So you and your best friend have decided to start a business. It will be great; he has so many terrific ideas. But, you need an attorney, to start off on the right foot. How do you select your attorney? Do you call them up and ask them” how much does it cost”? Do you compare attorneys by costs? Would you call up the dentist and find out what he costs? Or would you go to a dentist that was highly recommended to you by someone who has used his services or knows his reputation in town? How do you compare one attorney with another?
Do you know what questions you should be asking as you interview a particular attorney for your legal needs?
- How long have you practiced law?
- How long have you practiced in this particular area- business entities, contracts, copyright; whatever area of law it is you are looking for help in?
- Will you be the one handling the legal matter or will it be another attorney?
- Do you use paralegals in your law firm? Will I be charged for their time? What about legal assistants? How do you use them and are they billable?
- What is your hourly rate? Will you charge hourly or a flat fee for this matter?
- What is my role in this legal matter? What is expected of me, as the client
- Do you take payment plans/credit cards?
- What is the strategy for my case?
- Instead of asking the price, make a determination of how this attorney can bring value to your matter.
- How to determine the value of your case
- In the initial interview; does the attorney pay attention to you; listen to you; or fiddle with her cell phone; take notes, educate on the issues, and have an Agenda prepared;
Excellent, seasoned attorneys charge for their time and advice. Set your expectations that an excellent attorney will have a consultation fee. Do not lump all legal matters into one bucket of “free consultation”
- Go about this like you are interviewing surgeons for massive open-heart surgery. This new business is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.
- Interview two attorneys at a minimum, before making a decision.
- Do not compare attorneys with “consultation price.” That has nothing to do with anything.
- Why do you think you should get a free consultation? Because of the television commercials
Certain types of attorneys do not charge for a consultation and they are personal injury attorneys. They do not take a dime down for fees or costs, until such time the case is over, by way of settlement or jury trial. And the attorney share of that settlement or verdict will be very large, most likely 40% of the recovery. That is why there is no consultation fee. The payoff is huge for the attorney on the back end.
The important issue for you to remember is, that there are different types of attorneys, for different legal issues, that charge in different manners. I recommend you select the one that you are most confident in, that can bring value to your case, and that believes in you and your business.