Having the right help is critical to running a business. Even if you do things by the book and don’t do anything you believe is wrong, you never know when you’ll make a mistake and end up in legal trouble.
That’s where a corporate lawyer helps. An experienced lawyer can help you handle legal issues and walk away without getting into trouble.
However, it’s not always easy to understand when it makes sense to hire a company lawyer. Below are seven signs that it’s time to look for legal help.
1. You’re Starting a Complex Business
In many cases, you don’t need any legal services when you start a new business. You’re selling normal products, offering freelance services, or doing something else that isn’t a big deal. However, things are more complicated when you have a complex business.
Take a company in the medical or finance industry, for instance. There are many more rules in this industry that you need to follow. If you don’t set up your company correctly, you may be afoul of the law.
Starting a business with a partner is another complexity. You need to structure your business correctly to make sure both parties get what they want and are fully represented in the business.
2. You’re Partnering or Merging
At some point in your business, you may grow large enough to make a significant impact in your industry. When this happens, other companies will start noticing. Some will do whatever possible to complete, while others will try to work together — and in some cases, partner and merge.
It’s essential to get all the details right when you do this. You want to set your company up for the best chance of success. Some partners won’t offer excellent terms that benefit your company.
That’s why it pays to hire a lawyer for this situation. Business attorneys experienced with mergers and partnerships can review the paperwork and tell you what’s involved. This will help you cut through the noise, determine whether a deal works for you, and negotiate to improve it.
3. You Have Intellectual Property
In many cases, you can’t do anything to protect what you do in your business. This is mainly true in industries where you aren’t creating anything new. You’re building on something that already exists or reselling another product.
But things are different when you build something new. In cases like this, you have something unique that doesn’t exist elsewhere. You can apply for protection in these situations.
Trademark and patent lawyers will help you when you have intellectual property. Your lawyers can help you draft patent and trademark claims that succeed. When that happens, it becomes much harder for people to copy your business — which gives you a leg up in the market and increases your chance of success.
4. You Have Liability Issues
There are many situations in business when you deal with unsafe conditions. You may have products that have hazardous parts or use liquids in your products that are dangerous to consume. In any case, you need protection if something goes wrong with a product and injures someone.
A lawyer can help you understand your risks in these situations. It will be on you to handle product defects that cause injuries. You will also be responsible for making people whole who spend money on your products and don’t get what they pay for.
With the advice of an experienced lawyer, you’ll have systems in place to limit your liability and take care of your customers. It’s important to lay these systems out because you may put your company in more trouble if you don’t handle the situation correctly.
5. You Have Tax Obligations
You can end up owing a lot of taxes in business if you aren’t careful. If you don’t carefully track all your income and expenses, you may not be able to make the right deductions and owe more than you think each year.
This can eat into a lot of your company’s profits and set your business back. You won’t be able to use that money to fuel growth and risk being left behind.
Don’t hesitate to hire a tax lawyer to help. Although you’ll spend more money to hire an attorney, you will likely make up that money in tax savings.
6. You Have a Large Team
Employee law isn’t something you want to take lightly. Even if you incorporate in a right-to-work state, there are still things you can’t do when dealing with your team.
It’s important to understand what those are before you do anything. If you’re dealing with an employee issue, your first stop should be an employment lawyer to learn your options.
7. You Need to Write Contracts
One of the biggest issues companies have is contracts. They believe they have a fair contract that is a win-win situation for every party involved, only to discover unclear language that lets the other party take advantage of the situation.
This means you can’t afford not to look through contracts as carefully as possible. If you want to learn the whole story, you need legal help to look through a contract’s terms.
A contract lawyer can tell you everything included in a contract. Tell them what terms you expect, and they will let you know if anything in the contract contradicts them.
Don’t Wait to Hire a Company Lawyer
You may not have many legal issues when you first start your business. However, as time goes on and your company grows, you’ll need to make sure all your legal affairs are in order to avoid getting into trouble.
That’s why it’s so important to understand when it makes sense to hire a company lawyer. Now that you’ve read the situations above, pay attention to what’s happening in your company to find the right legal expertise when you need it.
Did you find this post useful and want to learn more about managing your company? Find more insightful posts by heading back to the business blog.