Small Business Start-Up Checklist – Choosing a Lawyer

There are numerous legal issues that arise with the formation of a small business. It is likely that you will need the help of a lawyer at some point early on, whether you are in the process of determining the legal form of your business or choosing a name. You may also find that you need their help down the line when dealing with complex issues like leases, contracts and intellectual property or if you are subject to litigation.  

Your lawyer may be one of the key people that you turn to for advice and therefore it should be someone you can talk to comfortably and exchange ideas. It may be necessary for you to change lawyer if your business needs change, although this could be an expensive process. Here are some helpful things for you to remember when recruiting a lawyer:  

  • Get recommendations on good lawyers from people you know and whose opinion you trust
  • Try to find lawyers who specialise in small business affairs
  • Consider interviewing more than one lawyer (although some may charge for this)
  • Do not ask for legal advice during the interview, the purpose of it is to determine how well you get along with the lawyer
  • Find out about the types of fees they will charge (hourly charges / flat fees / monthly retainer / contingency fees)
  • Ask the lawyer for references (preferably some small business owning customers)
  • Use the knowledge you have gained from the interviews to make an informed decision about which you would rather work with on a regular basis
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