Depending on the type of business you are starting, copyright and patent possibilities, licensing arrangements, organizational structure and other situations that require legal advice, there will be times when you need the services of a lawyer more than others. As it can cost a lot of money to retain strong representation, you may want to offer your potential lawyer shares in your business. This will reduce the amount of actual cash you will have to pay and give the individual a vested interest in the success of your company. If you employ a large law firm, take care that your business does not end up in the hands of a junior lawyer with little experience in your industry. Make sure to have a personal meeting with any candidate before they become your legal counsel.
You must trust your lawyer. This individual will be privy to some of the most secret information of your business and must be able to handle this in a private and professional manner. It is a good idea to establish guidelines about the nature and sensitivity of company materials. Find out if there are any conflicts of interest that would make this individual the wrong person to handle your company.
You will want to find a lawyer who has experience dealing in the business world and is comfortable with contracts, licenses, copyrights, patents and other issues that will affect your business. Look for a lawyer who has had past dealings with similar yet non-competing companies, and will use his or her experience to help mitigate your exposure to unnecessary risk.
The best place to start your search for a lawyer is to speak with your friends and other business owners to find out who they use. You can also try looking in the Yellow Pages or on the Web. There are innumerable lawyers who will be able to handle the needs of your business from a professional standpoint. It is your job to find the one that will fit in best with your business team, understands the best ways to build a solid foundation for your business and can best cut down your risk exposure.
What characteristics are you looking for in your legal counsel?
- Do you currently know any lawyers with experience in your industry?
- How will you give the lawyer a vested interest in the success of your business?
- Do you trust this individual?
- What do their references have to say about him or her?
- What is his or her familiarity with the industry?
- Do they have any other clients in the same industry?
Choosing the right legal counsel to represent your business is an important step in building your business team. Finding an individual that understands your industry, connects with you on a personal level and has the time to devote to your company will help to minimize some of the risk associated with starting a business.