7 Key Considerations When Hiring a Freelance Lawyer
Finding and hiring the right lawyer can be intimidating. You’re already seeking a lawyer’s service because you’re unfamiliar with the law, so searching through multiple candidates can be daunting in an industry you don’t understand. However, having the right professional on your side can help you avoid legal disputes down the line. Here’s how to find the perfect freelance lawyer.
1. Start Looking on the American Bar Association (ABA) Website
The ABA website is the first place to find legitimate lawyers who have passed the BAR exam and went through training. Go to the “Hire a Lawyer” section for information on public service lawyer referral programs. Some, not all, will be freelance. However, going through a traditional legal outsourcing service can have downsides like limited availability and slow turnaround times. Look on websites like LawClerk, Upwork, and Freelancer for a bigger pool of talent.
2. Find a Lawyer With the Right Expertise
It would be nice if a lawyer fell right out of the sky, but most lawyers won’t be able to help you with business matters. It wouldn’t be wise to hire a lawyer that handles divorce or criminal law, so always research the expertise and licenses of your person-of-choice. Start-ups usually need a lawyer that understands laws and taxes related to small businesses, but you may also need counsel for risk management, contracts, licenses, hiring employees, patents, and capital.
3. Look for Someone in Knowledgable and Available
Don’t just look at experience on the job when choosing an attorney because as long as they’re licensed and know how to operate in your niche, you’ll be in good hands. Lawyers fresh out of school are more than capable of providing you with fantastic legal advice. New lawyers are typically less expensive than seasoned veterans who may be out of your price range. Experienced lawyers are also less likely to be available, which is hardly an issue for newbies.
4. Consider the Cost of Hiring a Lawyer
A lawyer could cost you between $350-$800 an hour, but some freelancers may bill in increments of minutes. The hourly rate range will vary on experience, location, and the lawyer’s speed. Consider how much you’re willing to spend on an attorney because you may need to add an extra $2,000-$5,000 to your yearly budget. To keep costs low, ask if they can charge a flat fee for routine matters or be kept on a monthly retainer for legal advice.
5. Ask if They’re a Finder, Minder, or Grinder
Every law firm has three types of lawyers, and a freelancer should be aware of these 3 attorney types. The finder scouts for new clients, the minder takes on the clients and ensures they’re kept happy, and the grinder is the one doing the work. Your lawyer should be either a minder and a grinder, but if they have an assistant, they may have someone else working underneath them. Ask to meet the grinder before hiring to ensure you’re comfortable with their work style.
6. Liking the Attorney is Important
A business attorney wants to keep you as a client for the long term and to cut costs; you’ll want to do the same. If your attorney is frustrating to work with, isn’t interested in teaching you anything about the law, communicates poorly, and is overall joyless, they won’t be a good fit. Lawyers are supposed to help you accomplish your goals, and the right one will be intelligent, accurate, and thorough with all company matters from the start-up stage to your end goals.
7. Watch Out for These Red Flags
Liking your lawyer is essential, but a swell person will not save you if they draft up a contract incorrectly. A lawyer needs to understand your business language and how you want to operate. If they don’t, they won’t be able to represent you. You also don’t want an attorney that’s learning how to do something on the clock or surprises you with extra costs. Move on from any lawyer that isn’t transparent with you, or it could cost you more than just your finances.