Having legal counsel is crucial when you’re starting a business, regardless of how big it is. It’s important to have your legal ducks in a row when you start so you know the legal ins and outs of your industry, and at the same time, you can make sure that every step you’re taking is above board. Legal counsel may not always be taken into account when developing a financial plan, especially for start-ups and small businesses, but it’s always a worthy investment. Here are the reasons why having general counsel is an invaluable part of starting and running a business.
Government and legal requirements
The last thing business owners and entrepreneurs want to do is violate any laws from the onset. They need to be sure that they’re conducting business in a way that meets their state’s legal requirements, and at the same time, doesn’t create any form of tax liability.
Speaking of taxes, start-ups and small businesses would benefit from having a lawyer help them know the tax consequences of every financial venture. You need a lawyer to help you make sure that your business is always in compliance with your local, federal, and state tax requirements so that you won’t suffer the financial and legal consequences in the long run.
One of the things you will be doing a lot when you start your business is looking over contracts—real estate contracts if you’re planning on renting out an office or a workspace, employee contracts, contract agreements with suppliers, and many others. A lawyer can help you go over every contract you draft or sign to ensure that every term and condition makes sense for your business.
As an entrepreneur, you need to realize that running a business involves taking personal responsibility for things that could go wrong. That’s why it’s important to have some form of liability insurance coverage, and a lawyer could help you with that. An attorney can help guide your business towards helping you mitigate potential damages in the future while at the same time helping you sort through the kind of insurance coverage you need.
Even if your company is smaller in scale than others, you will still most likely have to deal with debt as it’s a part of running a business. When done right, debts can even be good for your company. Having a lawyer can help you keep your debts at a manageable level and, at the same time, can help you explain the legal technicalities involved.
Many businesses require thorough research to make sure that they’re not violating intellectual property laws. Even if you feel like your product or service is innovative and has never been done before, you still need to make sure that you file the right patents and copyrights for your creation. You also need to protect your brand identity (name, logo, tagline, and others).
Employee management and policies
Especially in COVOD-19, employers have a duty and responsibility to make sure that employees are working in a safe and healthy environment. In the past few months, families of people who have succumbed to COVID-19 have hired wrongful death attorneys to sue the companies for failing to protect their loved ones from the virus. If you want to protect your company and your team from the same fate, you need the help of legal experts to help you come up with policies that protect both parties.
Business owners always need to be ready to fight for their interests when a dispute arises. Unfortunately, it’s common for businesses big and small to encounter different kinds of disputes. An attorney can help you level the playing field if you encounter conflict with a party or entity with more resources than you. In some cases, just mentioning that you have legal representation can already work in your favor.
When a business becomes bigger and key people decide to exit the company, an attorney can help with such exit’s legal and financial implications, giving all parties the best possible deal. All business exit strategies require competent negotiation, tax planning, and compliance with legal and technical requirements, and companies would need the help of legal counsel to achieve this.
The Bottom Line
All types of businesses need legal counsel to conduct operations properly, deal with various situations that need legal and technical know-how, and have a level of protection and guidance. So think of it as a worthy and crucial investment for the success of your company.