For entrepreneurs who are running or starting small businesses, there are several departments to look into and manage. Out of all those, one of the prominent worries is the question whether they need a business lawyer or not.
Most business owners have a perception that lawyers charge extremely high rates and that would burn a huge hole in the finances of the business. Well, the fact is that attorneys are not that costly if you hire them on the right occasions. You do not need a lawyer while taking every single step for running the business. But, as it is greatly and very wisely said, prevention is better than cure, it is better to have minimal attorney assistance rather than seeking for a lawyer during serious legal troubles like being sued by a customer.
What can a small business lawyer do for your business?
There are lots of lawyers for all types of legal situations. In case of a small business, one may need a lawyer for areas like building the basic business foundation and its formation, trademark, copyright, patent filing, zoning estate issues, or litigation issues.
While starting a business, it is essential to hire a lawyer to seek legal counselling for the following areas:
- Business structure
The business structure would define things like tax incentives, your profits as well as your personal liabilities. So, to clearly define those, ask an attorney to help you out while drafting the business structure.
- Intellectual property
Your business may be based on some igneous or creative idea which is supposed to be unique. To ensure that the idea or concept is really unique and to prevent others from copying it without your permission, you need a lawyer’s help.
- Client and supplier contracts
There are several templates available on the internet to help you draft a contract. But, if you do not take enough time to understand the legal ramifications or if all those just go over your head, making contracts yourself can land you in huge troubles later on. It is wise to hire a lawyer to draft all the contracts for you.
- Hiring employees
Hiring employees for your business is a lot more than just conducting interviews and picking the right candidate. Right from the insurance to the employment standards, there is a lot to look into legally. So, you definitely need a lawyer for this task.
Cases you do not need a lawyer for:
- Making up or writing a business plan.
- Researching and picking a name for your business.
- Serving a name for your business website.
- Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Legal partnership, agreement, limited liability company operating agreement, or shareholder’s agreement.
- Submitting IRS forms.
- Hiring independent contractors and vendors.
- Applying for licenses and permits for your business requirements.
- Handling audits initiated by IRS
- Creating buy-sell agreements with partners.
Types of lawyers needed for each case:
- If you get sued – A litigation lawyer.
They handle the issues related to trademark as well.
- For issues related to business formations – A business lawyer.
All the issues related to choice of entity, copyright and patent filing are handled by them.
- For patent filing – A patent lawyer.
Patent filing is done mainly by lawyers who have passed the state patent bar exam. They litigate patent issues as well.
- Tax issues – A tax lawyer.
Due to the constantly changing federal law, there are specialised tax attorneys to handle issues related to taxing.
- Real estate zoning – A real estate lawyer.
All the issues of business zoning are handled by these lawyers.
It would be advisable that you hire a lawyer firm consisting of all the above type of lawyers so that you do not have to go looking for attorneys every time you need legal aid.