Every company requires legal counsel at some point. This is why chief legal officers or CLO are often in the C-suite of large companies. Small and mid-sized businesses need legal counsel, as well. This can help them set up company policies and management of said policies to minimize the potential for lawsuits when disputes arise.
Legal counsel can guide you in crafting enforceable intellectual property agreements, product warranties and non-disclosure forms. However, not all businesses have this counsel on hand when drafting documents, and lawsuits and claims can arise that aren’t in the purview of an HR attorney.
Here are a few tips for finding the best legal representatives for your company.
Understand What Expertise You Need
If you’re facing a third party patent dispute, your labor law expert isn’t much help. If you’re being sued for breach of contract, a patent attorney can’t help you, either. You must have someone well versed in the legal area you’re dealing with to get the best outcome. For example, if you need to negotiate a triple net lease or the purchase of a building, you need a real estate attorney.
This is you must understand the type of legal counsel you need before you go searching for an attorney to help you. Are you dealing with contract law, labor law, intellectual property law or something else? Once you’ve narrowed that down, you can start looking for experts in that area.
Find Experts in that Field
One way to look for legal experts in the area is to research business directories. Who advertises their expertise in a given area? If you’re dealing with a niche topic, people who say they can handle these particular cases should be near the top of your list.
Vet legal experts against professional directories. Who is board certified in personal injury cases and willing to defend the business from frivolous claims? How is being recognized by other legal professional as being in the top of the field?
This matters as much as positive customer reviews, though these need to be reviewed as well. How often are they winning tax cases and securing denied licenses and permits? Don’t let the testimonials on someone’s website make their case. Do your homework. How do they rank with the Better Business Bureau? Have they ever been cited for misconduct? Are people suing the attorney for mishandling their case? At a minimum, this research can help you weed out the worst possible choices.
Find the Local Leaders
Pareto’s Law says that the top 20 percent does 80 percent of the work. This is true whether you’re dealing with real estate purchases or legal cases, there are many reasons you want to find that top 20 percent. It isn’t just a matter of them being popular. When an attorney is regularly handling cases of this kind, they have subject matter experts on call to testify in your case and professional engineers to assess the root cause of the product failure. They have formal processes in place to handle your type of case professionally and as smoothly as possible. Conversely, you won’t end up waiting for them to read up on the latest case law in this area because they’re already experts in it.
Yet you don’t just want to go to the top performer in the country. If you live in Toledo, there is a strong business case for finding the best lawyers in Toledo, OH. You won’t just save money on travel expenses. The law firm is much more likely to give your case the best care because their reputation depends on how well they treat you and the outcome of it. They are also more likely to have the specialized local knowledge you need, whether it is getting a zoning change from the local board or getting a license from the city. They’ll know the ins and outs of the state tax code in addition to the federal tax code.