When You Need a Business Attorney
Sometimes your small business NEEDS an attorney. In my last post, we talked about some of the tasks that small business owners can safely handle on their own. This article explores the situations where legal advice can keep you out of hot water!
There are traditionally legal tasks that some savvy business owners handle on their own. These may include buy/sell agreements, contracts, business formation, and the like. But not all businesses are the same. Cookie-cutter downloadable templates don’t take the unique aspects of YOUR business into consideration.
If proactive risk mitigation is your goal, spending money up front for legal help saves you a bundle down the road. Waiting until you or your business is sued, means the easily preventable damage is already done. Now you are saddled with the nightmare of litigation and the associated attorney’s fees, court fees, and damages. Not to mention the huge drain on your time and sanity to fix the problem. All of which cost significantly more than preventing the problem in the first place!
Consult an experienced attorney to:
• Choose the correct legal structure for you and your unique business. And for drafting the Operating Agreement or Partnership Agreement. A poorly drafted agreement can create unintended (and undesirable) consequences.
• Draft or review Buy/Sell Agreements if you are purchasing an existing business.
• Review commercial lease agreements.
• Draft your initial services agreement and independent contractor agreement – creating these as templates specific to your business allows for easy alteration for different client needs. So you don’t need an attorney to draft every single agreement you enter – just a few solid foundational documents.
• Provide website policies that are compliant with regulations and tailored to your unique business needs.
• File copyright and trademark applications. These may seem simple enough on the surface, but too many clients come to me for help after filing on their own. They simply don’t know what to do when they receive an office action requesting changes or corrections to their application.
• Get the right policies in place before you bring on that first employee! There are a lot of laws regarding employee rights in the workplace. Make sure you know what they are and that you are set up for compliance.
Again, this is a far cry from an exhaustive list, but I think you get the idea. If you have questions, it is best to ask an attorney and get it right than to take your chances and pay for it later.
Use a Business Attorney Before You Think You Need One
Your business attorney helps you ensure compliance with the laws and regulations applicable to your business. She can also issue spot potential legal concerns well in advance of them becoming legal problems. Rather than a one-off transactional engagement, consider an ongoing relationship with your business attorney. This allows her to get to know you and your business well, and provide advice uniquely tailored to your business. An attorney that specializes in small businesses and solopreneurs may offer this ongoing relationship at a flat rate or reasonable monthly fee. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
Get the peace of mind of knowing that your business is legally compliant, protected, and positioned for success. Interested in an ongoing relationship with an attorney that specializes in Pennsylvania small business? Learn more about my Business Counsel membership.