Checklists In Finding A Lawyer When Setting Up A Startup Business

March 5, 2020

By Bretton Love

Startups, small businesses, and even independent contractors need to hire a lawyer for the required legal documents and any legal advice they might need. Starting a business comes with a lot of decisions you will need to make regarding legal ramifications. Furthermore, at some point, any business is going to need legal representation.

As the business starts to grow, it will need a team of seasoned lawyers that have some experience under their belts. A reputable team of lawyers will help in providing advice in different aspects; from licensing, experience in SEO, regulatory matters, stock option plan strategies, and much more.

This is why finding the right lawyer for the business you own might be an overwhelming task. As an entrepreneur who is trying to lead a successful startup, chances are, you haven’t interacted with many attorneys in your life. There are some key points in choosing the right lawyer for the type of business you run that should be taken into consideration.

Choose The Right Type 

First, and foremost, startup owners should look for the “fittest” choice; the type of professionally licensed lawyer that will be able to handle any legal issue you throw their way. The priority is for attorneys who are experienced to work with startups while also having extensive knowledge in the business’s industry. Even if you are only asking for a lawyer’s help in reviewing documents, it’s vital that you make sure they understand the industry and how it runs.

Have Referrals 

Asking around might not be a big help in some cases when you are looking for referrals. However, if you are in contact with other startup owners or people in the same industry as yours, their recommendations will provide you with great help in picking the right attorney based on their experiences. Asking for referrals from your investors, colleagues, or mentors will save you a lot of time and effort when you are looking for an adequate lawyer for your legal needs.

Checking All The Boxes 

With startups, lawyers must have enough formation experience to help with all the required maneuvers of the legal world. One of the obstacles that many lawyers stumble upon is handling the SEO of their clients. As mentioned on Local search engine optimization provider, the geographic area is very important in finding potential clients for your business. The business’s location can show up on search engines’ maps available on smartphones if your lawyer handles the legal part of SEO properly. Choosing a lawyer that meets your company’s needs, especially when you have complex intellectual property concerns, will save you the headache of useless battles. However, usually with startups, a local business attorney who has enough experience in the industry will suffice. 

Fee Arrangements

The biggest red flag no business owner should ignore when it comes to choosing the right lawyer for their startup is lawyers who are dodgy about discussing fee arrangements. This should be negotiated and agreed upon before hiring an attorney to handle your legal issues. There are different available fee arrangements for startups to choose from. Business owners should make sure that they settle on the best offer on the table.

  • Fixed Fees: This is the right arrangement if you are only looking for initial incorporation filings or occasional reviews for legal documents. 
  • DIY: This is another fee arrangement that works best for basic legal support that could be offered from websites. 
  • Retainer or Hourly: If you need more than occasional basic legal help, retaining a legal firm is the most common approach to take. This means that there is an initial amount set to retain the services of the firm. With this approach, your legal needs will be met in exchange for hourly rates. 
  • Mixed Equity: Many law firms who specialize in dealing with startups usually offer great deals and lower rates anticipating a stronger return on investment. However, equity rates for legal firms are usually double the amount you would hire an employee with. 
  • Hiring: This is not the familiar approach with startups, except when hiring a general counsel is a worthy investment in your industry. Hiring could be on a part-time basis or a full-time basis. 

Before deciding on the best lawyer to hire for your business’s legal needs, there are some considerations to take care of. It’s vital to determine the exact role of the lawyer you are seeking; whether they will handle basic legal documents or they will represent your company. After looking for the best lawyer in your area, you will need to make sure that you settle on a certain fee agreement that will satisfy both parties. Choosing the best lawyer for your startup might take some time and effort, yet, it’s worth it.

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