Lawyers can sometimes be necessary in the world of small business. An efficient legal team on standby could help you to navigate some pretty complex situations. However, the problem is that many small business owners aren’t sure about the process of hiring a lawyer, nor are they sure about exactly when they should utilize the services of a lawyer. In this article, we review both instances in which your company could use a lawyer and the process of actually hiring a lawyer. Keep reading to find out more…
When To Hire a Lawyer
There are things within the context of your business that you can likely handle yourself. That is to say; you don’t necessarily have to think about hiring a lawyer every step of the way. Simple matters can generally be handled in-house. It is for more complex issues and situations that you may want to consider hiring a lawyer.
If you’re faced with a circumstance or situation that you’re uncertain of or if you’re looking into intricate legal processes that are above and beyond your comprehension, this is when a lawyer can help you in the long run and potentially save you money.
Establishing certain parts of your business
Depending on what type of business entity you are creating, be it a sole proprietorship or corporation, you may need the assistance of a lawyer in getting set up. Particularly for more complicated entities such as a corporation, a lawyer’s services can streamline the process and help ensure that you’ve checked all the right boxes. For example, finding a business name, one that doesn’t already exist, can often be done by a business lawyer. Filing the proper paperwork for your company is also a task that may be best left up to an attorney.
Applying for licenses or permits
Some permits can be reasonably easy to get on your own. Then again, licensing requirements for some industries can be rather complex and generally require the help of an attorney.
Be it contracts for subcontractors that you have working for you or contracts that you have with your clients, you want to ensure that all the requisite information is covered. You also want to make sure that the contract protects you. This is one task an attorney will probably need.
Handling complicated IRS issues
You may be able to handle your tax filings yourself – though many companies will hire a lawyer for this purpose – let’s say, for example, that you are audited. Hiring a lawyer to help with the audit process can ensure that you have that extra layer of protection needed.
Steps to Hiring a Lawyer for Your Company
So how do you go about finding the right attorney for your small business? How do you find an attorney specializing in the tasks needing your attention?
First, you want to ensure that the attorney specializes in business law. It just doesn’t make sense to hire a lawyer who works outside of this context and therefore may not be familiar with the types of jobs that you have in mind.
You also want to ask for references. Talking to past or current clients can help you gain insight into their practice. Look for testimonials and reviews online; this will also help you gauge how reliable that attorney may be.
And you always want to be sure to interview any potential attorney. Don’t be afraid to ask relevant questions. This is, after all, a potentially significant investment for your small business, so you want to make sure that it is the right investment.
If you are a startup, you may want to inquire about their experiences working specifically with newer companies. Startups present their issues and challenges in a legal context. And so, working with an attorney who is well-versed in such matters will be your advantage.
Also, be sure to inquire as to their fee structure. Hiring a lawyer can be expensive. Make no mistake about it. How they get paid can undoubtedly impact your business’s bottom line. Do they prefer to charge hourly for their work? Do they get a flat fee for specific projects? Some attorneys will work on a monthly retainer fee. Know the details going into any partnership that you establish with an attorney.
First Union is Here for You
We offer a variety of loan programs for small businesses across the United States. From short-term loans to lines of credit to merchant cash advances, we have a customized funding solution for your company. Even for those whose credit is less than ideal, we might still have a financing option for you. That’s because we want to see smaller companies thrive and ultimately grow. This is why we do what we do. Call today, and let’s get started.