Running a small business requires big help: an accountant, an insurance agent, a mentor, and maybe even a partner, but do you really need a business attorney? There may be times when one may be necessary. Here are five scenarios in which you may need the services of a business lawyer.
1. You’re Deciding How to Structure Your Business
As a small business owner, one of the first things you have to do is decide how to structure it. Consulting with a business attorney gives you the guidance to determine whether you want to create a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, or nonprofit. This decision affects your tax obligations, setup fees and ongoing expenses, which is why it should not be taken lightly. In addition, a lawyer can help you file the necessary documents.
2. You’re Drafting or Negotiating a Contract
Chances of entering a contract while in business are high. An attorney can help you draft a clear and concise contract, ensure that there are no vague terms, keep your best business interests at heart, and add any additional language you may need. If the other party breaches the contract, an attorney can show you your options and prevent you from doing anything to harm your chances at recovering compensation.
3. You’re Dealing with Employee Issues
Employee-related issues are a big reason you may need a lawyer. Whether you hire employees or use independent contractors, there are specific laws you must adhere to like the timeliness and method of payment. If you work with an independent contractor, you must draft a work agreement, which a lawyer should review. Also, it’s best if you consult with an attorney before hiring or firing anyone so that you don’t put yourself at risk of being put in a lawsuit.
4. Environmental Issues That Your Business Faces
If environmental issues start arising around your company, you need to consult with a lawyer. Issues include manufacturing, waste disposal, development of raw issues and emissions. Even if you buy a piece of land, and later find out it was hazardous, enlisting the help of an employee can ensure the seller is responsible for the cleanup costs.
5. You are Selling Your Business or Buying One
If you’re buying a business, an attorney can help you with the more complex aspects of the transaction, such as the purchase agreements and permits and licenses. If you sell a business, an attorney can help you get the most value for your company, help vet buyers, and play a role in negotiations.