A pitfall that most businesses will experience at one point in time is legal trouble. Sometimes you may be able to handle it yourself, but the majority of the time you should rely on the expertise of a business lawyer to guide you through the process. Having a lawyer you can rely on is important because they know the legal landscape and can focus on the matter while you are able to continue running your business. It is best to keep the running of your business and legal trouble separate so as not to damage your business in the process.
Even if your business is not in legal trouble, there are still lots of legal issues that need to be addressed such as lease agreements, patent law, software law or partnership agreements to name a few. These are not legal trouble per say, but they can cause significant issues down the road if the details aren’t taken care of.
It can be difficult to choose a business lawyer because it is sometimes difficult to gauge the skills and separate one person from another. Let’s be honest, lawyers do not have the greatest reputation at the best of times and you are after all, trusting them with your business.
Tip 1: Do research, mainly locally, to find out which lawyers are well represented in your area. This is important because a local lawyer will know your operations area better than an outsider. Look specifically at lawyers that operate in your field of business as well, so you can be sure they know the industry well. Ask for recommendations from other businesses that you may trust.
Tip 2: Check and scrutinize any potential candidate’s credentials. Try to delve into the lawyer’s past and check up on their trial record to see if it’s favorable. Make a list and start going through it, qualifying the candidates as you go.
Tip 3: Once you have a short list, go around and interview the candidates. Bring with you information about your business and possible reasons you want representation. Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to judge someone’s integrity and if they are a good fit to be working with you and your business. This is a good time to inquire about payment cost and method.
Tip 4: Ask to see your potential lawyers client list. This is a very important consideration, as it will show you if the lawyer is engaged in dealings with any rival businesses or competitors. You want your lawyer to always be representing your best interests and not have a conflict of interest on the side.
Tip 5: Maintaining the same lawyer, provided they are fulfilling their duties satisfactorily, is good practice. This way your small business lawyer will get to know the ins and outs of your business, enabling better representation and advice.
I have found most of my experience with business lawyers to be quite beneficial and agreeable, but here’s the key, once I researched and qualified them for my business. My businesses operate in Ottawa, Ontario and I found that there is quite a lot of competition for a small business lawyer Ottawa. That is why it is extra important to execute due diligence and hire the right representation for you.