Part 2, Picking The Right Attorney
Once you have found an attorney in your practice area of need, it’s important to make sure you are comfortable with them. An initial consultation serves this purpose. You should budget at least some amount for consultations. I would recommend at least $500 so that you can meet with two or three different firms and get a feel for what makes you most comfortable. However, my firm, as well as many others, will give a complimentary consultation of half an hour to one hour to potential clients who are referred by other professionals within our network.
That said, don’t expect every attorney to hand out free consultations every single time; their time is valuable, and giving up their time for free is a complimentary favor and should be respected as such.
Sally called both of the law firms that her accountant recommended and scheduled a consultation with each one. One of them offered the initial consultation for free, but the other charged her $300 for the initial consultation.
She wasn’t sure which was going to be the best fit, and her accountant had recommended she meet with each to see which firm made her more confident of getting what she needed.
At the initial consultation it is important to have any documents with you to allow the attorney to briefly look them over. Write down the key points of your situation ahead of time so that you don’t forget to bring them up at the meeting. Make sure to present the result or goal you are looking for clearly, and see what the plan or options are that the attorney presents to assist you in reaching that goal. Different attorneys will approach the same situation differently, and finding one whose approach is similar to the approach you would take can be helpful.
Sally and her partner met with both attorneys.
The free consultation only lasted half an hour, but was very informative. However, they wanted her and her partner to each find an attorney so that they could negotiate a partnership agreement, and would not take them on as clients together. He also talked very quickly and didn’t seem to like explaining things to them.
This meant that her partner and her would both have to spend money on attorneys separately.
The firm that charged for the consultation gave them the option to represent just one of them, or to represent their company, so long as they signed an informed consent form that allowed the firm to do so. They also had a flat fee proposal for the agreement that Sally and her partner liked. Finally, they also were patient and happy to explain things that Sally and her partner didn’t quite understand.
This second firm seemed like a better fit and Sally left the consultations feeling reassured that her and her partner’s business would have a strong legal framework to support it.
Once Sally and her partner had found business attorneys that could help them, they did the right thing by meeting with multiple professionals and seeing who they were more comfortable with. Since trust is a key component of a successful attorney-client relationship, starting a professional relationship with an attorney who doesn’t make you feel comfortable with their representation or advice is just asking for trouble later on.
Stay tuned for the next installment, where we’ll discuss managing your relationship with your attorney.
Legal Disclaimer: This blog does not constitute legal advice. Reading this blog does not form an attorney-client relationship between you and our firm. If you have a legal issue, you should contact the firm or reach out to a licensed attorney in order to receive legal advice. Feel free to reach out to Aron Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org.