By Emily Chase Smith
I’m a lawyer; I provide clients with legal assistance. Before you get out the pick axes and torches, let me tell you I’m one of the good guys. But as you might be aware, we don’t all wear the white hat. Like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna to get. This article will help you determine if it’s a delectable buttercream or horrific rum nougat before you bite.
You may have the need to acquire some working capital for a lawyer at many different stages in your business:
– Start up – deciding what entity, if any, you need, drafting of contracts, and review of leases
– Growth – employee procedures and handbooks, yet more contracts and leases, and collections
– Pivot – winding down contracts, defending lawsuits and keeping your nose clean with IRS
– Closing – closing the entity and assuring no continuing liability
When the need arises, don’t ignore it, but be sure you get the right lawyer for the job. Here’s what you need to know to pick just the right legal partner.
– Don’t hire family unless they meet all the other qualifications on this list. Penny wise and pound foolish rules here as well as a decade of uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinners.
– Hire only a lawyer with significant experience with businesses of your size and genre. Let someone else train the new guys. You want your job done well and competently the first time. Newbies don’t know what they don’t know.
– Only pick someone who will talk to you via phone first before appointment. If they’re too busy or special to chat with you first, they’re also highly likely to hand your work off to a less experienced attorney or a paralegal.
Hire only a lawyer with significant experience.
Let someone else train the new guys. [Tweet This]
Let’s talk cash. A good lawyer costs good money, just like a good car, good suit or good meal. Layers charge either by the hour or the job (“flat fee”). Remember that the cheapest hourly rate is only cheap if the lawyer if efficient. Good lawyers are efficient and charge accordingly. New lawyers are cheaper hourly, but not overall. Flat fees can be compared like apples and apples, but be sure to apply the guidelines above.
Don’t view lawyers as a necessary evil, we can be a valuable member of your team. We can save you thousands and thousands of your small business loan and working capital dollars in unwinding messes that could easily been have prevented. Pick us well and we’ll conquer the world together!
Emily Chase Smith, Esq. is a California attorney with a long history of helping business owners and entrepreneurs make financially savvy decisions as they start, grow and transition in their businesses. She hosts The Entrepreneur’s Money Podcast and can be found at www.EmilyChaseSmith.com.