A business lawyer is a key asset and addition to any sized firm. A good attorney will be able to answer legal questions about the business and point owners to the proper agency or resources if necessary. Simply put, business lawyers can help keep a firm out of trouble. Business attorneys may have specific areas of practice and expertise, but most will be able to assist in the following matters:
1. Setting up the legal structure of a firm.
An attorney can help businesses meet the legal requirements of their city, county, or state. Legal advice can be invaluable in certain situations such as when a company wants to request a zoning variance. An attorney will also be able to help determine the appropriate legal structure for the entrepreneur, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, s-corporation and c-corporation. He can also file any necessary paperwork which can be fundamental and complex. For entities that are more complicated than a sole proprietorship, business owners can certainly benefit from and will likely require the expertise and experience of an attorney.
2. Matters of contract.
Business lawyers can also write, approve, amend, and negotiate the terms of a contract. Owners should not hesitate to pay attorney's fees to have a contract reviewed. Attorney's fees of a few hundred dollars could save thousands of dollars and much grief later down the road. Company owners should never assume that a contract is legal in their state or that it's drawn in their best interest. It makes no difference if the contract is written in legalese. It also makes no difference if the other party claims an attorney drew up the contract. The job of the attorney for the other party is to ensure the welfare of his or her client, making biased terms and clauses in a contract reasonably.
3. Collections and past accounts receivable.
As owners became established in their business, the need may arise to have a lawyer involved in the collection of past due accounts or customer checks returned for insufficient funds. Even if a general corporate lawyer may not handle the matter directly for a client, he should be able to refer clients to someone who can.
4. Lawsuits and disputes.
Finally, while entrepreneurs in general prefer to avoid thinking about the subject, a lawyer can be necessary for defense and representation in a legal action. If a business lawyer is retained on an ongoing basis, he should be regularly apprised of any problems that could escalate into a lawsuit. The lawyer may be able to head-off and resolve disputes before formal litigation is pursued.