Hiring an Attorney
In the process of starting a business, whether it is a corporation, a limited liability company, or a partnership, you are probably considering whether you should hire an attorney to help you with start-up. Here is a discussion of how to find an attorney and what factors to consider when selecting an attorney.
What to Look For in an Attorney
When you are selecting an attorney, consider the following:
- You will need an attorney who practices in the state where your business is located. If you have locations in several states, ask your attorney if he/she can practice law in those states or if he/she has reciprocal arrangements with other attorneys in those states.
- Look for someone who has experience in the type of business you will be starting. If you are starting a restaurant, for example, an attorney with experience in the food service industry can be a huge asset.
- Look for an attorney in a medium-sized firm with several attorneys. Each attorney should have different expertise, so you can work with an attorney who has expertise. For example, you might need help registering a trademark or applying for a patent. Or you might need an employment law expert for employee matters, and a real estate expert if you are buying a building. A smaller firm with several experts will provide the services you need without the bigger fees of a large firm.
- Look for an attorney with two qualities: (1) You like the person as an individual and you can work with him/her, and (2)You trust this person to act in your best interest. This is one of those "gut instinct" matters, and it is usually best to follow your instincts.
Where to Find an Attorney
Here are three suggestions for finding an attorney:
- The best way to find an attorney is by asking other business people. Ask people who are in the same profession or type of business as you, to find someone who has experience in the field.
- Look in your local phone book or the online "yellow pages." Read carefully the types of expertise the attorneys have.
- Look at an attorney listing service like Martindale-Hubbell. Search by state first, then type of attorney. You can also search on areas of practice, bar admissions (ability to practice in certain states), years in practice, languages spoken, and other factors. You might use this service to give you an initial list and then you can interview the top candidates.
Back to Corporation Startup Checklist