Are you looking for a business lawyer in Montreal? How do you choose the right lawyer?
This is a question I am often asked. It is not easy to choose a professional, such as an accountant, a dentist, or a lawyer…
A good way to choose is by way of referral from someone you know…and trust.
Otherwise, it is not an easy choice to make.
Here is what a business lawyer can tell you about choosing a business lawyer:
Accessibility When Looking For a Business Lawyer in Montreal
A lawyer can be the best in his field…But if he does not answer your messages quickly, because he is too busy with bigger files…Then what good is he for you?
A lawyer should not take on more clients if he cannot provide timely service. Find someone who is available within 24 hours to deal with your needs.
Can any lawyer help you, whether he has more than 10 years of experience or maybe just one or two years under his belt?
Maybe. It all depends on your needs.
An experienced lawyer will most likely have dealt with a situation like yours before and knows exactly what to do. He might also provide value-added advice because he knows your industry.
There is nothing wrong with younger lawyers. They generally work hard and provide services at a lower cost than their more experienced colleagues.
However, it is not always the case, as it might take a lot more time for a beginner to complete a task than for a senior lawyer.
Go to a law firm that knows, respects, and reflects your business: small businesses do not need big downtown law firms. Beware of the billable hour.
Big law firms are appropriate mostly for big businesses. Their hourly fees are high, as they need to cover high overhead expenses, and are used to reap large profits.
Who do you think ends up paying for the swanky offices at Place Ville-Marie? Those nice paintings and Persian rugs do add up.
Choosing a Business Lawyer in Montreal
I used to share an office…One block away from Place Ville-Marie. This allowed me to charge half price compared to my neighbours. I now work from my home, so I do not have to overcharge to cover my overhead.
Beware of work billed only by way of billable hours. Whenever possible, try to get a quote for a flat fee. This will protect you and allow you to respect your budget.
I remember meeting a client who had first consulted a large firm downtown which shall remain anonymous. A few weeks after having explained his case at an initial meeting, he received a thick, nicely bound written opinion.
This opinion consisted mostly of copies of hundreds of pages of jurisprudence.
The first page said it clearly: the client’s business was facing penal charges for some infraction. The law firm did not offer criminal or penal law services.
The client was also presented a bill for… $50 000. Ouch. It seems to me that some (too many) lawyers found a way to meet their monthly quota of billable hours on this client’s back.
The real lesson here: ask questions during your initial consultation. Does your firm deal with this kind of problem? Have you done this before? Is it complicated? How many hours do you think are required to do the work?
Business Lawyer in Montreal, Quebec
In many cases – in litigation, especially – it is impossible to precisely foresee the total costs. But it is possible to give a ballpark figure.
For most business-oriented legal needs, it is possible to get a quote, or, even better, a flat fee.
Contracts are easy to evaluate. Incorporations also. Legal opinions depend on the complexity of the matter.
Contract negotiations, such as commercial leases, are more complex to evaluate, as much depends on both parties: if they are easygoing and agree on practically everything, the work gets done easily.
But if they do not agree and need five or six revisions for some clauses…then things can take a long time.
Always ask for an estimate-a maximum price for a legal opinion…OR to be kept informed as the work progresses.
Small and medium-sized law firms are better adapted to serve entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, as they can provide quality legal advice at an affordable cost.
Affordability is not all…
You get what you pay for. Less experience: cheaper price (maybe)…but maybe less value. More experience: possibly a bit more expensive, but usually the advice will be of better quality and will include added value.
What you want is a good bang for your buck. ROI. Added-value services.
You want a lawyer who gives you more information than you ask for. Maybe he also has some contacts who can help you.
Choose your lawyer carefully: find someone you trust
Is your lawyer easy to talk to? Do you feel comfortable talking with him or her?
Can he or she help you when you need it?
Can your lawyer put himself in your shoes to properly understand your practical needs?
If you are unhappy with your current lawyer, find another one!
The relationship you have with your business lawyer should be useful, helpful, and friendly. You need an ally to reach your goals.
Your business lawyer should be accessible and affordable. He should be proactive, not only reactive.
This means that your lawyer should actively try to help you by asking questions about your business to find out your needs and propose potential solutions and resources to reach your goals quicker.
If your current lawyer does not make you happy…
Find another one.
This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. Laws and regulations change constantly.
For individual legal advice, please contact Mr. Pierre de Boucherville.
Lawyer, MBA, Mediator, Arbitrator
email@example.com or 514-312-5923 extension 102 or 1-888-284-9523