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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Got the right Attorney?

Business Attorneys help small business owners in many ways. The “right” Attorney, knows you and your business well. Sometimes it takes more than one Attorney to get what you need. But even in these situations it is best to have a single supervising Attorney. They provide guidance and help setting up the business, making needed filings in the location you select, establish franchise and/or supplier and sales agreements, property and equipment leases, employee agreements, licenses, patents, and much more. These people make a career out of understanding the way through the maze of laws and regulations and are often worth their weight in gold. But selecting the “right” Attorney for you may not be as easy as you think.

The fact that your friend knows an Attorney, does not mean this is the “right” one for you. A Business Attorney does not come directly out of law school, he or she develops over time.  Look for the following characteristics:

Licensed in your state

Knows your industry and has a practice focused on it.

Promptly responds with good advice

Has a clear record with the state Bar Association

Does he/she represent a competitor?

For guidance you may want to use the American Bar Association (ABA) Lawyer Referral Service and/or the state Bar Association, or the Martindale Hubble Lawyer directory in the library or on line.

When you find the “right” one, others probably have as well, and time and cost could be at a premium.

Consider engaging your Attorney in business and industry meetings (at an agreed cost) as it will enable him/her to provide better advice. Think of them as business partners. Your returns could be beneficial.  If you succeed the Attorney succeeds as well.

Keep in mind that the “right” Attorney for you is the one that helps you do what your want to do. Not the one that tells you why you can’t do it.

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


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