Regardless of the nature of your business, success is dependent on maximizing profits and keeping overhead costs low. A business attorney can help reduce one of the highest unanticipated costs a business can endure, defending litigation. By properly forming your company, you can insulate your personal assets and ward off litigation by limiting liability exposure. A business attorney or corporate lawyer provides legal services that position the client’s business for success by limiting risk and exposure.
A typical business attorney assists in everything that is involved in the lifecycle of a business. While every industry is different and face a wide range of legal challenges, business lawyers assist with issues such as: business formation, business disputes and resolutions, corporate laws, sales/transfers of businesses, contracts, taxes, property transfers, and other matters.
Business attorneys play a critical role in the formation and sale of a business and every situation in between. When forming a business, your attorney can protect you both personally and professionally before you even start.
Whether your business should operate as a corporation, limited liability company, partnership or sole proprietorship, include a trusted business lawyer as part of the process in establishing both personal and professional protection.
The following is a list of some tasks that Business Lawyers deal with:
Creating a business plan
If you are starting your first business, a business-savvy lawyer can assist you with the organization of your business plan so that when it is time to seek investments or apply for a loan, you are fully prepared.
Picking a business name and trademarking your name
Often, a business name may be taken already, and you may not even know. Ask your lawyer to research your business name to ensure that it is available for you to use. Nothing is worse than having to change your business name down the road when this situation could easily be averted.
Choosing the correct legal structure for your business
Your lawyer will assist you in creating a legal partnership agreement, limited liability company (LLC) operating agreement, or shareholder’s agreement.
There are ins and outs of each of the different business legal structures, speak to your lawyer about each to ensure you are starting the right type of business.
Setting up your business with the state of Illinois
When your lawyer files your incorporation paperwork with the state, you will also receive an employer identification number (EIN), which you will need for employee tax purposes.
Applying for any licenses and permits that the business may require
If your business needs specific licenses or permits to operate, speak to your lawyer about what is necessary to ensure you are operating legally.
Contract negotiations and disputes
When you make a deal with a customer or client, it is imperative that your contract is legally binding to protect your business. Speaking to your lawyer about your contract with your clients is essential to protect your business.
Interviewing and hiring employees
Federal and state anti-discrimination laws that regulate the hiring of employees can be hard to navigate. Speak to your lawyer about the types of questions you may want to ask in an interview. Knowing the laws will be advantageous for you to avoid any legal issues down the road.
Submitting necessary IRS forms
Having the assistance of a legal expert through your first year of business filings will ensure that you are on the right track for the future.
Documenting corporate and company meetings
Putting a plan together to record the minutes of your sessions will ensure that you are protected down the road when records are needed.
Hiring independent contractors and contracting with vendors
Creating a legally binding contract for contractors and vendors is essential when you are faced with a breach of contract. Speaking to your lawyer about contracts is an incredibly vital step to ensure that your best interests are always protected.
Drafting employee policies, handbooks, non-compete, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements.
Business operates more efficiently, and you are better protected from employee negligence when you have definitive your terms of employment.
Creating a buy-sell agreement with partners
If you have multiple owners or partners, a buy-sell agreement between all parties should be created upon incorporation to assure that the business is protected when a partner wants to exit the business. Every minute that your business does not have a buy-sell agreement, you are at financial risk.
Updating any partnership, LLC, or shareholder’s agreements under which you are currently operating should be reviewed by your attorney.
All agreements should be legally binding and protect all parties; any update of these business agreements should be drafted and or reviewed by your lawyer.
This list does not represent all of the legal needs of a small business; however, we hope that it does help give you an idea of the type of issues a company deals with over the course of it’s lifetime.
Deciding to speak to an attorney when you are starting your business will ensure that down the road when you need an attorney, you have a trusted advisor already familiar with you and your business.
A business lawyer is a valuable part of most businesses and is looked at as part of the team. Throughout the course of a business’s lifespan, having a lawyer that is familiar with your business is not only convenient but also essential.
Prior to setting up your business and filing your incorporation papers is the optimal time to begin seeking legal counsel. The cost of utilizing a business attorney will save the business money by heading off expensive future litigation. Setting up your business correctly from day one will plant the seeds of business growth.