As a health & wellness practitioner, your clients likely look forward to seeing you. Now, how do you feel about talking with an attorney? Not quite as good, right?
Most people don’t look forward to visiting a lawyer. Let’s break it down a bit and see if we can make it a little less anxiety-inducing. We’ll start with the big one: cost.
Thinking of the potential cost is probably what makes you dread consulting an attorney. The clincher is, it will probably save you money if you see a lawyer up front. That’s because what lawyers are educated and trained to do is to spot issues. These are the problems you might overlook that may cost you more money later, but could have been prevented in the first place.
Like you, attorneys take several things into consideration when setting their rates – their education, experience, and practice area. There are generally a few different ways attorneys set their rates.
Most attorneys will offer some services where you pay by billable hour. We bill for every tenth of an hour, which is 6-minute increments. For example, my billable rate $200 per hour, so it would cost $20 for a 6-minute phone call.
Some attorneys may charge a flat fee or set rate for a service. For example, I offer a flat fee to form a single-member LLC, which you can learn more about those packages here. Many of my services are flat fee because I understand that as a small business owner, you need to be able to plan for your expenses.
Be sure to ask what’s included in the service your attorney provides. For instance, does it include filing fees, copying costs, and the like?
Some types of cases involve contingency fees, meaning the attorney only collects a fee if you win the case. This is usually seen in personal-injury cases, such as car accidents.
Free Initial Consultation
The good news is most attorneys, including me, offer a free initial consultation for 30-60 minutes. Check the website or call and ask. At the initial consultation you can learn how much it will cost to work with the attorney if it isn’t clearly listed on the website. If the attorney isn’t a good fit for you, you’re not out any money.
If you think hiring an attorney may be out of your price range, there are a couple options. First, the Drake University Legal Clinic offers services for entrepreneurs at their Entrepreneurial/Transactional Clinic. Second, Iowa Legal Aid also offers advice to small business owners.
You may have a more general practice where you see a variety of clients with different needs, or you may focus on certain issues or types of clients. Attorneys do the same. There are some who have a general practice and do a little bit of everything – business law, criminal law, personal injury, or landlord-tenant issues. Some may focus their practice on certain areas. Usually you can find this out by looking at their website or making a quick phone call.
Finding an Attorney
There are plenty of attorneys out there, but which one is right for you? Just like your health & wellness business, word-of-mouth referrals are still the best, so check with your friends and colleagues. You can also try searching online; most attorneys have websites and social-media sites. The Iowa State Bar Association provides a great resource for finding lawyers and answering questions about areas of law and how to select a lawyer.
Consulting with a Lawyer
You’ve found a lawyer and set an appointment for a free initial consultation. Now what?
Do You Want to Work with This Attorney?
As you discuss your legal matter, you’ll get a sense of how they work. Are things explained in a way you understand? Can you afford the fees that will be charged? Do you feel confident in the attorney?
If so, you’ve likely found a good match. If not, you can ask if there is anyone else they might be willing to refer you to. Just like in your practice, every attorney isn’t necessarily a good fit for every client.
Keep in mind that just calling an attorney or posting a comment on their website or social media site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Once you have agreed you will work together and signed an engagement agreement, your communications are confidential.
My hope is that you’ll find an attorney with whom you work well and have confidence in. Attorneys undertake at least 7 years of schooling so they can help you navigate the legal system. Take advantage of their knowledge to resolve problems or prevent them from cropping up in the first place. It’s a worthwhile investment in your business and your well-being.
Let’s schedule your free initial consultation to discuss how I can help.
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