There are two professionals a small business needs: an accountant and a lawyer. The reasons for hiring an accountant may be obvious, but not so apparent as to why you need an attorney. A small business attorney is a consistent resource you can utilize throughout the life of your business.
Some of the issues an attorney can help you with include:
- What legal entity to use to form your business (an LLC or a Corporation);
- The legal implications of using employees versus independent contractors;
- Drafting and negotiating contracts;
- Governmental entities that might be investigating your business;
- Terminating a contract or employees; or
- Merging or acquiring another business.
If you are being sued, it’s too late. Waiting until the sheriff is standing on your doorstep with a summons is a bad mistake. By that time, it’s just a question of how much money you will pay (attorney fees, court costs, settlement, etc.) to settle the lawsuit so you can get back to running your business. The time to hire a good small business lawyer is BEFORE you are sued. What you pay to stay out of trouble is only a small fraction of the lawyer fees it will cost you to get out of trouble.
Be smart and hire a small business attorney as a cost of doing business, rather than an expense related to litigation nightmares. Anytime you are uncertain about a potential action, contact your small business attorney to discuss it and any ramifications that might result from that action. It’s better in the long run to err on the side of caution. Your attorney should add value to your business by protecting your business.
My name is Dana Ball and I provide timely and affordable, legal services to small businesses with less than 50 employees.