When it comes to running a business, you’re occasionally going to need a lawyer. Someone with legal prowess can help you understand your options, identify potential problems, and find solutions to the complex processes every startup goes through.
Because lawyers specialize in different fields of law, here are four realistic scenarios in which your business will need a lawyer, and what kind.
Help, I Need a Contract!
No matter your business type, you’ll likely need to have contracts of some type in place. You might need, for instance, contracts on the services or products your business offers. A contracts lawyer, with proficiency in legal speech, can help you draft a contract that says what you want to say, negotiate terms, and execute legally enforceable agreements. Contracts lawyers might also assist with contract disputes, such as breaches of contract, to make sure your rights are not being violated.
Help, I’m Being Sued for Licensing!
Composing a name or trademark for your business is a critical yet tricky process. A trademark attorney can help make sure you own the rights to your intellectual property. While it is possible to register trademarks on your own, if done wrong you might be denied, lose your filing fee, and have to start all over again. A lawyer familiar with the task can handle registration more efficiently than you could on your own. A trademark attorney not only specializes in acquiring trademarks, copyrights, and patents for your creative work but can also help you enforce your trademark in the future.
Help, I’ve Broken the Law!
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From environmental acts to health and safety codes, lots of laws govern the flow of your business to keep you, your employees, and the public safe. A corporate lawyer will ensure you’re compliant with these laws and counsel you in making certain your company is in line with permit requirements before issues emerge. This will help keep you out of court. In the unfortunate event of a legal breach, a corporate lawyer will also represent you in court.
Help, I’m Being Audited!
A notice of a tax audit from the IRS is daunting. While you might choose to handle it yourself, you’re at risk of making mistakes and misunderstandings. Tax lawyers specialize in federal, state, and local tax assistance by interacting with the IRS on your behalf or standing up for you in court should the need arise. While seeking legal counsel is mainly situational, it would pay to have a tax attorney on staff as a consultant, much like you would an accountant. Running a business is stressful without added pressures; professional help is a sensible investment.
Startups involve risk no matter the industry. Don’t add legal issues to the list of potential pitfalls. It might be more costly to deal with the consequences after problems arise than it would be to hire a lawyer to do it right the first time. Smart choices now will ensure your business will be going strong for years to come.