For some small business owners, hiring a business attorney may seem excessive. After all, many entrepreneurs are used to handling most of the facets of their companies without external help.
So why would business legal help be any different?
For you stubborn employers out there, here are five things a small business attorney can do that you probably can't:
1. Represent and Externalize.
If you have an attorney on retainer for your business or have someone in-house, one of the main things they can do is to represent you. Essential in an attorney's representation of your business is to move the legal heat off of you as a business owner and on to your attorney -- the legal face of your business.
Whether you're in or out of court, it's inadvisable to represent yourself as the head of your business. Having an attorney take on your business' legal problems will also make it clearer that these are problems of the business, not your own personal legal battles.
2. Size Up Injury Suits.
When an employee or customer files an injury suit against your small business, your common sense and business acumen will be worth very little in determining your success in litigation. A small business attorney can size up the validity of these suits using his or her legal experience, and give you a good idea which cases can be settled and which ones need to go to court.
- Need legal advice on how your small business should operate? Consult with an experienced business attorney about your options.
3. Defend Business From Harassment, Discrimination Claims.
Employers may be able to craft anti-discrimination and harassment policies on their own, but an attorney is extremely helpful in preventing small complaints from boiling into full-on suits. Otherwise you might find your business' name in the paper alongside the words "racial bias."
4. Advise on Proper Business Organization.
Should you incorporate in Delaware? Which legal structure should you choose? These and other questions (including ones you may not have thought of) are the wheelhouse of any experienced small business attorney. Relying on their experience in the legal organization of businesses will save you from making rookie mistakes.
5. Draft and Negotiate Contracts.
Whether it's an employment contract or a partnership agreement, an attorney can spot mistakes and omissions that you probably can't. An attorney can also help negotiate with other businesses or even potential hires over contract revisions and changes.
Don't let your self-reliance legally cripple your business, know that there are some tasks that demand a small business attorney's attention.
- 5 Reasons to Hire a Small Business Attorney (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- 5 Things a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can't) (FindLaw's Injured)
- 7 Questions When Hiring a Small Business Lawyer (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Incorporating a Small Business: 3 Basic Questions (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)