A law firm telling me the questions I should ask my business lawyer before hiring them? I bet these will (1) be really softball questions, and (2) be ones that Law Plus Plus is prepared to answer.
Yes! They should be both, but that’s kind of the point. If your potential business attorney cannot answer these, that should be a red flag. Of course, we’re including our answers, just in case you were thinking of checking us out. On a serious note, we understand that Law Plus Plus isn’t right for everyone, but we still want everyone to have the best representation possible from their attorneys.
How do you charge?
This is probably the most pressing question you have. If the billing is hourly, what is the rate? No matter how the billing is determined, you should ask up front.
At Law Plus Plus, we handle our work almost exclusively flat rate, value based, pricing. We prepare proposals ahead of time and outline what we recommend, even giving multiple options when it is possible. This way, there is no question as to what your final bill is.
When can I expect the work to be done?
Attorneys have a bad reputation when it comes to taking on work and then going radio silent. We know your matter is important to you, but sometimes, there are deadlines or things that delay your case. Many delays are caused by things completely out of the control of the business lawyer, but what is completely within the control of the attorney is keeping the client informed. In order to help yourself here, ask your attorney when you can expect the work to be done, or if it is ongoing work, ask how often you should follow up.
We, at Law Plus Plus, don’t typically give expected completion dates, but we’re more than happy to when asked. We actually get pretty excited when a client asks us when it would be appropriate to start calling us for updates on a certain task. To us, this means the client wants to be involved on top of things. This is one of our blue flags (opposite of a red flag) when interviewing clients.
Who can I contact if I can’t reach you?
Attorneys are required to have contingency plans in place. It’s just something we need to have to protect our clients. Find out who you can contact if your attorney is unreachable, and what appropriate steps there are to reach him or her first consist of. Obviously, if you can’t reach your attorney over the course of a day, he or she may be in court or other meetings, but if it has been a week or more, it’s unacceptable.
We give you the contact information for both partners in the firm. We’re happy to set up other layers of protection for any of our clients upon request.
Am I billed for phone calls or follow up questions about work prepared for me?
Ever hear the story of the person who called her attorney with one question and received a $600 invoice in the mail? Well, that’s a true story, and we’ve heard higher numbers than $600. You business lawyer should realize this is a relationship, not a money machine. In a relationship, the long term success of both parties is important, not just one. To that end, find out how your attorney bills for phone calls and for questions about work product already prepared.
Law Plus Plus does not bill for follow up questions about work we’ve done for you. We want to make sure that you understand what you’re getting so that it may provide the most protection possible. As far as phone calls are concerned, if they’re general legal questions, we ask our clients to sign up for our $50/month program to cover these types of questions.
Are you a business lawyer or do you practice in more areas?
Because law is complicated field, any amount of time spent in one field is time spent not getting more proficient in another. In our careers, lawyers do not stop learning. The law changes, and we can always become more knowledgeable about our own fields. If any of us were true general practitioners, we couldn’t do more than scratch the surface of each area, which is a dangerous position to be in for the lawyer and the client. Be very careful when the attorney is stretch very thin. This is different from a firm having multiple practice areas because they hopefully keep their lawyers focused on one area each.
Law Plus Plus is strictly a business law firm, and even then, there are areas of business law we do not practice like commercial real estate, bankruptcy, agency law, and more. We focus on the areas we can become incredibly knowledgeable in so that we can best serve our clients.
Once you get the conversation rolling, you’ll probably think of many more questions. We’re happy to answer whatever we can, and strongly encourage you to make sure the business lawyer you choose is right for your business. If you’d like to talk with us, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 919-912-9640.