In the US, over 100 million cases are filed in state courts every year. As a business, the possibility of getting litigated by an employee, customer, partners or even the public is relatively moderate.
Whatever the case, it helps to get prepared by using a legal counsel for your small business. A good business lawyer will assist with just about every aspect of your business, including copyright, zoning compliance, recruitment, lawsuits, and liability.
In this post, we’re going to cover some of the reasons you need a business lawyer. Read on to learn more.
1. Structuring Your Business
If you’re just starting out as a new business, you need to determine your business structure. In this case, a vast knowledge of business formation laws is critical in making the right decisions. Typically, you have several options, including partnership, sole proprietorship, LLC, nonprofit, and corporation.
Your business structure determines your tax obligations, ongoing expenses, setup fees, and personal liabilities. You need to explain to your lawyer the kind of business you want. A good lawyer will take you through the different options and help you select the ideal structure.
They can also help you to complete and file all the essential documents for your new business.
2. Employee Litigations
As an employer, the last thing you want is to have to deal with employee litigations. Your current or former employees can decide to file a lawsuit against you for a variety of reasons.
Former employees can sue you for wrongful termination, workplace injuries, or job-related medical issues, such as exposure to asbestos. These cases are usually delicate and mishandling or overlooking them will only sore the situation.
Also, current employees can take you to court for workplace harassment and inequality, injury, long working hours, misconduct, and poor work environment. These cases can harm your reputation and be costly if you fail to use a legal counsel for your small business.
3. Hiring Employees
Hiring employees is not all about reviewing resumes and conducting reviews. When using independent contractors or employees, there are several laws you need to take into account. The last thing you want is to get in trouble with the IRS due to your poor hiring decisions.
When working with independent contractors, your agreement needs to be as clear as possible. Define how independent contractor pertains to your company and how you’re going to pay them for their services. Even if you boilerplate an agreement, make sure a lawyer reviews it before using it.
If you’re hiring employees, make sure your agreement defines their roles, working hours, and remuneration. In some cases, you may need your contractors and employees to sign non-disclosure agreement (NDA) forms. Plus, your hiring should not discriminate against people on the basis of race, religion, sex or political beliefs.
4. Creating a Solid Contract
You don’t need a lawyer to draft all your contracts. However, contracts you use to conduct business need to be written by an attorney. This is important to ensure all your interests are protected and prevent possible issues with your clients and partners.
Your lawyer should present your interests in a manner that your clients and vendors understand. In most cases, contract disputes usually arise due to the wording of the agreement. You’ll need a good lawyer to word and phrase your contract for every party to understand.
Also, before signing any contract with other businesses, you need a professional law firm, such as De Bruin Law Firm, to go through it to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
5. Environmental Issues
If you’re in the manufacturing or mining industry, then you need to know that there are laws that regulate your activities. Environmental laws can be quite harsh on you if you fail to adhere to them. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) keeps updating their regulations, which you need to know.
Environmental issues can arise from waste disposal, noise, manufacturing, and emissions. In some cases, you can be a victim of an environmental issue. For example, a neighboring business may be disposing their wastes near you. Or, you might buy a piece of land and later find out it has heaps of hazardous wastes.
You’ll need a legal counsel for your small business to navigate these issues.
6. Government Lawsuits
It’s possible to get sued or investigated by a local, state, or federal government entity. There are several reasons why government entities can look into your business, including tax issues, misleading consumer advertisements, and employee complaints.
If a government entity believes that a business has broken federal laws or is engaging in unscrupulous activities, then it can take the company to court.
These cases are normally known as civil litigations, and they never involve jail sentences in most cases. If your business is found guilty, you’ll need to pay a specified amount towards compensation. Paying these compensations can cripple your business operations.
As such, every coin you spend on a business lawyer can be worth it in the event of a government lawsuit.
7. Selling or Buying a Business
Do you want to buy or sell a business? Such transactions can be rather complicated and confusing especially when the deal is in another state. You need to learn more about transfer permits, business licenses, purchase and acquisition agreements, and business appraisal.
Most importantly, conducting due diligence to learn more about a business you want to buy is necessary. This is one of the things a good business lawyer can assist you with. During a sale, your attorney can vet buyers, make negotiations, and ensure correct stock transfers.
Legal Counsel for Your Small Business – The Takeaway
Some small business owners might see hiring an attorney as another cost burden. The truth is that dealing with legal issues and lawsuits can be costlier. A good legal counsel for your small business can really make a huge difference.
You can benefit from the lawyer’s experience and knowledge in handling different business issues. Also, your lawyer will help to ensure your business and its operations are compliant with the existing regulations, standards, and policies.
Do you have any thoughts about hiring and working with a business attorney? Don’t be afraid to share them with us in the comment section.