Regardless of the size of your business, having a good business attorney can be a great asset. Much larger companies even employ their own attorneys full time as in-house counsel, but small and medium-sized companies may not have that luxury.
Businesses that are just starting out rarely have the resources available to employ a full-time attorney. That means that they must choose an attorney who will not only perform the majority of the legal functions of their business, but can also provide consultation services on an as-needed basis.
Many business lawyers specifically target this type of business, and they are an excellent resource for small to medium-sized companies. For small to medium-sized businesses, you will likely want to look for a business attorney with the following attributes:
To save on costs, look for a smaller firm.
Bigger firms mean bigger overhead, which also means much higher hourly rates. If you want an attorney to act as an adviser for your business (and you should!), then you do not want someone who is going to charge you an arm and a leg every time that you make a phone call.
On the flip side of this, you also need to be sure that the attorney that you choose is experienced enough to not need many other attorneys in the firm to ask for help.
Find a lawyer that connects with your business’ goals and vision.
This is especially important if your business deals with specific viewpoints that may be controversial. For example, if you are starting a clean-food business, your attorney should probably have at least some support for your business plan.
If your attorney does not understand your business, then they will not understand your legal needs. Ideally, you will find a business attorney who has worked in your particular type of business before, but that is not always necessary.
Getting one attorney to do everything (or almost everything) will save time and money.
Finding an attorney that can deal with all of the aspects of your business, from formation to complex contracts is an invaluable resource. Having one person to do all of this will cut down on having to explain your business or business concepts to multiple attorneys.
Having just one person to do all of this will also let your attorney get a full picture of what is going on in your business so they can point out legal aspects that you may not have considered.
For example, it is possible that buying a piece of real estate will effect an unrelated product development plan. When the attorney is only doing a portion of the work, then they may not be able to catch this connection.