Alongside an accountant, a business lawyer is an essential partner for any company. As well as providing specialist legal advice, good business lawyers are also worth their weight in gold when it comes to providing vital assistance and support in almost every aspect of running your business. Lots of companies put off hiring a lawyer until there’s some specific issue or problem they need help with. Often it pays though to have the expertise of a lawyer to call on before that problem or issue gets out of hand. So, how do you go about selecting the right lawyer to support your business? This article will take you through the necessary steps and all the important factors to consider.

Meet face to face with all the candidates

The relationship with your lawyer is based on trust and confidence and the only way to assess whether you feel comfortable with any potential business lawyer is to interview them in person. Do you have a rapport? Will you be able to work closely with this person on an ongoing basis? That personal connection is vital for a successful partnership so make sure that you can feel confident in and can trust your business lawyer.

Undertake due diligence

What other businesses does your lawyer represent? Some lawyers specialise in specific industries or areas of the law and depending on the nature of your business that may be important to you. For example, a graphic designer will probably be looking for a lawyer that has expertise in copyright laws. In any case, it’s good to know that your business lawyer has a wide range of happy and satisfied clients. Ask for testimonials and check out any reviews. The personal recommendations of business clients or associates will also be useful. You may, however, want to avoid appointing a business lawyer that already represents a company in direct competition with you as that could result in a clash of interests.

Be clear about the offering

Good business lawyers go beyond simply responding to issues and problems. They tend to be more proactive and often offer freebies such as newsletters or briefings on recent developments in the law affecting your business or industry. Some business lawyers are also willing to act as mentors, supporting and advising you on developing and growing your business. So make sure that you are clear about the full range of services on offer from any potential business lawyer, as some will offer more than others.

Double check the fees and charges

There’s nothing more frustrating than to hire what you think is the perfect business lawyer only to discover that there’s a lot more to their fees and charges than you first realised. Double check how your potential business lawyer charges – is it a flat fee or is it an hourly rate? Do they expect you to pay a deposit or a retainer? Eliminate the potential for any nasty and expensive surprises by being absolutely clear from the start how much the business lawyer’s services will cost.

A good business lawyer will add value to your company and so it’s well worth the investment of time and effort in selecting one that’s a good fit for you. Use these guidelines to help focus your search.