Thomas Legal Solutions

CHOOSING AN ATTORNEY


When you find yourself with an unmet legal need, you may wonder what to look for in choosing an attorney, or a law firm.  If you are not an attorney yourself, and if you have not had extensive dealings with attorneys in the past, legal practice may be something of a “black box” into which you have little insight.  Below I try to tear away the veil, and offer some practical advice in conducting your search.



EXPERIENCE


Experience comes in several flavors.  An attorney working at the top of his/her game will bring many transferable skills to the table, skills learned in handling prior matters for other clients, which give him/her multiple useful frames of reference in determining how best to handle your specific deal or legal concern.  The complexity of an attorney’s prior practice is also very important, because an attorney who has handled only isolated, relatively straightforward transactions may lack the perspective to address (or even to notice) all aspects of a complex transaction.  These are perhaps the most valuable insights an attorney can offer, as well as the most difficult to develop, and are often lacking in even the most promising of younger attorneys. 


There is also deal-specific experience, that is to say, experience that an attorney has acquired in doing deals “exactly like yours.”  However, while deal-specific experience can be quite helpful, its importance can also be overstated.  In fact, no two deals are ever exactly alike, and being able to notice relevant differences is another important aspect of effective representation.  An attorney’s ability, willingness and drive to learn about your business and legal needs “on the fly,” as they occur in real time, are ultimately at least as important.  No attorney is likely to know everything you need them to know in order to represent you effectively.  Lawyering is a process of continual learning, and the law itself is constantly changing.


Thomas Legal Solutions’ attorneys have decades of combined legal and business experience.  We have handled numerous complex business and intellectual property transactions spanning a wide range of industries, and have provided day-to-day advice to a similarly broad spectrum of businesses, each with its own set of organizational and industry-specific concerns.  We are committed to learning about your business and industry, in order to provide you with the highest quality of legal representation.



DEDICATION TO CLIENT SERVICE


Accessibility and responsiveness are critical to effective representation.  No matter how knowledgeable and experienced an attorney may be, it will profit clients little if they are unable to reach that attorney when needed.  If you are comfortable with receiving a response to your email or voicemail whenever your attorney gets around to it, then you have many potential attorneys to choose from.  But we find that most clients prefer a higher level of service, even those who don’t verbalize this preference. 


At Thomas Legal Solutions, we share your urgency, and assume that “time is of the essence” in every matter we handle.  We understand that a lack of timely response can cost you and your business a great deal.  We will make sure we know when you need our response, whether it is an answer to a specific narrow question, an analysis of a complex set of issues, a discussion of overall business and intellectual property strategy, review and comment on a pending document, drafting an agreement for your use, etc.  In some cases, we may be able to provide a meaningful answer within minutes of hearing your question.



BUSINESS MIND


The goal of a business is to provide practical, cost-effective goods and services to its customers (or “clients”).  Likewise, the practice of law should be a process of providing practical, cost-effective solutions to real-world client problems.  Often the answers are straightforward, sometimes less so, but whether crystal clear, or necessarily more complex, a good attorney will strive to create options for the client, and to communicate those options clearly, streamlining while avoiding oversimplification.  A good attorney will also listen to the client, and knows that there is often more than one way to achieve a good result, and that some may be better fitted to a particular client's needs and circumstances than others. 


Also, too many law firms focus overwhelmingly on the risk side of the “risk:reward” analysis, while ignoring or discounting the potential payoff.  A good transactional attorney understands that business involves risk, inherently and unavoidably, and does not see his/her role necessarily as eliminating all risk – an impossibility in any event.  Instead, a good attorney will advise the client of the likelihood and potential magnitude of any critical risks, and suggest ways in which those risks may be managed, so that the client can then make fully-informed business decisions about whether to accept them.

At Thomas Legal Solutions, we keep these fundamental tenets of business in mind in everything we do.  Many of our attorneys have previously worked as “in-house” counsel, in businesses both large and small, and our personal exposure to the day-to-day pressures of real-world business gives us invaluable insight into what our clients often face when they come to us with their problems.  We strive to provide prompt and efficient service, and consider every new matter an opportunity to exceed client expectations.


 


Copyright © 2011 Terry L. Thomas