How to Know If You Need a Lawyer
At some point, especially when starting up a new business, all businesses will need the advice of a lawyer. In the business world, having a knowledgeable, reputable lawyer is invaluable. There are a number of reasons a business should have legal representation, as a qualified attorney can help them avoid legal snares associated with employees, taxes, or litigation.
In some cases, you won't need a lawyer. For example, if you are going to incorporate, you don't necessarily need a lawyer for that - you can call the Secretary of State department or check a book out from the library for step-by-step instructions of how to go about it yourself.
However, most of the time it will be better in the long run to have an attorney to advise you in certain matters. Keep in mind that a lawyer's main purpose is dealing with law, so don't ask your lawyer for business advice unless it pertains to legalities. So how do you know if you need a lawyer? The following are a few of the more common reasons for hiring a lawyer:
1. Contracts. Contracts require a thorough understanding of the law and cannot be drafted by just anyone. Your business will need a lawyer to prepare the standard contracts you will need for your dealings with customers, clients and suppliers, and employees. In addition, a lawyer is useful for helping you understand and decipher contracts clients or customers want you to sign.
2. Organizing the business. While you don't need a lawyer to go through each step of incorporating, you will most likely need a lawyer's services when deciding which is a better way of organizing your business, be in a corporation or limited liability company (LLC). From there, if you choose, your lawyer will help you prepare the paperwork.
3. Real estate. Unless your business is run out of your home, you will need a lawyer to help advise you in real estate matters, especially when it comes to commercial leasing and renting, which is much more complicated than residential real estate contracts. Your attorney should have documents that can help benefit you and save you money through the process of commercial leasing.
4. Taxes and licensure. When it comes to taxes, your accountant will be the one to prepare and file your business tax returns. However, your lawyer will be responsible for registering federal and state tax ID numbers, as well as be able to advise you in some areas regarding taxes and licensure.
5. Copyrights. In some cases, you will need a lawyer who is knowledgeable regarding trademark, copyright, and patent laws. This is particularly helpful if your business has to do with media, design, or other such creative ventures. Even if your lawyer is not adept at this type of law, he certainly has contacts he can refer you to.
A lawyer is one of the most valuable resources you will have as a business owner. There are many aspects to starting a business that you will not have the knowledge or resources to handle on your own, so a good lawyer who will work hard for you is necessary.
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