A blind date ... with the law

By: Mark Sinclair

Date: 17 July 2009

When you operate a small business you need to have lots of different relationships with different people. Clearly, you have relationships with customers. You'll probably have a series of relationships with buyers. You will undoubtedly have varying relationships with prospects and contacts. There will also be key relationships with business advisors.

But there are few that as are important as good working relationship with a lawyer, which means that your choice of legal advisor is something that you need to get absolutely right. It’s not enough that your legal adviser has the skill and experience that you need. He or she also needs to be someone that can relate to you and your business.

Consider your first meeting with a new prospective lawyer as a blind date. You need to make sure you're comfortable with them and also that they feel that they can work successfully with you. Don't be afraid to ask questions - consider how they communicate, how they work, and also key business details (such as how their charges work and who will be working on legal matters when you're not actively meeting with them). It’s absolutely imperative that you “check out” your potential legal advisor properly. This is potentially one of your most important business relationships and could last years or even decades. It’s not enough that a potential lawyer will do the job. You need to be able to develop high levels of trust with this key person. I would even go as far as saying you should trust your instincts.

Just like a blind date, finding the perfect legal adviser might take a bit of time and effort. But rest assured that, it will be worth it in the long run and, who knows, it just could be find love at first site.

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