Four reasons for hiring a small business attorney, plus a bonus tip.
When your business is just getting off the ground, you’ll need to add two professionals to your team in a short amount of time: an accountant and a small business attorney. While the reasons for hiring an accountant are fairly self-explanatory (hint: number reviews, performance assessment, and taxes), the reason for retaining legal representation may not be so apparent.
What Skills and Expertise Are Required for a Small Business Attorney?
The legal system is becoming increasingly specialized; however, most small businesses don’t have the budget or luxury to hire ten different attorneys to tackle all the various specialties. As a result, you should look to hire someone with skills and experience in most (if not all) of the following areas:
- Contracts, contracts, and more contracts. If you stop to think about it, almost everything you do in business starts with some sort of New customers? Hiring a business supplier? Or maybe implementing new HR policies? These are all various types of contracts your business is likely to need. Ensuring they are water-tight and limit your litigation and risk exposure is important.
- Determining your business structure. A good small business lawyer will be able to help you decide whether full incorporation or an LLC (Limited Liability Corp.) is a better structural choice based on your industry and company goals. In addition, they can help you draft all the necessary paperwork to ensure you’re properly and legally established.
- Real-estate agreements and leases. Unless you’re running a business out of your home, your business is going to need a commercial working space of some sort. Whether you’re purchasing or leasing, you’ll want your attorney to read over all of the fine print to ensure your interests are protected. Because most of these forms are formulaic, many business owners feel they are “non-negotiable”; a critical error which prevents the addition of things like “tenant’s addendums” and other more favorable provisions benefitting and protecting you and the space.
- Intellectual property, trademarks, and copyrights. Is your business focused on media, artistic design, architecture, or other creative industries? Then you’re going to need someone to assist with copyright protections and trademark registrations.
Even if you can’t find a generalist with experience in all of the areas listed above, you may find a lawyer attached to a firm with a broader skill set, or someone who has an existing network and relationships with professionals whose skill sets complement their own.
Tip from the Pros: Don’t Wait Until You’re Sued
Many small businesses figure they only need a lawyer if something has gone wrong. However, waiting for the you-know-what to hit the proverbial fan is probably the single worst legal strategy any company can follow.
Why? Well, most of the time, the grounds of a business lawsuit are based on completely avoidable circumstances. If you engage an attorney up front, you’ll pay them a fraction of the cost to spot problems in advance, and devise a solid legal strategy to avoid issues going forward.
Ready to Protect Your Business?
Contact the skilled small business attorneys at Titus Law by calling 770.416.8426 today.