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Experts Speak

Some basic tips for choosing the right law firm

Many people require the help of a lawyer or an attorney for their legal matters. Legal
matters are issues regarding which the common man has limited or no knowledge. The
intricacies of the judicial processes make it even more difficult for understanding the
working of a legal system. An attorney or a lawyer is the right person to help you guide
in legal issues. They have all the necessary knowledge as well as experience about the
area. In addition to this, various law firms operate on a large scale all around the
world. However, choosing an appropriate law firm requires careful attention tospecific
and essential points.

Read Also –Guide to start a solo practice law firm in India

Things to be kept in mind while choosing a law firm

Service and ability: the first and essential point to note is that the law firm should provide
you with the results you deserve. The firm should offer a good quality service. For this, you
will have to make a thorough study of the background and credentials of the firm’s lawyers.
You may have to speak with the attorney to get information about the firm’s service and
ability.

The experience: the law firm you are looking at should have a track record of successful
resolution of cases. They should also have substantial experience of trial. At the same time,
you should be aware that many lawyers have little or no experience. If your lawyer has a
strong track record, you will be better positioned to bargain during the settlement.

The various know-hows: the attorney should know what they are doing. The law firms
are not equal in their status and reputation. Some are better off than others. According
to Huettner Law Indianapolis, the skill of negotiation plays a vital role in this regard. You
indeed get what you try to negotiate and not what you deserve. The better the negotiation
ability, the better are your chances to stand out in the case.

Bigger is not synonymous with better: if you choose a law firm that may appear more
prominent, it may not be a prudent criterion for the choice. The more significant firms have
hundreds and thousands of cases to be dealt with on a per-day basis. Hence it becomes
difficult for their customers or clients to navigate. The more significant firms may not be
able to provide individual attention to the case. Therefore bigger may not always mean that
they are better. As a client, it is your responsibility to find a lawyer who would
prioritize your interest.

Figure out when you need to hire a lawyer.

This is going to vary for every client. Generally speaking, the sooner you establish this
crucial relationship and start getting good advice, the better off your business is going to
be.

However, good legal advice isn’t free. (On the other hand, bad legal advice is easy to
find.)

If you’re just starting out, I’d suggest you start contacting business lawyers and asking
them what their rates are for basic services like an initial consultation or a business
formation. You can put those numbers into the budget as you get the funds together to
start your business – whether it’s a solo, bootstrapped operation, or one where you’re
seeking investment capital.

Read Also – A Successful Business Plan for Solo Law Firm

Finally, be sure to hire a lawyer before you do something that’s going to get you into
trouble. For example, if you’re forming a partnership, entering into a lease, taking
money from investors, or putting a product out there that might create some liability,
hiring a lawyer to protect your rights should be a high priority.
Focus on the type of lawyer you need.

Read Also – Five Events Solo and Small Law Firm Lawyers Should Attend

Most business attorneys can handle typical formation needs. This might include creating
a corporation or LLC, putting together a partnership agreement, or drafting common
business contracts.

Tip: With all of these, be sure to ask if the documents are being customized to your
specific needs. It’s OK if the lawyer is starting from a template; sometimes there’s no
need to re-invent the wheel. But your lawyer should be doing more than just pressing
Print and handing you a document to sign.

If you just need a trademark, or you only have a question about tax law, then you can
focus on an attorney who specializes in those areas. If you’re looking for general, long-term legal counsel for your business, find a business attorney, and he or she can put you
in touch with specialists from time to time as needed – whether they’re in the same firm
or outside counsel.

Think of your business lawyer like your general practice doctor: you go to her for
checkups and your regular medical needs; if and when you need a specialist, she’ll let
you know and make a referral.

Find a lawyer who understands – or is willing to learn about – your
market or niche.

This is a follow up to Key Number 2. Yes, you need a general business attorney. But if
that attorney has no clue about your industry or how your business operates, there are
bound to be communication challenges.

This doesn’t mean that if your company makes green left-handed back scratchers, you
need an attorney who only works in the green left-handed back scratcher industry.
It does mean that your legal counsel should have a willingness to learn and understand
what your company does every day and who your main customers and strategic
partners are. These points should be factored into your legal strategy.

Read Also – What are the kinds of legal services that attorneys provide?

Of course, in the event you work in an industry that’s specialized and highly regulated,
you’re probably going to benefit from the advice of someone who understands those
regulations. If you’re opening a nuclear power plant, an attorney who is familiar with
the complex web of regulations involved in that type of project is going to be the right
fit for you.

For most businesses, however, a basic willingness to learn is enough to meet your needs.
Pick a law firm of the right size.

