Hiring A Lawyer For Your Small Business
When starting a business, entrepreneurs cannot always afford the legal expertise that lawyers bring to the table. As a result, entrepreneurs are left asking, “Do I need a lawyer in order to start a small business?”.
Find out the advantages of consulting a small business attorney and whether you need one to start your business.
Is a lawyer necessary for small businesses?
Legal expertise is often needed by small businesses in areas where they lack expertise. Among these are:
- Ensure compliance: Attorneys can help you comply with federal, state and local laws when opening and running your business.
- Risk reduction: Doing business exposes you to some risk, but an attorney can help you establish procedures that limit that risk.
- You can limit your liability in the event of a lawsuit by defining business terms of service and contract language with the help of a lawyer.
- Create legal agreements: A lawyer can assist you in preparing formal legal documents that govern relationships throughout the organization. You will know what you are responsible for to your partners, employees, vendors, customers, or clients and what you will receive in return.
- Lawyers with tax experience can help you not only ensure that you pay the taxes that you are due, but also lower your tax liability by identifying valid business deductions and reimbursements.
What are the circumstances in which small businesses typically use a lawyer?
Starting a small business often requires the assistance of a lawyer in the following circumstances:
- Legal advice can help you determine if a corporation or LLC is the most suitable choice for your business. This is based on its size and type, as well as its tax and legal pros and cons.
- An attorney can perform the research necessary to ensure that the business name you select isn’t already taken by another company or trademarked. It can be financially and legally risky to operate under a trademarked name.
- Establishing a business entity: Many business owners hire the services of a lawyer to prepare partnership agreements or to file certificates of incorporation. Small business owners require these documents in order to legally operate their business.
- Obtaining licenses and permits: Small business owners often consult lawyers regarding the licenses and permits they need in order to open their company. Among the relevant documents may be general business licenses, licenses for specific trades, and other permits.
- Contract creation: Lawyers can prepare bulletproof contracts for agreements your business enters into with other entities, whether it is terms of service or vendor or employee contracts.
- In order to patent a business idea, you should consult with an attorney in order to ensure confidentiality. In addition, you should avoid duplication of patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and prepare a patent application.
Is it necessary to hire a lawyer to begin a small business?
The hiring of a lawyer is not a prerequisite for setting up a business. A number of the steps of starting a business mentioned above can be completed without the assistance of a lawyer. In other words, you must consider your business entity when deciding whether to hire a lawyer or do it yourself. It is also important to take into consideration the amount of time and effort you will be required to invest to get your business up and running.
One can easily start a sole proprietorship without the assistance of an attorney, since it is the simplest business entity. A sole proprietorship does not require incorporation documents to begin operating. While you may need to obtain an EIN from the IRS, submit an assumed name certificate locally, and get all licenses and permits. The process usually involves straightforward paperwork you can find online, depending on your particular business.
Some business owners seek the assistance of an attorney when they have a partnership as their first entity type. If you choose to use an assumed business name, you must register it at the state or local level.
More importantly, it is strongly encouraged for partners to enter into a partnership agreement, which may not be compulsory in all states. These forms can also be submitted electronically through online legal services.
Am I required to hire a lawyer to establish an LLC or corporation?
Legal assistance is often required for LLCs, as these entities must file articles of organization with the state, appoint a registered agent, and meet various regulatory requirements. For this reason, an operating agreement should be considered. Legal services can be accessed online, but lawyers can create agreements that are better tailored to your business.
Corporations and S-corporations usually require legal documents to be filed, so hiring a lawyer is of major importance to them. Among the most important legal documents are the articles of organization, the corporate bylaws, the appointment of the directors, and the issuance of stock. You can set up a corporation on your own using online legal services, as you can with LLCs. It is, however, best to consult a lawyer before signing on the dotted line to ascertain potential pitfalls.