When you start a business, you may wear many different hats, including that of a lawyer. However, you need to hire professionals to ensure you focus on your business goals. Hiring a qualified and experienced lawyer ensures you can hasten your progress and gives you access to legal talent and expertise.
A lawyer frees up your time while protecting you from unwanted legal action, liability, and debts. Even if the legal fees seem daunting, bringing in an expert saves you time and money while allowing you to make the best decisions for your business.
When Should You Hire a Business Lawyer?
Typically, small businesses will hire a lawyer when:
Choosing a Business Entity
At the start of your business, you need to choose the ideal ownership structure for your needs. Some states offer information on the Secretary of State’s website to guide you on which entities you can choose, including:
- Sole proprietorship
- Non-profit organizations
Each business entity has different tax, legal, and financial implications. A business lawyer can guide you through the different considerations.
Choosing a Business Name
Before choosing a business name, you must ensure that no other entity uses or has trademarked the name. A business attorney can help you research the name you choose to ensure your brand is protected from financial and legal trouble. You should also be careful not to infringe on another business’s trademark, as you may project the wrong image to your target audience.
Similarly, you must choose a name representing your image across different platforms, including your business website. In addition to researching your business name, a lawyer can also help you protect your intellectual property through trademark research.
Registering Your Business
Once you have settled on a business name, a lawyer can help you register it under DBA in your state. Depending on your business structure, your lawyer can also help you create the required legal documents, such as partnership agreements and file certificates of incorporation.
Small businesses often need specific legal documents to operate legally and have different registration requirements. A lawyer can help you acquire these documents and meet the registration requirements, such as getting an employer identification number.
Applying for Licenses and Permits
As a new entrepreneur, you might need to learn the regulatory requirements for your new business. Hiring an experienced lawyer in your sector can help you learn the permits and licenses necessary to operate your business.
Your lawyer will guide you through the different rules and requirements in your city or state. They can also research the federal permits required and contact the local business license agency, freeing up your time so you can focus on how to maximize your profits. In some cases, your lawyer can also help you apply for zoning permits and trade-specific licenses.
Drafting Contracts and Business Agreements
Many businesses have partners and investors who bring different talents to the enterprise. Hiring a lawyer when drafting contracts and business agreements can help you reach a fair agreement on outlined rights and responsibilities.
Your contracts must also state how the partnership changes as the business grows. For instance, one partner might want to leave the business, while another may want to sell, merge, or acquire another entity.
An attorney will help you define the relationship clearly and avoid future conflict. They can also draft business bylaws, operation agreements, non-compete or confidentiality agreements, sales contracts, equipment leases, and delivery agreements.
Having your lawyer review and update these documents regularly is also essential to save you time and money in the future.
Drafting Independent Contractor and Employment Contracts
As your business grows, you might need to hire employees. A lawyer can help you draft employment agreements that define the terms of your working agreement. Such documents protect you from lawsuits if you need to terminate or discipline employees.
Should you outsource specific responsibilities to an independent contractor, a lawyer can also help you draft an agreement explaining the terms of your engagement.
This ensures that the contractor can deliver on the agreed terms and protects you in case of a legal dispute.
What Does a Lawyer Do for a New Business?
In addition to the above, a new business needs a lawyer for numerous services. For instance, they can help you navigate the complex legal requirements of starting a new business. We recommend hiring a lawyer who is experienced in your sector to help you as you start your business. An attorney can help you:
A lawyer can help you review your operations to help you avoid lawsuits. For instance, depending on your products or services, you may need disclaimers or warnings for certain products. A lawyer can help you draft them to avoid liability.
They can also help you write company procedures and policies to guide your employees. In case of a lawsuit against your business, a knowledgeable lawyer can help you achieve the best outcome.
Understand Tax Advantages
As a business owner, you should be focused on growing your enterprise. A lawyer can help you reduce your tax burden by explaining various tax advantages and deductions. In case of an audit, it also helps to have a lawyer on your side.
Consider hiring a tax lawyer if you need to reduce taxes when expanding or launching your business in a different state. Some states have different tax rules, and you could save thousands in taxes by paying a lawyer a few hundred dollars.
Grow Your Business in a Different State or Country
If you are considering expanding your business, merging with another entity, or acquiring a new enterprise, there are different regulations you must follow. A lawyer can guide you through business in different states or countries and help you acquire the necessary permits.
Comply with Federal and State Laws
Most business owners operating sole proprietorships are busy staying ahead of the competition. Hiring a lawyer to stay updated on any changes in federal or state laws ensures that your business remains compliant. They can also advise you on any changes you may need to make to ensure that your business follows government requirements and regulations.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer for a New Business?
Numerous materials are available to help business owners navigate legal matters for new enterprises. However, if your business has two or more owners, it is critical to hire a lawyer. Such partnerships require customized operating agreements to ensure that each owner gets a fair share. If you are an only owner, the operation agreement variations are fewer. However, you should still hire a lawyer.
Most lawyers charge an hourly fee ranging from $150 to $325. This average differs depending on location, the attorney’s experience, and the nature of your business. A single-member LLC may pay up to $1,500 in legal fees for company formation documents, while a multi-member corporation can pay up to $10,000.
A lawyer is an essential part of your team. We recommend choosing a lawyer who understands your business and is dedicated to supporting your success. You should also hire an attorney who is experienced in your industry and understands its legal framework.
Working with an attorney while starting your business is an upfront investment that may seem costly for many businesses. However, it offers long-term protection allowing you to focus on maximizing your profits. Get in touch with a business lawyer near you to learn more about your business needs and ensure that you cover all your bases.
About the author
This article is written by Naphtal. He is the brand manager at Legal Giant and a highly experienced content writer. Legal Giant is a leading lawyer referral site with clients all over the U.S. When Naphtal is not working, he enjoys spending time with his son and exploring nature.