I know lots of lawyers. And If I don’t know the name of the person off the top of my head perfect for the project, I know exactly who to call to find out that information.
But I know from your emails that this is a struggle for you.
Because you don’t have a friend to pick up the phone and call, so this process seems s overwhelming.
So I’m hoping to demystify the process and give you some tools to track down the perfect lawyer for your creative business.
How to find the right lawyer
The first step should be to ask your network. Find out if you’ve got a friend who has someone that they love.
If you strike out with your network, then you’ll have to search and trust your gut. While you can conduct a Google search, another place to start is your state’s volunteer lawyers for the arts organization.
As my friend Maria says,
You wouldn’t hire a podiatrist to give you a boob job.
The same is true for legal help.
Your goal should be to find someone who helps similar businesses with similar matters.
- If you are negotiating a licensing agreement, they should be familiar with them and your industry.
- If you are having them set up your LLC, they should understand how to transfer the intellectual property in your creations from your existing business to the LLC.
- If you are having them help you bring on staff members, they should be familiar with the employment laws of your state.
If you’ve never looked at a lawyers’ website, you might be in for a rude awaking. That’s because most lawyers have the ugliest cookie cutter websites. And they make it really difficult for their potential clients to understand what they do.
Because of this, I’d suggest sending them an email. In your email, tell them about your business and what you are looking for help with. Then ask if this is something that they might be a good fit for. And if not, who they might suggest you contact.
If you move past that stage, you should interview them during your first conversation just as much as they ask you questions. Because you want to make sure that they understand the challenges you are facing.
Ultimately, you should only hire them to help you if you:
- trust them
- want to talk to them multiple times over the course of your project
You are a smart cookie and you should trust your gut on this one.
There is one area where hiring a lawyer differs from hiring another service professional: location.
Lawyers are licensed state by state. And so, there are restrictions surrounding helping clients who don’t live in a state where they have a license to practice law. Like most rules, lawyers take different interpretations of this rule. However, I generally suggest you look for someone in your home state, so you don’t have to worry about this rule.
The Tweetable version? Hiring a lawyer is pretty much like hiring any service professional for your business.
So next time you need to hire a lawyer, take a deep breath and remember that you are smart and can do it. Then Tweet, post on Facebook, or send an email and see if your network has already done the heavy lifting for you.
Does that help ease the overwhelm of hiring a lawyer? If not, what are your other fears and concerns? If you’ve got someone you love, how did you find him/her? Let us know in the comments.