Legal Services for Startups

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What Legal Services Are Needed to Start a Business?

Whether you are operating single member LLC or working with a partner in a multi-member LLC, all businesses must follow certain requirements depending on where they operate. There are many legal services that an entrepreneur may seek an attorney’s help with, such as:

  • Permits and licenses. You will have to register a business with your state to legally operate, and this comes with new tax obligations as well. Lawyers can ensure you acquire all the necessary documentation based on your state and industry. They can also help you register your startup.
  • Insurance. Businesses are required to carry appropriate liability coverage, which a lawyer can help you organize. If you are ever unsure what level of insurance you need to legally run a business, then a business attorney is the best source of information.
  • Contract drafting. Whether it’s a partnership agreement or an employment contract, businesses have a lot of contracts, and they need well-written ones to protect their best interests. Lawyers can write contracts to start business operations and oversee negotiations for various forms of documents and agreements you will need.
  • Business planning. A lawyer can offer legal advice as you write a business plan to start your company; factors such as taxation, liability, employment laws, and protecting intellectual property can all be guided by a professional’s insight.

A lawyer can also help you navigate the legal process of naming an LLC and registering as a legal business entity with your state government.

If you are unsure about any part of the startup planning process, an experienced business attorney, also called a commercial lawyer or corporate lawyer, can help. They can help understand the process of how to get an LLC, and make sure that you’re legally complaint.

Here is an article with ContractsCounsel’s guide to learning more about limited liability company (LLC) agreements.

What Legal Documents Are Required for Startups?

Technically speaking, anyone can start a business. However, to legally operate and claim ownership to copyright, such as a business’s name, the founder(s) must register with their state.

You must also register as a business to fully comply with tax laws in your state.

Documentation to start a business includes a complete business registration, business tax forms, and insurance. You may also need to apply for permits or licenses depending on where you live and the services you provide.

There are other essential documents you may not consider at first but prove essential to a healthy, happy business. These include:

Here is an article with the ContractsCounsel guide to business contracts and what they should always include.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Start a Business?

Needing or not needing a lawyer to start a business depends on your circumstances. You can start a business by yourself, and there are many business agreement contract templates you can find online for free. That being said, there are some risks associated with relying solely on templates to start a business.

For one, templates are intended for a general audience. This means that they may not cover crucial details relevant to your industry. Missing certain elements can nullify a contract, even if all signing parties are fully in agreement with its contents.

Having an illegal contract can cause many problems for your company down the line, including potential lawsuits or lack of legal enforceability.

If you have more than one founder, then you will benefit even more from working with a lawyer. A multi-member LLC can use an attorney to negotiate their shares and responsibilities within the company and come up with contingency plans to manage their assets in the event of a dispute, company dissolution, or member’s departure.

Having an established relationship with a business lawyer gives you access to information and counsel that is personal and up-to-date. Although the internet is filled with plenty of fantastic resources, it is not a substitute for professional legal advice.

Here is an article with a legal checklist for startups that every entrepreneur should review.

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What Kind of Lawyer Can Provide Services to Start a Business?

The best type of lawyer to reach out to is a business lawyer. Business lawyers can also be advertised as commercial lawyers or corporate lawyers. These attorneys specialize in business law, so they are the perfect professionals to contact if you have any questions about legal requirements to start a business in any sector.

Some business lawyers are experts in a particular field, like construction, retail, or food service. Regardless of what industry you’re in, you can work with a lawyer to cover all the necessary steps of starting a business, such as registering as a legal entity, filing a DBA (doing business as), and establishing legal contracts for employees, partners, and contractors.

A lawyer can also help you set up an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is legally required for any business that wants to file employer tax returns, pay employees or contractors, operate as a corporation, or set up a tax-deferred pension plan.

They can also help you determine which license, permits, and insurance requirements you may have depending on your location and business structure. Some companies need to apply for various types of licenses before they can legally operate. A lawyer can walk you through the process and ensure all your bases are covered.

Here is an article with a list of federal licenses and permits by the Small Business Association.

Where Can I Get Legal Services for My Startup?

The best place to start your search is online. You can search for business lawyers near you, or by your industry, and check vetted legal marketplaces to post projects and connect with attorneys.

ContractsCounsel matches you with screened, verified attorneys in your state. You can post a project on our marketplace, then receive free, no-obligation bids from lawyers near you. This makes it easy for you to identify the best opportunities for your business.

Finding a reliable business lawyer is a great step toward planning any startup or small company. When you know that you have a reputable, trustworthy legal advisor, you can manage your operations more wisely and make better decisions.

Professional legal counsel is the best way to minimize liabilities and ensure that your business is always compliant with necessary laws and regulations.

Here is an article with more information about legal support services for businesses.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Business?

The average cost to start a small business is under $15,000, but that figure can change depending on the type of business you want to run and how you will operate. For example, starting a business from your house will be much less expensive than renting, furnishing, and managing a commercial space.

If you already have the right technology and resources, you may only need to spend several hundred dollars to register as an LLC and follow any necessary employment laws in your state.

