Is Your Lawyer up to the Task?
Before you lock in a lawyer to work on your contract, it’s really important that you know what you’re looking for.
Like looking for a heart surgeon, there’s a certain amount of expertise you need for a deal to run smoothly (while a GP is great for general advice, you wouldn’t use your GP for your heart surgery). Good processes and systems that align with business sale contracting also help immensely!
Here’s our top 5 questions every business owner buying or selling should ask a prospective lawyer to help decide if they’ll be best placed to help once a deal is on the table:
- How many business sales or acquisitions have you completed in the last 12 months? – Your average generalist lawyer might do a few a year. In order to be sure you’ve got someone who knows this area, you need a lawyer who deals with business sales all the time i.e. at least 5 – 10 business sales a month.
- How do you ensure that deals run quickly and smoothly and that nothing is forgotten? – Your lawyer should be able to respond with the exact process they follow and more than vague / ballpark timing. Ideally they will have a core set of checklists and templates they’ll use – and their support team will also be trained in ensuring deals move along.
- On average, how long does it take you to get to contract completion? – If you are dealing with a specialist they’ll be able to give you clear ideas on how long a transaction takes and what can also contribute to making it faster… or slower. (You want to be working with someone who can give a definitive answer to this based on your particular situation).
- Have you got any client testimonials relating to your work in this area? – You are looking for a lawyer that has proven results in the area of business sale and acquisition.
- How quickly can I expect a draft contract? – Once your lawyer has all the information, they should be able to get started fairly quickly. Are they willing to guarantee 48-hour turnaround, or do they think it might take 2 weeks, or do they shy away from this question.
If you’d like a more comprehensive checklist – feel free to download our printable How to Choose a Lawyer for Business Sales.