Appoint a law firm before you need one. The worst time to look for an attorney… is when you need one. Do not expect to be able to telephone an attorney and have them immediately agree to work for you. They will almost certainly want time to perform “due diligence” to avoid potential conflict of interest.

The attorneys most used by ExportAction and clients have expertise including Antitrust and Trade Regulation, Appellate (an appellate court, commonly called an appeals court, court of appeals (American English), appeal court (British English), court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal.), bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and insolvency, business transactions, commercial litigation, cybersecurity, ERISA, Employee Benefits and Compensation, eminent domain and property rights litigation, employment, expert witness, financial services, Government Contracting, Mediation and Arbitration, Qui Tam / Whistle-blower claims, Real Estate and Lending Transactions, Small Business Administration Lending, Securities, Tax, Technology, e-Commerce and Intellectual Property.

Choose a US attorney with proven experience of assisting UK businesses in the US and not upon the recommendation of someone who was introduced to someone nice at a reception or cocktail party.

Never, ever, fail to ask for an estimate of costs before instructing an attorney to proceed. Some, especially in Manhattan, Silicon Valley, and even Texas are known to have charges of more than $10,000 per hour!

In the US, most attorneys are qualified by state – not federally. Some attorneys are licensed to practice in more than one state, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Attorney fees vary widely. We have heard of a Silicon Valley law firm charging $10,000 an hour and one in Manhattan which charged $9,500 for doing what ExportAction charges $729.

The US has a similar business culture and ethics to the UK. Its legal systems are comparable with those of the UK (except for the legal system in Louisiana which is based upon the old Napoleonic Code). Individual states regularly challenge decisions made by Congress and Supreme Court.

There are an estimated 1.34 million lawyers in the US – and, as we often say, they are all looking for work. Discuss with prospective attorneys the merit of making an annual “client subscription” versus being charged by the minute.