You Can Be Choosy When Choosing A Lawyer
How to Choose a Lawyer: Be Choosy.
Are you also sitting at home binging The Good Wife and wondering if maybe this is the right time to hire a lawyer to help with your business questions (just us?)? The next step in actually choosing the right lawyer for your legal needs can be daunting enough to make you throw up your hands and click “next episode” instead. Trellis is here to break down this process with tips for when you are ready to ditch the remote and hire a lawyer to advocate for your business’s success.
I Want A Lawyer Who Likes…. Long Walks On The Beach
Before you start to look for a lawyer, get clear on your business needs and what you want from a lawyer. Investing this time upfront saves you time and frustration and fast tracks you to a solid relationship (kind of like romance, right?). Hold tight on that Google search, and take a moment to clarify:
What is your industry? Are you a photographer? Do you work in agriculture? Tech? Food service? Although there are legal concepts that apply to many different industries, a lawyer who is familiar with your industry will be a better advocate for the specific needs of your industry and business interests. Think about it like needing a birthday cake. You wouldn’t go to the pizza shop just because they have ovens and can bake. You’d go to the bakery because birthdays require layers, frosting, technique, and we strongly believe, colorful sprinkles.
What key issue are you facing? Is your commercial lease confounding? Are you ready to grow and need new-hire policies? Are you just starting out and have no idea how to choose between all those letters - LLC, Co, Inc, etc.?? To address your issues most thoroughly, it’s better to find a lawyer who has expertise and extensive experience with the issues you are facing.
What are geography-specific needs? Your lawyer needs to be licensed to practice law in your state. It is illegal for a lawyer who is licensed in one state to give legal advice on the laws of a different state where he/she is not licensed. And ideally, you want a lawyer who is connected to your community. A local lawyer will be positioned to give the best advice on navigating the state’s legal requirements, have an understanding of local laws and regulations, and feel a greater obligation to those affected.
What is your budget? This is a big one, and we talk about it a lot. Budget clarity will help you define the scope of a legal relationship. At Trellis, we recognize legal counsel is costly, and so it is important to know how much you can set aside for legal services. As a member of the community, our goal is the sustainability of your business, and as a small business ourselves, we know those struggles intimately.
Once you have a clear idea of your industry, legal needs, geographical area, and budget, start searching lawyers with those specifics in mind - it is really that easy! As with most business relationships, asking your network of business owners for recommendations is a solid place to start. Once you have a list of people who meet your requirements, start dialing, emailing, and interviewing. Remember, a lawyer works for you, not the other way around. At the end of the day, your intuition is a trusty resource.
That’s a lot to think about, so spend some time on that homework, and stay tuned as we’ll walk you through the “first date” with your lawyer in our next blog post.
Disclaimer: This blog post is meant for informational purposes only and does not constitute specific legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Readers should discuss their specific situation with an attorney.