We often receive questions about how to choose an attorney or law firm that is suitable for your particular issue or business. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.
There are a number of consideration that go into vetting an appropriate attorney. The first, and arguably most important, is ensuring that your attorney understands business relationships and how companies function. While many lawyers are technically proficient in the law, it is important to ensure that your attorney understands, and craft legal solutions specific to, your business and industry. Your attorney should be practical and be able to develop solutions that not only address your requirements, but also those with whom you wish to do business with or interact with. In the negotiating process, many attorneys make unrealistic demands based on idealistic desired outcomes, or are unwilling to consider strategic compromises in order to make sure an agreement is actually reached. This ultimately works against your ultimate interests, as the job of your attorney is to make sure that your goals are accomplished with a minimum of time, effort and cost.
You should also ensure that your attorney has subject matter experience, both in the industry and specific to the work to be performed. This enables the attorney to work efficiently, and minimize cost and time. This is an important consideration that is often overlooked and bears emphasis. Hourly rates are actually less important than the ability to execute work efficiently. If an attorney is learning “on the go”, they will ultimately end up being more expensive than a lawyer who has experience in the industry and subject matter, even if the inexperienced lawyer’s hourly rates are cheaper.
Finally, you should ensure that the attorney is accessible, and that if work is to be delegated, that your attorney retains constant oversight of subordinates, rather than just handing off the work.