When deciding on which contract attorney to hire, you want to consider the various qualifications of your candidates. Simply having passed the bar isn't enough.
You should look for proof of experience, knowledge, and positive client testimonials. Assuming the candidate is well-qualified, they will gladly provide all of this information for you.
While many of the tasks you request from an attorney will be routine for them, you're still going to be better off working with a lawyer that specializes in your field. When getting your business contracts in place, you should seek help from a business lawyer.
You don't just want an attorney who has experience writing contracts -- you want one who also has experience prosecuting and defending clients in contract disputes. This gives them more experience to draw from when writing your contracts, and if the situation arises, you know they'll be able to defend you in court.
SIZE OF THEIR FIRM
The size of the firm you work with will largely be determined by your budget and your business's legal needs. In general, larger firms will be able to handle all of your business needs, while smaller firms will tend to specialize in a few areas and refer clients to other specialized firms for services they don't cover.
Larger firms will tend to charge higher rates for their range of services, convenience, their strong reputation, their connections, and reach within an industry. If your business needs a variety of services and could benefit from the contacts in a larger firm's network, you might find their rates to be of more value.
If you're just looking for help on small tasks here and there, working with a smaller firm might be a better option for you. Particularly if your business is small itself and working on a tight budget.
Does your attorney have references? Any qualified attorney will be able to provide references and testimonials for prospective clients. If an attorney doesn't have testimonials to provide, it doesn't necessarily mean they are a bad attorney. But it likely means they don't have much experience yet.
Some lawyers have a number of certifications, in addition to their law degree. While this isn't a requirement to be considered a great attorney, it's definitely something to look for.
For example, Charles M.R. Vethan of Vethan Law Firm, P.C. is Board Certified in Consumer and Commercial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale Hubbell, an independent rating agency of attorneys in North America. The AV Preeminent rating is awarded to attorneys with "very high to preeminent legal ability, expertise, and professionalism in their field of practice."
PUBLICATIONS AND CITATIONS
Two more things that can make one attorney more qualified than the other is the number of papers they've published and journals they've been cited in. This speaks to the depth of their knowledge and the regard that others in their industry have for them.
You want to look for a balance between knowledge and experience when finding the most qualified contract lawyer. In addition to being recognized by the Texas Lawyer as having Top Texas verdicts in 2010 and 2014, Mr. Vethan has published numerous articles over the past decade and has received several citations for his accomplishments.