If there’s one piece of legal advice we feel qualified to give you, it’s this: Lawyer up well before you have any legal troubles.
Even the small businesses with the cleanest nose will run into a problem with a building permit, have to navigate the byzantine planning process or get sued by a customer for something entirely out of their hands. When that happens, you don’t want to have to try to hack your way through a legal wilderness with your own machete, to use a tortured metaphor. You’re going to want a lawyer.
You likely don’t need too much convincing on this friend, assuming you have enough money to get started with an attorney. But we also all know a bad lawyer, or one who is far too expensive, can end up doing more harm than good to your business. You need a good one.
Getting A Good Lawyer
- Do your homework, just as you would with any other major decision. Talk to friends in business, look at reviews of lawyers and understand which one take on small business issues ahead of time. Don’t make a single phone call without understanding all of that.
- Check for experience. If you want to expand your office or build a new location, you’ll have to go through the often frustrating experience of planning and zoning board meetings, if not a conservation commission for environmental issues. That process is deeply involved and difficult for a layperson, but a lawyer with experience can make things a lot easier. Always, always check for that.
- Don’t spend an enormous amount of money. You can probably find a good, helpful attorney without needing to bankrupt your attorney.
You may think you’re inviting bad luck by having a lawyer on retainer, but having an existing relationship will make the inevitable and hopefully unearned legal quagmires you run into occasionally a lot easier. That’s what it’s all about.
Do you have a lawyer?
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