Every business needs the services of two professionals early on; an accountant and a lawyer. The reasons for hiring an accountant are quite obvious; you need someone for helping you setup your accounts, reviewing them periodically and preparing all the necessary state, federal and local tax returns. However, the reasons for hiring a business lawyer might not be so apparent. A good business lawyer will offer vital assistance in almost every business aspect from business incorporation, zoning compliance to trademark and copyright advice and liability and lawsuits. But, there are some general rules that you need to be aware of when dealing with lawyers.
First and foremost, if you are being sued, then it is too late. A number of small businesses put off the process of hiring a lawyer until they receive court summons. This is a giant mistake because the ideal time for you to join forces with a good business lawyer is before you get sued. Once you have been served with a complaint and summons, it is too late as the problem has already occurred and it is the question of how much you have to pay to get it resolved. The different costs that will be included are court costs, settlements, lawyer’s fees and other expenses.
Getting into court is easy, but getting out is a completely different deal altogether. You don’t like paying your lawyer’s fee when you don’t need any services, but it is a fact that the fee a business lawyer charges for keeping you out of trouble is only a fraction of what they charge to get you out of trouble once it has occurred. Therefore, it is better to have a business lawyer handy to guide you about different laws and regulations and ensure that you are not breaking any of them.
There are different skills that a business lawyer can provide nowadays. While you can hire a specialist lawyer for a specific task, general counsel can also assist you with these tasks. Listed below are some of the services you can get when you hire a business lawyer:
A business lawyer will be able to understand your operations quickly and will be able to prepare the standard form of contracts you need with clients, customers and suppliers. They can also assist you in responding to contracts that other prepare and require your signature.
Since business litigation is their forte, business lawyers not only help you in dealing with cases and complaints filed by others, but also aid you in deciding what kind of organization you need to form. You can consult them and ask about the pros and cons of a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation and ask them to prepare the necessary paperwork for whatever option you choose.
Licenses and Taxes
While your accountant prepares and files your tax returns every year, your business lawyer helps in registering your business for state and federal tax identification numbers. They also help you in understanding the tax consequences of even the most basic transactions that occur within the course of business.
A business lawyer is also needed when you have to file for federal trademark and copyright protection. It is important for a business to protect its products or services with copyrights and trademarks or else others will be able to copy your ideas and enjoy profits as well. This process might be a bit more complex and a specialist attorney may be required.