As an entrepreneur, it’s important to be aware of the range of tasks you will have to handle on your own, especially if you are in charge of a small business. From dealing with marketing to hiring new employees, you should know which parts of running a company you can do yourself and which you might have to outsource.
While some things you can learn over time, others are better left to professionals. The legal aspect of your company is something that, in most cases, you should hire experts for. With that in mind, here is a guide for when and how you should hire a business lawyer.
When is the right time to hire a business lawyer?
You’ll be happy to hear that you won’t need an attorney on every step of your business journey. For instance, you are perfectly capable of filing various tax forms and other documents when it comes to registering your company.
There are many matters that are very straightforward that you can handle without spending huge amounts of money. On the other hand, it is vital that you know when it’s time to get legal counsel. What is more, you want to have a lawyer on your side before you find yourself facing a lawsuit.
What are the issues to consider consulting a lawyer?
While certain things you will be able to handle on your own, you might run into some trouble. If you are not sure what to do, it’s best to consult a lawyer on how to proceed. Issues like these include:
- Writing a detailed business plan
- Researching available business names and choosing the right one
- Looking into and purchasing a domain name
- Submitting permits and licenses you might need
- Obtaining and filing the necessary tax forms and dealing with audits
- Hiring employees and independent contractors
- Drafting contracts of all sorts
Which issues do you need a lawyer for?
On the other hand, some issues that will be too complex for you to handle on your own should be dealt with by experienced small business lawyers. This is the best course of action, seeing as how if you don’t know what you are doing, you can compromise the integrity of your company. Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney when:
- Deciding on a business entity
- Raising funds for your business and selling equity
- Composing and reviewing founder agreements and various contracts
- Dealing with employee issues, laws, and lawsuits
- Looking to protect your intellectual property
- Negotiating sales and acquisitions
How do you hire a business lawyer?
Once you find yourself in a situation where you need professional help, you will want to hire the best lawyers possible. You want someone experienced in business law who can handle various issues you might encounter.
If they are not familiar with this field of law, it might have disastrous consequences. What you want to do is look into your options and narrow down your choice to a few law firms to see which one is the best fit.
If possible, see who their clients are and check out their testimonials. Then, set up a meeting with each of them to ask more questions such as who would be in charge of handling your business’s legal work, how much experience they have with companies like yours, and so on. You also want to check out their fee structure.
It’s possible that the initial meeting will be free of charge but once you hire them, you need to know whether they charge a flat fee, an hourly fee, or a monthly retainer fee.
Where to look for an attorney?
If you are not really sure where to look for a reliable lawyer, there are several paths you can take. Of course, you can use the internet to help you with your search. Most quality firms have websites, which means that you can easily find them by performing a quick Google search and checking out their offer.
They should list all the areas they work in and perhaps some testimonials. All that’s left to do is schedule an appointment. On the other hand, if any of your friends and acquaintances are running a business, you can ask for a recommendation.
Remember, however, that personal lawyers who handle family and estate law will not be best suited to your needs.
As you can see, while there are things you can handle on your own, it would be best to consult and hire a lawyer to ensure the success of your company.
Mike is an Australian business consulting specialist. He’s working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. He often writes about technology, business, and marketing and is a regular contributor to several sites.