Regardless of the type of business you operate, you will need a business attorney. Whether you have questions regarding the formation of your business, commercial leases and/or commercial property contracts, vendor and employment contracts, and other legal questions, the question as to how to find the “right” attorney arises.
Choosing the right business attorney depends upon your business needs.
What is the role of a business lawyer?
Business lawyers handle business formation, contract negotiations and drafting, real estate issues, and try to proactively guide businesses to avoid potential litigation. For instance, a business attorney may assist with the following:
Real estate: This includes the purchase, sale, and/or leasing of commercial space.
Contract Review and Drafting: The negotiation, review, and formalization of the business operation whether it is an employment or independent contractor agreement, vendor agreement, or business deals.
Formation of Business; This includes discussing whether your business is to be a partnership, sole proprietor, or corporation. Other types of agreement need to be drafted to reflect the type of business you have.
Growth of Business: A business lawyer acts as your guide, to assist you with your business’s growth opportunities, and evaluates the legal framework for you to achieve your objectives.
How to Find a Business Attorney
Even if you know what you’re looking for, you also need to know where to find a lawyer. The American Bar Association, Martindale-Hubbell, and sites such as AVVO, the Florida Bar, and Justia are resources for you to find a business attorney.
Meeting With Business Lawyers
It is important to meet with or at least speak on the phone with several lawyers before selecting the right one from the list once you have identified some potential business lawyers. You are responsible for hiring this individual since they will work closely with you and have access to sensitive information about your business. Therefore, you should make sure you trust them and get along with them well.
The first type of information you should bring to your meeting with potential lawyers is information about your business or your case. The business lawyer will need this information to understand your situation and make recommendations for you. Prior to the meeting, you may wish to write down notes outlining what you know and what you do not know about the situation. You are also advised to bring all necessary documents.
Secondly, prepare a list of questions. Some will relate to your business concerns. Others will apply to virtually any situation, such as:
- It is recommended that you ask the lawyer how long they have been practicing the type of law that is relevant to your case as well as how much experience they generally have.
- It is important that you ask not only how often you will hear from the lawyer, but also who in their office will be your point of contact. This is something you will particularly need if the case is causing you anxiety.
- Before you make a commitment, you have the right to know what the attorney’s fees are, and what they include. Keeping this information in mind will prevent unpleasant surprises.
- Listen for “red flags” as you speak with the business lawyer. At the very least, you should expect clear communication and expertise in the area of law you are interested in. Lawyers who do not answer questions about fees, make large promises, or rush through the meeting should be avoided.