If you want to open a brick-and-mortar location, then expect to spend around $30,000 to $100,000 to get your business up and running. These details will all rest on how large your business will be, where it’s located, and what equipment, supplies, and inventory you’ll need to run it.

Here is an article with more information on typical business startup costs.

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Meet some of our Lawyers

Jonathan K. on ContractsCounsel
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5.0 (1)
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October 15, 2022

Jonathan K.

Managing Attorney
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Tulsa, OK
17 Yrs Experience
Licensed in OK
Oklahoma City University School of Law

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Attorney of Liberty Legal Solutions, LLC, a law firm dedicated to building, protecting, and defending the business and personal interests of our clients in Oklahoma. Jonathan's primary practice areas are business law, contracts and agreements, business litigation including breach of contract disputes and commercial claims, and outside general counsel services. Jonathan is considered an "America First" attorney by several of his clients, and has a reputation for aggressively defending their interests and rights both inside and outside the courtroom. Prior to founding Liberty Legal Solutions, LLC, Jonathan worked with a civil litigation law firm in Edmond, Oklahoma, where he obtained experience in a variety of practice areas. Jonathan has also worked with regional creditor rights law firms where he has assisted them in starting their branch operations in Oklahoma. Jonathan earned his B.A. in Government & International Politics from George Mason University in 2002 and earned his Juris Doctor from Oklahoma City University in 2006. Jonathan is married to his wife Jennifer. When not helping clients, Jonathan enjoys reading, Republican politics, spending time with family, traveling, and working on his "Freedom Friday" blog.

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Christina S.

Managing Attorney
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Kingsport, TN
12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TN
Appalachian Law School

I am an attorney who has been practicing for over a decade, experienced in multiple areas of law, both from a litigation and more procedural side. The great thing about my practice is that it has trained me to deal with so many different types of problems and to find solutions in a variety of legal scenarios that are almost never similar.

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Ryenne S.

Principal Attorney
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Chicago, IL
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
DePaul University College of Law

My name is Ryenne Shaw and I help business owners build businesses that operate as assets instead of liabilities, increase in value over time and build wealth. My areas of expertise include corporate formation and business structure, contract law, employment/labor law, business risk and compliance and intellectual property. I also serve as outside general counsel to several businesses across various industries nationally. I spent most of my early legal career assisting C.E.O.s, General Counsel, and in-house legal counsel of both large and smaller corporations in minimizing liability, protecting business assets and maximizing profits. While working with many of these entities, I realized that smaller entities are often underserved. I saw that smaller business owners weren’t receiving the same level of legal support larger corporations relied upon to grow and sustain. I knew this was a major contributor to the ceiling that most small businesses hit before they’ve even scratched the surface of their potential. And I knew at that moment that all of this lack of knowledge and support was creating a huge wealth gap. After over ten years of legal experience, I started my law firm to provide the legal support small to mid-sized business owners and entrepreneurs need to grow and protect their brands, businesses, and assets. I have a passion for helping small to mid-sized businesses and startups grow into wealth-building assets by leveraging the same legal strategies large corporations have used for years to create real wealth. I enjoy connecting with my clients, learning about their visions and identifying ways to protect and maximize the reach, value and impact of their businesses. I am a strong legal writer with extensive litigation experience, including both federal and state (and administratively), which brings another element to every contract I prepare and the overall counsel and value I provide. Some of my recent projects include: - Negotiating & Drafting Commercial Lease Agreements - Drafting Trademark Licensing Agreements - Drafting Ambassador and Influencer Agreements - Drafting Collaboration Agreements - Drafting Service Agreements for service-providers, coaches and consultants - Drafting Master Service Agreements and SOWs - Drafting Terms of Service and Privacy Policies - Preparing policies and procedures for businesses in highly regulated industries - Drafting Employee Handbooks, Standard Operations and Procedures (SOPs) manuals, employment agreements - Creating Employer-employee infrastructure to ensure business compliance with employment and labor laws - Drafting Independent Contractor Agreements and Non-Disclosure/Non-Competition/Non-Solicitation Agreements - Conducting Federal Trademark Searches and filing trademark applications - Preparing Trademark Opinion Letters after conducting appropriate legal research - Drafting Letters of Opinion for Small Business Loans - Drafting and Responding to Cease and Desist Letters I service clients throughout the United States across a broad range of industries.

Jingjing L. on ContractsCounsel
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Jingjing L.

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London, UK
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
University of Chicago Law School

Hi there. I am a dual qualified (Illinois; England & Wales) transactional lawyer with about 5 years of experience. I trained in two of the top international "big law" firms focusing first on insurance and financial services work followed by general UK corporate and private equity work. I left private practice earlier this year, took a few months off for my wedding and honeymoon, and am currently exploring legal consulting opportunities.

Danny J. on ContractsCounsel
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October 17, 2022

Danny J.

