As a business owner, you launch your business with the hope that everything will go smoothly, and you’ll wind up running a very successful organization.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a utopian society where every business flourishes. Mistakes happen, issues arise, and you’ll inevitably need an attorney from time to time.
Having a good attorney can provide incredible value to your business, namely in helping to protect you from legal implications.
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If you’re still not sure that hiring an attorney for your small business is a good plan of action, here are six things that may change your mind.
1. Protect Against Lawsuits
As you might guess, having a lawyer can help prevent lawsuits. In reality, if you’re hiring an attorney after you’ve already been sued, it’s probably too late. A good lawyer can help reduce the charges, but they can’t protect you from them entirely. Be proactive before a lawsuit occurs, get your legalities in order, and cover all of your bases.
2. Mitigate Damages
Your business attorney can also help to reduce the damages your face in the event of a lawsuit. For example, if you’re faced with a personal injury case from an employee or customer, a lawyer can help mitigate any damages. In order for them to get the best result, however, it’s important that you tell the truth. If you want an honest lawyer, you must be an honest client. Even if the employee was hurt because of something you did, it’s better for your lawyer to learn about it from you, rather than the opposing side’s attorney.
3. Contract Drafting
Anytime you need to draft or negotiate a contract - whether with a customer, employee, or supplier - it’s important that you have a lawyer present to help with any legalities. A contract that hasn’t been approved by a lawyer can quickly cause problems. It’s your job to run a business, not memorize the rules - and if you try to do the contract yourself, you’ll likely miss a few things that could get you in big trouble down the road.
4. Business Incorporation
Incorporating your business involves more than simply handing over a check and receiving a certificate. You need someone on your side that’s familiar with the process and can get you through it without any legal implications. You’re likely not familiar with all the legalities that must be sifted through when incorporating a business, but a good business lawyer will know exactly what to do.
5. State and Federal Compliance
You’re probably familiar with the fact that state and federal laws are different and have their own procedures to follow. When you incorporate a business, perform business dealings across state lines, take your business overseas, build property, and pay your taxes, there are certain rules and regulations you must observe. Even if you’re a wiz at research, as a small business owner, there’s no way you have the time to sift through all of these laws to ensure that you’re complying adequately with each one.
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6. Employee Issues
Employee-related issues are all too common in the workplace, leaving you shorthanded and low on money. However, if you have an attorney on your side, those issues are quickly diminished, since they can facilitate the hiring process, administer worker’s compensation, draft up agreements for independent contractors, and help you safely fire employees without legal repercussions.
The last thing you want on your hands is a lawsuit from an employee, and having an attorney on retainer, whether that’s a business lawyer or a personal injury lawyer, can significantly reduce that risk for your business.
7. Filing for a Patent
If you’ve developed a new product or service, it’s important that you file for a patent. However, patents are time consuming and expensive, especially if you go about the process yourself. Furthermore, they’re often difficult to get approved in a reasonable amount of time without the help of an attorney. Fortunately, an experienced patent attorney can help you get your patent in a timely manner.
8. Buying or Selling a Business
There are many legal implications associated with both purchasing and selling a business. It’s a little more complex than purchasing a car, for example, so having an attorney present to help you value the business, write the acquisition and purchasing agreements, and transfer any permits and licenses can be incredibly helpful. Going through an experienced business lawyer will help you extract the most value from a business.
9. Environmental Issues Impact Your Business
Lately, environmental issues are bigger than ever as more and more people are trying to save the environment. As a result, new federal compliance standards have come out all over the nation that may affect your business. In addition, in the event that you fail to comply with past regulations and face consequences from a lawsuit or federal complaint, a good business lawyer is your first, and most important, line of defense.
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10. Business Structural Decisions
Whether you’re starting a brand new business or seeking to restructure an existing one, it can be tempting to handle things yourself – but resist this urge. Aside from incorporating your business, you’ll need to understand liabilities, tax obligations, setup fees, ongoing expenses, and employee-related concerns, just to name a few. Trying to handle each of these concerns on your own is daunting, and if you don’t get it exactly right from the start, you’ll be faced with legal problems down the road.