By: Angie Avard Turner, Esq.
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An integral part of having a successful business is continuing to educate yourself on various issues. However, when you reach a point where you still are unsure of how to handle the problem, you must seek advice from an expert. If you need medical advice, you speak with a doctor. If you require financial guidance, you discuss that with your accountant.
So if you need legal help, you seek the help of an attorney. It would be foolish as a business owner to allow legal problems to not be dealt with. Still, it is easy for retailers to get bogged down in the decision making process which attorney to hire. Here are a few practical characteristics that may help you make your choice.
Trustworthiness: First, is the attorney you are choosing trustworthy? After signing the engagement letter to hire an attorney, the attorney is bound by what is called attorney client relationship. So, information that clients disclose to the attorney must be kept confidential. This relationship is a distinctive feature of our legal system. However, trust is more than keeping information confidential. Do you trust this person to understand your business? Do you trust them to spot issues to avoid potential risks? Do you trust that this person will be in your corner if you ever find yourself in a legal bind? A client must put their total trust in the attorney they choose, so choosing wisely is vital.
Competence: Second is the attorney competent? If the attorney is barred in the state they are practicing, you can rest assured they traversed a gauntlet of final exams, research papers, brief, oral presentations, and let’s not forget that tiny little test known as the bar exam that they attorney had to successfully maneuver through to earn their license. What I am referring to is the competency in the area where you are seeking their guidance. So if the attorney specializes in real estate law and you are looking for someone to handle intellectual property matter; that might not be an exact fit. Make sure that the attorney you hire has experience and knowledge in the retail industry.
Responsiveness: Is the attorney responsive? One of the largest areas of complaints state bars receive have to do with an attorneys’ lack of responsiveness to their clients. Communication is at the core of what attorneys do every single day. Having an attorney who responds rapidly to you is crucial to establishing a trust relationship.
There are other factors to consider when determining which attorney to hire. Part of having a successful legal strategy for your business is having a strong ongoing relationship with a business expert, such as an attorney, whose goal is to help you protect your business.
Come hear and learn from Angie Avard about Legal Strategy by attending one of her sessions on Friday, August 8 at 11am and 2pm during the Atlanta Apparel market.