How To Find An Attorney To Represent Your Small Business When You Have Been Sued

How to Find an Attorney

Of course, as a small business owner one of the relationships you should form early on is one with a small business attorney.  But, if you need to figure out how to find an attorney, then you can follow one or more of these steps:

1. Ask Around. You can ask for recommendations from (1) other business owners; (2) professionals, such as your insurance broker, accountants, bankers and others who work with small businesses, in other words ask your trusted advisors; (3) your local bar association; (4) a trade association if you belong to one; and (5) any charitable associations to which you belong. Collect all of the names together but do not talk to anyone in too much detail about the lawsuit. Just tell them you are trying to find out how to find an attorney and ask them if they know any business litigators. Hint:  If you make your requests via email, the names and numbers received will already be in writing.

2. Search the Internet. Another step in how to find an attorney is to turn to the Internet.  You can do organic searches for terms like, business attorney, business litigator, etc.  You should also take the list of names collected when you asked your circle of friends and acquaintances, find the state bar association website and plug in each name. Look to determine if they have had any disciplinary issues. If so, move to the next lawyer on your list. Next, run a “Google” search for each of the attorneys. If nothing comes up, don’t rule the lawyer out. Many lawyers still, in this day and age, don’t have a web presence. You can also search places such as; and to try to find out more.

3. Call. While searching the Internet, one lawyer may emerge as the obvious choice. Although since you are determining how to find an attorney, you still may not know what the obvious choice is.  So, the next step is to telephone each attorney or lawyer and let them know that your company has been served with a complaint and that an answer needs to be filed soon. You should provide the name of the person who referred you. Most lawyers will not get on the phone with you immediately, but you should receive a return call within 24 hours, sometimes this is done by appointment so as to avoid telephone tag. When the lawyer returns your call, describe the case briefly, answer any questions they may have, and ask about their general approach to the case. Don’t expect they are going to provide a detailed plan of action at this point, but something more general.  If you like what you hear and believe you may be able to work with this attorney ask about the next steps.  Some attorneys will set up an in-person appointment others work differently, be flexible but remember to do what’s comfortable for you.

4. Meeting the lawyer or lawyers. Don’t forget to bring the complaint and summons! Also, you might want to bring any other documentation you think may be helpful in evaluating your case and preparing the plan of action.  It also may be helpful to bring another person from your organization who may be knowledgeable about the facts of the complaint. Be truthful about what you know. Is the lawyer listening to you?  But you may also be careful of the lawyer who seems to tell you exactly what you want to hear. Most cases are not “slam dunk.”

5. Decide On Your Lawyer. You then need to assess the various lawyers you spoke with.  Did you like what they had to say?  Was the pricing reasonable?  Just because one attorney may be the least expensive, does not mean that is the only criteria you should use.  If all else makes sense then where the attorney falls on the pricing spectrum should not be a deterrent. It could be that the more experienced (and more expensive) lawyer can accomplish your goals faster and for less money. Once you decide, work quickly to get the retainer agreement signed and any retainer paid. Congratulations! You have completed the process of how to find an attorney.

If you find yourself trying to determine how to find an attorney, Integrated General Counsel can help you determine your next steps.  If you are ready for a results-driven plan of action, contact us either by telephone at (925) 399-1529, schedule yourself into our calendar for an appointment at a time convenient for you, or complete the Contact Kristen form and we will get back to you.


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