Whether writing contracts for freelance employees or navigating a lawsuit, every business has to deal with legal matters at some point. With mountains of paperwork and confusing jargon, legal issues can be especially intimidating if you lack the experience to handle them. But you don’t have to do it on your own.
Small businesses can work with legal support services to minimize confusion and protect their assets. Seek them out ahead of time so you and your business are ready for anything.
What are legal support services?
Business owners face many legal issues as well as overwhelming paperwork, and without access to the right legal counsel, a company can run into serious financial problems. Prepare for any situation so you’re not caught off-guard. The type of business you conduct will reflect the types of legal services you’re most likely to need. However, here are a few of the top examples of frequent legal services:
- Constructing a business structure: Before launching, you should seek out an attorney to determine the business structure that protects you best against liability claims.
- Creating contracts: Creating legal and binding contracts are an important part of your business operations. Similar to contracts, many companies need legal services for agreements.
- Navigating licensing: Licensing is a common legal need for small businesses since many companies are unaware of potential violations. Licensing services save you from expensive fines down the road.
- Preparing for lawsuits: Although being sued may be a worst-case scenario, legal support services can help you prepare for or navigate this type of situation.
- Handling human resources: There are many HR legalities surrounding the hiring and firing of staff. Without the right legal protections in place, your business can be open to lawsuits.
- Addressing harassment: Protecting your business and your workers require the help of an attorney. A lawyer can manage any harassment and discrimination claims that occur within your business.
- Setting up copyrights: If you have a logo, trademark or sensitive intellectual property, work with legal support services to avoid violating any copyrights as well as protecting yourself from anyone infringing upon your copyright.
Did you know? Almost half of small businesses close permanently after a disaster, but there are ways your business can prepare for the worst emergencies.
Find qualified law support services for your business before you need them
Legal support services help small business owners achieve their goals with expert advice and skilled representation. It is best to have law support on your team before problems arise so your business is taking the proper preventative measures to avoid legal disputes.
American legal support services let business owners focus on increasing their company’s bottom line while the legal team handles all the paperwork and intricate details of being in compliance with U.S. laws. Many people find it difficult to find the right legal representation, but if you follow a few simple guidelines, you can choose the legal support that best meets your needs. Consider the following:
- Not all lawyers provide legal support for business. Each legal team has their own area of expertise.
- Law support services with experience are usually more helpful.
- Online legal support services can allow you to create basic legal documents for your business.
>> Learn More: The Legal Terms You Need to Know
Tips on choosing legal support services
Research your options.
Take time to research support options before hiring any type of legal counsel. The most important thing is to confirm that the legal team is licensed to provide services in your state. Online legal support services are often free or low cost, but may not provide adequate coverage. Some online service providers offer one-time legal counsel, or they can be hired for ongoing needs. In this case, you pay a monthly fee for access to legal support options like unlimited attorney consultations. These sites can also connect you with screened lawyers located in your geographic area.
For in-person legal services, look for attorneys with industry experience in your field. For example, if you are a small business, you may want a law group with experience handling common issues faced by small business owners. The lawyer should be familiar with your niche and have references from companies similar to yours.
Meet with potential lawyers before hiring.
When choosing your lawyer, set up phone calls and meetings with every option. This person will likely have access to the most sensitive aspects of your business; they should be someone you trust and feel reasonably comfortable with. If taking recommendations, only consider lawyers suggested by people you trust who have worked with their lawyer for a long time.
Treat these meetings like an interview where you are doing the hiring; prepare a list of questions pertaining to their time practicing law, their availability, when and how they will update you on legal matters, their fees and what is included in these costs. Just like in any other interview, stay away from someone who avoids answering any of your questions or rushes through your meeting.
If you are seeking legal counsel in a particular matter, bring any information and documentation you have relating to the issue. Make sure the lawyer understands your needs and can make recommendations on how to move forward. Ask them if they have worked on similar cases or if they are familiar with the forms you’ll need in the process.
Hire help before issues arise.
It’s best to have a lawyer hired before any issues arise. More protections are in place if you have a lawyer before a lawsuit is launched against your company. As you consider different firms, think about your preferences. Would you rather work with a small law firm that can provide more personalized attention? However, a large firm may have more lawyers specialized in your field. Interview potential law firms to review references, past client lists and billing practices.
Use an online legal support services directory to find small business lawyers.
Finding legal support for businesses used to be a complex procedure, but online legal directories have simplified the process. These online directories are better than print directories because they allow you to narrow the scope of your search by area of practice and proximity to your office.
FYI: Data and privacy concerns are at the forefront of users’ minds. If you’re new to the e-commerce space, make sure you are safely handling customer’s information.
Check the track record of each company.
When acquiring legal support services information, one of the most important things you need to know is the track record of the legal team.
Handle simple legal procedures yourself.
The internet has paved the way for self-help in numerous areas, including legal matters. While most legal procedures should be left to the professionals, there are some simple matters — such as incorporating, trademarking, copyrighting, and applying for a patent — you can handle on your own at a much lower cost.
Pay attention to how the legal support company treats you now; that’s an indication of how they will treat you later when you need their services.