Here’s the short answer: you need a business lawyer long before you run into major legal problems.
In fact, wise business owners will make room in their budgets for hiring business attorneys right at the formation of their entity. For initial set-up, you may only need an hour or two of the attorney’s time.
You May Need a Business Lawyer at Formation
If you plan to start an LLC with a partner, form a corporation, or form an S-Corp, B-Corp, or a C-Corp you will need help choosing the appropriate structure. You will also need to get partnership agreements drafted, and that means that both you and your partner should be getting advice from a business lawyer.
If you are in a highly regulated business, require a business license, or will be using contracts on a regular basis then a business attorney can help you with all of these things. An attorney can advise you on the regulatory requirements governing your business. They can also custom-craft your contracts, ensuring that the contracts you’re using actually protect your company. Boilerplate contracts printed off of the Internet simply cannot do that for you.
You Probably Need a Business Lawyer When You Hire Your First Employee
Hiring an employee comes with a host of legal obligations, especially here on Long Island.
A business attorney can advise you of your obligations. Your attorney can also help you put together policies and procedures that can reduce your chances of facing an employment lawsuit.
If you intend to use employment contracts or non-compete agreements your attorney can help you put these together and can ensure that they’ll hold up in court.
You Definitely Need a Business Lawyer When You’re Facing a Lawsuit
It’s sad but true: for many businesses the question isn’t whether they’ll get sued. The question is when. Forbes reports that up to 53% of businesses are involved in at least one litigation during any given year, and 90% of all businesses are involved in litigation at any given time. You’re not lucky enough to beat those odds.
Providing professional advice? You could find yourself in an errors and omissions suit. Signing contracts? Sooner or later you’ll be accused of a breach, or you’ll have to seek remedies because one of your business partners fails to live up to their end of the bargain.
Liability suits, employment lawsuits, intellectual property lawsuits, partnership dispute lawsuits…the amount of legal trouble that a business can find itself in is vast and endless.
If you’ve worked with an attorney from Day 1 you will usually reduce your liability for most of these suits, and will have a stronger case when you need to defend yourself. But if you’ve waited too long and someone’s served your business, then time has run out. You need a business attorney just as soon as you find a firm you’re comfortable with.
Who can wait to hire a business lawyer?
Sole proprietors and freelancers probably don’t need a business lawyer, as long as they’re not in an industry that requires a great deal of regulation. As long as these business owners don’t run into any legal trouble they shouldn’t need to consult with a business attorney.
Get Help From Stone Student Young & Nigro
Our team of Long Island business and corporate attorneys can help you with every issue that your venture might throw at you. Contact us today to set up your first appointment.