Among the many reasons that worry startup entrepreneurs today, who are in the process of starting a small business or are already running a business is whether they actually need a business lawyer. The answer to this question is simple. Hiring a lawyer is crucial to any successful business!
When starting up a small business, there are two professionals that the business will be in dire need of. An accountant, and a lawyer. The reasons behind an accountant are pretty obvious, and this post won’t get into that, however, the reason for hiring a lawyer, might not be so apparent.
Who are business lawyers?
Business lawyers are legal professionals who have the much-needed experience with knowledge of issues that are related to starting and running a business. Business lawyers are generalist who have the know-how of a wide range of issues, from Trademark and Copyright to employment and taxes.
However, you don not necessarily need a lawyer for every business step that you are going to make while starting up your small venture. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.
When do you need a business lawyer?
In case you are starting out a business, then you can pretty much take care of most of the tasks by yourself. However, there are a few situations where when you might want or need some advice from good business lawyer. The following are examples of business issues that will require the intervention of an experienced lawyer.
- When you and your business partner decide that you want to contribute property to a particular partnership or LLC
- When you and your business partner want to make special allocations of the profits or losses gained in the partnership agreement.
- When you are about to purchase a business and an environmental issues crops up
- During a legal suit against the business, either by an employee or a former employee for charges of sexual harassment, or any other case of the same nature.
- A good business lawyer will be able to provide quality assistance in every aspect of your small business, from the basic zoning, to trademark and copyright. They will also assist you with advice on formal business incorporation, lawsuits and business liability.
It’s too late if you are being sued
Most business owners make the first big mistake of putting off the lawyer until they get served with a sermon. Big mistake. The best time to get into contact with an attorney is before you get sued.
At the point where your business has already been served with a complaint , it’s too late and the problem has already occurred, and at this particular point it’s going to be how much you are going to pay in settlement expenses, court fees, attorney fees and legal expenses to get the complaint resolved.
The judicial system in The US can be compared to a roach motel, pretty difficult to get out once you are in. You will agree that no one likes paying attorney fees for any reason whatsoever, let’s be a little honest, no one likes dealing with lawyers. Nonetheless, the fee your get charged by your lawyer to keep you out of trouble is only a small fraction of the fee the same lawyer will charge you, to get you out of trouble after it has happened.
Who is the best attorney for your business?
An experienced lawyer. When deciding the best lawyer for your small business don’t be afraid to find out about your potential lawyer’s experience.
A well-connected lawyer. Your lawyer should be an individual that can diagnose your business problem, something of a legal internist. Your lawyer should be familiar with the specific special area that needs assistance, or have a working relationship with someone who has.
Have other clients in the same industry. Your lawyer should have some familiarity with your specific industry and the legal environment. In case they are not, then they should be willing to learn. However be wary or an attorney that represents one or two of your competitors.
A good teacher. Your lawyer should be willing to take some time to educate you and your staff about the legal environment in your business.
Lastly, while you really need to retain your lawyer for the serious issues that have been discussed in this post, your emphasis should be on prevention of the occurrences. Preventing does not mean hiring a full-time lawyer, consulting one wouldn’t hurt. This is because, by the time you get served with a sermon, the damage is already done.