Are you preparing to hire a business lawyer to represent your company’s legal interests? There are more than 1.33 million licensed attorneys in the United States and practicing in a wide range of legal niches.
9 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Business Lawyer
Before you retain an attorney to represent your business in or out of court, you need to have a clear understanding of who they are and what they can do for you.
Read on to learn about nine questions to ask a lawyer!
1. How Long Have You Been Practicing in This Area of the Law?
Lawyers for businesses have been practicing for many different periods. Some lawyers are younger and will work under a more experienced attorney, often a partner in the practice. These younger attorneys will usually be associates but will work closely with the partner on your legal cases.
You should look for an attorney or law firm that has significant experience handling cases or business disputes like yours. This will give you confidence that you are hiring the right attorney for your issues.
2. Where Did You Attend Law School?
Where a lawyer graduated from law school can be important at times. For example, it can be helpful for an attorney to attend law school at one in the legal community where they practice law.
It’s not a must that a prospective attorney has gone to law school in the area, but it can give them exposure to the legal community while getting their education. The law school may also have a strong reputation for producing great lawyers in the area.
3. How Will You Communicate With Me During Representation?
One of the most important aspects of the attorney-client relationship is clear communication between both sides. If you and a prospective attorney can’t speak openly, honestly, and regularly with each other, this can create problems.
Speak to a prospective attorney about how they will provide case updates or ask questions. Are they primarily someone that uses the phone or email? Do they use staff members to send messages instead of being the one that contacts you?
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The answers to these questions will give you a clear understanding of want to expect if you retain that particular attorney.
4. How Will You Bill Me for Your Services?
Whether you are looking for a startup lawyer or one for an established business, you need to know your costs. Lawyers usually bill one of two ways: on a flat fee basis or by charging an hourly rate.
Sometimes lawyers will charge a flat fee for certain work but bill hourly for other tasks. The way you are charged for a lawyer’s services shouldn’t be a surprise when you get your first bill.
Speak with a prospective attorney about how they will bill you so that there’s no question what to expect during the professional relationship.
5. What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of My Case Right Now?
If you are in a business dispute at the time you are searching for an attorney, speak openly about the facts surrounding the case. This will give your lawyer the most realistic look at the issues raised by your situation.
A lawyer can also give you a more honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Remember that if you are in a lawsuit, the strength of your case may change one way or another.
6. Are You the Attorney Handling My Files?
If you are considering hiring a law firm instead of a solo practitioner, you should know who will be the attorney handling your files. Sometimes, an older attorney will be responsible for bringing in a client but won’t work much on their files.
You need to be sure that if you are picking a firm because of a particular attorney, that is the attorney that will be handling your files. Learn about who will be working on your cases so that you know what to expect from that business contract attorney.
7. Do You Try Cases?
The vast majority of lawsuits do not end with a trial, but sometimes there’s no way around that in a case. Ninety-five percent of lawsuits end without a trial, but for those five percent that do, you need a lawyer that’s ready to be in court.
Talk to prospective law firms about their experience in trial for cases similar to yours. What have been their results in the cases they have tried? Remember that every case is different and that past results are no guarantee about how your case will end.
8. What Are My Options?
Among the most important questions to ask a lawyer is, ‘What are my options?’ This applies to business formation, disputes, and lawsuits. There are often many different choices to make with a wide range of consequences.
For example, ‘Should I hire you to write a demand letter to a customer that owes me money, or should I file a lawsuit?’ A lawyer will advise you about the pros and cons of each decision, as well as potential outcomes.
9. What Is the Timeline for This Kind of Case?
Lawyers for businesses can speak with you about the timeline for your particular case. The truth is that there is no magic way for an attorney to tell you exactly how long your case will take.
There are a lot of factors that go into resolving a case, including how the parties view their respective positions and seeking a mutual agreement.
Even though an attorney can’t tell you the exact length of time, they can tell you how the process works and what to expect.
Hiring the Best Business Lawyer for You
The best business lawyer for your company is the one that has the experience and makes you feel comfortable. You will be working hand-in-hand with your lawyer during a wide range of legal issues.
You must find a business attorney you can be candid with during the attorney-client relationship. Are you looking for other advice about your startup business?
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