Your first meeting with just about any attorney is usually free. This is a tremendous opportunity as long as your prepared for the meeting. These are the top questions you should assess in the first consult. The whole point of the meeting is to determine if the business attorney is a good fit for you and your company.
If you are seeking to hire a business attorney for a long term relationship, a meeting in person is essential. Schedule a meeting with the attorneys on your short list, as it is difficult to assess personality without a face to face meeting.
While each interview is different, here are some basic questions that will apply in most cases:
1. What similar businesses has the attorney represented?
2. What similar matters has the attorney handled?
3. How long has the attorney been practicing law?
4. What is the hourly rate of the people who will work on your matter?
5. Are paralegals or associates available to handle routine matters at lower rates?
6. Does the attorney handle certain matters for a fixed fee?
7. What is the estimated fee? (This assumes you have a particular project in mind)
8. Have any disciplinary complaints been filed against the attorney? What was the outcome?
9. Does the attorney get referrals from his peers in the practice areas you are concerned with? (This validates that he/she is recognized as proficient by people who should know)
10. Has the attorney written articles or presented seminars to other professionals?
11. Has the attorney received any professional honors or recognition?
12. How will the attorney handle matters that are outside his areas of strength? Are there other attorneys in the firm with the skills you will need?
13. What is the attorney’s availability? Will he or she have the time to provide the services you need in a timely manner?