It’s always a good idea to have a lawyer, especially for your business interests.
There are 40 million lawsuits filed annually in the United States. Businesses routinely enter agreements and find themselves needing to file legal paperwork, protect intellectual property, and navigate various legal parameters that come with doing business.
The best thing you can do is hire outside general counsel to help protect your interests.
The points below are helpful when you’re looking into general counsel to look after your company’s legal needs.
1. Find References From Other Business Owners
To know that you’ve hired the best general counsel attorneys, it pays to see what kind of work they’ve done in the past. Ask for a list of their references and verify them for yourself.
Reach out to other business owners in your contact list and find out which law firm represents them.
- Hiring general counsel services for your business can help you by:
- Routine and ongoing advice on business and financial matters
- Answers to legal questions on-demand
- Assistance in protecting your interests if you’re ever sued or need to take another party to court
- Negotiating business matters on your behalf or overseeing discussions
- Keeping your company in line with compliance
Your company can benefit from hiring a counsel firm, no matter the size and scale.
2. Consider Your Company’s Legal Needs
Get specific about your legal needs so that you can find the right pros to assist you. Break your business year down into quarters and consider the goals you’ve set. Knowing this will help you find the law firm that can address your specific needs.
Many companies hire lawyers for assistance with contract creation and enforcement. Other companies might need some business law as they plan to scale and hire new employees.
General counsel services will also be helpful to your Human Resources (HR) department. Employee benefits packages will have oversight, and you’ll always know when you’re taking the correct legal positions with hiring, termination, worker’s compensation, and other matters.
3. Schedule Some Lawyer Consultations
Once you’ve found some attorney leads, make sure you hire a few consultations. When you sit down with these professionals, you can ask specific questions about your legal needs and can vet their quality, experience, and background.
Looking into the different types of counsel will help you narrow down your list. Book at least three consultations with your top choices, and consider some of the following questions:
- Which lawyer will be my point person?
- Could you provide an overview of how you can protect my company’s legal interests?
- How many years have you been practicing law?
- Have you worked with other companies in my industry?
- What is your trial record and experience?
Once you discuss details with a law firm, ask for a copy of their contract and rates so you can compare their agreements.
4. Figure Out What Arrangement Works for You
Speaking to different lawyers will give you a clear idea of your counsel options. You might choose to hire a lawyer on retainer long-term. Other situations might be one-offs, such as reading over a contract or helping you with a short-term project.
Ask the law firm what kind of arrangements they work under, and choose the one that makes the most practical and financial sense for you.
5. Ask About Their Fee Structure
Read through the lawyer’s contract and find out how much they charge. General counsel lawyers offer different fee structures. Some will charge you by the hour. You can expect to pay between $100 per hour and $400 per hour for legal services.
A law firm might also charge you retainer fees. This is essentially a flat fee for getting access to the law firm on-demand for a certain contracted period of time.
Always know how you’re being billed upfront. Get the fee and structure in writing, and shop around for the most reasonable and affordable price.
6. Learn About Their Professional Specialties
When you speak to the law firm, ask them what specialties they focus on. This is crucial since you’re looking into a general counsel lawyer. They may have any number of specialty experiences or none at all.
Make sure that the law firm is accustomed to helping businesses of your type and size and that they understand the nuances of your industry. This is especially important when it comes to helping you stay in compliance.
7. Research Their Background and Reviews
Do some independent research on the law firm until you’re comfortable across the board with who you’re hiring. Look them up in the American Bar Association (ABA) and your state’s chapter. Find out how they rank locally in review websites and choose a firm that has several solid recommendations.
Find out their Better Business Bureau (BBB) grade and look up some of their previous court cases or filings and the end result that was achieved. You’ll have more peace of mind with your hire when you know that you’ve done the research.
Hire General Counsel for Your Business
These words of advice will help you when you’re interested in hiring a general counsel lawyer for your business needs. These professionals can be an asset to your company no matter what industry you work in. Use these tips as a starting point for finding the law firm that can represent you.
Boyer Law Firm is happy to assist you with any kind of legal representation that you’re looking for.