How I Met My Lawyer – Connecting with lawyers made simple

by | Aug 24, 2022

‘Better get yourself a lawyer’ is generally not a phrase used in joyful moments. It’s not what supporters generally say when we’ve just had a big success or reached a goal. In truth though, these are often the points in our life when we do need a lawyer. For example, when somebody starts a new business or enters into a partnership.

In business, the action of hiring a lawyer can be triggered for many reasons but, even when it is the result of your success, there are still sometimes negative connotations associated with finding a lawyer. Perhaps it’s because lawyers make us think of complicated legal battles, jargon and costly hourly fees. The truth is, the right lawyer can save you money, help you find better ways of working and enable you to get on with the running of your business, knowing that you’re protected and have all the right contracts in place. But, how do you find the right lawyer?

First, let’s consider what makes a good lawyer.

What Makes A Good Lawyer For A SMEs?

Knowledge And Specialism
The law changes frequently, especially business law and especially post-Brexit. Lawyers specialise in particular areas of law so that they can ensure their knowledge is thorough and up-to-date. As a small to medium business, you may need an employment lawyer, consumer goods lawyer, intellectual property or patent lawyer or they may specialise in contract law.

Although it may be tempting to ask a lawyer you know to become your company lawyer, if they don’t specialise in the areas you need them to provide advice on then you’re putting your business at risk. Besides, they’ll likely refuse anyway. Expertise are very important in the legal world and enable lawyers to properly counsel and represent clients.

Approach And Professionalism
When hiring an employee, you won’t only consider their skills and on-paper suitability, you’ll look at how they’ll fit into the organisation and whether their way of working will work well alongside yours. Hiring a contractor, freelancer or consultant should be no different and neither should choosing a lawyer be.

The lawyer you select should be the right person for your business style because you need to feel trust in their abilities and relaxed in their company, especially because matters of law and legislation can be stressful. Making your lawyer a person you are comfortable with will make working together not only more enjoyable but also more productive. So long as they have the required skills and professionalism too, of course.

Rates And Transparency
A common complaint of those who work with lawyers is that they face unexpected charges and the pricing model can be confusing. In 2018 the Solicitors Regular Authority (SRA) Transparency Rules came into force. This was introduced to set a standard for good practice in setting and communicating fees.

Whether you’re hiring a freelance lawyer or are directing legal work to a law firm, make sure you understand their pricing model. It’s also wise to remember that the cheapest rate does not always deliver the best value.

where to find a lawyer

Many small business owners don’t know where to start

How To Find A Lawyer For Your Small Business

Many small businesses have no idea where to begin with finding a lawyer. Do you hire an in-house lawyer? Or do you just need a freelance lawyer? Or maybe your business contracts are best drafted by a law firm?

The level of legal expertise small to medium businesses and start-ups need varies, but often a freelance lawyer or small firm is the best way to go. You’ll likely not need a permanent lawyer unless you’re a medium to a large firm or are involved in ongoing litigation. Even then, you’ll often find the HR department is able to effectively work with a freelance solicitor.

Another advantage of freelance lawyers is they have exposure to a number of businesses, possibly in a range of sectors, and consequently, they usually have more varied experience. As opposed to an in-house lawyer who may have worked only for one or two organisations. Apart from this, you’re paying for your lawyer’s time only so fees are less likely to be inflated to cover office space and other big business expenses. In addition, with an independent lawyer, you’ll be able to build a relationship and likely be able to hire them whenever needed, whereas with a larger firm you may not even meet the lawyer working on your case or contract, and it may be somebody different each time.

Recommendations – If you know other businesses, similar to yours, who have had a good experience with a lawyer and are happy to recommend them then do take advantage. Recommendations are often the best way to find good restaurants, good plumbers, good pubs and good lawyers.

However, it is important to consider different types of business and different approaches. If your recommendation, for example, is coming from someone with a business four times the size of yours then their lawyer may not be the right one for you. Don’t let recommendations lead to forcing square pegs into round holes because the idea of finding your own lawyer is too daunting.

Networking – Networking can be a great way of either meeting the right lawyer for you or acquiring good recommendations from business owners with similar needs to yours. Networking locally also means you’re likely to meet a local lawyer which can make working together far easier. Yet, networking doesn’t have to take place in person.

Many businesses, especially start-ups being run from coworking spaces, kitchen tables and back-garden offices, often take part in virtual networking. Membership-based networking or community groups are also ideal for discovering skilled individuals who can help you grow your business. Far from lawyers being members of these groups to callously gather clients, membership groups are subscriptions and so are chosen carefully by all those who commit. A leading reason for joining such groups is connecting with like-minded people who run similar businesses either in size, values or sector. Lawyers in these groups are likely to have the skills and experience needed to be able to assist many other group members. Furthermore, their rates will probably be affordable since they’ll be used to working with similar businesses to yours.

Local Search – Online search is not an awful way to find a lawyer but it is restrictive. Those most likely to rank highly on Google aren’t necessarily the best legal professionals. They may just have a better website. Search engine results can be a good way to find a local lawyer and book some consultations, check some reviews and begin your investigations.

How your lawyer presents themselves and communicates online is also an important indication of whether you might work well together. Are they clear, straightforward and meticulous on their website? Are they sharing content on LinkedIn that is relevant to the expertise you may be seeking from them?

In the way that many claimed you could tell a lot from a business professional from visiting their office, you can now get a great deal of insight from someone’s professional online presence.

The Law Society – A Find A Solicitor service is available online through The Law Society. This is a more refined search tool that brings together a list of law firms and independent lawyers in your area who specialise in your required area of law. The tool is useful although there is no function to search by size of firm or average rate which means you can be confronted with a considerable list. However, all listed law firms and lawyers are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and each has a profile that includes some key information.

LegalDrop – At LegalDrop we have devised a simple and effective way to bring together SMEs and professionals able to meet their legal requirements and budgets. With a wide range of vetted legal advisors, you’ll find our search function provides not only professionals with the right expertise for the task but also transparent fees and accessibility.

matchmaking

Each legal professional on the LegalDrop platform offer a consultation with some offering free 15-minute consultations. After you’ve chosen the right lawyer for you, we’ll arrange a meeting and put you in touch. Though a rather new and innovative method of finding a lawyer, many SMEs are discovering that this legal services comparison platform is giving them the peace of mind, transparency and efficiency they need.

What To Ask A Lawyer Before Hiring

When looking for a lawyer it’s important to get a range of quotes or see a scope of rates for the work you need, to ensure that you’re not being overcharged. Or indeed undercharged which can be a sign of lack of experience in your potential lawyer.

You should also take advantage of consultation if one is offered. This way you’ll have some time to sit down with your potential lawyer and observe how you would feel about them taking on your legal matters. Do you feel you are in capable hands? Are they helping you to understand their role and the matters you need their help with? Or are you more confused than before?

These days, even lawyers get reviewed so check those out too. Only, don’t be too easily put off if there are a couple of negative reviews in a mostly good bunch, lawyers can be responsible for sometimes delivering bad news and it’s a common reaction to shoot the messenger.

Finding and working with a lawyer as a small to medium business is often a sign that your business is growing. That you have something worth protecting and that you’re doing things right. So, if possible, take your time and try to enjoy the process. After all, you’re on your way to finding a skilled partner who is about to become invested in your business success.

It's time to meet your new
Employment Commercial Contract Disputes Property  Lawyer