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New York, NY
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
New York Law School

I have had my own law practice since 2014 and I enjoy solving my clients’ problems. That’s why I constantly stay on top of the latest developments in the law and business of startups, entertainment, art, intellectual property, and commercial enterprise. I constantly keep learning because everything I learn helps me make my client’s life better. I assist clients in all aspects of copyright, trademark, contract, trade secret, business, nonprofit, employment, mediation, art, fashion, and entertainment law. Even though I am licensed to practice law in NY, I have worked for clients all over the country and even in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. No matter the client, I always look for ways to protect their assets, artworks, businesses, and brands with strategies to help them grow. I am a fluent bilingual legal professional who can analyze complex legal and business problems and solve them creatively for the benefit of my clients. I am detail-oriented and attentive which makes me excellent at negotiating, drafting, and revising all types of agreements and deals. I advise creatives and companies on intellectual property issues, risk management, and strategic planning. My clients love what I do for them because I employ a practical, client-tailored, and results-oriented approach to their case, no matter how small.

CRAIG C. on ContractsCounsel
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Fort Worth, TX
29 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX

I have 27 years of experience with drafting, editing, revising, reviewing and amending business and commercial contracts and agreements of all kinds.

Adalbert M. on ContractsCounsel
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October 26, 2022

Adalbert M.

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Port Saint Lucie, FL
2 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School

I am a solo-practitioner and founder of The CYA LAW FIRM, PLLC, in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. I am a transactional lawyer, focusing on Asset Protection, Estate Planning, and Business Law. I am fluent in Spanish and English.

Kevin F. on ContractsCounsel
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October 26, 2022

Kevin F.

Director, IP Lawyer
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Bournemouth, England
36 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MA
The George Washington University School of Law

I'm an IP lawyer and patent attorney (US and European). I work in high tech fields, such as software, quantum computing, AI and Blockchain and many other IT related fields. I've been in IBM's IP legal function for 25 years and now am a Director in my own law firm.

Cherryl M. on ContractsCounsel
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November 4, 2022

Cherryl M.

Contract Attorney
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London, GB
5 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
University of California, Hastings College of the Law

I am a U.S. lawyer (licensed in California) and have recently relocated to London. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a Juris Doctor law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. I have extensive experience in providing legal services and support in areas of business, labor & employment, IP enforcement (patent infringement, copyright & trademark), and other litigation matters; Reviewing, drafting, and editing business and legal documents/contracts; Conducting legal research and analysis, drafting memorandums, pleadings, discovery, document review, various motions, mediation briefs, and other litigation related activities; Reviewing and preparation of templates, policies, and processes for compliance with laws and regulations; educating and advising on legal and compliance issues.

Karl D. S. on ContractsCounsel
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October 28, 2022

Karl D. S.

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Middlebury, Connecticut
11 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CT, MA
Pepperdine University School of Law

Karl D. Shehu, has a multidisciplinary practice encompassing small business law, estate and legacy planning, real estate law, and litigation. Attorney Shehu has assisted families, physicians, professionals, and people of faith provide for their loved ones by crafting individualized estate and legacy plans. Protecting families and safeguarding families is his passion. Attorney Shehu routinely represents lenders, buyers, sellers, and businesses in real estate transactions, researching and resolving title defects, escrowing funds, and drafting lending documents. To date, Attorney Shehu has closed a real estate deal in every town in Connecticut. As a litigator, Attorney Shehu has proven willing to engage in contentious court battles to obtain results for his clients. While practicing at DLA Piper, LLP, in Boston, Attorney Shehu represented the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies in multidistrict litigations filed throughout the United States. He has been a passionate advocate for immigrants and the seriously injured, frequently advising against lowball settlement offers. He is willing to try every case to verdict, and he meticulously prepares every case for trial. Attorney Shehu began his legal career as a consumer lawyer, utilizing fee-shifting statutes to force unscrupulous businesses to pay the legal fees of aggrieved consumers. For example, in Access Therapies v. Mendoza, 1:13-cv-01317 (S.D. Ind. 2014), Attorney Shehu utilized unique interpretations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Truth-in-Lending Act, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to obtain a favorable result for his immigrant client. Attorney Shehu is a Waterbury, Connecticut native. He attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel grammar school, The Loomis Chaffee School, and Chase Collegiate School before earning degrees from Boston College, the University of Oxford’s Said Business School in England, and Pepperdine University School of Law. At Oxford, Karl was voted president of his class. Outside of his law practice, Attorney Shehu has worked to improve the world around him by participating in numerous charitable endeavors. He is a former candidate for the Connecticut Senate and a parishioner of St. Patrick Parish and Oratory in Waterbury. In addition, Attorney Shehu has written extensively on the Twenty-fifth Amendment and law firm retention by multinational firms.

Kimbrelly K. on ContractsCounsel
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November 1, 2022

Kimbrelly K.

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Lake Lure, NC
25 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NC
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Attorney Kegler has been licensed to practice law in ​the State of North Carolina since 1998. Over the years,​ she has worked in firms that focused on small​ business financing, initial startup formation, to​ starting several businesses of her own with bootstrap​ financing to venture capital funding. As a Certified​ Dream Manager, she couples the skills of listening to​ understand the big picture to get to solutions that not​ only fit today's needs but also the long term needs of​ her entrepreneurial clients.​

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