Why Law School May Be A Good Idea For Some.

Yes, I am a hypocrite. Every month, I’m constantly reminded of the hole that law school left in my bank account and I cringe at the thought. The bad taste in my mouth isn’t necessarily law school, but the overwhelming cost of attending law school. It’s the biggest reason why I tell those contemplating law school to not attend if there is any hesitation as to what they will do with the degree. Another reason why I tell people not to go to law school is if they are actually thinking of becoming a lawyer. These days, there aren’t too many newly minted attorneys that make over $50,000/year. Yes, you read that right. Those that actually get jobs may be looking at a small firm gig at the whopping $38,000 salary. In addition, there aren’t many seasoned attorneys that make six figures, unless you want to put in the time at a large firm hoping at the end of eight years you will be considered for partner. Me personally, I’d rather live in the slums of Bombay than go through that torture. So, why am I a hypocrite? Because I wrote a number of blog posts chastising the thought of going to law school, but I do believe it can be of benefit if you leverage it in a certain way.

Debt aside, law school teaches you a few things that you typically wouldn’t learn by experience alone. It teaches you how to think differently, write logically, and sharpen your analytical skills. Law School gives you the ability to visualize, articulate, conceptualize or solve both complex and uncomplicated problems by making decisions that are sensible given the available information. These indispensable skills transfer over to anything you decide to do. The major problem with law school is the lack of information provided to law students of how these skills transfer over to other areas outside of law. Many will quit law school before they finish because they discover they do not enjoy practicing law. To be candid, I don’t know many attorneys that do enjoy practicing law. If law schools can help law students open their eyes to the opportunities outside of law, I believe, it would be a much more pleasant and successful experience for all.

Most employers understand what it takes to complete law school. It isn’t an easy endeavor. It takes hard work, dedication, and discipline. In my opinion, it’s just as much of a risk as starting your own business. You’re putting up $150,000 in the hope that you complete those three years and pass the bar exam. An employer sees you as battle tested. You can withstand a highly competitive and stressful environment and end up on top. Leverage that experience to get what you want!

After I stopped practicing law I knew that I wanted to work for myself. I loved the financial industry and thought I could leverage my background in law to break into wealth management. My background in law allowed me to leapfrog several candidates for a highly sought after position at a large firm. I got the position over those that had been in the industry for years. They took a chance on me because of the skills I gained practicing law. The firm believed those skills would transfer over to provide a benefit to the firm and their clients. This started a transformation within myself. From then on I leveraged those skills for any endeavor I went after.

Over the past 4 years I have started three successful businesses. Having a business partner with extensive legal knowledge is huge when starting a business. From filing state documents to creating a business structure, these are some of the most important components of business creation. Given, some businesses use legal services like LegalZoom, the business founders have no clue what those documents mean. They are being provided a standard document that provides them with little insight into what the potential pitfalls may be. I have drafted numerous legal documents and the knowledge I have gained provides me with an understanding of what specific provisions are most important and how to structure those provisions to deal with certain outcomes. My background allows me to deal with everything from lease negotiations to lawsuits. If I don’t know how to deal with it, I know a friendly attorney that does. This has provided my business and business partners knowledge that otherwise wouldn’t be accessible without in-house council.

My legal background has also provided me with a steady stream of business opportunities. I have friends, family, and acquaintances that ask for my advice and inquire as to whether I would be interested in their idea or concept. They understand how valuable it is for a company to have an investor that comes armed with knowledge that can help the company operate more effectively. This comes back to my previous blog post about picking investors that bring more than money to the table.

This is not a blog post about me believing you “should” go to law school. My intent is to give insight to those that are contemplating law school. I want those contemplating law school to understand that a law degree can do more for you outside of law than within. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs and business owners have a law degree. Law School doesn’t teach you to be an entrepreneur but it does teach you how to solve complex problems and as an entrepreneur solving problems is one of the most important skills you can have. It’s a tough road, but it may provide you with the experience you need to succeed in whatever you decide to pursue.

Episode 17 of Wall Street Week

This week there was a terrific episode of the new Wall Street Week with Mark Fisher, Suzanne Shank, and Deepak Narula. Mark Fisher is one of the kings of Crude Oil trading. I’ve followed Mark for years and I think he’s one of the most intelligent trader in existence. If you’re wondering about Crude Oil prices and if there’s opportunity out there listen to this Episode. It’s packed with great pieces of advice by Mark Fisher himself. In addition, they interview Suzanne Shank. Suzanne has some very interesting things to say about the municipal bond market and specific muni’s such as Illinois and Puerto Rico. Last, Deepak Narula is in the studio talking about Mortgage-backed securities and if they’re a good investment this year and beyond. You might be surprised at Deepak’s answer considering over the next year we’ll see an increase in rates.

