Did you know that, according to the American Bar Association, there was a 15% increase in the number of lawyers between the years 2008 and 2018?
This fact comes as no surprise, considering how many people have reasons to find a lawyer, whether that’s to sue someone after a workplace accident or to get legal advice during a divorce.
If you’ve found yourself in a complicated corporate legal situation, then you might be in the process of choosing corporate lawyers.
But with so many lawyers out there, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you.
Is there a type of law they should specialize in? What kind of lawyer will actually be able to help you in your specific situation? Are there any red flags to look out for?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might feel stressed or overwhelmed.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. In it, you’ll find out about the top factors you need to consider when choosing a corporate lawyer.
Finally, you can find the right lawyer for you and solve your legal issue. Read on to learn more.
1. Know Your Legal Situation Before Choosing Corporate Lawyers
Before you begin your search, you need to understand your legal situation. Do you need a lawyer because you’re buying a company? Or selling your company? Maybe you’re merging two companies. Depending on your answer, you should choose certain lawyers over others.
When getting a corporate lawyer, they need to specialize in the specific type of corporate transaction you’re engaging in.
Depending on your industry, there may be some corporate lawyers who are a better fit than others.
For example, if there are many regulations and legal requirements in your industry, you can’t just hire a generalized corporate lawyer.
You need a corporate lawyer who has corporate law experience specifically in your sector. Often, they also need to be aware of regulations and legal requirements specific to the region you’re operating your business out of.
If you have a business based in Alberta, for example, Freedom Law is a corporate law firm that can help you.
2. Do Your Research
Once you know your legal situation, it’s time to start researching lawyers. Start by looking up lawyers who operate in your region. Because laws can vary throughout the country, you can’t get much legal help from a lawyer who’s following completely different laws.
Of course, there are exceptions to this. For example, if you’re merging two companies and they’re based in different regions, you’ll have to find a lawyer who specializes in law in both those regions.
In addition to looking for lawyers in your area, you should research the legal process. Does it require you to fill out paperwork before meeting with your lawyer? What types of issues are usually worked through?
When speaking with lawyers before hiring them, you can ask them more questions about the process, so they can clarify it a bit for you.
While a corporate lawyer is a professional, it’s good for you to be informed, too. This makes your chance of winning a lawsuit more likely.
3. Think About Experience
One of the biggest factors to think about is your lawyer’s experience. If you’re engaging in a big merger between two large companies, then you might need to hire a lawyer who has many years of experience in your industry.
The same goes for if you’re completely restructuring your company when selling assets or shares.
However, if you’re buying or selling a small company, or listing your company on the stock exchange, you may not have to hire a highly experienced lawyer. These are simple processes that require fewer years of experience.
4. Research Their Reputation
When you start your search for the right corporate lawyer, you need to find out if they have a good reputation. Fortunately, in the corporate world, this is pretty easy to do. Reach out to industry contacts, such as business partners or associates.
If any of them have a lawyer they recommend, you should ask them why they were happy with their service, how long the legal process took, and what they were able to gain legally.
For example, maybe they made a little more money from a sale of their share of a company.
There might also be industry organizations that recommend corporate lawyers who specialize in your industry.
Reading online reviews will also help you know what the reputation of a potential lawyer is.
Check out lawyer review sites in your region, the reviews on the lawyer’s website, and reviews on websites such as Yelp and Google Maps. Ask lawyers for references from past clients, too.
These can be helpful because they can connect with past clients who were in the same legal situation you’re in now, so you can learn about how the lawyer helped them in that specific situation.
5. Look for Good Communication
A lawyer needs to be a good communicator for two reasons: they need to be able to communicate clearly both with you and with the lawyers handling the other side of the corporate legal situation. A bad communicator will not be a good lawyer.
When you talk to your lawyer about hiring them, they should let you know how they usually communicate with you as their client.
These communications might be via email, over the phone, or in person.
In addition to clarifying how they communicate generally, they should also let you know how they’ll get in touch if there’s an important update they have to give you.
