One thing is true; that every startup needs to have a good lawyer as well as good accountant from the get go. Even though many business people know this, it becomes daunting and maybe even challenging for them to choose a business lawyer to work with. However, it is imperative that you hire one because you need to be confident of the fact that all your legal affairs are in order before you go about carrying on your business. Here are some things you should consider when selecting a lawyer to work with:
1. The first thing to look for is fit. This is somebody with whom you can get along and whom you trust, you feel is interested in you, you can relate with and you enjoy working with. The best place to start is to ask around for referrals. In addition, he or she needs to be responsive, experienced and competent in the area that you need help.
2. You will need to deal with 3 particular groups and this is where the lawyer will come in handy. The first is the government. It is important that you do not violate any laws and that the way you are doing business does not expose you to tax liability unnecessarily. Secondly, the public and third parties. Business startups want to make sure that risk has been controlled when it comes to interactions with the general public, customers, employees, suppliers as well as users. Third, business partners. Since you have formed the business together, you need to make sure that you establish your expectations and rights from the onset so that in the event of a disagreement in the future, you know exactly what to do. It is important to have a lawyer who understands these 3 and can have your back legally.
3.A lawyer will come in handy in the following areas:
a.Incorporating the business
b.Hiring your employees since you will need contracts for them
c.When you are negotiating contracts with your suppliers or customers, or when you are establishing the terms of service for a new website or signing software licensing agreements
d.When you are obtaining patents
e.When raising capital
Find out how much experience the lawyer has in these areas right from the start so that you can know if you have the right person or not.
4. It is always a good idea to find out how much the lawyer charges and how he or she charges. Many times you will be billed an hourly rate for the work done but if the work is not too much, you may get a flat rate. Unfortunately, the amount charged by each lawyer is based on seniority, the firm, and where you are located. If you are dealing with a junior lawyer located in a small city and working for a small firm, the cost can be $150 per hour, but if you go for a big firm and work with the senior partner, it can be upwards of $1,000 each hour. Many times the lawyers you deal with will charge between $350 and $800 per hour.
Bio: Tom Wills is a business consultant with over 15 years’ experience. He believes that, Business startups need a lawyer from the very start. He has pointed out are some things that one should consider before hiring a lawyer to work with in this article.