Episode 17/ Mark Fisher, Suzanne Shank, Deepak Narula

Where Can Investors Get Unbiased Financial News Television?

Ever since I started watching the markets in the late 90’s, I was always skeptical of major financial networks. There’s no shortage of financial networks out there: Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox News, CNN, etc. There’s also no shortage of market pundits ready to shout to the heavens of what they believe to be the saving grace for all investors. These major financial pundits provide investors with forecasts of what the market may bring with such conviction that you wonder, maybe, just maybe, the may come true. The fact is most of these financial pundits are full of hot air, and 99 percent of their calls are wrong, although every once in a while the sun shines on a dog’s ass. I don’t pretend to know everything, but I try my best to listen to the best news sources around.

Recently, there have been a couple financial news television outlets that, in my opinion, pass muster. These financial news channels are run by some of the brightest minds in finance. Neither are associated with big news conglomerates. In fact, both are online streaming services. If you’re tired of listening to the tirades of Rick Santelli or Jim Cramer, these news sources provide interviews with some of the best hedge fund managers, traders, and investors in the world.

RealVision TV is the first service that’s worth every penny. RealVision TV is backed by Raoul Pal who writes and publishes “The Global Macro Investor”, an elite macro economic and investment strategy research service for the world’s leading hedge funds, pension funds, banks and sovereign wealth funds. Raoul has 24 years experience in the financial markets working for investment banks such as Goldman Sachs (where he co-managed the hedge fund sales business in equities and equity derivatives) and founding and managing a macro hedge fund for GLG Partners, one of the world’s largest hedge fund firms. New content is added at least three times a week and videos run anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Real Vision’s subscribers are traders, brokers, CEO’s, CIO’s, RIA’s, fund managers, strategists, analysts, home investors, students – essentially, the content is ideal for anyone who wants to broaden their understanding of the financial landscape and apply the knowledge they gain to their investment process. If you’re looking for an edge, this certainly isn’t a bad place to start.

Wall Street Week is the second service that connects investors to some of the great minds of wall street. This service is run by the founder of SkyBridge Capital, Anthony Scaramucci. This service produces one show per week, where Mr. Scaramucci interviews some of the best investors in the world. There’s no question that the quality of information you get out of each Wall Street Week episode is better than all the financial networks combined. None of the interviewees are looking to get their names in large outlet propoganda. They enjoy the conversations they have with Mr. Scaramucci and are truly interested in what their peers have to say. The bottom line is that everyone is there to learn and provide each other with their financial expertise.

So, next time you think CNBC or Bloomberg is the gold at the end of the rainbow, think again. There are some phenomenal financial news sources that can provide the individual investor with tons of quality content.

 

Keeping Expectations Aligned In Tough Markets.

Financial Advisors are starting to remember what it feels like to deal with clients’ roller coaster of emotions. The last six years has provided investors with a slow steady move up without much of a hiccup. The markets did this with historically low volatility, which has produced complacency in many investors. This self-satisfaction mixed with historically low volatility and the third longest bull market in history has resulted in the expectation that the advisor/manager should do no wrong. These lofty expectations can create a dangerous path for the relationship between investor and advisor. With the increased volatility in the market and stagnant market gains in 2015, now may be the best time to talk with clients about expectations and what to look out for going forward.

My firm does quarterly reviews. Some of my clients love touching base during these quarterly reviews and some have absolutely no interest in attending these reviews. This past week I had quite a few scheduled, but there was one quarterly review that stood out for me that was the basis of this post. This client has been with me for years. I know her very well and understand the way she thinks and processes market data. She has very good questions and is sincerely interested in how the market works. My quarterly reviews tend to go a little longer for this client, which are beneficial for my client and myself. The latest quarterly review was the first time in many years that she was nervous, very nervous. She consumes the typical media sources, which produces the questions she asks me. Her nervousness stemmed from the fact that the market has been “extremely volatile” and is worried about her accounts only up just over 1% YTD. Let me preface this by saying that this client has done extremely well over this bull market run, so her nervousness comes from not wanting to lose ANY of those gains. My job is to bring her expectations in line with the current market environment.

