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Choosing a Lawyer Who Is Right for You

Choosing the right lawyer is not as easy as one might imagine. For a small to medium business, the right lawyer can save you thousands of dollars in fees, litigation costs, and, sometimes most importantly, stress. Many lawyers have specialties, areas of focus and sometimes a ‘bedside manner.’ Of course, choosing a lawyer will largely depend on the needs of your business. However there are a few important points you should consider in your decision. This entry, by no means, is meant to list all the categories in evaluating a good lawyer, but is meant to provide some insight that might be easily overlooked when going through a stressful legal situation.

A lawyer is a specialist who you hire to zealously represent you in the legal world. The lawyer’s job is to protect your legal interests without violating the law or rules of ethics. Metaphorically, he or she is the seven-foot, three hundred pound, bodyguard you hire to insure that you don’t get hurt by others, or do something that might result in hurting yourself.  In a lawyer-client relationship, you are the boss. You are in charge of your legal future. You make the decisions based on the lawyer’s advice, and the lawyer executes those decisions. As you can see, being a lawyer comes with a lot of responsibility, and trust, so as a client it is very important to have the right attorney looking out for you best interests.

The first thing that you might want to consider is the availability of the lawyer you want. Very often there is a lot at stake when a legal action is undertaken. Unless you are willing to pay a lot of money, a lawyer will have other clients. He will not be able to devote his undivided attention to your specific case, so it is important to know how easy you can get in touch with your lawyer. Nobody wants a lawyer that doesn’t return his or her phone calls or is so pressed for time that he/she cannot put the time and effort necessary for your case to succeed.

Another thing that you might want to consider is the knowledge of the lawyer in a particular legal field. Almost all decent lawyers have a general knowledge of the law. Most lawyers focus on a few fields of practice. This usually means that they are more experienced in those fields. However, keep in mind that “knowledge” is not always synonymous with “experience”. A newer attorney may know more about recent law changes or altogether new laws, regulations or cases that affect your business.  Likewise, a newer attorney may be more motivated and have more time to devout to your case or legal issue. It is also likely that a newer, but knowledgeable attorney is less expensive. As a business owner you need a lawyer that can deal with the particular legal issues that affect your business and commercial industry.

Next, we all know that money is very important to a business owner and ‘the bottom line’. A lawyer works for you. Like any other employee, for a fee, your lawyer will provide you with a service. The best thing to do about the cost of legal services is to be direct sand open with the lawyer. It’s not a negotiaion, but many attorneys will work with their clients if their stated rate is an issue for the client. A lawyer may still take your case at a reduced rate or allow you to choose a payment structure (like flat fee) or payment plan as an alternative. Lawyers need business too, and running a law practice is not much different than running your business – you do what you need to stay in business. However when you do start looking at lawyers, it would be wise to check if they charge for their initial consultation and what other expenses they bill for. Some lawyers will not charge you for simple 10 minute phone calls about a very specific, quick issue; while others will bill for everything, including a fax or a copy. Before you talk to the lawyer, their legal assistant or paralegal should be happy and willing to tell you the fee requirements of the lawyer and whether alternative billing methods are available, especially for business clients who often provide repeat business.

The most important thing that you should look for in a lawyer is whether or not you feel you can be open, honest and trust him or her. The attorney-client relationship is considered to be sacred in the legal community; similar to talking to your priest. Whenever you consult your lawyer he or she is bound by a duty of confidentiality and legally no court can compel the lawyer to talk about your communications with them, except, maybe, in the most dire of circumstances or if you threaten to committ a future crime.

Finally, an attorney’s ‘bed-side manner’ can often mean the difference between lengthy and costly litigation or a cheaper, quicker resolution. The ‘Attack Dog Lawyer” is often not your best choice. A good lawyer can turn that aggressive nature on and off, and understands when it is in the best interest of the client to compromise. A highly aggressive attorney can often cost you thousands more in legal fees because he or she fails to recognize that a resolution will ultimately save the client money while getting much of what the client wants. But, of course, at times money is no issue and it is the principle that really matters. If cost is not a concern and you want to pursue your case on principle, you should make your lawyer aware of this and he or she should proceed according to your wishes. However, expect to be required to pay to a higher retainer if you go that route.

There are just several of the many things that you should consider when hiring a lawyer. Consider choosing The Jacobs Law, LLC to handle your business law issues. The Jacobs Law, LLC understand the needs of and legal issues affecting small to medium-sized businesses and strives to meet your specific needs and budget. If you have any questions or concerns, call or email now to speak with an attorney who will be happy to help: 800-652-4783 (Phone) // TJacobs@TheJacobsLaw.com

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