There is no good time to hire a lawyer, especially since they are most useful during bad times. Note that it is also an option to hire a lawyer that works in tandem with your business from its conception; they would grow along with it.
Here are a few things to consider if you need to hire a lawyer for your small business:
Do Your Research Well
Ask your friends or relatives for references of any good lawyers around your neighborhood. Their offices should be easily accessible. They should also have enough business and legal experience to handle your routine work and to represent you efficiently in case of any legal problem.
The attorney you select should be reliable and accessible through different means, such as phone and email, so you have multiple ways to reach them in case of an emergency. They should have the ability to solve problems quickly, before they balloon into expensive ones. They should also have extensive knowledge of the various contracts, licenses or permits required to run your business in your state.
Many lawyers specialize in different aspects of business, so hire one who has extensive knowledge and experience with any business similar to yours.
Understand Payment Terms
Many lawyers charge a flat fee for routine work such as incorporating your business, but may charge you on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis, depending on the way they work, the task at hand and the nature of your business.
You should negotiate the lawyer’s rates while reminding them that you plan to do business with them over a long period of time. Since you may have to pay legal fees based on time, it would be better if you have all the required documents and points ready when meeting with your lawyer since that will enable you to save precious time and money.
Some lawyers also charge on a percentage basis (called contingency) of any case that you might win. So, you could end up paying a large amount if you win a big legal fight.
Check Your Comfort Level
You should be comfortable with your lawyer. If you are dealing with a large firm, then your lawyer might assign their assistant to deal with you.
In this case, you will need to meet with that assistant and also check whether you both operate on the same wavelength. They should also be accessible when you require their services.
They should be pleasant and should explain their decisions to you clearly.
Your Lawyer Should Be Able to Do the Legwork
Your lawyer should not be just sitting around in their office; they should be willing to run around and do the required legwork on any case involving your business. They should only collect the required documents from you.
They should have a good reputation, good contacts and knowledge in the legal world. This will enable them to complete their work faster, benefiting you in the long run.
A lawyer is an integral part of any business, and having a good one ready to face any legal roadblocks is a distinct advantage for your small business.