There are several types of lawyers, even though we all go through the same basic legal training. So, you probably are wondering what makes a good business lawyer? This is what I would look for, if I was looking for a business lawyer:
Are they a litigator or a transaction lawyer?
A good business lawyer is both a litigator and a transactional lawyer.
There are basically two types of lawyers; lawyers who work in court, and lawyers who do paperwork. The lawyers who work in courts are called litigators or trial lawyers while the people who draft a will or create a contract or handle a merger and acquisition are called transactional lawyers. There are some lawyers who do both. A good business lawyer is comfortable drafting business documents and also comfortable in the courtroom. They can use their experience in one arena to give them insight in the other.
Do they have business experience?
A good business lawyer has real business experience themselves.
There are good lawyers who handle all types of cases. Patent lawyers, contract lawyers, employment lawyers, and injury lawyers, just to name a few. And if they’re all litigators and all trial lawyers that means they all know how to handle themselves in the courtroom which is a skill set that is common to any type of trial. However, lawyers who have also been in business have an insight into how profit-making enterprises operate. This will give them the ability to craft legal solutions for business problems better than people who don’t have any real business experience. Business experience can be gained by work outside of law, or as in-house counsel for businesses.
Do they handle the cases as a team, or do the paralegals do all the work?
A good business lawyer handles the case from beginning to end.
As a broad generalization there are two types of law firms: firms where the lawyers do most of the work and the support staff just supports the lawyers or law firms where the support staff does 90% of the work and the lawyers only attend court hearings and depositions. Both types of law firms can provide competent legal services to people. But, for my money, I would be looking for a law firm which has business lawyers working as a team with their support staff throughout the entire process. I don’t want nonlegal or paralegal staff members handling all the prep work and then simply handing off the case to a business lawyer when you have to have a lawyer in court. I think that lawyers should work the cases from beginning to gain a greater insight into each of their cases.
So that’s my list for what I would be looking for in a lawyer or law firm if my family member was looking for a business lawyer.