You should also be clear with your lawyer about how regularly you want them to be in touch with you. If the lawyer seems hesitant to do this, it’s unlikely they’ll be a good communicator.
6. Ask About How They Handle Client Consultation
Another aspect you should research is how your lawyer handles client consultations. Some lawyers might mostly use email, only reaching out when big issues come up. Others might prefer video calls, while others will invite you to their office for meetings.
Depending on what your legal needs are, you might prefer one of these consultation styles to others. Once you’ve decided which one you prefer, you should work with a lawyer who uses that consultation style.
When your lawyer consults with you, they will also expect you to do certain things on your end.
For example, they might want you to provide research, details, or paperwork. Some lawyers will expect you to bring more information to meetings than others, depending on how they complete their work.
Let’s say you’re in the process of selling your business that you’ve spent the last 20 years building.
Chances are you, you’ll want to be very involved in this process. In this case, you should choose a lawyer who expects to bring a lot to the table.
However, if you’ve just bought a business, made it more efficient, and are now selling it at a higher price, you might not want to get so involved. In this case, you should choose a lawyer who handles most of the work themselves.
7. Check Out Their Track Record
To make sure that your merger, acquisition, stock exchange listing, share and asset selling, or other corporate process goes well, you need to choose a lawyer who has a good track record. By good track record, we mean that they:
- Get clients what they want (or more)
- Follow all regulations and legal requirements
- Have become more successful over time
Of course, when it comes to lawyers with less experience, they won’t have had time to have built up a track record yet. However, if they’re employed by a law firm with a good track record and seem like a good lawyer, you can overlook the fact that they don’t have one yet.
To find out about your potential lawyer’s track record, you can check with the courts or with your lawyer’s law firm.
8. Think About Their Fees
Comparing lawyer fees is another important part of the process of choosing the right corporate lawyer. Even before you start comparing, the first thing you need to do is figure out what rates usually are for corporate lawyers in your industry.
To do this, get in touch with a large number of corporate lawyers and ask about their rates. Is there a retainer fee? How much do they charge per hour? Are there any additional administrative fees?
Once you’ve researched the rates in your area and industry, you’ll have an idea of how much the average cost of hiring a lawyer is.
Then, you should sit down and think about what you can realistically afford. Even if it’s a little pricey, remember that a better lawyer with higher rates can get you more money in the long run.
Especially in the corporate world, where so much money is at stake with the sale of a business, you may want to hire a more expensive lawyer.
9. Consider Their Education
Of course, any lawyer should have an education in law. They wouldn’t be able to practice otherwise. But if their law degree isn’t from a great law school, then you should think twice about when you hire them. In this case, pay extra attention to their:
- Track record
Additionally, it helps if your corporate lawyer has education specific to corporate work and the industry you’re in. This way, you can ensure that they understand every detail of your merger, acquisition, or restructure.
10. Think About Their Follow-Up
When you’re communicating with a lawyer about potentially hiring them, think about their follow-up. Are they prompt or helpful when you send them questions, or does it take them forever to send back a vague reply?
If they aren’t great with their follow-up, then chances are they’ll be even worse when you hire them. This is a problem for three reasons.
One, they won’t be good to work with. Two, you might not be their priority. Three, they might not be great with follow-up when it comes to other communications, so they might not do their job right, either.
11. Go With Your Gut
Finally, you need to go with your gut. If you get a funny feeling that you don’t trust the lawyer when you meet with them or speak over the phone, don’t hire them. That instinct in you is telling you that they aren’t the right fit.
Even if they have the right education, track record, and reasonable fees, if you feel something is off, it probably is.
They probably won’t work hard for you or get you the results you need. Your instincts are simply telling you what you can’t see because they’re otherwise a great match on paper.
In this case, walk away. There are plenty of other lawyers out there.
Need More Information?
Now that you know about the top factors to consider when choosing corporate lawyers, you might need additional information. Maybe you want to learn about corporate lawyers in your area. Or maybe you want to learn about strategies to use to communicate with your lawyer.
Whatever information you need, you can find it on our blog. Simply go to the legal section of our blog. Here, you can learn about how corporate law can apply to the business you run.