How to Pick the Right Lawyer for the Job
Updated: Aug 12, 2022
First time looking for a lawyer for your business? Read this.
As a lawyer, the following interaction is pretty common:
“So, what do you do?”
“I’m a lawyer.”
“Oh wow. What type of law do you practice?”
“Oh I see . . . So, do you also do divorce law?”
“. . . No.”
If this is your first time looking for a lawyer for your business, you might be starting your search on Google, or by asking your group of friends. But here’s the thing: you don’t need just any lawyer. You need the right lawyer for the job. Sure, your friend’s lawyer might have done a great job on their will, but that same lawyer probably can’t help you resolve legal issues with your employee (or at least, not with the same level of expertise). Read on to learn how to find the right lawyer for the job.
Lawyers Have Specialties
Sometimes a potential client asks if I’m willing to take on something outside of my specialty. Generally speaking, the answer is no. Think about it this way: you would never ask your dentist to perform your heart surgery. Why? Because even though a dentist and a heart surgeon are both medical professionals, they have very different specialties. Truth be told, you wouldn’t even want a general family doctor to perform your heart surgery - you would want a specialist, because heart surgery requires a special set of skills. The law is the same way. There are tax lawyers, trademark lawyers, private equity lawyers, government contracting lawyers, startup lawyers, bankruptcy lawyers, real estate lawyers, etc. While some of us have more than one specialty, it’s pretty unlikely that any one lawyer is a true specialist into two completely unrelated fields.
When it’s Okay to Have a Non-Specialist
Does that mean you always have to find a specialist? It depends on how complicated the issue is.
The law can be divided into several large categories. Some examples are criminal law, business law, government/regulatory law, personal injury law, and family law. Within a large category like business law, there are many different specialties; everything from corporate, to finance, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy, privacy, employment, executive compensation, litigation, real estate - you get the picture.
Let’s say you need something relatively simple, like someone to form an LLC. Most general business lawyers could probably handle that. In contrast, a family lawyer is less likely to know how to form an LLC. (However, they might be the ideal person to look over a custody agreement, or to advise you on how to handle the legal affairs of an aging parent).
Now let’s go a level deeper. Let’s say you need to raise venture capital. Well, a general business lawyer is probably not going to cut it. You will likely need a lawyer who understands the pros and cons of different types of investors, how to form and manage a C-Corporation, how to properly issue shares, and how to plan for corporate taxation (among other things!). If you want to get trademarked and protect your brand in the marketplace, you’ll need a lawyer who understands how to conduct due diligence, how to write a trademark application that can’t be easily challenged, and how to craft a winning legal argument in the event of an office action. In short: the more complex the issue is, the more specialized the lawyer needs to be.
Now for here’s the good news: whatever your legal issue is, from the wildly obscure to the oddly specific, there is probably a lawyer out there for you. You just need the right lawyer for the job.
Thanks for reading the Bevel Law Blog! While this information is hopefully helpful to you, nothing in this blog is intended to be legal advice. Always consult a lawyer before making any legal decisions based on topics in this blog.
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