How to choose the right law firm

You will need to access legal advice both at the beginning of your business and as it develops. It is vital that you find a law firm you can deal with happily straight away rather than waiting for a crisis to occur. This guide will help you with tips about how to choose the best law firm for your business.

  • What to look for in a law firm
  • Where to look
  • Talking to prospective solicitors

What to look for in a law firm

You should find a firm which has experience of working with businesses in your sector and understands the nature of your business. The firm should be able to offer advice and explanations in clear, plain language not legal talk. Smaller law firms are good options for start-up businesses as they may value you more as a client and their costs may be lower. All solicitors must hold a practising certificate issued by the Law Society, the professional body for solicitors. Get this verified with the Law Society so you know the firm is qualified.

  • A firm should understand the nature of your business and the sector you are in
  • Ensure they are qualified to give you advice

Where to look

The Law Society is a good start. It can put you in touch with solicitors in your area or with your particular specialisation and arrange a free initial consultation. You can also ask other businesses of a similar size to yours or friends if they can recommend a particular firm they have used. Bank managers, accountants and your local Chamber of Commerce are other sources. Always ask them what the law firm was engaged to do and if the solicitor was a specialist. Did they find them approachable, effective and easy to get on with? Importantly find out how much they cost.

  • Talk to friends, business contacts, bank managers or accountants about good firms
  • Use the services of the Law Society to help you find the best firm for you

Talking to prospective solicitors

It would be best to see a number of solicitors, not just one, face-to-face. Ask the solicitor directly what they know about your business and your individual sector. Regarding legal fees you should understand that solicitors usually charge on a hourly rate. Find out how they intend to charge you. You should try and get them to agree a fixed spending limit so you do not go over budget. Get quotes from each solicitor you see with breakdowns of costs such as hourly charges. Also get them to outline what other services the firm may be able to offer you as your business grows. At the end of your conversation ask for contact details of client referees and testimonials.

  • Meet the firm face-to-face to judge whether you could work with them or not
  • Try and see a number of solicitors - don't just go for the first one

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