What Is a Small Business Lawyer?
A small business lawyer is an essential part of building your business and achieving success. They help new and budding businesses avoid the legal pitfalls that inexperienced entrepreneurs may be faced with. Hiring a small business lawyer early on in the process can help you keep your small business from facing a lawsuit or getting into trouble with the government for not filing the correct documentation.
What Can a Small Business Lawyer Do?
Corporate governance is a very critical part of some companies. Not doing your due diligence in this area can cause serious legal repercussions down the line. Here is a list of things a small business lawyer can do to help new business owners avoid legal trouble:
- In general, a small business lawyer can ensure your company follows the law properly, relieving you of possible personal liability in the future.
- They can guide entrepreneurs through the process of sales or acquisitions, help draft letters of intent, draft contracts, verify trademarks, and review contracts and agreements with buyers and sellers.
- Small business lawyers can also help you settle litigations. If former employees elect to sue for any reason, such as for discrimination, you may not be equipped to handle the suit on your own. A small business lawyer can help you resolve a situation like this.
- Additionally, they can help you distinguish protocols in advance to prevent future litigations from occurring or escalating.
- They can help you set up labor rules in advance to ensure that none of your employees face discrimination.
- They can also help set up proper sexual harassment prevention training to help avoid disastrous suits down the road.
- A small business lawyer can offer legal counsel and help you avoid common small business pitfalls that can eventually cost you money.
Different Types of Small Business Lawyers
There are six different types of small business lawyers who can help you with your business. Depending on your needs, one may be better suited to your business than others. Here is everything you need to know about the different types of small business lawyers:
- General lawyer: This type of small business lawyer can help you with various legal tasks, such as filing business documentation, drafting contracts, and developing internal business policies that are unique to your business. This is generally a good start for a new business, especially a very small one. You can count on this type of attorney to help with most legal matters, including contracts and agreements.
- Labor lawyer: As your team of employees grows, it can help to have a lawyer who specializes in labor laws. They can ensure you follow all state and federal regulations, create employee manuals, ensure proper training, and develop the correct plan for letting employees go. Here is a link to more information about employment contracts.
- Tax attorney: A tax attorney, or certified public accountant (CPA), can help you file income taxes, fill out financial documentation for the government, and complete your annual audit. As your company grows, a tax attorney will become increasingly important to have.
- Contract lawyer: If your business involves creating contracts for your clients, you may want to consult with a contract attorney. There are thousands of online templates for contracts that you can use for free. However, these generic contracts may leave out important finite details that could cost you in the long run. A contract lawyer can help ensure that all of your contracts are legally binding and serve to protect both you and your clients properly.
- Intellectual property lawyer: If your business is seeking trademarks or patents, you should consider consulting with an intellectual property lawyer. Many laws surround the applications of patents and trademarks, and rules can vary by state. To ensure you and your products are protected, an intellectual property lawyer is a great asset to have.
- Mergers and acquisitions lawyer: Small businesses that are just starting out can probably forego a lawyer who specializes in this area. However, if your company is booming and you get the option to buy or acquire more assets, you should definitely consult with a mergers and acquisitions lawyer first. This will ensure you and your business are protected and not being overcharged. This is a more complex sector of law, so it is strongly recommended to seek legal counsel before moving ahead with any acquisitions.
When Do You Need a Small Business Lawyer?
Here are some situations in which a small business lawyer can be a huge asset to your growing company:
- Business violation complaints filed by the government
- Lawsuits from customers
- Patents and trademarks
- Employee discrimination suits or other lawsuits from current or former employees
- Negotiating on your behalf during merger and acquisition sales
- Completing proper financial audits
- Developing shareholder agreements
- Creating contracts and agreements for the company
- Handling an IRS audit
Read this article to help you decide whether a small business lawyer could help your business.
What You Can Do Without a Small Business Lawyer
While a small business lawyer can be beneficial, there are still some areas that small business owners can operate on their own without legal counsel. Here are some examples:
- Developing a business plan
- Hiring employees
- Applying for all relevant licenses and permits required by state and federal law
- Running the business
There are many things that you can do to save money on legal counsel when you are first starting out. However, it's important to remember that it will always cost you less to prevent legal troubles than to settle them in the future. It is often worth it to invest in legal counsel early on so that you can be sure your company is on the path to success.
How to Hire a Small Business Lawyer
Before hiring a small business lawyer, it's important to evaluate your legal needs. You should aim to hire a lawyer whose background and expertise are compatible with your business goals. You can also meet with several types of lawyers to help figure out which is best suited to your business. Here is a webpage to help you find small business lawyers in your area.
What to Ask Your Small Business Lawyer Before Your Hire Them
If you are considering meeting with a small business lawyer, here are some questions you can ask them to see if they are a good fit for you:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- Do you work with many small businesses in our industry?
- How can you help us grow and develop our business?
- What can you do that we can't do for ourselves?
- How often can we turn to you for legal counsel?
- Are there any areas of our small business that you are unfamiliar with?
Hire a Small Business Lawyer Today
Hiring a small business lawyer can be a great choice for your business. As with anything else, it's important to ensure that you're making the most of your investment by hiring the appropriate lawyer for your needs. If you aren't sure what type of small business lawyer you should work with, schedule a consultation with a few different lawyers in your area to see how they can assist you.