How to Choose a Lawyer for Your Business

Business owners frequently require the assistance of a lawyer when entering into contracts, negotiating deals, navigating employment and labor laws, and when preparing and filing taxes. Hiring an experienced lawyer to work with your business early on will ensure that when the need for legal advice arises, you will not waste time in finding a lawyer and catching them up on your business before you can receive advice.


  1. Image titled Choose a Lawyer for Your Business Step 1
    Ask for a recommendation. Reputation is often a reliable tool for choosing a lawyer.
    • Ask those who you know have had a need for a business or corporate lawyer if they would recommend the lawyer they chose. They will be able to give you an idea of how the law firm they chose treated them, how they handled the case, the outcome, and the cost of hiring the lawyer.
    • Ask your friend if overall they thought the lawyer handled the case well, if the lawyer seemed knowledgeable about the case, if the lawyer personally communicated with them, or if they only spoke to a secretary or paralegal.
    • Remember, this is a starting point only. You will still need to assess the information you collect at this initial stage in order to determine if this lawyer is right for your business’ particular needs.
  2. Image titled Choose a Lawyer for Your Business Step 2
    Conduct an attorney search. The internet has many resources for finding a lawyer. Some are more reputable than others, however, so choose one carefully.
    • It’s likely that the most reputable of site on the internet for this purpose is your state’s bar association, which licenses attorneys in that particular state.
    • Websites such as have a database that is easy to search and that allows you to find a particular type of lawyer or law firm in your area.
    • A basic internet search on Google for “intellectual property lawyer,” or “corporate,” “tax,” or “labor” lawyer plus your location can also provide you with a preliminary list of local attorneys.
  3. Image titled Choose a Lawyer for Your Business Step 3
    Research the attorney’s credentials.
    • An important item to research about an attorney is his or her educational background. Find out where they went to law school and whether or not that law school is accredited. Make sure the lawyer is a member of the bar as well. Most state bar websites have a directory where you can look up the lawyers name to ensure that he or she is a member in good standing of the bar. The listing for the lawyer will make it clear whether the lawyer is in good standing with the bar.
    • Equally important is the lawyers experience handling cases similar to yours. If you cannot find this information online, call the law firm and ask. Questions to ask include whether the lawyer took any special classes in business or corporate law and for how many other businesses have they provided representation.
    • Businesses have varied needs, from intellectual property to tax law, so be sure to evaluate the attorney based on your varied needs. If you do not find one attorney that meets all of your needs, consider hiring a separate attorney to handle the matters your primary lawyer cannot.
  4. Image titled Choose a Lawyer for Your Business Step 4
    Schedule a consultation. One of the best ways to choose a lawyer is to meet with a couple of them and discuss your businesses needs. Many lawyers offer this service for free or for a low fee. Remember that at this meeting, you are not likely going to receive extensive legal advice (that comes after you hire the lawyer), but rather you are conducting an interview of the lawyer to determine if you feel comfortable with the lawyer taking on your case.
  5. Image titled Choose a Lawyer for Your Business Step 5
    Ask the lawyer questions about his representation of your business.
    • Make a list of questions concerning the attorney’s credentials, including his or her education and experience.
    • Ask about how fees work, including whether you will pay an hourly rate or be billed as a flat fee.
    • If you expect that you will require the services of the attorney on a regular basis, ask whether you would need to pay a sum of money to the lawyer upfront to retain his or her services. This “retainer” payment is essentially the prepayment of legal fees to be used in the future.
    • Since there are many different payment scenarios that can be used, depending on the needs of the business, ask the lawyer to outline what options would be available to you should you decide to retain him or her.
    • Expect the consultation to last approximately 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your case. At the end of the meeting, you may tell the lawyer that you want to think about your options before retaining the lawyer, or, if you feel comfortable, tell the lawyer that you would like to hire him or her on the spot.
  6. Image titled Choose a Lawyer for Your Business Step 6
    Choose a lawyer you feel comfortable working with. While the education and experience of a lawyer is important, equally as important is the character of the lawyer. Business lawyers and business owners and executives tend to work together closely and often, so finding a lawyer that fits well with your personality, and the personalities of the other decision makers of the business, is important.
    • Choose a lawyer who you feel comfortable confiding in about your legal issue, who listens to your concerns and who offers solutions tailored to your unique needs.
    • In many cases you will need to reveal sensitive information to your lawyer in order for him or her to represent your business competently, so choose someone you trust.
    • Your attorney should return your phone calls promptly, keep you updated on the status of your case, and communicate with you regularly during the course of the attorney-client relationship.


  • Do not hesitate to ask your lawyer about his or her education and experience. Lawyers understand that you need to make sure you are hiring the right person for the job and should be happy to discuss their qualifications for the job.
  • When you hire a lawyer that works with a law firm, be sure to ask whether you are retaining that particular lawyer, or whether you have access to all the lawyers in the firm.


  • If a lawyer is hesitant to discuss his or her qualifications for your case, move on to another lawyer.
  • Review websites such as may be a good starting point to finding a lawyer by weeding out those lawyers with only negative reviews, but do not place too much emphasis on these reviews. Often when the person had a terrible experience to begin with, the person will blame the attorney for their failure.

Article Info

Categories: Contracts and Legal Agreements