Setting Up an Initial Interview
You need to work with a lawyer that you can feel comfortable with. To find that individual, interview several potential candidates. Many lawyers offer free thirty-minute consultations, but paying a lawyer's fee for half an hour may well be a good investment in time and money.
When you sit down with your prospective lawyer, ask about his or her experience with business issues in general and with your field in particular. How do you think this lawyer would handle issues that he or she had little or no experience with?
It's also a good idea to clarify the fee structure. If you call to ask a simple question, for example, are you billed a minimum of fifteen minutes? Is there a flat fee for an initial consultation on a given legal matter? Ask for a ballpark estimate on a relatively simple matter — reading over a sample contract, perhaps — and compare it to quotes from other lawyers.
How big is the firm? What other specialties does its lawyers have? Do they make an effort to ensure that you feel comfortable in their offices? Keep in mind that it's your money you're spending: There are no stupid questions, and if the lawyer makes you feel that way, find someone else. You want to work with someone who respects your desire to understand how things work.