There is so much ‘behind the scenes’ type of stuff that goes into running your own business & one of those things is a damn good lawyer. For me, my lawyer has helped me with everything: contracts, trademarks, making big decisions & collaborations. It’s been a vital tool in my toolbox to making my business run seamlessly & smooth.
Recently I was hosting an event with Ritual Vitamins ( you gotta try their prenatal if you haven’t yet ) & I met a TSC reader named Laura DiFrancesco. She was beautiful, bossy in the best way possible, & mentioned that she is a lawyer. What a great person to bring onto TSC to talk about how to find a good lawyer.
Laura is here today to talk checking credentials & the overall vibe you should look for when it comes to finding a lawyer.
Anyone running a business could find this post really interesting & helpful. Here’s a little HOT TIP from me: it’s important to find yourself a lawyer who you’re in contact with BEFORE you need them. Don’t go looking for a lawyer when shit hits the fan, find one before something goes wrong.
With that, let’s meet Laura DiFrancesco.
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Hey TSC community! I’m multimasking right now – multitasking while face masking – as I write you this. It’s my favorite Sunday routine. There are candles burning, fresh flowers on the table, & Matt Quentin is playing in the background ( Morning Dew is my fave ). It’s a very TSC vibe.
Let me give you a little background/bio on myself.
I grew up on a 140 acre farm in Chester County, PA with my two sisters, Lisa & Lindsay, with horses, cows, peacocks, kittens & puppies. I love anything athletic – riding, wakeboarding, snowboarding; anything outdoors – being on the farm with all of my animals, boating, & hiking; anything creative – learning & experimenting, painting, designing & making evening gowns, & now creating fun installations for photo ops at Flourish Coworking Space; and of course my fur babies & plant babies.
Both of my parents are entrepreneurs, & I have been attending board meetings & negotiations since I was a toddler, bringing a coloring book along. I wanted to become an attorney because I loved the negotiations, & because my dad always said he wished he went to law school, not to be a lawyer, but because it’s so important in business. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur & to be the best entrepreneur & person I can be.
I triple majored in International Business, Finance & Real Estate in three years at University of South Carolina because I love learning & kept adding classes I wanted to take & majors, but also because I wanted to build a really strong foundation in business. I went on to get my JD & MBA at Villanova in three years as well. Then, I practiced in big law firms for six years before starting Dean Street Law. I saved enough money to cover more than a year of living costs, so I felt comfortable taking the leap to start my own business. I felt like I was ready & had more to lose by not starting than by waiting. I self-funded everything, including Dean Street Law, its growth & Flourish Coworking Space from my own savings & the profits from Dean Street Law.
I started Dean Street Law in February 2019 & expected it to be a slow year. I started writing a book & developing my business plan. I was only two weeks in when a former client tracked me down on Facebook & LinkedIn, & I landed a $4 billion deal with a Fortune 500 client as my first deal. Our client base & workload grew very quickly, so I scaled the business to a team of 8 in just a few months.
I needed space for our team and wanted a place to work that was lush, beautiful & pet friendly, so I founded Flourish Coworking Space. I wanted to create office space that I wanted to work in – we even have mini steppers & standing desks so you can be active while you work. I came up with the idea in July & started the build out in November. We just had our grand opening & have received a ton of press.
So, after building two businesses in one year, I’m excited for what 2020 brings! Every day, I’m working to be a better human. It’s been a wild and wonderful ride.
Anyway, let’s get into how I met Lauryn!
Last June, I decided to hop on a plane bound for LA leaving in less than 24 hours to attend Girlboss Rally. Definitely not my usual. I had just started my law firm, Dean Street Law, in January. I landed negotiating a $4 billion deal & scaled the company to a team of eight in just a few months. I felt like I needed to treat myself to a trip to connect with other epic women.
Lauryn & I connected at Ritual and got to talking about Dean Street Law. Fast forward a few months & thank you for thank you for thank you packages later, I am beyond honored to help all of you in any way that I can.
So, let’s set the stage.
You’re a girl boss ( obviously, any TSC reader is ), & you need an attorney. Whether you’re negotiating brand deals, signing with an agency or publisher, working on client contracts, starting a business with someone, creating a new product, bringing on investors, hiring employees, buying a house, or thinking ahead with a prenuptial, you need someone who can guide you through the process, give you all the details on what to do, & take care of business for you.
