Why You Need a Business Lawyer
The most important reason to consult a business lawyer from the start is that it protects you from future situations in which you might lose substantially more than what you would have paid a lawyer in the first place. In the worst case scenarios you may find yourself in situations where you could lose everything due to poorly-worded contracts or articles of incorporation. More commonly, investing in good legal advice upfront will protect your business in the long run by saving you from headaches, hassles, and unnecessary expenses down the road.
Which Option is More Cost-Effective in the Long Run?
The initial appeal of do-it-yourself downloadable legal templates is clear. No one wants to spend money that they don’t have to, especially upfront when budgets are particularly tight. However, further inspection reveals that entrepreneurs will come out ahead by not adding legal duties to their own checklist of responsibilities. It’s a classic case of knowing just enough to get yourself into trouble, because you understand the boilerplate contract…but there may be significant loopholes and exposed vulnerabilities without a carefully-crafted contract tailored to your specific needs, in your state. Only a legal expert can advise you as to what’s missing and what could be improved. Trying to cut corners on something so important can easily end up costing more to fix later on than it would have to simply consult a lawyer in the first place.
According to this Forbes.com article, there are three key areas that start-ups commonly need legal help with:
- Ensuring compliance and minimizing unnecessary tax liability.
- Controlling risk in interactions with other parties such as: customers, suppliers, users, employees, and the general public.
- Managing expectations and rights of founders in a multiple-founder environment.
Other areas where a business lawyer often assists start ups:
- Corporate formation and selection of structure
- Raising capital / Financing
- Hiring employees
- Website / Customer / Employee / Vendor agreements and contracts
- Strategic business advice
- Commercial disputes
- Disputes amongst founders
- Day-to-day legal issues
- Protecting intellectual property
- Real estate
- Taxes and licenses
- Exit strategies
If you’re starting to see how hiring a business lawyer makes great sense for the success of your business, you may be wondering how you can determine what makes a business lawyer good, and specifically good for you.
A good business lawyer is one who:
- Understands the world of business and the relationships underlying the legal documents.
- Is able to take a creative approach to problem solving and find legally-compliant paths to the desired solution, instead of just saying, “No, you can’t do that.”
- Understands your needs, goals, business approach, and your tolerance for risk.
- Can anticipate future legal hassles and help you avoid them.