By ANNA FREEMAN GREER

As this year is winding to a close, you may be considering starting a new business or making changes to an existing one. Either way, a vital member of the team is your attorney.

When considering hiring an attorney for your business, find someone that works with and advises businesses each and every day. This important team member will set up the proper legal entity for your business, draft and review contracts, help with trademarks, assist in putting together your team, as well as other matters.

As you start and grow your business, you will want to hire an attorney that not only practices primarily in the area of business law but someone who is also an entrepreneur, if possible.

If you are having a difficult time finding an attorney, consider the following steps to finding the best fit for you and your business.

Request a referral from a friend

A referral from a trusted friend, especially if he/she is a fellow business owner, is by far the best way to locate an attorney for your business. Most businesses already have a trusted advisor in place; someone that they have worked with and know well. Truly, the best referral is from someone that has already tried, tested and approved the attorney they have hired to handle the legal matters of their own business.

Ask other lawyers

If you are not successful in obtaining a recommendation from a friend or fellow business owner, ask another lawyer. Most of us know a lawyer or two. Although our lawyer friend may not practice in the area of business law, most likely they know of an attorney that does practice in that area.

Contact your local entrepreneur center

After asking a friend, fellow business owner or another lawyer, with no luck, contact your local entrepreneur center. The Nashville Entrepreneur Center is a great resource for obtaining an attorney recommendation. It also provides work space, programs and seminars for entrepreneurs and business owners.

Call your local bar association

If none of the above work, contact your local bar association. The Tennessee Bar Association, Nashville Bar Association and Williamson County Bar Association are all great resources. A quick call to either will provide you with a list of attorneys practicing in business law.

Try an online search

Finally, as a last resort, try an online search. Completing a quick search online for “business attorney” or “attorney for entrepreneurs” will provide you with some viable attorney options.

 

Once you have obtained a few names, the important work begins. As Dave Ramsey recommends, “hire slow, fire fast”. Taking your time on the frontend is vitally important to the success and growth of your business. Schedule a phone call and/or meeting time with each attorney prospect. Ask a lot of questions. Make sure that the attorney you choose is someone you feel comfortable speaking with on an ongoing basis. And, more importantly, hire someone you trust to represent your business.

 

Anna Freeman Greer describes herself as “entrepreneur first, attorney second.” After starting and building her own law practice in 2009, she quickly realized her passion for helping other entrepreneurs and small business owners launch and grow their respective businesses. Visit her at www.annafreemangreer.com.