When you are looking for an attorney to represent your business in litigation – either because you want to plan ahead for possible disputes or because you find yourself facing litigation – it is worthwhile to take a little time. Think about the kinds of disputes you are likely to face (or are already embroiled in), how you would like to get them resolved, and the type of person you want to work with. Then talk to a few lawyers before making a decision. There are many good lawyers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, so take a little time to pick one who is not only good at lawyering, but will be good at lawyering with and for you.
Identify Your Needs
Before you start meeting with lawyers, think about what you are looking for. You can start with the obvious questions, like “What is this case about?” Or, if you are planning ahead, “What kinds of legal disputes is my business likely to get into?” If you are dealing with a copyright claim, then a real estate lawyer – even a really good real estate lawyer – probably isn’t the right fit. But then think a little deeper about how you would like a lawyer to approach your case. Consider things like:
- What’s your goal in a dispute? Do you need to win a judgment, or would some sort of compromise serve your purposes better?
- What are your best arguments and what evidence do you have to support them? Perhaps more importantly, what are the other side’s best arguments, and what evidence supports those?
- Is it important to preserve a working relationship with the other party? Or at least to not burn bridges beyond repair?
- How important is winning to you? Or, phrased another way, how much is winning worth? Fighting on principle alone can get expensive. It might be worth it to you, but to know that you need to have a sense of your budget.
Once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for and have used the magic of the internet – or, even better, referrals from people you trust – to narrow down your options, schedule a call or meeting with the lawyers you think could be a good match. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations. These aren’t chances for you to get free legal advice, though; lawyers should be careful not to give advice until they have a formal attorney-client relationship. Instead, think of this as a chance to get a sense of how the lawyer works and thinks, as well as their experience with cases like yours. Hiring a lawyer is a big deal, so you should feel free to ask questions:
- What is their experience with cases like yours? You don’t necessarily need someone who has handled lots of cases exactly like yours, but you probably want an attorney whose work has been in areas of law that are at least pretty closely related to the legal issues in your dispute.
- What do they charge?
- Who will be doing the work? Will it be the lawyer you are meeting with, or another lawyer in the firm?
- How do they deal with opposing parties or lawyers? Are they aggressive or more moderated in their approach? Many clients think they want their lawyers to be “bulldogs” who just go after the other side. First, that seems unfair to bulldogs who – in our experience – are quite nice. And second, think carefully about whether that aggressive approach will serve the needs of your case and business. Judges (and other lawyers) generally respect civility in lawyers.
Look For an Attorney Who Sees You as a Partner
There is a lot at stake in business litigation matters. The process can be stressful, so it’s important that you feel comfortable and confident entrusting your attorney with these sensitive matters. Most people who go through the business litigation process find the most success when they work with an attorney who treats them as a partner—not a problem to be resolved. Finding an attorney who expresses authentic concern for the success of your business can give you the confidence you need to navigate each step of the process and obtain a satisfying outcome.
Call Rubric Legal LLC today at (612) 465-0074 to discuss your business litigation needs with a dedicated and friendly Minneapolis attorney.