There are pros and cons to working with big firms, small firms, and solo practitioners. If
your business grows to be the next Facebook, Amazon, or Tesla, you’ll probably be
engaging the services of large law firms from time to time – of course, by that point,
you’ll also have your own in-house legal department.

Sometimes – and this is by no means always the case – startups and small businesses
find themselves to be a low priority for larger law firms. If the law firm is really making
its money representing Fortune 500 companies, large government entities, and the like,
it can be challenging for the firm to be responsive to the needs of every individual
client.

Another potential issue with working with a larger firm is the question of who you’re
actually going to be working with. Are they going to assign your work to a new
associate attorney fresh out of law school? Is that associate going to be with the firm for
the long-term, or will he be looking for a new job just when you get used to working
with him? Will your file get passed from one office to the next?

However, there can be advantages to working with larger firms if your business requires
the resources the firm can bring to bear. Very complex lawsuits, for example, may be
better suited for a larger firm than a solo attorney or small firm. Sometimes, clients
prefer a blended strategy – working with a solo attorney or small firm on a regular,
ongoing basis, and using a big firm (typically at a higher cost) for specific, occasional
projects. If your law firm is not willing to collaborate with outside attorneys, that may
be a red flag.
Working with small firms or sole practitioners can have its advantages. Typically,
you’re going to receive more individual attention. And many solo practitioners establish
relationships with other attorneys to act as an informal version of a traditional law firm
– meaning, your needs will still be covered if that lawyer goes out of town, or if you
come up with an issue that’s outside of his or her areas of specialization.
So, if you decide to go with a smaller firm, make sure it’s one that has access to
resources that you’ll need as your business grows. Which leads me to…
Choose a lawyer who brings other resources to the table.
Let’s be honest: good legal services aren’t cheap. Here are some questions you can ask
to help get the most bang for your buck:
Does this law firm host regular events for their clients to meet and network?
Do they have a network of other attorneys and professionals that they can refer you to
when you have specialized needs?
Are they members of trade associations or other groups that you can benefit from?
Are they willing to make introductions to other clients, potential customers, and
strategic partners?
Don’t be afraid to ask these types of questions and dig for detailed answers. But
approach this line of inquiry with a bit of skepticism: beware the attorney who overpromises. Use your best judgment.

Do you need a lawyer in your city or state?
This one can vary depending on your specific needs. Of course, it’s great to be able to
meet face-to-face on a regular basis. But I find that even with my local clients, the vast
majority of our contacts are through phone and email rather than in person.

If you live in a small town or a place without a lot of lawyers (how depressing!), you
may not have easy access to a local attorney who has the skills and experience that you
need. And often, that’s not really a problem.

Now, if your attorney has to go to court, he or she may have to live near you, or at least
in your state. But for many business law needs, an attorney who lives in another state
may be able to serve you just as well. This means that you can cast a wide net and seek
out the best legal counsel for you.

So feel free to look for legal counsel outside of your geographic area, but be sure to let
them know where you are and confirm that they’ll be able to handle the transactions
you require.

Make sure you’re comfortable with their fee structure.

Your potential lawyer should not be afraid or nervous to discuss fees with you. And you
shouldn’t be hesitant about bringing it up. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or
seeking legal advice for a big company, you still need to be able to plan for your legal
costs.

Traditionally, most business lawyers would work on an hourly basis. This means that
each attorney has an hourly rate, and the attorney bills in increments of that rate (for
example, 1/10 of an hour, with a minimum of 2/10 of any hour for any particular task.)
Some lawyers have moved away from hourly billing entirely and only bill a fixed
amount for each service.

The most common approach is a hybrid of hourly and fixed fee billing, depending on the
project. For example, if your business needs help with a complex contract negotiation, it
can be very difficult for the attorney to estimate the amount of time involved, so billing
based on the clock might make the most sense. But if they’re doing the type of filing
that they’ve done many times before, and they know pretty much what it’s going to
take, both sides might be better off with a fixed fee for that project.

The most important part of this conversation is to be sure that the arrangement works
for you, the client. If you prefer one or the other – hourly, fixed fee, or some other type
of arrangement – be sure to communicate that to the attorney. As long as you’re
upfront about your expectations, he or she should be able to work with you; if not, this
probably just isn’t a good match.

And that’s OK: as I said at the top, not every attorney-client pairing is a good match.
Hopefully, applying these 7 Keys will speed up the process of finding the right match
for you and your business.

The crucial role that the law firms play in legal matters cannot stay overlooked.
They have a wide range of technical know-how and experience in the area. You will
have to look into various dimensions of the services that they provide to choose the
most appropriate law firm for your case. Different websites are available that can help
you with information about the lawyers. You should use them for your benefit and
select the best.

If you are looking for a reputed law firm in Indianapolis, check out Huettner Law Firm.

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by trudyseeger

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