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The question “Do I need an attorney to start a business?” is  frequently asked by people starting a business, entrepreneurs, and/or other  business owners.  Hiring an attorney is important to your business, no matter if you just started your business, own an existing  business, or are thinking of starting a business.

Why is it important to have an attorney as part of your business plan?  Many business owners assume multi functions within their business and  often make the mistake of doing everything themselves which  takes time away from their business goals. Hiring an attorney not only assists you in understanding and preventing legal issues that arise everyday whether there is an employment issue, vendor or other business contract, shareholder or partnership agreement.  Bottom line:  you may not even recognize a legal issue or be able to prevent a legal issue affect your business unless you have an attorney who is able to guide and advise you.

If you’re considering hiring an attorney to help you start a business, make a list of what needs to get done and determine who would be best to handle it. But keep in mind that there are specific reasons why you may need one.

Identify the best business structure for your company

Since there are different types of business formations, a business lawyer is able to guide you as to what type of entity may suit your business purposes.  For instance, you  may elect to form a corporation, professional association, or limited liability corporation.  Each entity has different legal and tax implications.    .

Perhaps  the best legal advice that a business lawyer can provide, from the outset,  is how to properly set up your business to minimize your taxes and business liabilities. An attorney can show you the advantages and disadvantages of various business structures so that you can choose the right one for your circumstances.

In order to avoid costly mistakes by choosing a corporate entity that does not align with your business purpose or constituency,  it is important to  hire a (INSERT GEO TERMS ) business lawyer to help with your initial corporate setup.

Prepare a draft of the partnership agreement

Businesses often begin with a partner or partners who each bring their own special skills to the business. A lawyer can draft a partnership agreement that clearly defines the rights and responsibilities of each partner.

In addition, it is important to consider how a partnership may change as the company grows (i.e., when one partner wishes to leave the company). Again, a business attorney can assist with this process as well as help  avoid future disputes.

Intellectual property should be protected

Depending upon the product, the creation of a new product or invention should be protected by a patent. The creation of a brand name, logo, or slogan may also necessitate a trademark.

A business attorney is able to discuss with you the potential need for protecting the product, invention, and overall   brand by guiding you to an intellectual property lawyer who will  assist you in protecting your intellectual rights.

Draft Contracts and Business Formation Agreements

When you start a business, you typically file articles of incorporation or organization depending upon the type of business you form.  Other documents pertinent to starting a corporation include an operating agreement or bylaws.  Should you form a limited liability corporation, you typically will have a management agreement.  A business attorney can assist you in drafting these documents.

Other contracts which a business lawyer handles include employee agreements such as  confidentiality or non-compete agreements, nondisclosure and nonsolicitation agreements amongst others.

In addition to formation and employment contracts, a business lawyer can assist you with contracts that occur in your business every day.  Such contracts include, but are not limited to,  sales contracts, delivery agreements, vendor agreements, and equipment leases.

Developing employment and independent contractor agreements

In the event that you have employees, it is important that employment agreements clarify the terms of the working relationship. Furthermore, you will want to avoid potential lawsuits in the event that you need to discipline or terminate an employee.

There are a myriad of employment related issues that arise within the workplace.  As a result, by having the proper agreements, including but not limited to employment agreements, nonsoliciation and nondisclosure agreements, probationary agreements, and confidentiality agreements, a business owner may avoid issues later.

Aside from employment agreements, a business attorney is able to draft an independent contractor agreement for those individuals to whom you outsource work.  Discussing, again, the needs of your business with a business lawyer not only provides you with proactive advice and agreements, but also piece of mind that you have the guidance of an attorney assisting you in the development of your business.

Review Commercial Lease Agreements

Leasing office or warehouse space?  Buying property?  A business attorney will  review commercial lease agreement or purchase agreement  so that the terms of the agreements are what your objectives are.

Most of the time, your business r lawyer will need to  negotiate on your behalf in both situations,  If you decide to lease, your business lawyer will discuss with you terms which you wish to have in the renewal of your lease and  then negotiate with the landlord.

Ensure that your personal assets are protected from business liabilities

By having competent legal counsel who is knowledgeable and has business expertise, you may be able to p protect your personal assets from potentially  business liabilities. A business lawyer can advise you on business formation, business agreements, and overall business strategy to proactively protect you from potential lawsuits and claims.

Prevent lawsuits

Strong  business lawyers  are able to  review your business operations and advise you on how to protect your business from potential liability. Many times business owners enter into contracts that do not have all the necessary protections or the business owner may not understand all of the terms within the agreement.

Ensure compliance with federal and state laws

It is the responsibility of a business lawyer to stay up-to-date on changes in federal and state laws that may affect your business. Therefore, we may help you ensure that your business remains compliant with current regulations.

The Best Way to Find a Lawyer

When hiring a business lawyer, you may wish to  inquire about experience, rates, and responsiveness.

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