I use attorneys all the time. I work with attorneys and I am even married to an attorney. However, while I believe you will definitely need to use an attorney from time to time, I want you to keep some parameters in mind.
1. Just like there are good car mechanics and bad mechanics, there are good attorneys and bad attorneys. Check around when you are considering hiring one; don’t just go to the first one who pops up online.
2. Remember that attorneys specialize in specific practices. You don’t ask an OB/GYN to do brain surgery so don’t ask a transactional attorney to do your patent.
3. Once you decide who to use, remember that your attorney is “work for hire” not your business partner. YOU negotiate the “guts” of the deal NOT your attorney. Your attorney gets it down on paper.
4. A “good” deal is one that is balanced. I recently had a client use an attorney I had encountered with another client. The attorney told the client that she was very conservative in her suggestions when negotiating an agreement. This is not unusual. Attorneys generally start with an agreement heavily tipped to the client’s favor. However, the other side is also starting with an agreement tipped heavily in their favor. Translated—that means billable time to you. By the time the other party pushes back and you finally get to a “balanced agreement”, you have hours of additional billable time. Your attorney makes his/her money on you whether you succeed or not. Consequently, YOU have to see the balance if you want a deal. It is your attorney’s job to inform you of the issues and dangers. It is your job to make the business decisions.
I will discuss “balance” in another blog.