In most cases, lawsuits are preventable if legal advice is sought regularly. The fee an attorney will charge to keep you out of trouble is significantly less than the fees accrued in a lawsuit and in settlement. Most businesses utilize a business law attorney for the following:
Contracts: An attorney who can understand your business and industry quickly and prepare the standard form contracts you will need with customers, clients and suppliers is a critical component of ensuring all of the legal contracts generated from your business are legally binding and clearly stated. An attorney can also aid in responding to contracts that other people will want you to sign. Careful review of these contracts is critical in ensuring your business is treated fairly and isn't contractually obligated for an unwanted service.
Business Organizations: The first and most crucial decision any business owner will make is how to organize their business formation. An attorney who can help decide what the best option would be for your business, whether a corporation or limited liability company (LLC), is one of the top reasons business owners initially seek legal advice.
Real Estate: Commercial leases are highly complex and commonly drafted to benefit the landlord. Many business owners make the mistake of assuming that commercial leases are non-negotiable because they are often boilerplate documents. - This is not true. Once given the opportunity to review the contract, a business attorney may be able to draft addendums which benefit the tenant to add to the lease.
Taxes and License: Although your accountant prepares and files your business tax returns each year, your attorney registers your business for federal and state tax identification numbers (TIN).
Intellectual Property: Depending on the industry you work in, you may require assistance registering your products and services for federal trademark and copyright protection.
Employee Termination / Discrimination: Every business encounters employees who for whatever reason don't work for the long term goals of the business. If your business is concerned with potential consequences for terminating an employee, a business attorney can help.
Investigations:If a disgruntled customer or employee files a complaint with a government entity claiming that your business has violated a law a business attorney will need to be consulted and retained.
Special Allocations: Profits, losses, and appreciated property may be specially allocated to your partnership or LLC agreement.
Environmental Concerns: If an environmental issue arises and your business is involved (even if your business didn't cause the environmental problem, you may be penalized). An attorney can aid in navigating and settling any unresolved problems.
Sales and Mergers: An attorney can be particularly useful in negotiating the sale or your company or in acquiring another company or its assets.
A business attorney provides critical assistance in almost every aspect of your business, from zoning compliance, copyright and trademark advice, to formal business incorporation, lawsuits, and liability. It is common for small businesses to procrastinate hiring a lawyer until they have been served with a Summons and Complaint - this is a HUGE mistake! The appropriate time to hire a business attorney is before a lawsuit ensues. Once served with a Summons and Complaint, it's too late. Damage has already been done, liability assessed and it's becomes a question of how much you will need to pay (in court costs, attorneys' fees, settlements and other expenses) to settle the lawsuit. Even when settled, a lawsuit is still public record and available for anyone - including prospective customers to view.
THE IGG LAW FIRM