There are two types of attorneys: lawyers and counselors. Both know the law and the legal procedure, but only a counselor understands YOU and YOUR needs, goals, and values. A lawyer is great at reciting the law, whereas a counselor explains how the law applies to your circumstances and provides guidance and strategy.

A counselor is a trusted partner who strives to develop a long-term relationship. He or she will take every opportunity to meaningfully engage you on a personal level because this is the only way to understand your business model and objectives. A counselor values your time and respects your money. A counselor understands that you have a business to run and, therefore, will never require you to read lengthy legal documents and confusing, unhelpful emails that raise more questions than they answer. Because a counselor values his or her relationship with a you, he or she will not “over-lawyer” the problem to rake in the legal fees.

Next time you interact with your attorney, ask yourself a question: “is my attorney a lawyer or counselor?” Here is a simple litmus test–if your attorney presented you with a problem without a strategy for a solution, he or she is a lawyer. On the other hand, if your attorney takes your problems personally and approaches them with empathy and pragmatism, then he or she is counselor. If you find yourself frustrated with your lawyer, our advice is to find a counselor.