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How to find the right lawyer for you and your business

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Whether you want to create a will or ensure legal compliance in your business, hire an attorney. An experienced lawyer is worth their salt. They can help you navigate the complex and ever-evolving legal landscape, educate you about different laws affecting your business and create and interpret legal documents.

A reputable lawyer stays on top of legal trends and changes in laws and regulations. They follow legal news closely. Their experience, expertise and skill enable them to develop customized legal planning solutions for their clients.

Every lawyer is not a legal expert. Some amateurs pose as know-it-alls. They have limited legal knowledge and experience. Such lawyers make tall claims, but lack the skills and expertise to deliver results. Steer clear of them. Before hiring a lawyer assess their skills and knowledge and then decide if they’re equipped to meet your legal needs.

Here are some tips to find a lawyer you can trust.

Contact Your Local Bar Association

A state bar association maintains public records that detail complaints and disciplinary actions taken against lawyers licensed to practice in that state.Many local bar associations offer free referral services to help individuals and businesses find attorneys.

Review Online Listings of Lawyers

Many websites offer free reviews of legal practices and attorneys. Typical examples include LegalZoom, Rocketlawyer, LawTrades, and Avvo.com. LawHelp.org and many other websites are dedicated to assisting individuals with limited income find lawyers. It’s advisable to cross-check reviews on multiple websites as reviews on a particular website may be biased.

Talk to Fellow Business Owners

Consult fellow business owners who are currently using a legal service or have used an attorney for some time in the past. Ask them about their experience working with the attorney, if the professional offers a bouquet of legal services or a select few services, whether they’re satisfied with the services offered, and if they’d recommend them (why or why not).

Review Attorneys’ Sites

Once you have created a list of candidates, it’s time to review their sites. Before you check out an attorney’s website, find out the specific area of law they specialize in. Check their educational background and find out which law school they attended.

When browsing an attorney’s website, look for some basic information about the type of legal issue you are grappling with. Check out the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section and the blog section to see if they contain articles related  to your legal issue. Reputable attorneys typically have comprehensive websites offering a lot of helpful legal information.

Most law firm websites have a separate section containing the profile of every lawyer working for the firm. When browsing a legal firm website, review the educational and work history of each attorney. Look for a business attorney in Santa Rosa with a minimum of three to five years of experience in the specific area of law you require assistance with.

Also, check attorneys’ social media accounts to see what their clients are talking about them and how they interact with people. Remember to check law firms’ BBB rankings.

Consider Law Firm Size

Law firms come in various sizes.Some law practices are one man shows, while others employ multiple attorneys specializing in different areas of law. Select a firm that aligns best with your needs. Large corporations might opt for prominent law firms to manage complex legal issues, often spanning international jurisdictions. Unlike MNCs, small businesses may not have deep pockets and may want to hire a small firm to manage their legal affairs.

Make Appointments With the Attorneys you are Considering and Interview Them

Reach out to each lawyer on your list to arrange a consultation. While many attorneys offer a free initial consultation, some charge a nominal fee for an initial meeting. Before booking an initial consultation with an attorney, ask if you will be charged for the appointment.

Before you meet an attorney, create a questionnaire. Ask an attorney questions related to

  • Pricing: Ask if the attorney charges on an hourly basis or a flat fee
  • Timeline: Ask for a timeline. While your attorney might not be able to pinpoint an exact date, they will give you a rough idea about how long it will take to achieve the desired result based on time taken for previous cases of similar nature
  • Success rate: Ask if the attorney has handled cases similar to yours in the past and what’s their success rate. The answer to this question will help you determine if the attorney is capable of managing the legal issue you are currently facing. Remember attorneys are ethically prohibited from guaranteeing outcomes. Request the attorney to provide a list of references. Because attorneys are required to secure their clients’ consent before sharing their details, you might not get reference lists immediately
  • Availability: Ask how quickly the attorney can commence work and who will be your point of contact. Will an assistant or a junior associate communicate with you? It’s important that you know whom to reach out to if you have queries related to your case
  • Misconduct: If an attorney has any misconduct or disciplinary actions on their record, which can be checked on your state’s bar association website, ask them questions about the charges. In some cases, the violation might be minor, like not paying bar fees on time

Choose an Attorney you Feel Comfortable With

Select an attorney with whom you believe you’d have a good rapport and enjoy working with. Did the attorney take the time to answer all your questions or did they rush through the initial consultation? If an attorney tries to duck questions, is overly reliant on legal jargon, or seems inattentive to your concerns, walk away.

Whether you need help navigating regulatory changes affecting your business or want to ensure regulatory compliance, Johnston & Associates has got you covered. Our enviable track record sets us apart from other Santa Rosa law firms. To learn more, call 707-545-6542.

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