating a difficult financial time?
All of these are good reasons to consider a lawyer. With this in mind, you need to choose well. If you own a small business, here are mistakes to avoid when hiring a small business attorney.
1. Hiring an attorney without meeting them first
If you try to hire a lawyer just on reputation, you may end up getting burned. The best advice is to sit down with a small business attorney to get a sense of how they communicate. You should always be comfortable with the lawyer you hire. It’s impossible to know whether you have this comfort level until you have that sit-down.
2. Hiring an attorney with a sketchy ethical past
There are many lawyers today who operate honourably and ethically. They’re good at what they do, and they’ll treat your case with care. If you go cheap on an attorney with a sketchy ethical past, you may end up in a bad situation. The most common reason why attorneys are sanctioned by the bar has to do with money.
They misuse client funds, fail to return fees and even fail to place money in their trust account. This kind of behaviour can cause stress for your business and put your hard-earned profits at risk. The key is to hire an attorney with more than just a clean record. Hiring one with a good reputation for client service will let you sleep well at night.
3. Hiring an attorney who won’t listen to your goals
Some attorneys go into every situation with their own agenda. They are representing a client, but they won’t listen to what the client actually wants to accomplish. Imagine, for instance, that you have to sue a former business partner.
You had a good relationship with that person, and you would rather resolve the case in a way that allows you to potentially re-build the relationship in the future. If your lawyer listens to your goals, he will craft a strategy with relationship building mind.
Some lawyers will hard charge into the situation and burn those bridges forever. The key is to make sure your lawyer listens to what you actually want.
4. Hiring an attorney without a wide set of skills
Big companies can sometimes afford to hire many different lawyers to perform many different tasks. They may have a person who is good at litigation, a person that can help with contracts and one expert who understands bankruptcy law.
When you run a small business, your problems tend to be broader. You know well that you’ll have to put out many fires and deal with many potential threats. This means you need to hire a lawyer for your small business that has a broad set of skills. When you do so, that lawyer will be able to guide you through many trying times.
Hiring a good lawyer can help protect your small business. It can also allow you to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. Just know that not all lawyers are created equally. Avoid these mistakes so you can walk away pleased with your representation.