How To Find The Best Business Lawyer

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If you're a small business owner, a member of a board of directors, or an entrepreneur, you probably need advice on a wide range of legal matters arising in the course of your business.

You may be thinking of going public or selling off your assets. You may have a dispute with vendors or employees.

You need a good business lawyer to guide you through such challenges so you do not lose money, reputation, and customers. 

How do you find the best business lawyer for your needs? Check out the list below for some suggestions on finding the best business lawyer for your company.


Do They Know Your Industry?

If you are looking to expand your business, a good business lawyer may help you strategize on the best ways to proceed. He can help vet possible acquisitions for you. He may introduce you to potential partners.

It is helpful if your business lawyer understands the ins and outs of your particular industry. If they have not had direct experience in it, they need to show that they can get up to speed quickly.

Different industries have different challenges and legal requirements. If you are in a heavily regulated industry like oil and gas, healthcare, finance or telecommunications, you may need to follow very specific legal guidelines. 

The best business attorneys will anticipate issues you may never have thought of! They will outline possible risks you may encounter stemming from new regulations, supply chain issues, or market fluctuations. Usually, attorneys skilled in your specific area will be best positioned to do this.


Does She Understand Your Market?

Lawyers may be knowledgeable about the law, but that does not always mean they understand your business objectives. For example, if you are in the entertainment industry, you have certain business objectives that are very different from someone in the insurance industry.

In some practice areas of law, it does not really matter what industry the matter involves. A bankruptcy lawyer will guide a client in one industry similarly to how she guides someone in another.

Other lawyers focus on specific areas of business. A filmmaker may choose an entertainment lawyer who is skilled at negotiating contracts in the movie industry. They probably have a very different skillset and personality than someone who handles banking.

Often a lawyer may act as your company's spokesperson, especially in litigation matters. You want someone who can represent you and your business in a way that is consistent with your brand.

If you have an invention you want to patent, you want a lawyer who really understands what your product does. Look for a business lawyer with a background in intellectual property who has represented others in your field. Some lawyers have undergraduate degrees in engineering or science, which may make them better suited for your needs.


What's Their Reputation in Local Business?

Talk to your fellow business people about their legal representation. Who has a great reputation in your area? Word of mouth is often the best marketing. 

Some businesses may choose to go to New York City or San Francisco-based national law firms for their representation. These attorneys tend to be expensive and powerful. They often work on huge deals and mergers for major corporations or successful startups.

However, if your business goals are more localized, it helps to work with someone who knows the laws of your state and the personalities of people in the business world and justice system.

Personal relationships can be key in both business negotiations and in litigation. 

Remember, you usually may not hire your competitors' lawyer, even if they have the best reputation in the business. It may be deemed a conflict of interest. 


What Do Other Clients Say? 

When you are interviewing lawyers to possibly represent you, ask if you can speak to other companies they have worked with. 

Does this lawyer have testimonials from previous clients on her website? Few clients will allow their names to be publicly associated with a lawyer unless they were very satisfied with their results.

A previous client can tell you about the lawyer's strengths and weaknesses. They can tell you whether they call you back right away, whether they have effective support staff, and what their fees are like. 


Do You Get Along? 

When you hire a business lawyer,  you want someone who will stay with you and your business for years. You want someone who will help make your company grow, and assist you with all sorts of challenges along the way.

You may spend a great deal of time with this person!

It's important to have a personal rapport with your advocate. You need to trust them to be discrete and ethical. You don't want to hesitate to come to them with any concerns you may have, even outside of business hours. 

You also want someone who speaks your language. You need your lawyer to be able to explain to you the reasoning behind her strategies without responding to legal jargon. 

You need to be honest with your lawyer. If you have made a mistake that could have legal or business ramifications, he may be able to help you- but only if you give him all the information. 

Should you hire your friend who happens to be a lawyer? That depends on your legal situation. If your friend is a divorce lawyer and you want to set up a corporation, they may not have the requisite experience.

On the other hand, a friend who knows your business and challenges, and with whom you have a long-standing close relationship, can be a great asset in attaining your business objectives. 


The Best Business Lawyer for You: Someone You Trust and Can Get the Job Done

Even if you are a corporate lawyer yourself, you should always have someone else conduct your business dealings on your behalf. As they say, a man who represents himself has a fool for a client.

The best business lawyer has an objective eye, neutral perspective, and legal knowledge to guide you through your company's ups and downs. 

On the other hand, you should like your business lawyer. You want someone you believe is working tirelessly on your behalf, and in whom you can confide anything.

Keep checking back for more tips on keeping your business on the right track towards success. Visit the Law section of the Bootstrap Business Blog to learn more about how to find the best business lawyer for your small business, startup, non-profit organization, or corporation.

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