You can’t escape them. Sooner or later you are going to have to face them. If you are serious about running a successful business, chances are you will need the expertise of an attorney.
The following are some ways in which a lawyer can help an entrepreneur:
1. Form Of Organization
A lawyer can help you decide the kind of organization that is ideal for your company and assist you with the necessary paperwork, whether you are just starting your business or have been in business for awhile. The kind you choose may affect many aspects of your company, including estate planning, tax planning and liability in litigation.
2. Commercial Leases
A lawyer can review your lease to make certain that it fairly allocates rights and duties between lessor and lessee and that it covers the majority of the situations that may cause trouble in the future. By way of example, many leases don’t include provisions allocating responsibility for repair of improvements and for upgrades to comply with new building codes.
As with commercial leases, a lawyer can assist with drafting and/or reviewing contracts to assure that they comply with applicable laws, that they are fair and that they anticipate issues that could be caused by such things as price fluctuations, bankruptcy or natural disasters. Attorneys can also offer negotiating tips and strategies to entrepreneurs and help them through acquisitions, partnerships or IPOs.
4. Employer/Employee Relationships
This aspect of your company includes hiring, firing, working conditions, sick time, overtime, medical leave, employee benefits, and an employee’s privacy rights. A lawyer can assist with inspection and/or drafting of employee contracts, can assist you to create employment policies and can make sure that your company is complying with employment laws.
Attorneys can also provide advice to keep entrepreneurs from future legal troubles, such as job-discrimination suits.
5. Estate Planning
If you die without a will or trust dictating what should happen to your personal assets, these assets will probably remain in your family anyway, moving to a partner or a child. Unfortunately, depending upon your kind of organization, the legal system may not know what to do with your business when you die if you haven’t set your plans in writing. The administrator of your estate may be made to sell off any assets of the company and allow your employees go, even when you wanted your company to continue after your death. The solution would be do some estate planning for your company.
6. Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual property includes trade secrets and trademarks, as well as copyrights and patents. Something as straightforward as a customer list may be a trade secret if its confidentiality is maintained. A lawyer may be able to assist you identify and protect your intellectual property rights.
7. Financing And Credit
As with other sorts of contracts, you may want to have a lawyer review loan agreements. In addition, a lawyer may be able to advise you about the laws regulating debt-collection practices.
Both federal and state laws restrict unfair and deceptive advertising practices and prohibit discrimination in advertisements. By way of example, a product typically may not be labeled”new” after six months, you may not advertise a”fire sale” unless your company has had a passion, and you may not have a”going-out-of-business sale” unless your organization is really shutting its doors. A lawyer can review any proposed advertising to assure it complies with applicable laws.
You probably know that you ought to seek legal assistance if you want to sue or are being sued. What many folks don’t realize is that they have a far greater chance of avoiding litigation should they seek timely advice from a lawyer.