ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Finding an Attorney and CPA for Startups

Updated on November 1, 2012

The Scope

HubPages recommended that I write this article and I have a fair bit of experience on the subject. As an attorney, I work a lot with startups to help them get their idea off the ground. Most of my projects are financed on next to nothing, so I sometimes work for next to nothing. Depending on what the project is, sometimes I'm okay with it. Those people who found me and were able to connect with me were fortunate because they were able to cross off one of these professionals from their list, and I can help with the second.

Attorneys, Where Are They?

Contrary to popular belief, we attorneys do not live in caves, castles or under bridges. We're all around you everyday, but we're like doctors. We don't all specialize in a particular area. In fact, in North Carolina, I'm not allowed to use the term "specialize" until I'm recognized by the state bar as such, so I focus on areas such as business law, taxation and the like. Now, where are they? The easiest way to find an attorney is to ask someone who has hired one before. I always try to set up my business startups with a mentor if they don't already have one. The mentor can answer questions like where to find an attorney or a CPA.

If you don't have a mentor or someone you can ask, you can always try the start bar association referral program. Each state has something similar to it and a simple Google search will direct you to it. How it works is each attorney who wants to participate will pay a fee that helps support the program, and the attorneys select areas they practice in. Then, when people call in, they discuss their issue and an attorney is picked from the practice area that is needed. In North Carolina, it is a rotation. If I got picked for a business law case, I won't see another business law case until everyone else has been picked in that category. This is one way of finding an attorney.

There are also lawyer review and advertising services like where you can search by legal issue, location and more. This is a less random way to choose a lawyer because you'll be able to select from many instead of being assign one that you then have to call. I must admit, I'm still not on, so you won't find everyone there.

You can also use that good old Google to find lawyers in your area. This will show the lawyers who are the best at Search Engine Optimization, but not necessarily the best.

In my opinion, the best way is through word of mouth. If you can find a few startups who have hired attorneys and then shop around, you'll find the best lawyer for you.

Some tips:

  • Just because you meet with them does not mean you have to hire them. Shop around, ask other attorneys.
  • Google your attorney before you hire him or her. Find out if there are bad reviews.
  • Check the state bar disciplinary reports for your attorney. Each attorney has a report and they're searchable by the public.
  • Ask about billing upfront, even before the consultation. Some lawyers charge for consultations, some don't. Just make sure you know how much you're going to have to spend.
  • Ask questions. Your lawyer has to answer them in regards to billing, handling your paperwork, and anything else you want to know in regards to your relationship.
  • Don't be intimidated. Laywers are just trying to earn a living like you. The high fees are the result of high cost of schooling, expensive legal research software, insurances, state fees, and more. The price doesn't necessarily reflect quality, so bare that in mind as well.
  • These tips work for lawyers and accountants the same.

CPAs, Where Are They and Do You Need Them?

I guess the same could be asked of attorneys, but I don't want to tell you not to hire someone like me now do I? The truth is, it always depends. You may not need an attorney or a CPA for what you're doing, or you may need just one or both. Just like attorneys, they do not live in caves. Accountants help keep things organized. They find deductions and warning signs of decaying business for you. They are amazing at deciding prices for services or products and they're very needed to prepare financial statements for investors. If these sound like good things, it might be a good idea to find a CPA.

The search methods remain largely the same. Instead of your state bar referral or, you can look at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. That has a directory of CPAs and accounting firms. There are other groups as well that focus on portions of the field, like female CPAs.

As with attorneys, you can always use Google to find those accountants who are the best at SEO. That might also mean they're good enough to be successful enough to pay someone else to do their SEO, but maybe not.

I still recommend finding a CPA through word of mouth. If you have an attorney already, he or she probably knows dozens of accountants. We refer business back and forth a lot, so we're constantly communicating and sending each other Christmas cards. If you don't have one, find a few people who do and ask them about their accountants. Then, you can sit down and interview the accountants you've found either through your colleagues or other search methods. I've found, as the nature of the industry goes, that accountants have much clearer billing practices because they're much better with numbers and displaying them in easy to understand manners. Even though that may be the case, still ask if you have any questions. Consultation is your time to clear up any question you may have. This is essentially the same as hiring an employee except you won't have to carry the insurances and pay FICA taxes on them.

With all professionals, CPAs also have a disciplinary board. You can search the records of each accountant you're interested in to see who would be the best fit.

With both attorneys and CPAs, do your homework. Research each one, meet them and don't be hesitant to say 'no.' This is a moderately big decision and you're going to want a professional that wants to see your company grow and succeed. In recap, word of mouth is best, but if you can't, use one of the other methods available in this information age to find a qualified professional. Once you do, grill him or her until you're satisfied your business relationship would be beneficial to you


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)