Usually, large firms have their own separate legal departments, and the medium-sized ones employ at least one lawyer. Some companies also cooperate with law firms specialized in a given industry. But what about the smallest entities? How can you provide legal protection for yourself if you own a small business and are frightened by the costs?
Or, do you even need a lawyer at all?
Having a lawyer is not obligatory for running a business. However, some operations often turn out to be complicated, and legal advice from a professionalist may be useful, or even life-saving. As an entrepreneur, you may be afraid of the costs and, therefore, try to face the problems yourself, but it may not be worth it, especially because there are different billing models that may help you to reduce costs.
Although it may be challenging and confusing to work with a lawyer if you haven’t done it before, in many cases, it will be the best choice for your company. Keep reading to discover in which areas of your firm’s activities lawyer’s assistance may be necessary.
Whether you are negotiating terms with your customers, suppliers, or employees, you will need a contract to regulate this partnership.
Very often, small entrepreneurs are entirely in control of their business, and they base their operations on mutual trust. If you know everybody personally, why should you pay attention to legal issues? Well, because in case of a dispute (they happen more often than not), you will find yourself on the losing position.
Contracts are meant to protect your business from possible claims against you and the service you provide. They must be clearly written and cover all possible outcomes in detail, along with the following steps and consequences, if either party fails to comply with the agreement.
You can use online templates for not very complicated agreements, but legal advice could be useful. It is better when a lawyer can review your contracts and protect you in advance from the harmful effects of a poorly written document. A professionalist should also check any future deal your client will give you to sign.
To calculate taxes, it is not enough to hire an accountant who will submit a filing declaration for you every year. In order to manage taxes, you need to obtain a federal and state tax identification number. And for this purpose, you will need an attorney, who should also understand the tax implications of the business transactions in which your company is involved.
Even though filing tax returns is a complicated matter, many small business owners try to reduce costs and do it on their own. However, in many cases, they don’t save any money; on the contrary – it is high risk because even the smallest mistake can cost a company time and money.
Tax law attorneys can help you pay the tax you owe. What’s more, they can also help lower your tax liability by identifying crucial reimbursements of everyday business expenses.
Intellectual Property and Patents
While the exploitation and property rights can be determined very easily – for example, a deed of ownership of real estate is enough – in the case of intellectual property, it is difficult to identify and prove who the author of a particular work is.
Ideally, you should register a trademark for your company, and if you are the author of some unique design or anything else that is the first of its kind on the market, you should report the invention to the appropriate office. It will be necessary to apply for a patent with a description of the invention and its prototype, as well as patent claims.
After examining the inventor’s application, a patent is granted – that is, the right to exclusive use of the invention for the profit or professional purposes. The patent will be valid for the next 20 years.
As an entrepreneur, you know how to manage people. You don’t know the regulations or interpretations of the law, because you don’t read legal codes. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you can admit it and have a lawyer to help you. Because, unfortunately, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
The lawyer will advise you on what steps to take to make your business thrive. Such cooperation will prove beneficial, as it will give you more time and energy to run your business instead of dealing with legal problems.