You might greet the prospect of hiring a lawyer for your business with one simple thought: What’s that going to cost us?
And yes, it’s unlikely you will find a business lawyer willing to work for free. There are also some things you can handle on your own, such as:
- Crafting a business plan
- Reserving a domain name for your business’ web page
- Applying for permits and licenses
- Submitting IRS forms
But hiring an attorney can save your company money in the long term. Here’s how:
1. An attorney can help you find the appropriate structure for your business
Are you a partnership? A sole proprietorship? A limited liability company (LLC)? An attorney can help you decide which designation is the most appropriate for your business.
Finding the right legal entity for your business is a vital decision. The type of structure you choose can affect how you pay taxes and the amount you pay, as well as your exposure to liability.
2. An attorney can help you navigate business transactions
You’re about to sign a contract, and the other party has brought their own attorney. When you have your own business lawyer at your side, you can make sure you understand all the terms of the contract. You’ll also have a skilled negotiator in your corner, and someone who can take measures to reduce the chance for a dispute to go to trial.
3. An attorney can make sure you’re adhering to state and federal employment laws
When you’re hiring or firing employees or independent contractors, a business lawyer can make sure you’re complying with state and federal employment laws. Classifying an employee or contractor incorrectly can result in penalties from the government.
Other situations where it will help to have an attorney on your side include:
- Employees – current or former – suing you on grounds that you discriminated against them or created a hostile work environment.
- Government entities – local, state or federal – filing a complaint or opening an investigation into your company.
- Your company is involved – even tangentially – in an environmental issue.
- You’ve decided to sell your company, or acquire another business or its assets.
In any of these cases, the business attorneys at Benner and Wild can help.
Are you creating, buying or selling a business? We understand the detailed level of care you need to take before making this sort of transaction. Our team has an excellent grasp on the issues business owners face in these situations.
We can also guide you on preparing shareholder agreements for corporations, operating agreements for LLCs and partnership agreements for limited and general business partnerships.
These agreements are all vital to the orderly transition of control of businesses and to provide appropriate buyout terms in the case of a dispute.
Finally, we work with our business clients to find creative solutions to problems that arise from internal disputes, and believe in addressing these issues head on.