Once every month my firm produces a newsletter, which lays out what we see in the months ahead. We produce these newsletters with the client in mind. We encourage, if not demand, that our clients read these newsletters when they arrive in their inbox. One of the goals of this newsletter is to keep our clients involved, provide them with peace of mind that we constantly monitor the market, and merge our expectations going forward. These newsletters also provide the client with ideas, which produce questions for our quarterly reviews. This client involvement allows us to keep our client expectations aligned with our research and analysis, so when our reviews are scheduled there aren’t any surprises. They know where we stand.

In the situation laid out above, we had a disconnect and a few surprises. Why? Because this client never read any of our newsletters, blogs, or announcements. Now, this isn’t her fault. It could be perhaps that this form of media consumption is not practical or in line with how she consumes media, so most of this lies on our shoulders. The result is an hour long conversation rehashing our research and analysis. Her expectations weren’t in line with ours, which created confusion, nervousness, and lofty expectations for the year ahead. There is no clearer example than her reaction to one of her accounts being down -.7% YTD. After explaining the current market environment, the reasons for the negative return, and the outlook we see going forward it was a fight or flight reaction. Her questions: “Should we reduce my risk immediately? Do you think its smart to be in this specific investment? Should we just sell out of everything? Why would you be in that investment?, etc.” You get my drift. She was in complete shock that she wasn’t seeing the returns she was used to seeing and at the first sign of volatility and low returns she was looking at flight. This is when an advisor’s job is most important.

Talking your client down from the ledge is one of the most important skills an advisor can provide to the client. Money creates an emotional attachment. 2008 is still fresh in most people’s minds and they don’t want to go through that again. The ability to answer questions, explain your investment process in simplistic terms, and keep your clients’ emotions in check is the difference between a happy client and disturbed client. An advisor’s confidence in their process shows in times like these. Your confidence provides the client with the peace of mind they need to see the sun at the end of the storm. Many times the client is their own worst enemy and its the advisor’s job to keep them on task and help them understand that their financial interests are at the forefront of our mind. A client wants nothing more than to know that their advisor has their best interest at heart. So, in order to keep this specific client on task it may mean that we send her newsletters through the mail or upload all research and analysis to her client portal. It’s our responsibility to go the extra mile to make sure we work together and provide the information necessary to keep our expectations aligned.

Highly Involved, Great Investors are Worth a Premium.

For startups or any other business, highly involved investors can be a difference maker. Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator, once said “Good investors are worth a reasonable premium. Go for a few highly involved investors over a lot of lightly engaged ones.” This is extremely important for those companies looking for some direction. A highly involved, well-seasoned investor will have enough experience to see the bumps in the road and how to steer around those bumps.

Investors should bring more to the table than money. Money isn’t scarce, knowledge is. It’s important that the founder does background checks on potential investors. Have they invested in your space? Ask other founders about their experience with the investor. How did they react when money was getting tight or things went wrong? Did they help steer the ship in the right direction or did they look the other way and move on to the next best thing? Did they provide other founders with advice? Were they gracious with their time when you needed it most? Do they have a network of people you can leverage and did they introduce you to those people?

Leveraging the resources of an investor is one of the most valuable traits an investor can provide a founder. It’s a huge value add for a founder if they don’t have to search for an answer to their problem. This can reduce time spent on problems and provide more time on building a brilliant business model. One example would be when a founder is looking to hire. Hiring is one of the most important objectives for a startup. You’re not only building a business, but your building a team that adds value to the overall product or service. Where do you start? What questions do you ask? What are you looking for in an employee? These are questions/problems that all founders face when they grow. The benefit of having an investor or an investor’s network can help streamline this process, which is invaluable. Many times a startup needs to hire fast and scale the company. Founders can spend a serious amount of time trying to recruit. Sam Altman says, “hiring is the most important thing you can do; spend at least a third of your time on it.” If you can speed up this process just a little, with the resources you have (i.e. investors) a founder can wrestle back that time to work towards building an amazing product or service. This in turn could push your product or service to market faster than your competition.

Pushing your product or service to market faster than your competition needs to be executed well. If you’re execution is bad, your lead time won’t make a difference and your competition will end up crushing you in the end. According to Sam Altman, “Great execution is at least 10 times more important and 100 times harder than a good idea.” An investor who can provide a founder with some insight on how to navigate the path to a well executed launch is worth his/her weight in gold. Being able to stay on task and hit goals is much harder than it seems. Having an investor that can help your team stay on task is huge! Great execution is the difference between success and failure.

