Are you one of the 31 million entrepreneurs in the United States?
If you’re anything like most small business owners, you’ve never hired a small business lawyer.
It’s commendable that you’ve got this far without needing the services of a business attorney. But there are instances when it’s imperative to have one in your corner.
In this article, we are sharing instances when you’re better off hiring a small business lawyer. Keep reading to learn more.
You’re Starting a Partnership Business
It’s uncommon to find an entrepreneur seeking the input of a lawyer when they’re starting a small business. This is because most new small enterprises are sole proprietorships, which is a simple business structure.
However, if your new business is a partnership, you’re advised to hire a business lawyer.
You need a partnership agreement. This is a legal document that fleshes out the nature of the partnership and the responsibilities and liabilities of each partner. Only a business lawyer has the professional knowledge to prepare this document.
The same goes for when you’re starting a limited liability company or a corporation. There are documents you need, such as a memorandum of understanding and articles of incorporation, which only a lawyer can prepare.
You Need to Draw Employment Contracts
You might have started your business as a one-man show, which means the thought of an employment contract never crossed your mind.
However, as your business grows and you start to bring in a full-time or even part-time workers, it’s time to start looking into employment contracts. You might not see the need to ensure your employees are signing this contract, but don’t wait until a legal dispute ensues.
An employment contract can protect you and your business from employee lawsuits. It also gives you the right to legally go after an employee if they’re in breach of contract.
You need a lawyer to help you draw employment contracts that suits the needs of your business. For example, if your business has trade secrets and some of your employees need to know them, an employment contract will introduce a confidentiality clause.
This bars any of your employees from sharing the secrets with unauthorized parties or using them to start their own businesses.
Someone Is Infringing on Your Patent/Trademarks
You know the hard work that goes into inventing or innovating a product. Getting a patent on the product is an ideal way to ensure nobody uses your innovation without your express authority.
Unfortunately, a patent doesn’t offer complete protection. Nothing stops an unscrupulous person from stealing your idea, creating a product, and profiting off of your sweat.
When this happens, it’s time to lawyer up.
A small business lawyer can sue the party that’s infringing on your patents, trademarks, or copyrighted material. Although patent infringement cases are often expensive and time-consuming, you’ll be thankful when the perpetrator is charged and asked to compensate you accordingly.
There’s an Ensuing Dispute
Disputes are part and parcel of business.
Your employees can raise a complaint if you aren’t providing them with a safe and healthy workplace. Even firing an employee, something you have a right to do, can result in a messy labor dispute.
A dispute can develop between you and your business partners. Perhaps you can no longer agree on key decisions, or one partner isn’t holding up their end of the bargain.
There can also be a dispute between your company and your customers. For instance, if your products don’t work as advertised, expect some customers to raise a complaint. A few might even file a dispute with a relevant consumer protection body.
Regardless of the nature of the dispute that’s cropping up, don’t try to resolve it without the help of an experienced lawyer.
Sure, some disputes are simple and easy to solve, but it’s not wise to take chances. A lawyer will represent you, ensuring you have enough time to focus on your business. They can also help resolve the dispute, preventing it from morphing into a costly lawsuit.
You’re Acquiring or Merging with Another Company
Acquisitions and mergers are complex business transactions.
Unless you’re an experienced acquisition and mergers specialist, there’s no chance that you’ll acquire or merge with another company successfully. You need the help of a business lawyer.
From drawing contracts to negotiating with other parties, a lawyer will be a valuable addition to your team. The same applies when you’re selling your business.
You’ve Been Served!
Sometimes you’ll see a lawsuit coming. Other times it will catch you unawares.
Regardless of your state of awareness, if you’ve been severed it probably means trouble has hit the fan. By the time someone sues you, it means a dispute resolution process has failed or your offense is serious enough.
Never fight a lawsuit on your own, even when you think the law is on your side. If you need any reminding, remember there are lots of innocent people behind bars.
Hire a small business lawyer to assess the lawsuit, collect evidence, and file an appropriate response.
A Small Business Lawyer Can Get You Out of a Sticky Situation
It’s understandable why most small business owners don’t hire lawyers. Running on a tight budget means you don’t have the funds to pay a small business lawyer.
However, in some instances, like the ones above, hiring a lawyer can save you a lot more money in the long run. It can even keep you from going to jail!
Was this article helpful to you? Keep tabs on our blog for more tips and advice for small business owners.