[This article was written by Samantha Higgins.]
Because it is relatively simple to set up a small business in the United States, many business owners may not have an attorney they can call if needed. This is a major mistake as attorneys specializing in different areas of the law are an invaluable resource for businesses. They give you the advice to prevent possible legal issues and represent you if you get sued. Here are the most important reasons why your business should have an attorney.
Attorneys Help Set Up Your Business Correctly
There are several types of corporate organizational structures and a business attorney can give you advice on the best one based on what you are planning to do with the business. These range from the simple sole proprietorship to the most complex C and S corporations. A business attorney is also going to ensure you are correctly registered with the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and your state’s department of revenue for taxation purposes, as well as operating as a properly registered business in your state. Other important information they can tell you includes whether you or your employees will need a license or permit to operate this business in your state and local municipality. For example, restaurants serving alcohol commonly need liquor licenses and many trade professionals need licenses as well.
They Provide Needed Legal Advice
During startup is not the only time you might need legal advice about your business. For example, you may need to fire an employee and want to know the correct way to undertake the process that will shield yourself from potential lawsuits. You might be dealing with a worker’s compensation issue and want advice on how to proceed, or simply want to know how much coverage you should carry. There are any number of reasons why you might desire legal advice throughout the running of your business. An attorney can oversee your contracts, agreements with partners and other important legal documentation to ensure you are not being taken advantage of or leaving yourself vulnerable. If you are selling your business, merging it with another or dissolving it, you will also need the services of a business attorney.
You Frequently Need Assistance With Legal Matters
Some types of businesses have a more regular need for legal services than others. In fact, if you are spending more annually on legal services than it would cost to hire an attorney outright, it might make more financial sense to hire an on-staff attorney. Real estate investors and property management companies, for example, may need regular legal services to handle leases, tenant issues, property sales and more. Companies that create media will need recurring legal aid with filing various intellectual property protections, from copyright to trademark registration. If you find your business often in need of legal services then it simply makes sense to have an attorney you can regularly consult for assistance. Look for attorneys in your area such as an Orange County Lawyer if you’re living in California to get the best service for your business.
They Can Represent You In Court
Although no business wants to be taken to court by a customer, employee, competitor, the state or anyone else, it is best to be prepared in case it does happen. An attorney you have been working with for a long time will make a better defender because they will already be familiar with your business and how it operates. They can advise you on what to do or say and come up with the best legal strategy to defend you. They will guide you through the settlement process if that is the best course of action or represent you in court during a legal battle if it comes to that. You want a competent, professional attorney on your side if a lawsuit is filed against you, although it is always better to have an attorney before that point so you can avoid lawsuits in the first place.
No matter your industry, an attorney is often a needed asset for your business. Remember that you may need to work with several different lawyers for different specialty services. It may even make the most sense for companies that are large enough or require legal services often enough to hire an attorney directly. While there are some simple legal tasks you can learn to do yourself, hiring an attorney is often a better option to afford your company the best legal protection.
Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.