Whether you’re starting a new company or looking to revamp your current enterprise, hiring a qualified lawyer is a key component of running a successful business. Just like an accountant or HR manager, a lawyer fulfills a vital role on your team—plus, they make sure your accountant and HR manager are doing everything right in their jobs.
With so many legal specializations and qualified candidates to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are four things to consider to help you select the right lawyer for you and your company.
1: Is the Candidate Qualified?
Just like searching for the right piano teacher or tech consultant, use online resources to search for and scrutinize qualified lawyers. Look at websites for each candidate’s law firm, and double-check your candidate’s licensing on the state bar website (this will also indicate if the candidate has any disciplinary history).
Additionally, take a look at your candidate’s professional history. Have they worked with companies similar to yours? Do they specialize in business law? If you see references to corporate law in your candidate’s bio, you’ll know that they’re familiar with transactional law, and are well-equipped to help your company.
2: Is the Candidate Well-Regarded?
If online searches still feel too broad, ask a trusted friend or a qualified colleague for recommendations. Personal testimonies are the best way to gain insight into a lawyer’s style and competence.
After all, you’re hiring a lawyer to get you out of trouble, not into other, different trouble!
Whether you’re looking for an immigration lawyer in Chicago or a transactional lawyer in Phoenix, express your particular needs to the people you trust. This way, they can steer you to a lawyer with the right blend of specializations. Remember, there are myriad different specialties under the umbrella of “business law,” so it’s important to find someone who meets your requirements.
3: What is the Fee Structure Like?
Like any other service, law firms operate under a variety of different fee structures. Familiarize yourself with the most often used systems so you’re equipped to negotiate during an interview.
Here are a few things to consider when discussing payment options:
- Flat fee – This is a set payment due on a monthly basis. Sometimes flat fees are also billed as one-time payments for a specific service.
- Hourly fee – The name is self-explanatory: you pay a set amount for every hour of work your lawyer has done for you, which can add up fast if they’re burning the midnight oil for you and your company.
- Retainer – A retainer is a lump sum paid upfront for services. Essentially, this helps you set a budget ahead of time, and guarantees your lawyer a certain amount of work on a monthly basis.
4: Are They The Right Fit?
Finding a lawyer that works well for you isn’t just about qualifications and price points. You have to find someone whose working style complements your personality and temperament—and, quite honestly, someone you actually enjoy working with. Here are a few factors to consider:
- Business goals – Ensure you and your lawyer see eye-to-eye on your business goals. If your lawyer is enthusiastic about your business and understands your concept, they’ll be more effective when it comes to helping you draft contracts or handle negotiations.
- Communication skills – Is your candidate easy to talk to? Are you able to establish a friendly rapport? Communication is a key part of any working relationship! If the conversation flows easily and you feel comfortable sharing, this is a great sign you’ll have success together in the future.
- Respect – No matter how on-board or charming a candidate might be, it’s imperativethat you respect one another. Listen to your gut and pay attention to your candidate’s professionalism and attention to detail.
Leave Yourself Time to Deliberate
Don’t feel pressured to make your decision on the spot. Just like any other job interview, it’s not unusual to take time afterwards to consider your options.
Once you’ve mulled over each candidate’s qualifications, recommendations, and demeanor, you’ll be ready to hire a lawyer who fits your business model and helps your company grow and succeed.