One issue that faces every new business owner is that of retaining an attorney. Most start-ups must, by their very nature, focus on economizing or they face a serious risk of running out of funds. It may seem counter institutive but we have yet to see a new venture spend less money over all if they choose to wait to hire a lawyer until they “need one.” Every single company we have advised has spent less total capital if they involved an attorney from day one than if they waited until an issue has arisen. Regardless of whether you are just starting your project or already have a successful business, you may not need an attorney on a day-to-day basis, but the smart money always involves at least one attorney prior to the formation phase of their start-up and then makes sure to keep said attorney on retainer to ensure that to ensure that your operating agreements and employment policies and practices as efficient and legally airtight as possible. A good business attorney will provide legal assistance including incorporation and company structuring, zoning compliance, regulatory guidance, business counsel, all your contact drafting so that when your company interacts with third parties it does so with the optimum protections. Firms like The Rodman Law Group can go a step further and advise on capital raises, securities matters, and copyright, trade secret, and trademark advice. This post explores various scenarios when you need a lawyer to incorporate your business.
Structuring Your Business
While you can choose how to structure your business without legal help, the decisions you make at this point in the business life-cycle will affect your exposure to startup fees, ongoing expenses, tax obligations, corporate and potentially personal liability, and how you legally acquire funding. LLCs, corporations, and partnerships are complicated ownership structures that often require the services of a corporate attorney who can create, file, and monitor the required documents. The attorneys at The Rodman Law Group are well-versed in the multitude of ways to approach corporate structuring and entity formation, and can provide you with an analysis of the scenarios that will best suit your business needs, both now and in the future as you look toward possible expansion and growth.
Drafting or Negotiating Contracts
When entering into agreements with co-owners, partners, employees, suppliers, purchasers, and pretty much every other third party that interacts with your company, your contracts must be perfect. Even before the contract is drafted, the success of any venture, can hinge entirely on exploring the possibilities around it, on attempting to look into the situation and ensuring that you plan for as many outcomes as humanly possible, good, bad and neutral, and developing a plan for each one prior to any of them taking place. Obviously you can’t plan for every outcome and we don’t advise that you let such contemplation paralyze you, but without engaging in such an exercise before they happen, your business has a much higher chance of failure. A business attorney can root out problem clauses and, due to extensive experience with contract drafting and negotiations, is in a better position to conduct an effective risk analysis and protect your venture to the fullest extent possible. Concentration on the contract from the outset allows you to mitigate the risk of conflict or unnecessary hassles down the road. Working with a business attorney can give you confidence that your contracts and agreements have been properly drafted and executed.
Buying or Selling a Business
Buying a business and its assets is a complex process, especially when it concerns multi-party transactions. As such, you need a business attorney who knows the value of a business, can conduct due diligence to ensure that the transaction proceeds as smoothly as possible, who can write purchase and acquisition agreements, and guide the transfer licenses and permits. When selling your business, for instance, a lawyer can help with negotiating sales and lease agreements, vetting buyers, ensuring that the stock transfers are done appropriately and more importantly, getting the most value for your business.
Dealing with Employee Issues
When you hire employees or independent contractors, you must take into consideration the rights and responsibilities of yourself as an employer, but also those of the employees or contractors that you’re hiring. A knowledgeable business lawyer can help you avoid issues with the IRS by ensuring that your employees are properly classified and compensated. Regardless of the nature of employment, you will need to draft an agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the arrangement, and it’s in your best interest to have an attorney review it. It is also imperative that you have an all-encompassing employee handbook that outlines your policies and disciplinary process. The Rodman Law Group has extensive experience in assisting with the drafting and review of such documents, and can ensure that you and your employees are clear on the expectations, duties, and responsibilities of all parties to minimize disagreements or confusion. Hiring or firing employees expose you to lawsuits as well as unemployment claims, and your attorney can provide you with legal advice and representation to protect your interests and assist you in handling difficult separations or other employment situations that may arise.
While based in Denver the attorneys at The Rodman Law Group practice all over the world with clients in Canada, the Czech Republic, California, Washington, Singapore, and of course Colorado. Our firm can be your company/venture/partnership’s best ally and support structure no matter what stage of the business life cycle you currently occupy. We are committed to helping you stay in compliance with the law, identify legal issues before they become problematic, and provide you with legal representation when the need arises. To learn more about common legal business issues and how much a small business lawyer costs, contact us today to schedule a consultation.