Knowing when you need a business attorney is not always easy to determine. You will certainly need a lawyer if you are starting a business, but you may also need one for estate planning, real estate transactions or for patenting or copywriting intellectual property. There are a few common questions people ask before choosing a business lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I look for in a Business Attorney?
Your attorney should be well versed in the laws of your state. They should have years of experience in business law and the firm should offer the option of a flat rate. A good attorney will have an excellent reputation with the state bar and have plenty of current clients who can recommend them.
How can an Attorney Help me Start a Business?
A business lawyer can help you every step of the way when you are starting a company. You may think you can find the steps on social media, but it is considerably more complex than those instructions may suggest. An experienced attorney will be able to walk you through everything you need to do when opening a company.
Starting a business
You must pick a name for the business and decide on a structure for the company. You may form a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or a corporation. You will then register the company and get a Federal Identification Number. You will then want to open a corporate bank account. You will also need to obtain any licenses that are necessary for you to operate.
Naming Your Business
Obviously, before you decide on a name for your venture, you must make sure that the name isn’t already taken. However, simply doing a Google search may not be enough to determine if someone already has that name. A business law firm will be staffed with legal assistance who are experienced in researching names and registrations all over the country. They can not only find out if there is another business with the name that you want, but they can also see if anyone owns the trademark. If someone else owns a name or phrase that you want, and you do not do your research first, it can end up costing you a lot of money. A lawyer can also make sure the name you chose is compliant with local, state and federal laws.
Finding a Structure that is Right for You
A Doing Business As structure means that you are simply calling yourself something different for commercial purposes. A DBA does not separate an individual from their business and it does not protect personal assets. However, a DBA is also not subject to corporate taxes as are other business structures.
A Limited Liability Corporation has a simple tax structure and does not require officers the way a traditional corporation would. It protects an individual’s assets if their business should get into financial trouble.
Bear in mind that California is one of the wealthiest states in the country, and it takes incorporation seriously. LLCs in the state are subject to an automatic $800 tax each year.
A corporation includes officers and directors. If it is a publicly-traded corporation, it will also involve shareholders. It fully protects individuals from personal responsibility. Businesses that are based around the services of individuals, like dentists or accountants, are often listed as professional companies, but they are also corporations.
Deciding on a corporate structure for your idea requires much research, knowledge and the advice of a good business lawyer like attorney Kevin Martin.
Registering Your Business
After choosing a name and a business structure, you and your attorney will register the business with the Secretary of State’s office. If you require a license, you will apply for a license at this time. You will want to decide where to list your business address as well. If it is an at-home office you can discuss getting a virtual office address with your business partners and attorney. You will then decide on the bylaws.
How Can a Lawyer Help with Patenting, Copywriting Issues?
Knowing what kind of patent to get for your idea and documenting it properly can be a daunting and frustrating task. A business lawyer can help you understand the different types of patents and walk you through the process. An attorney can also help you copyright any creative work that you may want to register with the US Copyright Office. They can help you select the proper category for your work and help you determine the most economical way to handle everything.
How can a Lawyer Help with Real Estate Transactions?
Although California does not require a lawyer to be present during real estate transactions, it is always advisable to hire an attorney if you are leasing a commercial space. Such leases can be tricky and are written to benefit the property owner. An attorney can write up a tenant’s addendum that will benefit your business.
You dream of patenting an idea, copywriting you work or opening your own shop is important. A business attorney can show you the initial steps to making your shop, invention or book a success.