Finding a Good Business Attorney may not necessarily be easy. The process can be intimidating because the legal profession is not always looked upon favorably. This week in Argent PlaceⓇ Review, we examine three articles that provide key information to assist in the process of hiring an attorney.
“How to Choose the Best Lawyer for Your Small Business” written by attorney Desiree Moore, for Technori.com, first reminds business owners that this process is like hiring a team member. You hire an attorney the same way you would anyone else that you would consider identifying with your brand. You want to find someone who is willing and able to help you achieve your vision, who has enough experience to provide sound advice and counsel, someone you are willing to trust, and who most importantly can help you build value in your company.
“How to Hire an Attorney” written by Cliff Ennico for Entrepreneur.com provides a different way of looking at who, how and when to bring an attorney on your team. It also mentions the differences between larger and smaller firms. Law firms are businesses too, so the larger the firm, the larger the overhead and the higher their fees have to be. Larger law firms have wider breadth of practices and tend to be a “one-stop-shop” for all of your legal needs. Therefore, you have to decide whether you want your business law firm to also practice family law, person injury law, and offer criminal representation, for example. Smaller, or independent, firms have a direct focus on your and/or your company’s specific business needs. Smaller firms also provide more individualized attention that you might not receive from a larger firm.
But Ennico makes some mistakes in his advice too. He says, as if it were a fact, that larger firms can write more intimidating letters than smaller law firms. Overlook the fact that this cannot even be true (most people won’t recognize the letterhead of a large firm from a small one), the real problem with Ennico’s assertion is that the content written in that letter matters substantially more than the 5 seconds of intimidation. Ennico also says that entrepreneurs should “be wary of a lawyer who takes too keen an interest in the [business] aspects of your work.” Hello? When I was a software entrepreneur my main complaint about attorneys was that they knew too little about my industry. A good business attorney should know business and be able to give sound business advice that complements the legal advice you’re getting.
“When to Hire a Lawyer for Business Matters (and when to do it yourself)” posted by Caron Beesley for the Small Business Administration, focuses more on the subject matter than getting lost in who your attorney is. This article explains that there are some things that you really can take care of yourself, and there are other things you really should leave to your business attorney. Filing for a trademark, setting up your business structure, and creating the initial drafts of your agreements are activities that you may have the ability to do on your own. However, please keep in mind that there are some very technical aspects to all of these activities, so you should seek some legal counsel before doing it on your own. For example, registering a trademark can be a costly experience if you just log onto the USPTO website and apply without having some prior knowledge and experience of the process. A prior conversation with your trademark attorney may answer key questions you may not even think to ask, saving you potentially hundreds of dollars, many hours of frustration, and perhaps the loss of your trademark.
A good business law firm will provide you with sound legal counsel. A great business law firm will be a partner that empowers you with knowledge that helps you increase the value of your business. Argent Place Law aspires to being a great law firm.