Keeping a business up and running requires a lot of energy, time, and resources. There are also factors that a lot of people don’t think about, such as the amount of people outside the business it takes to keep it running – custodians, insurance agents, business mentors, financial advisors, and so on.
One of these outside professionals that every business should have at some point is a business attorney. Many businesses require business attorneys on a consistent basis, while others only require their services for certain events or transactions.
Here are the times in which it’s best to hire a business attorney.
Business Complaints Filed by Local, State, or Federal Government
In these cases, it is always a good idea to have legal representation. Complaints can be filed for a number of reasons. The IRS may have discovered inconsistencies or other problems with your tax return. Or the state’s labor department may see reason to make an investigation into a claim that an employee has made against you.
Hiring a business attorney in such cases is your best option for mitigating the legal consequences of such situations, or in best case scenarios, avoiding them altogether.
Handling Difficult Employee Issues
Laws surrounding certain employment issues can be both confusing and stressful. Many business owners don’t have the experience or knowledge to properly handle these issues. A business attorney can help with issues surrounding:
- The hiring of an independent contractor – A business attorney can help ensure that you’re acting in conformity with IRS requirements.
- Hiring and firing certain employees – It’s imperative that employees not break certain discrimination laws, which could put them at risk for lawsuits and other problems. For instance, certain questions are prohibited from being asked during an interview.
Purchasing or Negotiating the Sale of a Business
There are many laws associated with purchasing a business, many of which are beyond the scope of the layman’s knowledge or understanding. It is the job of a business attorney to understand the language of the law, to explain it to their clients, ensure that their clients are acting in conformity with these laws, and to ultimately turn these laws to their full advantage.
Business attorneys can help with:
- Valuing a business
- Writing purchase and acquisition agreements
- Transferring licenses and permits
- Doing due diligence
On the other hand, if you are selling a business, a business attorney can make sure that you are benefiting as much as legally possible in the transaction. They can help you with:
- Making sure all stocks are transferred properly
- Ensuring the buyers are properly vetted
Your Business Is Being Negatively Impacted By Environmental Issues
These could be issues such as emissions, manufacturing problems, the creation and disposal of waste, the development of raw materials, and so on. Your business could also be affected by problems with which you aren’t directly involved. For example, you may have purchased land for your business, only to find out later that it contains toxic materials. In this case, a business attorney could file suit against the seller and the court can ultimately rule that they are the party responsible for the costs and clean up process.
Deciding How Your Business Should Be Structured
When it comes to actually structuring your business, you have several different options. You could make your business a:
- Sole proprietorship
Personal liabilities, tax obligations, setup fees, the legal acquisition of funding, and ongoing expenses are all contingent on how your business is structured. Hiring a business attorney is a wise idea when trying to make this decision, as they will help ensure that you are getting the most out of your business. A business attorney can also help you create and file all of the legal documents that are required for your business according to the way it’s been set up.
Contract Drafting and Negotiation
This is a common requirement for almost any business. Business attorneys can:
- Ensure that your contract is being written up in a way that benefits you the most.
- Guard against any loopholes or misleading language that could negatively affect you in the future.
- Ensure that you are not signing a contract that could put your business at risk.
- Make sure that all of the necessary legal language is included in the contract
- Root out problem clauses.
- Ensure that the contract includes a dispute clause (without which a future dispute could result in a lawsuit, rather than simple mediation).