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Do I Need A Lawyer To Start A Business?

As they embark on a new business venture, many people ask:

“Do I need a lawyer, and if I do, when do I need to hire one?  Can I start without an attorney and save some money, and get one later if and when a problem arises?”

Unfortunately, there is no one simple and easy answer to these questions – opening a company or starting a business is a complex process, as it requires effort, resources, and making many big decisions.  

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Here are some vital things to consider before you start a business:

Legal Type Of Business

Choosing a legal structure for your business is a very important decision.  Carefully consider who will own and be legally responsible for your business, how much liability and risk would you want to take on as an owner, and best way to file your taxes.

A sole proprietorship is the simplest business form that doesn’t require you to register your business with your state.  This means that other than local business licenses, and this will depend on the exact nature of your business and your area’s unique requirements, no specific paperwork is required.

Partnerships and LLCs are more complex.  You must register with the state and have documents, such as a partnership agreement or an LLC operating agreement.

Corporations or S Corporations have a far more complicated ownership structure – an S-Corp starts as a corporation then elects S corporation status with the Internal Revenue Service.  They need to be registered with the state, and require you to prepare bylaws and other documents.  Here’s where hiring an attorney from the get-go is highly advisable.

Ensuring The Business Is Being Set Up Right

Consulting a business law attorney during the planning stage can help you learn and understand business laws saving you time and efforts, and most importantly, many potential complications, legal issues, and money down the road. 

Depending on your industry, state, how many people are involved, and your business needs, requirements for a start-up will vary.  An experienced lawyer can provide support with navigating the many forms and requirements of legal documents, trademarking your name, discussing potential legal structures, etc.

Many new businesses need start-up assistance and capital financing options, insurance and licenses, and most will typically need a lot of research.  

Having legal counsel on your side will enable you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Determine all the required insurance your business will need, such as workers’ compensation, liability, and disability insurance, depending on your structure, location and employees, as well as what type of insurance is needed for permits and licenses and to protect you from loss, fines, and lawsuits.

Regulations And Compliance

Another very important aspect of your business is knowing the industry regulations and potential regulatory and compliance risks.  A business attorney will determine if any exist for the type of business you’re opening, and that your line of business is not subject to some form of scrutiny.  

Another extremely thing to focus on is ensuring company compliance and user/client security.

Agreements And Legal Contracts

Protect your business with agreements and legal contracts to help prevent any potential dispute in case of an issue or a disagreement with a client, service provider, or supplier.  Your business lawyer can ensure there are no legal omissions or errors, that all the agreements are tight, and that your rights are protected.

When choosing your business name and building your brand name, preemptively protect your business from every standpoint from the very start.  You want to make sure no one can sue you down the road, since copyright infringement can be a major problem.  Consider trademarking the unique name of your business or products, and implement plans to protect any trade secrets as applicable.

Consider having confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements with anyone your business will come into contact with to protect you and your business. 

Take steps to ensure all processes are legally binding and defined in solid, thorough contracts, from sales of services or goods to supplier agreements, terms and conditions.

One of the most important steps towards assuring you are doing everything to properly set up and protect your business is choosing a reputable and experienced business law attorney.

At Levin Law Group, our proficient corporate and business lawyers are well equipped to assist you with business laws and customs and provide support with legal challenges when planning, structuring, and conducting business transactions.

Take steps today to make sure your legal bases are covered and your rights and interests are protected from day one of the intricate process of starting a business – contact our business law attorneys today.