Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Does your business need a lawyer?

Every business owner is loath to spend income on unnecessary expenses, particularly smaller, newer or home-based businesses on thin margins who have yet to make much profit. It's much more satisfying to pay someone to make you an impressive website or even keep your books. However, the United States currently has a very litigious climate; as a country we spend about 2.2 percent of the gross domestic product, approximately $1000 for each person on tort litigation. In these circumstances finding a good lawyer is like hiring a bodyguard - with his presence and expertise, he'll stop attacks from happening as well as deal with any that do actually occur.

There are a number of areas a small business owner will need to consult a lawyer about: contracts, taxes and licensing, and real estate matters such as purchasing or leasing property or equipment. Over time matters that should be rather simple have become increasingly more complex because of other lawsuits. The legalese on these documents gets denser as sued parties attempt to reassert control. If the average person doesn't understand a basic user contract for an internet site like Facebook, how is he expected to know what's been inserted into his rental contract as a disincentive for his company ever to sever the relationship? No one wants to sign a lease from the Hotel California, after all.

At the outset of your business, you should consult an attorney about the legal basics of business formation. A number of things can be done without a lawyer's involvement. You don't need a lawyer to name your business, claim a trademark, hire employees, create buy-sell agreements, or file initial paperwork, but the Small Business Administration recommends consulting a lawyer to:

  • Form a corporation
  • File a patent
  • Buy or sell a business
  • Handle litigation
Particularly when dealing with litigation, it's advisable to have an attorney who is already familiar with your business and, preferably, has the kind of clout necessary to intimidate instigators of frivolous lawsuits or ambulance chasing. If you have not yet consulted an attorney to represent your business at least in times of legal necessity, start asking around for recommendations now - because when you need one, you really need one.

No comments:

Post a Comment