There are times in life when we need to consult a professional. This is certainly the case for anyone that has or plans to start their own business.
Owning and operating a business can be confusing. First, you will need to know how to set up your business (LLC, Corporation, etc.), the type of insurance you will need to protect your assets, how to hire employees, and the required documentation and other nuances that you may not have even considered.
What Does a Business Attorney Do?
Hiring an experienced business attorney is one of the smartest things you can do as you start your business venture. A full-service law firm, which specializes in business law, will help you make decisions that can affect your business later. So, starting with a smart business lawyer can make your business successful, while protecting you and all your valuable assets.
Here are some common tasks that a business attorney will handle for you, according to Western Governor’s University:
- Help with the business start-up. A business attorney will work with you to determine the best type of business for you. They may suggest a sole proprietorship, an LLC, a partnership, or a corporation. Each classification has its own set of rules and tax obligations, so it is best to consult with a lawyer so you can make an informed decision, both today and in the long term.
- Contract law. A business lawyer can help business owners when a partner does not live up to the contractual obligations they promised. Things can get complicated and often lawyers must collaborate with the parties to come to a settlement. They will also ensure that NDA has been abided by and help in the case of a breach of contract.
- Property law: This is important for businesses that rent or lease a property. A lawyer will make sure that you are protected and have the paperwork to prove it. This can be complex for those with no legal experience, so it is best to leave it to the legal experts who can protect you in the case of issues with the property.
- Intellectual property: Your lawyer can help you navigate the maze of filing to protect intellectual property and garner the proper copyrights, trademarks, and patents.
- Rules and regulations: Business lawyers will assist with sales, taking the business public (IPO), and issuing stocks and security. They will also make sure you stay within all applicable guidelines and regulations.
- Registrations, licenses, and other requirements: Your attorney will make sure that you have the right business structure set up, and that you are paying your state and federal taxes on time. They will make sure you have a tax ID number and the licenses needed to legally run your business.
What to Look for When Searching for a Business Lawyer?
Before you start googling local business lawyers, ask friends, colleagues, and family that may have used a business lawyer in the past. They may be able to suggest someone or tell you how to avoid pitfalls. Here is some general information from The American Bar Association:
- Make sure the lawyer has specific expertise in the business field that suits your business needs. If you are opening up a bar and restaurant, look for a lawyer that has restaurant/hospitality experience.
- Make sure that they have trial experience in case you find yourself in a legal fight.
- Make sure they have a good record.
- Make sure they are ethical.
- Ask to speak with some of their clients and get their personal feedback.
Those starting a business have invested a lot of time and money in getting their venture started, so they protect it with reliable business and legal representation.