Working with a business lawyer

Coco Soodek shares her tips for finding the right business lawyer for you.

Coco Soodek is a radio show host, business consultant, and paid contributor for Wells Fargo.

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Published: December 21, 2016

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I'm Coco Soodek. I'm a business expert, a consultant, and a business lawyer. And I have my own business lawyer. 

Why? Because I know that I can lack perspective when it's my own risk and money on the line. 

There are thousands of questions with complex answers that can send my lawyer in one direction instead of another, and that's why you could benefit from working with a business lawyer for the same reasons. 

Here are some tips for maximizing your relationship with a business lawyer. Find a business lawyer you trust and who you feel has your best interest at heart. Start by reaching out by email and phone to your networks of people and ask them for recommendations. 

Ask your contacts on LinkedIn and Facebook for referrals. Check out the web profiles for the candidates and email the ones you'd like to talk to. Talk to the candidates and ask your favorite if he or she will work with you. This is the time to trust your gut. 

Then work on building your business relationship. Take your lawyer to lunch, let them bill you, and talk about your business. Tell them your goals, your challenges, your superpowers, and your weaknesses.

Every year, tell your business lawyer what you're doing and ask them what you need. For instance, if you enter a new line of business your business lawyer may point out some new regulations you have to follow or new insurance requirements or recommendations.

Have your business lawyer write a master agreement for you to govern your most important activity. 

For instance, a residential general contractor needs a standard contractor agreement that governs all of their work building houses. 

Business lawyers can be more expensive than you predict, but their counsel can be invaluable. If you think your business lawyer's bill is too high, talk to them about it. See if you can come to a compromise. 

The goal ought to be to forge a long-term relationship with your business lawyer, keeping him or her aware of your goals, your struggles, and your victories. Expect your business lawyer to be there for you when you need help.  

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