What are some good questions to ask when hiring a business/startup lawyer?
Also, other than asking these questions in person, what are some sources (online or offline) where we can do more research on the lawyer's reputation, past performance...?
This is for an early stage startup.
Topics to ask:
Places to find reviews of lawyers:
Before you approach an attorney you need to educate yourself on the subject matter. I hired a patent attorney last fall, but before doing so, I googled "provisional patents", browsed the US Patent and Trademark Office, and read a few books at Barnes and Nobles.
Don't pay an attorney $500 per hour for an education you could've gotten at the local library for a $1.50.
After you've learned a bit about the subject, seek out a specialist. Stay away from general lawyers at all cost. I needed a Patent Attorney. Seek out an attorney that has experience in the area. I checked Google Patents which listed all the patent applications ever submitted. I reviewed a few software patents, noted the filing attorney, and called him up.
Start at your local Law-school. I live near the University of Pennsylvania. I looked up an Intelluctual Property professor and shot him an email. People love to talk about what they know about. He also lead me to a good attorney in private practice. I actually ended up filing the Provisional Patent Application online by myself. WINNING!