For many small businesses with little to no extra capital to work with, hiring a lawyer is often out of the question. “The rates are too high, and I don’t even need a lawyer’s help right now,” many business owners would say. However, the cost of hiring a lawyer now is much, much smaller than what it would cost when you run into legal trouble in the future. And even if you think that your chances of getting sued are low, you can never be sure.
So the only question remaining is: when should you hire an attorney for your business?
There are certain instances that are too complex, tedious, or risky for a business owner to handle on their own, and thus, hiring a lawyer from a reputable law firm is a must. Here are some of the most common examples of such instances:
When you are creating contracts
Creating contracts for your business is often a confusing and time-consuming task, especially if you are not well-versed with contracts in the first place. There can be confusing clauses in a contract that you may not understand completely, which can put you in hot water after your client, vendor, or employee signs it. For this reason, hiring a business lawyer is essential when it comes to drafting contracts. They will be able to clarify confusing parts of a contract and guide you through the legalities, which will help protect you and your business from trouble in the future.
When you’re being investigated
Getting investigated is perhaps one of the scariest experiences for any business owner. To the best of your knowledge, you’ve been complying with the laws on both the federal and local levels, so why are you being investigated? But that’s exactly the problem — ”the best of your knowledge” may not be enough to ensure that you’re in perfect compliance.
Having a business lawyer to guide you through major business decisions, especially taxes, can help prevent compliance issues and minimize the risk of getting investigated. But when you’re already being investigated, get in contact with a business lawyer as soon as possible to minimize potential losses for your business.
When incorporating your business
In business incorporation, there is no room for error if you want to avoid getting sued. And since the process can be quite complex and confusing for the average business owner, hiring a lawyer familiar with incorporation is a must, not only to avoid legal trouble but also to finish the process as swiftly as possible.
When filing a patent
Protecting your business’s unique ideas, products, and services with patents helps protect them from getting stolen by other companies. However, the process of filing a patent can be expensive and time-consuming do alone, which is not feasible for many busy business owners.
If you want to file a patent, it’s better to get the help of an experienced business lawyer instead of going DIY. Doing this will speed up the process, as well as increase your chances of getting approved.
When buying or leasing property
Buying or leasing property for your business is another tedious task that requires a lot of your time to accomplish with minimal hitches. Property contracts tend to be long, complex, and full of legal speak that you may not be familiar with. Moreover, they are usually in favor of the seller or landlord of the property, which may put you in a losing position.
Protect yourself and your business by hiring a business lawyer to look over the contracts with you. In doing so, you can ensure that you’re not falling into a trap when you buy or lease the property. Furthermore, a business lawyer can help you negotiate with the seller or landlord, particularly regarding the prices and the terms of the contract.
When you are being sued
Having legal safety measures in place is a good business practice, but it won’t give you 100% protection against lawsuits. If you get sued, you need an experienced business lawyer to get you out of trouble or minimize your potential losses.
Even if you don’t expect to get sued, it’s important to have a business lawyer on standby if you encounter a lawsuit. As opposed to scrambling for a lawyer at the last minute, having already built a good professional relationship with one will help keep the situation manageable.
There are many steps in business that don’t require the help of a business lawyer. Still, there are some aspects wherein a legal professional’s presence is essential, such as the ones mentioned above. If you encounter any of these situations, contact a business lawyer right away. Better yet, have a business lawyer on standby even if you don’t expect legal trouble to happen.