So you're ready to get legal advice for your company, but you aren't sure how to pick out the best attorney. It's normal to feel overwhelmed, but we're here to help.
Most experienced attorneys will be able to provide all the information you need, without much effort on your end. However, there are three questions that you should always ask first, before investing any more time with your potential lawyer.
1. HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE?
First you want to find out where the majority of their experience lies. You're going to be better off hiring a lawyer that specializes in what you need help with. Meaning your business that needs copyright protection shouldn't be approaching a criminal defense lawyer.
It's not called the practice of law for no reason -- it takes years of practice to be a great attorney. Find out how long your prospective lawyer has been practicing law.
Ask if they've worked with companies similar to yours and if they've handled similar scenarios. Try to get an idea of the level of success they've had in similar situations, this gives you an idea of how things are likely to play out for you.
2. HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CLIENTS?
This is an important question that often gets overlooked. Some attorneys prefer to communicate through email, and others through phone. Then there are attorneys that prefer to do most of their communication in face-to-face meetings.
Ensuring that they have a communication style that you like is especially important if you're looking to build a long-term relationship with your business attorney. This is an area that causes problems down the line, so it's good to get it straightened out from the beginning.
Be sure to ask what their average response time is, as well. Sometimes you'll be communicating directly with a paralegal and won't hear back from your attorney for several days. Whatever the cases is, just make sure that both parties agree on general terms.
3. WHAT ARE YOUR FEES AND HOW ARE THEY BILLED?
There's more to figuring out your total costs than simply asking for rates. You want to look at the total fees and expenses that your attorney will typically bill. Then you also want to find out how often you will be billed, and how you will be billed.
Some attorneys will have a minimum amount they bill for any project, while others don't. A good lawyer will have no problem breaking their fee structure down for you.
Also, don't be afraid to mention if you can't afford services that are priced too high for you. Many attorneys will have flexible options to help you reduce the cost. That might mean having to do some of the paperwork yourself, or working closer with a paralegal. Every practice is different, so you'll have to ask to find out what your options are.
Good attorneys are upfront with their costs and offer realistic expectations. It's important that you only work with an attorney you can trust. Building that trust starts with asking the tough questions early on and getting them out of the way.
Does your Texas business need legal counsel? Feel free to contact us today and we'll be happy to answer any and all questions you have.