Every girl boss should have a good attorney. You need one in your arsenal, even just to call for a quick question. So, here are 5 tips on how to hire one:
5 Tips For Hiring a Good Lawyer:
1.) Phone a friend.
2.) Check their creds.
3.) Could they be your bff?
4.) How much is it going to cost?
5.) Tell them exactly what you want.
Let’s break it down.
♡ 1- Phone a friend.
But for real, reach out to all of your fellow girl bosses & ask who they’ve worked with, what their experience was like, how much it cost, all the details. If your crew doesn’t know, ask an attorney you trust for their honest opinion on who they would recommend.
To be honest, it can be challenging to find an attorney you love- your ride or die who’s in it with you. It’s like finding the perfect business partner or OBGYN. Personally, I’ve found the perfect business partner ( thank you, Lindsay, my sister &COO ); but I’m still here searching for the perfect OBGYN. The struggle is real for that one.
But I digress. Attorneys are humans too. Some of them are diamonds, & some of them are duds. Here’s how to tell the difference:
♡ 2- Check their creds.
Once you have a lead, you need to check their credentials just as thoroughly as you read through all of your skincare ingredients. TBH, I trust Lindsay for this, she’s multi-talented & like a detective for vetting non-toxic beauty. Some claim to be clean, non-toxic, cruelty free & vegan – but really, some are & some… not so much. Here’s what to check:
+ are they a boss at doing exactly what you need them to do?
I don’t care where they went to school. I don’t care what grades they got. I don’t care if they are young or old, or green or blue, & I don’t care what firm they work for.
++ is the person you’re talking to the person who is going to actually do the work?
Side note: On bigger projects, you may have a team of attorneys doing the work, but you should still know every person working on your matter, their billing rates & experience. Then, each of them should qualify under #2.
++ are they a boss at doing exactly what you need them to do?
There are as many types of law as there are beauty treatments. It’s like asking your hairstylist for a lymphatic drainage massage. Different skills, different people. I can’t even get myself out of a speeding ticket ( I literally googled how, as I was waiting for the judge to call my name ). But, need to negotiate a multimillion dollar contract or form a company? I can do that any day. Find an attorney with the skills you need.
♡ 3 – Could they be your bff?
Not literally, but follow me here. They’re good on paper, but are they good to your gut? Do you like them, do you want to talk to them, do you trust them? All super important.
You need someone who you can be open with ( maybe talking about money, or other people, or heck, even sex in certain cases ), who’s your right hand gal or guy, who’s in it with you. You want to know – without a doubt – that you’re in good hands. That you can bring them home to your pup – so to say. I was going to say mom, but pup is more appropriate. My dog Bear makes the last call on everyone in my life, except when he’s sleeping on the job… like now.
♡ 4 – How much is it going to cost?
You need specifics. You work hard for your money, girlfriend. They need to break it down – to the dollar.
Ask for a clear estimate – even better yet, ask if it can be a flat fee so you know exactly how much it will cost. Make sure you have a clear scope of work – what’s included & what’s not. Get it in writing & hold them to it ( an email works ). Make sure that if there’s anything out of budget that comes up, that you need to approve it in writing before they move forward. You’re in charge here. There’s nothing worse than a bill bigger than you were expecting.
♡ 5 – Tell them exactly what you want.
Be super honest about your timelines, expectations, etc. If you are needy AF ( me ), tell them that too. Communicate all your needs, the best way to reach you, what you want to know about, what you don’t want to be bothered with, & ask the best way to reach them – text, phone, email, etc.
Once they get started, ask them to send you updates – what you want to be updated with & how frequently. Your business is your baby & having someone who respects that, & your needs, is super important. It’s all about the vibe.
Needy AF & don’t have a communicative attorney? Even a really good one won’t be a good fit. You need to mesh well.
I hope this helps! Here’s a list of free guides I have to get you started. Always feel free to reach out; I am happy to chat. I go on Instagram live each week to answer questions, or feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Proud of you, girlfriend! I hope to hear your story soon!!
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What a BOSS !! Hope you guys loved this post & it brought you value. Thank you so much to Laura for this in-depth, amazing post. I also want to thank Laura for sending me all the best recommendations. She gifted me a personalized pink Cross pen, a mamaRoo, Good To Great, & some Papa Steve’s bars.
+ why you shouldn’t ask someone to go for coffee.
++ how to write a badass resume.