I Started my Business, Do I Really Need to Hire a Lawyer?
You did it! You are finally preparing to launch the business you have been working so hard on! I’m sure the budget is tight, so do you really need to hire an attorney? Or will your money be better spent elsewhere? The answer is an attorney is critical to a new business and the money will be well spent. Below we will discuss why hiring an attorney prior to launching the business can save you money, time and stress.
1. Starting a Business is Risky, What Can an Attorney Help Me With?
Entrepreneurs put their sweat, tears and soul into their companies and many think
that they would never risk that over something as simple as breaking the law.
However, even the most conscious entrepreneur needs an attorney to help them navigate the “back side of the business”. Even the simplest startup needs attorneys to help them deal with 1) the government; 2) third parties (including the public); and 3) each other. When it comes to dealing with the government, an attorney will help ensure that you are not violating any laws including creating an unnecessary tax liability. You may think that a partnership is the correct entity for your business but for tax reasons maybe an LLC is better. Launching a business is a very busy time and hiring an attorney to take care of the incorporation paperwork will take the uncertainty out of the equation. Interacting with third parties and the public incurs risk, hiring an attorney can help minimize that risk by providing recommendations on policies and contracts for vendors. While everyone likes each other when the business launches, it is common for partners to become bitter and dislike each other because expectations are not clearly stated. An attorney will establish the rights and expectations of the business partners up front so there is no confusion down the road. When starting a business, you have so much going on it is worth its weight in gold to hire an expert to help you with the brass tacks of launching your business so you can rest assured that your legal ducks are lined up in a row.
2. Legal Advice Comes with a BIG Price Tag
A common misconception is that attorneys come with a huge price tag and the entrepreneur simply cannot afford the attorney’s services. What may seem like a daunting task for you may be a simple task for the attorney which means it will not cost you an arm and a leg. Additionally, a lawyer may have a flat rate or a package deal for new businesses; this means that you can get sound legal advice at an affordable rate. A third option for entrepreneurs is to give the attorney a retainer and when that is used you can decide if you need the attorney’s services or if you have what you need. The last point is that while hiring an attorney may seem expensive now getting slapped with an unexpected tax bill or being sued over a poorly written contract is significantly more expensive than the attorney’s hourly fee.
3. Lawyers Only Speak in Legalese
Many people are intimidated to hire a lawyer because they are afraid that the lawyer will not be able to explain things in laymen’s terms. Lawyers are there to serve you, the client. If you cannot communicate effectively with your attorney then you need to find a different attorney. A good lawyer will be able to lay out all of your options in terms you will understand that way you are confident in your decisions and understand why the attorney is doing what they are doing. Additionally, you as the client needs to make sure that the lawyer understands your business and your goals to ensure that the advice being given aligns with these goals. A good attorney can take a complicated matter and simplify it into terms that you, the business owner can understand.
While it may seem daunting to hire an attorney before launching your business, but it is a sound investment in the long run. Finding the attorney that you are comfortable with and can communicate easily with is essential. Your attorney may become one of your most essential team members as you navigate the success and challenges of owning your own business.