As you look for investors for your product or service, remember, investors will be one of the most valuable assets in building your business. Take your time choosing your investors. It’s just as important for you to say “yes” to an investor as an investor says “yes” to your product or service.

 

 

Hi-Five for Friday

Thought I would share 5 things that I came across this week that were interesting or great in some way, shape, or form. So without further ado, here they are:

  1. Podcast: Hardcore History – Even if you aren’t a history buff, Dan has a way to get you involved. He makes these podcasts amazingly interesting.
  2. Book: Shantaram – If there’s one novel you should read, it’s this one. It’s a real life account of the author that’s so out there it’s almost unbelievable. Prison escapes, mafia ties, drugs, and the slums of Bombay, India: what more could you ask for?
  3. Article: Earth’s Aliens
  4. Workout Shorts: 2Pood – The CrossFit Games Edition.
  5. Shirts: Mizzen & Main – Performance dress shirts. Amazing stuff.

Can a One-person Business Break $1 Million in Revenue?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 30,174 “nonemployer” firms that brought in $1 million to $2,499,999 in 2013, which is up from 29,494 in 2012 and 26,744 in 2011. Many of those “nonemployer” firms are getting very close to $1 million in revenue. In 2013, there were 221,815 bringing in between $500,000 to $999.999.

Technology is providing entrepreneurs the ability to operate a successful $1 million+ businesses without having to hire employees. Tech has provided individual entrepreneurs with tools and capabilities to compete in areas that were once off limits without a legion of employees. The new era of entrepreneurs have a different business model than those of the past. Instead of building a business with legions of employees, a physical location, and massive infrastructure, these entrepreneurs are relying on independent contractors, technology, and outsourcing specific functions.

The ability to travel light or bootstrap an entrepreneurial endeavor is a reality. This especially holds true in the financial services sector. Typically, a financial professional hires a secretary to do their billing, reach out to clients, field phone calls, and schedule. They then hire an associate to meet with clients, find new clients, and conduct financial research. If the firm is large enough, the financial professional may hire an individual to market their services. Finally, most financial professionals house all of their employees in an office. All of this costs money.

Today, we are seeing younger financial professionals flip this structure on its head and they’re finding success. According to a Forbes.com article, Dan Mezheritsky, founder and President of Fitness on The Go, states “I realized how much more contractors and entrepreneurs are willing to do a better job for you. They are trying to help your business – and grow theirs, as opposed to an employee who is just there for a paycheck.” For example, many advisors are hiring virtual assistants to complete daily tasks related to billing, phone calls, scheduling, and accounting. These virtual assistants aren’t employees, but are available at a moments notice. These lowers the cost for the advisor significantly and frees up time to meet with clients or find new ones without the overwhelming cost of hiring an employee.

Second, advisors are leveraging technology to automate their investment process. Some advisors are deciding to use services like Betterment or Cassia Research to automate the process of investing client assets while leveraging investment philosophies of institutions, and providing clients with great on-demand services. The advisors are able to leverage all of these services for a fraction of what it would cost to hire an employee.

Last, many advisors are recognizing that office space is more of a luxury than a necessity. With the proliferation of creative work spaces, advisors can leverage beautiful conference rooms, office space, and work areas for a fraction of what it would cost to sign a lease. It provides the advisor the flexibility to use the space when necessary and only pay for what is used. It also allows the advisor to network with a group of people that are looking to build their business as well. Who knows, you may find your new web developer!

 

There’s no question that a one-person business can break $1 million in revenue. Advisors can now have an army of dedicated, highly-intelligent people working for them at a fraction of the cost of hiring employees. It’s truly amazing what you can do with a one-person firm!

Respect the “Little Guys”

The Venture Capital space is such a unique area to be in. As a founder of a wealth management company, I can say that the financial services space is also a very unique space to play in. I’ve learned a lot over the past couple of years, but one stand out lesson that I have learned is to respect the “little guys.”

There’s a close parallel between venture capital firms and wealth management firms – respecting the little guys. Just as venture capital firms search for opportunities, so do wealth management firms. Most firms, venture or wealth, will search out the largest opportunities and neglect the smaller. The best venture capital firms and wealth management firms build genuine relationships with founders and investors, no matter the size of the startup or investment, even if they pass on the deal. For example, Ludlow Ventures truly believes that “there is no company too small, osbsure, weird, outlandish or big for us to chat with. Regardless of whether we invest, we have and will always do our best to help from afar.” This is great advice for those of us in the wealth management space. There are far too many snooty wealth management firms that won’t even return a phone call if you don’t have $1 million in investable assets. The same can be said for venture capital firms.

