Do You Need a Business Lawyer?

No matter what kind of business you happen to be in there are times when it becomes very important to hire a business lawyer. But how do you know when you absolutely have to do so? You could compare hiring a business lawyer for issues that have to do with your company to hiring a mechanic to fix your car in that you have to take your car to a mechanic if you notice that something is wrong because failing to do so as soon as possible can lead to more severe problems. Well, the same can be said about your business and hiring a lawyer; if there is an issue, you should deal with it as swiftly as possible so that it does not end up getting out of hand. Most likely, you already see the logic behind contacting a business attorney whenever there is a legal issue that concerns your company, but you might hesitate to do so if the issue seems trivial like a threatening phone call from a customer who was hurt by one of your products or as a result of a service that you provide. 

In this situation, some business owners might just apologize for the inconvenience and forget about the incident as soon as they hang up; but this customer can end up filing a very damaging lawsuit, so it would be wise to contact your business lawyer about the issue as soon as possible and follow his or her advice. But what about consulting a business lawyer when you are simply thinking about or in the process of starting your business? 

Depending on what type of business you are getting into, you might not necessarily need the assistance of a business lawyer; but if you are buying or selling a business then you definitely need that assistance so that everything is done properly and you are not cheated in any way.

Situations Where You Should Contact a Business Lawyer

Of course, you do not have to consult a business lawyer for every single business decision that you make; but there are times when that legal advice is indispensable. Here are a few possible situations where you would certainly want to go to a business lawyer for legal help:

Changes to a Partnership Agreement

You happen to have a business partner and he or she proposes changes to your partnership agreement; no matter how small those changes might be, they can have a heavy impact on your profits and obligations over the long run so it is definitely wise to get a business lawyer involved to ensure that your best interests are protected.

Distribution of Appreciated Property

There are various factors that have to be carefully considered when it comes to the distribution of appreciated property because of tax complications that can be very complex and hard to understand. A business lawyer with experience with tax issues can help you tremendously here.

An Impending Lawsuit

An employee threatens to sue because of some type of perceived discrimination or sexual harassment issue. This is one of the worst issues that a business can face because it can become complicated and costly. Your business attorney should be contacted as soon as possible. He or she can recommend an attorney who deals with such issues directly if necessary, but you definitely need legal help here no matter where it comes from.

These are just a few situations where you will certainly want to sit down with a lawyer, discuss what is happening, and choose the best way to move forward. There are many other possible situations that can arise and you have to be able to immediately recognize that you should contact your business lawyer right away.

Situations Where You May Not Need Legal Assistance

Again, it is important to recognize when you actually need legal assistance because there are things that you can do without having to have an attorney take a look at every single detail; in most cases, starting a business falls into this category because you can take care of everything that needs to be done by yourself. Although it must be said that if there are complexities involved with your new business you should hire a business lawyer to help you so that everything goes smoothly. For example, if there is a significant amount of money involved, partnership contracts, or other things that are best handled by a business attorney. But if you are setting up a small business by yourself, you should be able to see it through on your own. Although it must be said that there are things that you do not need a business lawyer for when you are starting a business but might still want to hand the responsibility of those tasks to a business attorney both for the sake of convenience and to ensure a job well done. Such tasks include:

  •  Registering your business name, trademark, and logo
  • File applications for business licenses and permits that your company will need
  • File an application for a business employer identification number (EIN)
  • Take the necessary steps to form an LLC or corporation
  • File any patents that you might want to secure in order to protect your intellectual property from competitors and other people

Ongoing Relationship With Your Business Lawyer

Once your business is established, you should only need assistance from a business lawyer when certain complications pop up such as tax issues or other issues similar to the ones that we outlined here. As anyone who has ever been in business long enough will tell you, tax issues will pop up every now and then; and since the IRS is not known for being particularly friendly or forgiving, it is a very good idea to stay in touch with a good business attorney who will always be ready to help you with legal advice and representation no matter what business happens to come up. Think about your car once again; when you find a good mechanic do you suddenly change him for another one? Of course not! You keep taking your car to a mechanic that you now trust and know will do a great job. The same thing can be said about business lawyers; once you find who goes above and beyond what you expect from him or her, you should not go anywhere else for legal advice! 

Check out our most recent blog post about Equal Pay For Equal Work

By: Fred Geonetta

Frederick J. Geonetta is a graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of Law. His legal practice is entirely devoted to litigation. Mr. Geonetta has spent the past 25 years in private practice representing both plaintiffs and defendants who have been harmed or wronged by the actions of others or who have been falsely accused of causing harm to others. He represents clients across the U.S. and international clients who seek U.S. legal advice or representation.