Boss Lady

What business women need to know about selecting a lawyer


If you haven’t yet had a legal dispute in the history of your business, you’re one of the very few lucky ones. In today’s legally-tangled business world, it’s hard to escape having at least one dispute that requires calling on lawyers. But before you do appoint anybody to take care of your legal needs, as a savvy business woman there are things you need to know first.

You need to make sure that

  1. The lawyer has the right expertise
  2. The legal fees are reasonable
  3. The lawyer will keep you as the client properly informed.

So where do you go to find the relevant information?   

1. Ask a trusted advisor.

  1. Accountants and financial advisors as “trusted advisors” can be a great source of information as to which lawyers are the best. An accountant can act for their client for many years doing their tax returns and helping to sort out financial issues. Financial advisers can have a very similar role which is ongoing for a client. The trusted advisor often has many clients that they help out an on going basis. Their clients share with them their life events successes and traumas. If they are going through a legal crisis the client will often share with their advisor how they are going and if their lawyer has helped them get through the problems.
  2. The client will often share with the accountant or trusted advisor if the legal costs charged are reasonable and if the lawyer is a good communicator. The client will usually give the accountant or the trusted advisor information about the final outcome.
  3. The trusted advisors can therefore be a good source to suggest which lawyers have been able to provide their client with a positive outcome.

2. Ask friends or family

  1. A great source of reliable referrals can be to ask friends or family members who have consulted a lawyer. They can provide valuable feedback about important issues such as the adequacy of the advice, whether the fees were reasonable and as to whether the lawyer kept them informed.
  2. The family or friend connection can at times facilitate more quickly the anticipated lawyer -client working relationship

3. Consult the lawyers’ governing body or association

  1. Most professions have a governing association for their profession. That body can advise if there have been prior complaints against that legal practitioner for the standard of their work or any other concerns.
  2. Some associations have established categories of specialization in different areas of the Law. For example they may provide specialist accreditation to their members in particular areas of the law such as family law, business law or criminal law as well as many other recognized categories of law. The certification for a particular area of the law means that the lawyers have specialist training and skills in that area and may be best suited to deal with that type of legal problem.
  3. Information as to specialist accreditation can be available from the relevant Law Society or sites such as Doyle’s.

4. Google

  1. Tried and true! Google is a good tool to start with but should be used in conjunction with other inquiries.
  2. The Google review can sometimes be sourced from a competitor or from the other party of a dispute. A negative review can come from someone who was not the client of the firm that is being reviewed and so not always a reliable review.
  3. You need to make sure that the firm has the expertise in the area of your dispute, a Google review may not provide that particular information.

5. Have a conference with the lawyer.

  1. Potentially, legal disputes can significantly impact yourself your family and sometimes your finances. It is worth paying the costs to have a conference with the lawyer. Find out what they are like, see if you think you would be comfortable working with them . See if you feel you can have confidence in their opinion. Take a friend to the conference for support and help in assessing the expertise of the practitioner. Have a list of questions that you would like to ask.
  2. Some lawyers provide the first conference  free of charge. Others charge for the conference or some charge a discounted rate for the first conference. The investment is usually well worth it.

About Carolyn Munk

Carolyn Munk is the Principal, Family Law Group at MatthewsFolbigg Lawyers . Carolyn can be contacted at [email protected]

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