You hire a lawyer and she takes all your money. You hire a personal injury lawyer and he takes all your settlement money. That’s how it works, right? You fight in court and only lawyers get paid? Well, myths abound about lawyers, but perhaps some of it is merited. Just like any other profession, lawyers are looking at their bottom line. That does not mean you should forgo a lawyer. How much does a lawyer get of your settlement? Can you ever go without a lawyer? How does a lawyer help? These questions are important. Let’s answer them.
You don’t need to hire a business attorney blindly out of the phone book. In fact, you should probably avoid this method of searching. Likewise, don’t be misled by ads, be they on billboards or on television. While there’s nothing wrong with getting some ideas and names from these sources, rely on your own resources to make a decision. Ask around. Know any other entrepreneurs in your area? Talk to them and see who they have used. Take a look at local message boards and put up a flag. You may find what you need more quickly than you expect.
Now, if you are looking for a lawyer or are not happy with your present lawyer, how do you choose a great business lawyer. But first a definition. What is a business lawyer? I personally distinguish a business lawyer from a corporate or commercial lawyer. To me the process in the classic sense of the term denotes the classic lawyer-client relationship where the lawyer is more than someone who cranks out paper. I define the business lawyer as your quasi business partner or confidante. Someone you can confide it, who can solve your problems, understand you and help you grow.
FAILURE TO ASK QUESTIONS. You should ask a lawyer you are considering who he/she would hire for a case such as yours. You should ask the lawyer you are considering questions about his/her experience and credentials. Can they point to satisfied clients who have given testimonials of their experiences with the lawyer and law firm? Who besides the lawyer will be working on your case? How do they handle telephone calls? How do they charge? What does the lawyer expect of you? How will he/she keep you informed of progress on your case? How does he/she plan to present your case/defense? You should ask questions about court procedures or other procedures pertaining to your case or legal matter. If there are terms that you do not understand, ask your lawyer to explain them to you.
If you have chosen your lawyer and he or she is not representing you well in your case, you can fire your lawyer. Remember you want the best lawyer possible. Communication is very important in this situation. Before you fire your old lawyer, make sure that you have already obtained a new one. The new lawyer will send a discharge letter to the lawyer and file it with the court. The old lawyer will still charge you for time for discussing the case with the new lawyer and preparing your file for transfer. If you owe the old lawyer money, it will delay the release of your file to the new lawyer.
The problem with Internet advertising for this general practitioner lawyer is, it costs money every time someone clicks. If a lawyer working by him or herself in Fresno California tries to advertise to people searching, bankruptcy, personal injury, divorce, tax problems, business law, contract disputes, real estate law, workers compensation and trial law, the lawyer will go broke before anyone ever can write them a check. The keyword bid for “personal injury attorney” is as high as $15.00 per click in some cities. I have seen single keywords like lawyer go for $20.00 per click.
Never think “lawyers can’t advertise there” or that there’s any legal marketing strategy that could never work for you. Successful lawyers are the ones who see something new and say “I could find a way to make that work for me…” and then they go about doing so. Become that entrepreneur, say NO to traditional lawyer advertising and stale legal marketing!