There’s a problem with this thought process. As many of the best venture capital and wealth management firms know, if you build candid, real relationships with all founders/investors you talk to, regardless of the investment decision, the return on investment may be more valuable than you ever thought possible. Let me explain.

Venture capital firm’s thrive on deal-flow and introductions just as wealth management firms do. Without a network, there’s no growth. Some of my best clients have came from introductions from “little guy” individual investors that I took the time to speak with. I was generous with my time listening to their questions and giving them insight into what might be the best avenue for them to pursue in their path to financial success. Very similarly, venture capital firm’s that take the time to provide “little guy” founders with some advice and wisdom, even if they don’t strike a deal, may result in unexpected deal flow directly from that “little guy” founder.

My point is, don’t be stingy with your time. There are amazing opportunities out there for those that are willing to be generous with their time no matter the payoff. Yes, there will be times when an investor or founder may try to suck you dry for information and move on without a simple thank you, but I believe those instances are few and far between. There’s so much take, take, take, and not enough give, give, give. If you’re looking for deal flow look no further than yourself and what you can do to help those around you. Helping those around you could be the most effective referral source and best marketing tactic you can imagine. Everyone deserves a fair shake, but very few are willing to give the little guy that opportunity.

 

Private Market Transactions Are Taking Off!

According to an article posted in the Financial Times, “For US venture-backed tech companies, the private market has outstripped the public market when it comes to raising capital this year. So far they have raised just $600m through initial public offerings, and 35 times as much or – $20bn – through private offerings, also known as “private IPO’s”, according to CB Insights.”

This growth has created a major problem for many privately held companies. The problem occurs when an employee of a privately held company wants to sell or cash out of the shares they own in the company. For instance, when individuals are hired by start-ups or private companies part of their compensation may be shares of the company. This allows these privately held companies the ability to retain talented employees in an extremely competitive market.

Going public provides all shareholders of a privately held company the ability to cash out. Public markets provide the employees a platform to sell their shares to the open market. So, what happens when a company like Uber or Airbnb decide to stay private? How do employees cash out if the need arises? This is a growing issue and a key catalyst was the 2012 JOBS Act. The JOBS Act raised the maximum number of shareholders in a private company from 500 to 2,000. As such, employees are not the only shareholders that are looking for ways to cash out. It’s becoming a much larger issue.

Typically, an investor or employee looking to cash out would have to search for an interested buyer. Buyers could include mutual funds, venture capital firms, hedge funds, private equity funds, and investment banks. These transactions tend to get pricey, as each side negotiates the terms of the investment. This becomes an onerous process that many do not want to go through. The increase in demand for a private marketplace has created an opportunity for those willing to charge into uncharted territory.

For many private companies the trend is clearly staying private longer. Dodd Frank created regulatory hurdles for public companies, which in turn, have kept many private companies from going public. Going forward this trend will only get larger as there are more than 100 unicorn (companies worth over $1bn) companies in existence, many of which will stay private. The deal flow is large enough where it’s appealing for larger institutions to get involved, thus creating more demand for these successful private companies. Private companies are now able to raise massive amounts of money privately, increasing the amount of shareholders. This increase in supply and demand in private shares produces a surge in trading activity.

This increase in deal flow has resulted in some very unique private marketplace platforms to create a solution to this evolving problem. One of the first to market was Second Market. Originally, Second Market provided a private marketplace to match buyers and sellers (direct share trading). The problem was that, many times, share prices were extremely volatile due to low volume. So, Second Market changed their business to focus on tender offers.

Another impressive entrant into this market is Nasdaq Private Market. Nasdaq provides a private market where private companies can more effectively manage their equity ownership, current and prospective investor relations, and secondary liquidity for employees and shareholders.  Who better to create a private marketplace than a company that already operates one of the largest public marketplaces in the world?

Several other platforms have sprung up in recent years offering derivative type contracts on private company shares. This is an intriguing idea that will prompt some regulatory authorities to take a look into this type of deal. These companies include:

1) Equidate –  Provides a private marketplace in order to give private investors unprecedented access and exposure to top pre-IPO companies. Equidate allows employees of growing startups to get cash based on their share ownership without having to wait years to take advantage of their company’s growth and success.

