There are many things to consider in the process of choosing a corporate law firm. The term “corporate law” encompasses a wide variety of legal disciplines and it is important that you find the firm that can meet your very particular needs. Even after finding a firm that operates within the sphere of law that applies to your situation, you have to consider whether the nature of the work is litigious or transactional — i.e., whether or not your needs are adversarial in nature. As is the case with seeking out any service, cost is a factor, but as long as your budget allows, the price of the right corporate law firm should be secondary to quality.
First and foremost, you need to find a corporate law firm who has experienced professionals in your particular niche. If you are the head of a company who is looking to have its stock publicly traded, then you will need a securities attorney. If you are looking for advice as to a business decision and how it fits within the governmental regulations within your industry, then you will need to seek out an attorney that has previously advised companies in your industry. Though these two situations are clearly very different, each would fit under the umbrella of “corporate law.”
Even if you find a corporate law firm that has specialized knowledge within the area you require guidance, it still may not be a good fit. A transactional securities attorney is not likely going to be much help to a business whose board of directors is facing criminal charges connected to securities fraud. Even within these individual spheres of law, different attorneys handle different problems. In this case, the company would need to seek out a securities litigation firm.
Cost must always be a factor — especially when dealing with something as expensive as legal services. Usually in your initial interview with a corporate law firm, you can ask about price points. This way, you understand prior to beginning the attorney-client relationship the potential size of the expense you are facing. Additionally, unless you have a particularly complex issue, it is best to seek out smaller firms as they typically operate with less overhead costs and charge less than larger corporate law firms. While most attorneys bill hourly, many firms — usually these smaller firms — will allow you to bargain for a flat fee, depending on the services you need.