A good law firm can provide vital assistance in nearly every aspect of your small business. Copyright and trademark, zoning compliance, incorporation, liability, and lawsuits are only a few of the ways law firms are critical to your success. How do you decide what law firm is right for your business? Consider these specific small business needs and interview tips.
Big Firm or Solo Solicitor
Big firms may have a number of advantages over a solo practitioners or small firms and are usually worth the higher hourly rates. Few small firms offer office space lease negotiations or to oversee your annual corporate meeting. As a minimum, look for a firm that works in the following areas:
- License and Tax Law – Your lawyer should be able to register your business for federal and state identification numbers. They should also have a working knowledge of tax consequences for basic transactions specific to your business.
- Contract Law – Be sure your attorney understands your business and will prepare the standard contracts you will need for clients, customers, and suppliers. They should be able to advise you regarding contracts other parties will want you to sign.
It is important to determine whether or not a particular law firm will be a good fit for your business needs. Here are some questions you should ask:
- Do you have other clients in my industry? Your attorney should be familiar with the legal environment of your business.
- Are you experienced in x, y, z? Always ask direct questions and address your foreseeable needs. For example, if you are planning on incorporating your business, find out if they have ever handled an incorporation before.
- Can you help me understand what the law says about x, y, z? A good attorney can help you understand the laws that affect your business so you are prepared to make smart decisions and catch any potential problems.
An ideal place to start your search is with the American Bar Association. They have a wealth of information for professionals who are looking for a business attorney.