Tips for Hiring a Small Business Attorney
Oct 7, 2021
Marjorie Stephens, President & CEO, BBB

For small business owners and entrepreneurs, legal aid from a qualified attorney is invaluable. An attorney can help establish a business as a legal entity, set up patents and trademarks, and draft contracts that to protect you business interests. A trustworthy attorney can also be essential when time to hire or dismiss employees, pay taxes, collect debts or handle a lawsuit. 

Use these tips to ensure your hire someone you can trust:

1. Educate yourself. Small business owners spend most of their time on the day-to-day work of running a company, but they still need to have a general understanding of the legal issues that may crop up in their industry. 

2. Know where to look. 
Ask friends, family and other local small business owners whom they trust with their business concerns.  Check the American Bar Association’s online search tools to help you find a business attorney in your area.  

3. Ask questions. Before you hire an attorney, ask them about main areas of expertise and how long they’ve been practicing. Ask if they have experience representing businesses of a similar size in your industry. Ask for references, preferably another business similar in size and industry.

4. Understand attorney fees. Fees can vary greatly from one firm to another, so make sure you understand the billing process before you sign any contracts. Attorneys may bill time by the hour or a flat rate for specific tasks. In certain circumstances, they may require a retainer. Find out how you’ll be billed, when bills are due and accepted payment methods.

5. Make sure the relationship is a good fit. Make it your goal to find an attorney you can build a long-term relationship. They should be someone who has an interest in your business and someone you can trust. They should also be responsive, knowledgeable and have experience with the kind of legal issues your business will face.  

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