There are two professionals that any business cannot do without- a lawyer and an accountant. You need an accountant for the most obvious reasons like keeping track of money related issues. However, the reasons for hiring a small business attorney may not be so obvious.
A small business attorney can often be very vital in dealing several aspects of your business. This may range from formal business incorporation, lawsuits and liabilities, filing for bankruptcy, all the way to basic zoning compliance and advice on trademark and copyrights, and many more in-between.
The sad reality however, is that most small business owners never realize the need for hiring a lawyer until they are served with a court summon over certain issues related to their business. Something which could possibly have been avoided by having the advice of an attorney beforehand.
While it is true that you may not need an attorney in every aspect of running your business, as there are certain tasks that you can tackle on your own. Such include simple things like writing your business plan, picking a name for your business or even reserving a domain name for your website. However, you need to take measures to ensure you are on the safe side when dealing with certain complex matters that are far beyond your know-how.
The below are just a few of the many scenarios for which you are very likely to need the services of a small business lawyer.
- When negotiation the sale of your company, or a stake in your company, to another party.
- Similarly, whenever you intend on taking over a business, or similarly buying a stake in it.
- When facing a lawsuit where current or former employees are suing you on the grounds of discrimination in hiring, hostile work environment or unfair dismissal.
- In cases where your business is facing investigations by state, local or government entities on the grounds of having violated certain local, state or national laws.
- In case of an environmental issue where your company is involved. In such a case, not only are you likely to need a business lawyer, you very likely might need an environmental lawyer as well.
- When you wish to make a special allocation of losses or profits or if you want to make a contribution of appreciated property to your partnership.
- And so much more.
The Various Types of Attorneys That You Could Need For Your Business
Just like doctors, and in fact most professions, the law profession can be a highly specialized industry. So just because you are run a small business, that does not necessarily mean that the only type of lawyer you will ever need is a small business lawyer.
Different and specific legal matters will require the services of an an attorney who specializes in that area. And quite possibly, depending on the specific legal case, your business might need a mix of specialized lawyers working on the same case at the same point in time. So for example, a business jointly owned by a husband and wife who are getting a divorce and want to figure out how to part ways not only in their marriage, but in the business, will likely need the services of a business lawyer to help tackle the division of the business, as well as a divorce lawyer to handle the divorce.
In the same vein,, a small business that is being sued by an employee, or even a member of the public because of a personal injury that is alleged to have been caused by the business is likely to require the services of a personal injury attorney.
Benefits of Having a Small Business Attorney
The following are some of the ways in which businesses benefit from small business attorneys:
- An attorney will come in handy when it comes to corporate governance. Everything including annual meetings and election of officers must conform to the requirements of the state, and all these will be handled by your attorney.
- A small business attorney will deal with everything to do with all the intangible assets that have to be protected. These include such things as the brand name, logo, company name, and any other goods and services that need copyright protection.
- A small business attorney will help you draft employment agreements that will prevent former employees from taking certain skills to your competitors. The lawyer helps you protect such assets through instituting non-compete and nondisclosure agreements with the employees.
- You need to invest in a good business lawyer to help you with exit strategies in case one of the principals or major shareholders decides to leave the business. Most entrepreneurs may be so engulfed in building the business that they forget that such a tragedy can occur. With a good attorney, you will have proper measures taken to counter such an occurrence.
- A small business attorney will help you to review complex legal documents. Of course, when starting a new business, you will have tons of paperwork. An attorney should work with you to verify any document that you receive to ensure they are correct and legit.
- A business lawyer will help you understand your tax requirements and abide by the tax law.
- It is true that businesses always face the threats of lawsuits and litigation. For this reason, you will need a small business attorney to guide you in case of any arising issue along the line.
With all the issues discussed above, you definitely need a small business attorney especially if you are fresh in the industry, regardless of whether your business is big or small. Do not wait until it is too late, or when you have a court summon for you to think of an attorney. Take the proactive step today.