Article written by Teresa Schiller, Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, PLLC
Businesses are seizing opportunities in Waco at an exciting time. As the city increasingly attracts attention, demand is growing. Major employers and educational institutions provide stability in the area and increase demand for other businesses. To maximize these opportunities, it’s important for your business to leverage strategic legal options, and also to comply with minimum legal standards. Here are some tips for hiring and working with a lawyer for your business.
1. Find an experienced lawyer.
Look online for local lawyers who specialize in relevant practice areas, such as business, real estate, litigation, or employment law. Professionals who serve your business — such as accountants and insurance agents — may have recommendations. Business associations and their members may be able to provide referrals. Other groups you belong to may be able to supply helpful information as well. Finally, consider contacting the Lawyer Referral & Information Service, featured on the State Bar of Texas’ website.
2. Meet with the lawyer to discuss your needs.
Be ready to provide a clear summary of your legal needs and business goals. Does the lawyer listen to you and appear to understand your legal problem? Does he or she teach you about the law and its effect on your business? Does the lawyer outline a possible solution? Although the information he or she provides at such a meeting is preliminary, your discussion will help you to get a sense of the lawyer’s competence, communication skills, trustworthiness, and ability to relate to you and your colleagues.
3. Hire the lawyer with agreed-upon terms.
Your business will be forming an attorney-client relationship, which provides certain rights and responsibilities. To clarify the terms of the relationship, the lawyer may provide a written engagement letter for signature. The engagement letter may describe the scope of work, legal fees and expenses, and staffing. Legal fees may be charged at an hourly rate, or in some other form, such as a flat fee or contingency fee. If you have any questions, discuss them with the lawyer before hiring.
4. Work with the lawyer to maximize efficiency.
Provide requested documents and other business information as needed. Discuss the legal plan, any alternatives, and the range of possible outcomes. Make sure you understand the next steps, and keep the lines of communication open.
In conclusion, these tips for hiring and working with a lawyer can help your business to leverage options and comply with minimum standards. Most importantly, having a lawyer on your team can enhance your peace of mind, allowing you to focus on what you do best – seizing the next business opportunity.
Teresa is a business and employment lawyer at Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, PLLC in Waco and Dallas. She is a former in-house lawyer and teacher. Teresa can be reached at email@example.com.