One of the most frequent questions asked by business owners is: ‘When should I hire a lawyer?’ Legal services are generally viewed as expensive, and therefore, many business owners are hesitant to hire an attorney until faced with a serious legal matter.
However, it is often too late by then and it simply becomes a matter of how much a business will need to pay in court fees, lawyer’s fees, and damages to resolve a matter. To help business owners determine when a lawyer needs to be hired, below are five instances when a business should hire one.
This is probably an obvious instance when an attorney will need to be hired. Litigation can include a business being sued by a current or former employee or customer, for violation of a contract with a vendor or supplier, or government investigations for legal misdoings. Whatever the situation, once the business is aware of the possibility of litigation, a legal counsel should be hired immediately.
Purchase or Sale of a Business
Selling or buying a business involves many negotiations and contracts and attorneys are well equipped at negotiating the terms and conditions of the transaction, performing due diligence, and alerting their clients to potential hidden legal issues. Getting lawyer for the purchase or sale of your business is essential as they are there to help with any sales contracts that you may need.
Filing a Patent
Patents are complicated, expensive and very time consuming. It is not unheard of for it to take years to receive a patent approval. Patent attorneys are separate from regular lawyers as they have to know different laws and are involved a bit differently with businesses. Because of this, a patent attorney can help a business evaluate its product and determine whether obtaining a patent will provide a market advantage, guide a business through the patent process smoothly, and explain to the business its rights at all stages of the patent process.
Forming a Corporation
Forming corporation with shareholders and a board of directors can be an extremely complex process. From everything that goes into creating a corporation like appointing directors to filing a charter of incorporation finding a corporate attorney is essential. A corporate attorney is better suited for managing the complexity of legal and tax requirements that is associated with setting up the administrative side of a corporation.
When business partners decide it is necessary to make so-called “special allocations” of business profits and losses in their partnership or LLC operating agreement, an attorney should be retained. Special allocations can be very tricky and generally require the assistance of an experienced tax attorney so as to not get in trouble with the IRS and so every party feels like they are being treated fairly.
While it is certainly understandable why business owners evade hiring an attorney until it is too late, such behavior should be avoided. Hopefully these tips will help you understand when it is best to hire an attorney.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer writing on behalf of Horenstein Law Group PLLC. She enjoys being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise as well as researching new topics to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.
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