2) EquityZen – Provides startup employees a marketplace where they can be paid by unlocking the value of their equity compensation in a way that benefits all key players.

3) SharesPost – Launched a 40’s act registered fund to provide investors with access to a portfolio of late-stage, private growth companies. They also created a joint venture with Nasdaq Private Market in order to leverage their online platform to manage private securities transactions.

The private marketplace is growing and the needs of the participants are growing too. If these companies can provide participants with an efficient secondary market and fill this growing need, there’s no doubt this private market could become incredibly large.

How Should Start-ups Use Attorneys?

Bob-Odenkirk-as-Saul-in-Breaking-Bad

If your in the start-up world you understand that attorneys are a necessary evil. Hiring an attorney allows start-ups to be proactive instead of reactive. The task of hiring a law firm is as important as hiring employees. As an attorney myself, and having experience dealing with start-ups, there are “rules of engagement” you should understand.

All attorneys have a fee schedule. For our purposes, most attorneys that work with start-ups will provide the client with an hourly or fixed fee schedule. The fee schedule will always depend on the type of work they’re doing. For instance, an attorney may feel it’s most beneficial if your start-up is set up as a C-corporation. Depending on the complexity of the business, there are times where the attorney will charge a fixed fee to complete this project due to their past experience. On the other hand, more times than not, attorneys working with start-ups will typically charge an hourly fee. These hourly fees should be spelled out in advance per attorney, as different attorneys within the same firm have different hourly rates based on their experience.

In addition, interviewing law firms is of extraordinary importance. In fact, you should start the interview process as soon possible, even if you don’t need the law firm immediately. You never want to scramble at the last minute. The best place to start is to: 1) ask for referrals from individuals or businesses you trust or; 2) find start-ups of similar size and industry and inquire as to who they hired. Then go interview the firms. It’s imperative that your personalities mix well. Do you feel comfortable speaking with these attorneys about intimate financial details? Do you feel their knowledge base will give you an edge in seeing obstructions before they are encountered? When they go on vacation do they have a plan in place in case you need immediate assistance? Is your business a priority or are you just another company? Just remember, lawyers may not be the happiest crew. They are there to provide outstanding counsel, advice, and diligently protect your interests. Keep in mind, that as your business grows the law firm should grow with it. Many times start-ups leave a solo practitioner for a larger law firm as their needs change and they require additional services.

REMEMBER, everything costs money and attorneys aren’t cheap. Get that through your head before hiring an attorney. Don’t get mad at your attorney if you “thought” the 15 minute phone conversation should not have been billed. If you request that an attorney complete a project it’s perfectly reasonable to ask him how much it will cost. Typically, the attorney will provide you with a estimated range. Just as a safety net, add 10% to that range, so you’re not disappointed when the bill comes back higher than that range. You never want to feel ripped off. An estimate is exactly that, an estimate. There are always unforeseen issues that pop up.

Planning is of the utmost importance. Your bill will depend on it. Plan your questions! It’s always a benefit to have a working knowledge of legal issues that you will encounter as a start-up. There’s plenty of information on the web to get you up to speed. This working knowledge will help you construct specific questions for your attorney. Specific questions help attorneys narrow down the issue and focus on the answer. Generalized questions, at times, may effectively result in the “it depends” answer. That phone conversation could last a while as the attorney wants to be sure he is answering your vague question correctly.

When a project is completed and you receive the bill from the law firm, it’s perfectly reasonable if you have questions. The bill should be specific as to where their time was spent on the project and what attorney was completing that portion of the project, as each attorney has different billing rates. Attorneys make mistakes too, so don’t think your questions are unreasonable if you feel there is a discrepancy.

Last, attorneys go on vacation or have other projects they may be working on in tandem with yours. If the lead attorney is unavailable there should be a plan in place to take care of any needs that you may require. You never want to be left in the dark. Things come up and if you need your attorney on a moments notice, and the attorney or their team is not available, that’s not good. Make sure you have a point of contact at all times and that point of contact is able to get back to you that business day for emergency situations.

Attorneys can be a huge asset as you grow as a company. Even though attorneys are expensive, many times, they save you money in the long run. Correcting mistakes as your business grows will be more expensive than having corrected those issues at the outset. An attorney should be part of your team, so make sure you choose wisely. They could become one of your largest assets.