When you are just starting up a new business, you naturally want to keep expenditure as low as possible. After all, the whole idea is to make as much profit as you possibly can! However, this means that many do not hire a lawyer until they are in a legal mess – and that is when it can get stressful, complicated, and even more expensive. It is a good idea to have at least got in touch with a lawyer at the very beginning because even the best-run businesses sometimes need some expert help. Here are four scenarios when your business might need a lawyer:
Patents, copyrights, and trademarks
If you have a product that you believe is entirely unique, you will probably want to patent it or claim a trademark for it as soon as possible, to stop anyone else from copying it. Trademarks in the USA can be complicated, but a lawyer would be able to guide you through the process and make sure that you are not breaking any laws. It also goes for if you are ever accused of copying someone else’s ideas!
Most business ventures deal with contracts on an almost daily basis, whether they be with suppliers, real estate, employees, clients, and customers. It is important to let a lawyer draft these contracts, or at the very least, give them a check over before the two parties sign them to make sure your business interests are well protected and that you have not overlooked something that could prove expensive in the future.
Business duties and obligations
Simply starting up a company can be complicated enough, particularly if you are entering into business with someone else. Even if you decide to do it yourself, you will more than likely need a lawyer to help you with tax obligations, set up fees, liabilities, applying for and renewing licenses, and all of the other legal work involved in establishing a company. Leaving these tasks to a qualified lawyer means that you know they are all done correctly and gives you much more time to work on growing your business.
Employee and partner exits and disputes
If you are in partnership with other people in the business or employ a team of staff, at some point, someone will want to leave. Similarly, a partner in your firm may die or become too unwell to work anymore. Likewise, this may happen in a business where there is just one proprietor – someone will need to take over or wind it up. There can also be disputes – perhaps over pay or employee rights, and a lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take.
Retaining a lawyer might not be a priority, especially in the beginning when funds are limited, but it really is an essential. You never quite know when you are going to need to protect your business!