7 Times You Must Hire a Small Business Law Firm

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There are a lot of threats to your business, whether or not you’re ready for them. You must very high customer expectations, beat away competition, meet revenue targets, and may sure you pay your taxes.

You have so many responsibilities on your shoulders, it’s difficult to manage on your own.

You may be hesitant to hire a small business law firm because you don’t want the expense. Not hiring a firm could cost you more in the long run.

You don’t need to keep an attorney on a retainer, but there are some situations where a small business attorney is a must.

Read on to learn when it’s time to hire a law firm for your small business.

1. Starting Your Business

One of the most important business decisions you’ll make is your legal structure. The vast majority of business owners will elect to be sole-proprietors. That’s because it’s the easiest to set up and the least expensive.

What you may not realize with a sole-proprietorship is that if you are ever sued, you and your business are legally the same entity. That means that your personal assets are exposed, like your home, your retirement savings, and your car.

The way to separate you and your business is to file as an LLC. That’s something that a small business law firm can assist with.

They can help you decide what the best legal structure is for your business and submit the appropriate paperwork.

2. You’re Creating or About to Sign a Contract

Anytime you’re about to sign a contract for your business, you should have an attorney review it. That includes vendor contracts and service contracts.

You may have a service like a web design business where you want to spell out the terms of your agreement with your new client.

You don’t want to look up “web design contract examples” online and use what you find because it looks good.

There are probably important legal points that you’re missing in that contract. Not only that, it may not completely cover your business.

An attorney can review your documents or draw up a services contract for you. It’s another way to protect your business and make sure that you get paid for your services.

3. You Have Creative Material You Need to Protect

Do you have a blog or images of your business that are unique to your business? Many people don’t understand that you can’t just grab the first image you see online and use that as part of a website or marketing collateral.

It’s the same with copying blog content from your website. People may duplicate your content word for word.

These are considered to be copyrighted materials and they can’t be used unless you give them permission to do so.

If someone is violating your copyright, you’ll want to contact an attorney to send a cease and desist letter.

You may have other intellectual property that needs to be trademarked, like a logo, taglines, or your company name. That will ensure that you have your brand protected from others using your brand and diluting it.

4. You’re Thinking About Selling, Buying, or Renting Property

A small business law firm can also guide you in matters of real estate. Real estate usually means dealing with complex commercial real estate contracts.

It’s essential that you work with a business attorney with real estate experience, such as Derryberry & Associates LLP. That can help you avoid signing a lease that you can’t afford.

If you’re selling a property or moving into a larger space, you may be able to take advantage of special tax deferments. For example, you have a business office that you need to sell because your business outgrew it.

An attorney can advise you if you qualify for a 1031 exchange, where you defer the capital gains of the sale to purchase a larger property.

5. It’s Tax Time

Every decision you make about your business has some kind of tax implication. You want to make sure that you keep your tax bill as low as possible and do so legally.

You should work with an attorney when you’re going to make financial decisions about your business. That will help you prepare for tax season and make sure that you’re not caught off-guard with a high tax bill.

You have about a 1% chance of getting audited. Even though the odds are low, you’ll also want to have an attorney by your side.

6. You Want to Limit Your Liabilities

Owning a business is full of risk. You don’t want to leave your business unnecessarily exposed to lawsuits or other legal matters.

Good small business law firms spot potential liabilities in a business.

If you sell products and there’s a quality issue, you could be held liable. That’s the case whether you manufacture the items or you sell them.

7. You’re Hiring Employees

Labor law is difficult to understand. Plus, you must know federal laws and state laws. Some municipalities have their own labor laws in place, too.

If you plan on hiring employees or independent contractors, you want to make sure you consult with an attorney. Companies frequently make the mistake of mis-classifying employees as contractors to avoid payroll taxes.

Work with an attorney to classify employees correctly and be prepared for payroll taxes.

You Need a Small Business Law Firm

You worked hard to build your business. If you’re just starting out, you want to make sure that it’s set up for success.

The one mistake that can be fatal to your business is to think you can be your own attorney or rely on search engines to be your legal advisor.

Hiring a small business law firm is a good move that will protect you, your business, and your customers.

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