Your attorney, like your business advisor and accountant, should be one of the first members that you choose for your advisory team. Your attorney can guide you in setting up your company legally, protecting your personal assets from business debts, drafting important contracts and business documents, and assisting you when disputes arise. It is key that you do not wait until a problem occurs, such as when you are sued. If such an event should happen, you will want a lawyer who is already familiar with you and your business. Of course, by having an attorney from the beginning, you might be able to prevent such events from occurring.
When conducting your search, keep several things in mind. First of all, consider whether you want to retain a big firm or a small firm. Typically, a big firm charges higher hourly rates, but it also has many lawyers with specializations in the various areas of expertise that your growing business will need. Larger firms usually have the benefit of more relationships with third party specialists, should you need them. Smaller firms generally have lower rates but often provide more generalized services. They may have to refer you to a “specialist” if you have a complicated situation.