Finding a Lawyer Who’s Right for Your Small Business

If you’re a small business owner, or if you’re in the process of opening a new business, chances are you have a lot on your plate. Hiring and maintaining employees, branding and marketing your business, and advertising your product can often take up the majority of your time. In some cases, you might need help with the legal aspects of setting up and maintaining your business.

Working with a lawyer to help with your business can allow you to focus on other aspects of your business so you don’t have to spend time learning — and worrying — about the legal process. Whether you’re just starting out, or if you’ve been in business for quite some time, it might be a good idea to hire a lawyer for a variety of reasons.

Business Formation

While not entirely essential, you may want to consider hiring a business lawyer to help with the formation of your business. Depending on the state in which you live, you may or may not need to register your business. If you are not required to register your business with the state, you most likely will not need a lawyer, but if you are opening a business partnership, limited liability company (LLC) or corporation, you will need to register your business and might consider hiring a lawyer to help.

If your business startup is somewhat complicated, or if there are multiple partners involved, you most likely will want to hire a lawyer who can help you with any legal documents or forms you may need. Not only can a business lawyer help with other tasks, such as trademarking, leasing agreements, and incorporation forms, but he or she can also provide you with a little piece of mind while you get your business off the ground.

Employee and Other Business Agreements

When you first get started, you may be the only employee of your small business. As your business grows, and you begin to hire more employees, a business lawyer can help you draft specific documents related to your employees. In some cases, these agreements, such as employee contracts, non-disclosure agreements and non-compete agreements, might require specific language outlining the details of the contract or agreement.

In addition to your employees, you might need to form legal agreements and contracts between your business and other entities, including other businesses and your clients. These types of agreements are often used to protect a business from having proprietary information stolen or to avoid any potential future disputes.

Intellectual Property

In some cases, you might need to legally protect any intellectual property connected to your business. This might include your company’s name, logo, and any other assets entitled to copyright protection. Proprietary designs, computer software, and formulas may be eligible for trademark registration. Likewise, company-produced products, processes and methods may be covered legally through patents. A lawyer who is experienced in business law can help you understand what may or may not need to be protected and help you through the registration process.

Development of Crisis Plans and Exit Strategies

Emergencies can happen at any time without prior warning. Having a crisis plan in place can help business owners and employees handle the situation more efficiently should a crisis or emergency occur. Depending on the complexity of your business, you might need a lawyer to help you understand any legal issues that may arise during and after a crisis.

In addition to helping with the start of your business, a business lawyer can help you develop a company exit strategy should the business dissolve. If one or more business partners decides to leave the business, an exit strategy can also provide specific guidelines for the remaining business owners or shareholders.

How Can an Attorney Help with My Business?

It depends on your specific needs as a business owner. Large businesses and corporations with shareholders will most likely need a lawyer for reasons a smaller business would not. As a small business owner, it’s best that you look at the needs of your business before deciding to hire a lawyer.

If something seems too complicated or too demanding of your time, you might consider hiring a lawyer who can help you understand the specific needs of your business. In some cases, you may want to learn the process yourself.