5 top tips to help you find a lawyer in the USA
If you’re trying to find a lawyer in the USA for your expanding business, you’ll quickly realise how big a challenge it is. Thorough research requires lots of time (time that your business could probably use in better ways), and there’s always the fear that you’re going to appoint an attorney who’s inadequate, too expensive or just not the right ‘fit’ for your business.
However, finding the right attorney (lawyers are called ‘attorneys’ in America) doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. Here are five top tips to help you find a lawyer in the USA when expanding your business.
1. Narrow down your search area
This is going to sound like a very obvious point, but it’s one worth making nonetheless – you shouldn’t be looking for a lawyer by scouring the entire United States of America. Instead, you should find a lawyer in the US by basing your search on the location your business is going to operating in or will be incorporated in. After all, there’s no use hiring an attorney in New York if you’ll be doing business on the West Coast!
If you think you know which state you’d like to incorporate in, search for good lawyers within it. This is particularly important, as the attorney you appoint is likely to be an expert only in the laws relating to that state, not across all of North America – the laws vary across each of the 50 states.
Then, once you’ve chosen a state (or have fixed upon a handful), narrow your search further by looking for attorneys in the major cities. Get online, get on the phone and see which attorneys have the best reputations for helping overseas businesses to establish themselves in the USA.
2. Consider whether you want a tax lawyer or a business lawyer
Next, you’re certain to find a lawyer in the USA, but it’s important you give some thought to what kind of lawyer you want. For instance, do you want a tax attorney? Tax attorneys are expensive, and relatively few of them are experts in international taxation. Most businesses only use tax attorneys if they’re very unsure of what law permits, or have an awful lot of money to spend on legal advice.
Instead, you may want to find a business attorney (of which there are more in existence), with the caveat that they have experience of working with international clients. At the same time, you could look for an international tax advisor to talk you through domestic and international taxation.
3. Ask for recommendations from trusted business contacts
The internet will give you plenty of recommendations when you’re trying to find a lawyer in the USA, but it can be hard to know whether or not to trust the reviews. So, why not make your search more personal by asking your trusted business contacts for their personal recommendations? Having started investigating expansion to the US, it’s likely you’ll have acquired one or two contacts in the US who can recommend an attorney to work with. But if you haven’t? Try the next tip…
4. Network in the community you intend to operate in
If you haven’t built up a network of contacts already, it’s really important that you get over to America to start meeting people. Introducing yourself to the community you intend to do business in will enable you to meet other business owners, startups and useful contacts, and in the process, you’ll find opportunities to ask people for their recommendations and referrals.
While you’re in the USA, interview potential attorneys and pay attention to who makes you feel comfortable – you need to go beyond studying them from afar.
5. Factor in the things most people don’t think of
Finally, when business owners say they’re ‘looking for a good lawyer’, what they usually mean is that they’re looking for an attorney who meets or surpasses the threshold of confidence. However, you should think beyond this.
When you’re trying to find a lawyer in the USA, consider who is a good fit with you and your company. Which lawyer is willing to work with your budget. Who has experience of helping overseas businesses already? The ‘fit’ between your business and an attorney is as just as important as an attorney’s competency, so it’s a really important factor in these ‘personal’ qualifications as well as their professional qualifications.