Many people feel like they do not need a business lawyer, at least until they are in trouble. That is when it is already too late. Every business, whether they’re small or big, needs legal expertise at different stages of work and while dealing with clients. Hiring a business lawyer can help you work efficiently and without any legal hassles while saving you a great deal of money that could go into fighting long legal battles, which is something that can be avoided easily with the right preparation.
A good business lawyer advises you on everything from obtaining business licences and permits to contract agreements or customer complaints. He/she is, in fact, of great benefit to startups or emerging businesses that cannot afford to lose money because of legal implications.
What Is a Business Lawyer?
Business law is also called mercantile law. It refers to the laws that govern dealings between people and business matters. A business lawyer ensures that no laws are violated during these dealings. Wrong decisions, unhappy clients, intellectual property theft, hiring the wrong employees, hurriedly drawn drafts and agreements, or non-compliance with state and federal laws can cause great damage to your businesses. They can spoil your reputation and bring big financial losses. A legal expert can help you prevent or mitigate such problems before they occur.
Why You May Need a Business Lawyer
When your business is new, or even if the doors are not even open yet, there are a lot of legal procedures that need to be sorted out before your business can get off the ground. These procedures can seem quite baffling, and any errors may cost you dearly in the future. Startups, especially, do not have a lot of money to spare for such unforeseen or unnecessary circumstances. A business lawyer can guide you every step of the way and ensure that your business has all the legal backing it needs to avoid getting sued by anyone.
Buying a Business
If this situation is where you are starting off, you know that there are many steps involved. A legal expert can help you with the evaluation of the business, make the purchase and acquisition agreements, and ensure the smooth transfer of permits and licenses.
As a new businessman, you would like to be in charge of the entire decision-making process. However, it is not easy for one person to understand liabilities, asset values, tax obligations, comply with local rules and regulations, or study the laws that govern employer-employee relationships. A business lawyer has expertise in more than one area and can take some of this burden off your shoulders. This allows you to focus on what you opened the business to do.
Filing a patent for a new product or service is a complicated and time-consuming process. Hiring a legal expert can expedite the process for you and get it done without any errors on your part.
It is way more cost effective and prudent to prevent lawsuits or complaints from clients or employees rather than dealing with them after the damage has been done. It is the work of a business lawyer to go through all the regulations that are put in place for smooth business operations and oversee your business decisions to avoid any future complications.
Compliance with State and Federal Laws
Understanding and complying with local business regulations is crucial, and because there are so many, it may be quite difficult for new business owners to research and adhere to all the rules. Whether your business dealings are interstate or outside the borders of the country, you’re purchasing or selling property outside the state, or you’re paying taxes, you need to be careful and ensure that you are not breaking the law in any region. Along with his/her legal expertise, a business lawyer can do the research for you, save you a lot of time, warn you if there are any discrepancies, and save you numerous financial hassles.
Businesses also require expertise and talent from other countries. In such cases, business and immigration laws go hand in hand. Understanding immigration laws allow businesses to hire people overseas as well as have employees visit various branches to contribute to particular projects. A legal expert will know how to best go about this without breaking any federal laws or overstepping any boundaries. Such a professional also ensures the safety of your employees, who trust you as a business owner, in order to keep them away from legal harm.
Drafting of Contracts
Businesses require contracts at every stage of functioning. It is wise to not do any work without a formal contract between the two parties, be it clients, employees, or business associates. Legal experts have a sound knowledge of all that must be included in contract drafts and negotiations. They often have templates that can be used, as well. However, these obviously need to be edited to suit the requirements of one particular business. It is best to leave the nitty-gritty to a business lawyer and focus on areas that need your attention.
Whether it is the hiring process, rules of payment, employee compensation, or the process of letting people go, a legal expert can prevent issues with employees by laying down all the required rules and regulations for a smooth hiring and firing process and keep you safe from expensive lawsuits.
In the case of manufacturing and sale of consumer goods, labor laws come into play, as well. Hiring a business lawyer will simplify the regulations for you so that you are able to put into place all the necessary hiring processes, comply with working conditions, distribution requirements and price control, or deal with compensations in case of accidents, whether they are natural or man-made.
Protection of Intellectual Property
For any business to thrive, it is required that their ideas, information about new products and services, marketing campaigns, and advertising campaigns remain confidential. Businesses must have the rights to own and use their ideas and property to profit them. A business lawyer will help your company register and enforce copyrights as well as prevent or deal with intellectual property theft.
How to Find a Good Business Lawyer
When you are setting up a new business, most of the people you are looking to work with are found through your personal contacts or references. While this is not a bad way to find business associates or potential employees, it is not completely safe. There are a few things to keep in mind that will help you find the right person for your commercial requirements.
Sift Through Personal Contacts
This is what most people do, and there is no harm in it. We prefer finding somebody that you personally know or a lawyer recommended by friends and family rather than calling up a total stranger. This is fine as long as you have them vetted out and check if they are able to deliver exactly the kind of work that you require
Use Online Legal Directories
In many states, the lawyer bar associations maintain an updated list of all the licensed legal practitioners in states, along with their area(s) of expertise. Legal help sites can come to your aid, but they are more generic in nature, and it is better to retain a lawyer you can approach all the time, as well as one who knows about your business, specifically. Additionally, one cannot trust all the reviews posted on these sites.
Know What You Want
You need to find a business lawyer that understands exactly what your business needs and how to go about getting it. It is better to seek out professional help based on an area of expertise, such as intellectual property, share trading, and labor laws. Determine why you need a legal expert and what his/her tasks will be for you. Once you shortlist a few lawyers, ask them the right questions to understand whether they are the right person for your business.
Interact and Enquire
Just reading and knowing the qualifications and area of a business lawyer’s expertise is not enough. It is important to interact with the lawyer you plan to hire. Ask him/her about their work experience, especially in your field of business, and for clients similar to you. Inquire why he/she is working in that domain, specifically, how they would go about working for you, how many people would be involved, how they charge, their mode of communication, possible conflicts of interest with your business, and if they can provide client references.
All businesses require legal expertise, but there are certain tasks, such as obtaining a business licence, applying for a loan or filing tax returns, that you can handle yourself. As a result, one need not spend money on these moves. However, the objective of hiring a good business lawyer is to save you time and money. Thus, it is necessary to consult with multiple lawyers before you choose the one that is right for you so that your choice works out in your budget, has the right approach, and one is available for you when you need advice. Having a business lawyer makes every task easy for you and ensures peace of mind.