Confused about when you should reach out to an attorney? There are the obvious answers to this question: When you have been arrested. When you are getting sued or have been threatened with a suit. When you want to sue someone.
But, if any of these things are happening to you, chances are, there were some opportunities along the way to involve a lawyer. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Knowing that the awesome idea you have for your business actually violates three obscure federal laws would have been nice before the FBI raid. Understanding what the non-solicitation agreement in your employment contract meant before you started off on your own across the street from your former employer may have prevented that fat lawsuit and saved you some serious moo-lah in litigation fees. Knowing there may be a better way to resolve that issue with your neighbor’s dog could have preserved your relationship with the neighbor and saved you a few headaches and dough.
We often remember a bit too late that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regardless of your business’, stage new, growing, established, great attorney can be one of the best investments you make in your business. If you choose wisely, she will become a part of your team of essentials along with your operations manager and your accountant. A lawyer can help a business protect its funds, vision, employees, products and brand. She can help you avoid the headaches of finding out all those subcontractors should really be W-2 employees, write those dreaded contracts, help you negotiate the right deal, develop the right strategy to protect ideas, spot, plan for, and protect you from issues you never imagined well before they become real. Perhaps best of all, an attorney gave develop a business structure and strategy that gives you peace of mind and lets you do what you do best – build your business.
So, when should you call an attorney? While we joke here at LLS that you should call an attorney any time you have the urge to go to an online legal services site (ehem) and buy a template; there is truth in this. Those sites can be informative but, by law, they cannot give legal advice. Only your lawyer can do that. So, from a business perspective, we recommend calling an attorney when you:
- Are starting a business;
- Need a contract or agreement;
- Need to hire employees;
- Need help figuring out whether your employees should be 1099 or W2 employees;
- Want to change your business structure;
- Need help with compliance;
- Are selling a business, merging a business, or buying a business;
- Are buying out a partner;
- Are asked to sign anything that involves the exchange of money or property;
- Are asked to sign anything that foregoes certain rights or privileges; or
- When your gut says you should.
This list is not exhaustive, but you get the point. You are working hard to make your business the most successful (and profitable) that it can be and getting stuck in a legal mess is never part of anyone’s business plan. Not sure if your issue is a legal issue or something else? Ask. We offer free initial phone consultations and other firms do as well so when in doubt, reach out!
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Always consult appropriate legal counsel for specific questions related to your business. Some states may consider this attorney advertising.