The reason why many small business owners do not hire attorneys when they are starting is because of the cost of retaining such a professional. And at the start of any new business, money is very, very tight.
However, what many small business owners do not realize is that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
Most small businesses do not hire the services of a lawyer until they are already in trouble, and they could have, for example, a customer is filing an accident injury claim against them. And it is this reason why many businesses fail. They get into legal trouble that ends up costing them their business.
The thing is, you don’t need to hire an attorney for every piece of legal work you have. There are things that you can do on your own and save costs.
When Don’t You Need a Business Lawyer?
There are more than enough self-help resources online to help you with some basic legal work. Here are some things you can do on your own, without having to hire an attorney:
- Apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number)
- Developing a business plan
- Apply for business licenses and permits
- Establishing buy-sell agreements
- Interviewing as well as hiring workers
- Interviewing and hiring independent workers
- Picking out a name for your business
- Reserving a domain name for your website
- Choosing a legal structure
- Submitting the required IRS forms
- Documenting LLC meetings
- Creating contracts for customers and suppliers
- Handling IRS audits
This is not an exhaustive list of what you can do by yourself, but it does give you an idea of how to start.
When Do You Need a Business Lawyer?
There are times, however, when you do need the services of a professional. For example, you could be getting sued by an ex or current employee, or you are being investigated by local, state, or even federal government departments for violating laws, or your company is involved in an environmental issue, and so on.
Alternatives to Hiring an Attorney
Attorneys also understand that it can be difficult for small businesses to have full-time legal services due to financial constraints. Which is why they also offer consultative services.
What this means is that you would do most of the research and legwork, but have the attorney look over what you have done and guide you on it.
For example, you could use free online resources to build a contract for your suppliers, and then show it to a consultant attorney. The attorney can then let you know if there are changes to be made, or if you have missed any key features, and so on.
This could help you save tremendously on costs but also ensure that you have some legal guidance that will prevent you from getting into trouble with the law, customers, employees, and suppliers.
Consult with an Attorney Before You Start Your Business
The one thing you must do is consult with an attorney before you launch your business. Sit down with them and understand exactly what you need to do to ensure that your business is entirely compliant with the law and also know how you can avoid getting embroiled in legal disputes that could endanger your business.
Once you understand what is required, then you can do the rest of the leg work on your own if you do not think you can spare the money to hire a full-time lawyer for your business.