When Should You Actually Retain a Business Lawyer?
What may seem like a simple idea can easily blossom into a big business. One thing is certain. The right time for retaining a business lawyer is when you are ready to open shop. Without experienced legal advice, you can find yourself regretting your inaction.
Candidly, there are two important professionals when it comes to any start-up business. We’ve already mentioned the importance of an experienced business lawyer. Every new venture should also make sure to seek the services of an accountant to review issues related to tax consequences.
Not sure why you need legal advice? At the onset, you’ll need to set up the right type of business entity. Just because your best friend opened her company as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), does not necessarily mean that works for your business model. We can’t emphasize enough that you should seek experienced legal counsel before deciding on whether you should be set up as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC or corporation.
Beyond Setting Up the Business
Here’s something for consideration. As a business owner, there are some things you can undoubtedly accomplish on your own. However, there are many reasons that legal advice will ultimately work in your favor. Let’s review some:
- Employees: Nearly every company has proprietary information that they expect to be confidential. Meanwhile, some employers are also concerned that their workers could go work for a competitor and undercut their business. Would your company benefit by creating employment agreements? Possibly including non-compete clauses? What about an employee handbook?
- Are you actually hiring employees and providing them with W-2 forms? Or, is your plan to classify your workers as independent contractors and provide them with 1099s? Do you know the law on these issues? What about workers’ compensation insurance?
- Operating Agreements/Bylaws: Depending on the type of business you set up, your company may require an operating agreement or a set of by-laws. Also, it may be necessary to draft partnership agreements.
- Local, State and Federal Compliance Guidelines: Is your company required to follow certain guidelines from any government entities? Are you aware of them? What if non-compliance becomes an issue?
- Real Estate Transactions: Whether your business decides to lease or purchase warehouse or office space, all lease and sales contracts should be reviewed by an attorney.
- Lawsuits: Nobody likes to think of the prospect of a lawsuit. However, when you retain experienced outside counsel, you will know how to respond to any claims made against your company.
- Sale of the Business: In some cases, the sale of a business can be a great experience. In others, it can be the dissolution of a partnership. An experienced business lawyer can guide you through the sale.