Hiring an Attorney 101

There are more than 1.3 million attorneys in America and 40,000 new law school graduates each year. So how do you pick the right one for you?

In this post we’ll help you identify how to choose the right attorney for you, how attorneys charge for their services, and share our “right attorney at the right time” philosophy.

How to Choose the Right Attorney.

The best way to find an attorney is to ask your colleagues for a referral (but you should always do your own research of course). Here are three things you might want to consider.

  • Experience: You want an attorney that works in your industry and advises companies similar to yours on a regular basis. (As an example, don’t hire your uncle, the DUI attorney, to form a high-growth tech startup.)
  • Devotion: An attorney that cares about your company and your industry is almost certainly going to be better for you than an attorney who practices law solely to make money.
  • Connections: Your attorney doesn’t have to have a big network, but when they do, it can be really beneficial. An attorney that can help you find an insurance broker, or an accountant, or some other resource, can help you grow.

How Attorneys Charge for Services.

Attorneys hate it, clients hate it, yet it persists as the norm: the billable hour. Many attorney (maybe most) charge by the hour with rates ranging from $100/hour to over $1,000/hour. The average is somewhere between $200 and $500. If you are paying by the hour, make sure you keep an eye on your attorney’s time to avoid surprises at the end of their services.

Since many attorneys and clients don’t like the billable hour, more and more attorneys are offering fixed-fee legal services. The fees are usually associated with some kind of “package” of legal services and often have a cap on the amount of time the attorney will spend working on the project. (See our fixed-fee legal packages as an example.)

Other options include payment with equity in your company (pretty rare) to pro bono legal services and/or free legal clinics. But remember, you get what you pay for!

Right Attorney at The Right Time.

In today’s world it is easier than ever to utilize multiple lawyers and law firms and to move from one attorney to another (assuming your attorneys use modern technology).

As a result, we recommend you use the right attorney for your business at a specific point in time.

The right attorney/firm for your two-person startup may not be the right attorney/firm when you have a lot of owners, investors, employees, and more. And the firm that is right for that time period may not be right for your company when you have 500 employees spread across five countries. And the firm that is right for that time period may not be right for your company when you have 10,000 employees on three continents.

The point is, find the right attorney/firm for your business right now. Later, find the right attorney/firm for your company then.

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*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice.

2018-01-13T20:57:34+00:00By |Freelancers, Opinion, Small Business, Startups|