A business lawyer gives legal guidance on practically every element of a business, making them a valuable asset for small businesses who are unfamiliar with the bureaucratic process of putting their business plan into action.
In general, a business lawyer will guarantee that a firm complies with local rules and regulations as well as provide guidance on everything from business creation to dissolution.
In addition to handling disputes, evaluating contracts, overseeing employee manuals, and enforcing policies, business lawyers can be beneficial. In today’s post, we’ll go over what a business lawyer does and how to assess whether or not you should hire one.
We’ll go through frequent blunders made by business owners, as well as common misunderstandings concerning business law.
What is the role of a lawyer?
Before we go into the details of business law, let’s start with a simple question: what precisely is a lawyer? The truth is that there are many distinct types of lawyers, each with its own set of abilities and specialties. Some lawyers defend or prosecute criminals, while others campaign for civil rights, and still others can practice law for practically their entire careers without ever seeing a courtroom!
The specialization of a Portland business lawyer, on the other hand, is to be well-rounded. Our lawyers are equally at ease examining contracts, working with business owners, negotiating difficult agreements, or litigating in court—and that’s just a sampling of the situations we encounter. Great business lawyers are problem solvers who are continuously looking for the most effective way to assist their clients.
What Is the Role of a Business Lawyer?
Simply put, Portland business attorneys assist business owners in resolving issues. Perhaps more importantly, business attorneys assist business owners in understanding their current challenges as well as potential future problems. So, what types of issues do business owners have to deal with?
Getting a Business Off the Ground: Trying to decide between an LLC, an S Corp, or another sort of business? Making the wrong choice can be very costly to fix, and the consequences may not show up for years.
Contracts: What paperwork do you need to hire new personnel or bring on a new client? Is it necessary for them to sign a waiver? How should the forms be worded? Business lawyers can help you write contracts that are specific to your business.
Contract Disputes and Breach: What Happens When a Contract is Contested? Is a client not paying you? Is it possible that an employee might divulge information? A business lawyer will negotiate and argue for you, and if necessary, file a lawsuit.
Acquisitions and Mergers: Are you considering buying out a competitor? Being bought out by a larger corporation? Considering forming a partnership with another business? Don’t make the mistake of going through the process without the assistance of a business lawyer.
Resolving Claims & Business Issues: Disability and sick leave, discrimination, sexual harassment, and workplace safety can all cause problems for even the most well-prepared and well-intentioned business owners. Clients are educated on applicable laws and best practices by a business lawyer, who also represents them when a problem develops.
Compliance & Risk Management: New and even existing firms benefit from the guidance of an experienced business lawyer who can advise on compliance concerns and design risk management procedures.
Real Estate & Property Disputes: Whether your business owns or rents property, you’ll almost certainly require the help of a business lawyer. Lawyers for businesses negotiate transactions and leases while negotiating the complexities of real estate and tenant business.
Lawyers’ Importance to Small Business Owners
Hiring a lawyer is well known to be costly, making it difficult for some small business owners to retain their services. If your business gets sued, on the other hand, you’ll be glad you engaged a lawyer. When interviewing lawyers, ask a lot of questions and find out how they’ve helped other businesses like yours.
An attorney can also assist you in ensuring that your business is operating legally. They can examine contracts and documents that you might otherwise take for granted. Furthermore, even if they are not accountants, some lawyers are aware of tax concerns. They may have dealt with legal tax concerns for other business owners and can ensure that you don’t have the same problems. Of course, you should confer with both your lawyer and your accountant.
5 Types Of Business Lawyers
People frequently inquire about the many types of lawyers available to them. Attorneys frequently focus on either business or personal law. As a result, you should look for lawyers with experience in business law. The types of lawyers for small enterprises are described in the sections below. After reading the parts, you’ll have a better idea of which is best for your business.
Lawyer for General Business
A general business lawyer, as the name implies, can provide legal assistance on a wide range of issues. This type of lawyer is involved in all aspects of the law. A general business lawyer may be perfectly suited to your needs if your business does not deal with unusual situations. While contemplating this type of business lawyer, ask questions about numerous circumstances that could affect your business. If you’re not sure if your business is covered in certain instances, you might want to hire a more specialized lawyer.
Lawyer for Labor and Employment
When your business includes employees, hiring an employment and labor lawyer makes sense. If it does, you must follow all applicable state and federal laws. An attorney who specializes in this field of law can assist you in drafting employee manuals and ensuring that safety regulations are met. Wrongful terminations, workplace discrimination, and sexual harassment are just a few of the employment issues that could have an impact on your business.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, which is why you should choose a lawyer who specializes in business law. You can speak with your lawyer about terminating an employee if you believe it is necessary. They will be able to determine the best course of action in the scenario. If a legal issue still exists, the lawyer can intervene and represent your company. Employment law is one area where things change frequently, but your law firm’s role is to keep track of these developments so you don’t have to.
Taxes for businesses might be difficult to understand. As a result, hiring a trained tax professional, such as a Certified Public Accountant, pays off (CPA). While a CPA can help your business when it is audited, there is a business that the tax authority will decide to take legal action against you. You’ll need to engage an expert tax lawyer for this. Another reason to hire a tax attorney is if you have decided not to hire a CPA or learn that the CPA you hired was incompetent or dishonest.
Both of these scenarios could result in the IRS taking legal action. When looking for a tax attorney, look for one who has dealt with tax law before. They should have a law degree and have completed tax law training, preferably a master’s degree. Consider asking around for a referral if you belong to a business association.
Lawyer for Intellectual Property
You’ll almost certainly need an intellectual property (IP) lawyer if your company owns trademarks and patents. These attorneys are qualified to handle issues including copyrights, trademarks, patents, and even brand recognition. An intellectual property lawyer can also make sure that your business isn’t violating the intellectual property rights of other people, as well.
Most business owners aren’t trained to recognize when they’re breaking the law, making an IP attorney invaluable. Patent infringement lawsuits have some of the largest settlements. Information is seen as a sort of intellectual property. People feel they may freely transmit material over the Internet, but they frequently end up in legal difficulties for spreading incorrect information. If you utilize phrases like “Just Do It” or “Taco Tuesday,” an IP attorney will most likely contact you. Nike and Taco John’s, respectively, have trademarked and heavily protected these terms.
Lawyer for Contracts
For their contracts, many business owners use templates accessible on the internet. These may work, but they may generate legal issues for your business because templates do not cover the peculiarities of your business. A qualified contract lawyer can help you choose the correct contracts for your business. The majority of transactions necessitate provisions that aren’t addressed by templates.
Using templates may bind your business to unwanted commitments. The legal language in any contract, including templates, is difficult to comprehend for the layperson. You’d have to meet these responsibilities, which might end up costing your business a lot more than you intended. Remember that the expense of a small business lawyer is much less than the cost of unwelcome provisions. If your business employs contracts, consider hiring a contract lawyer to analyze them and ensure that your business is appropriately represented.
When Should a Business Owner Seek Legal Advice?
Mistakes and misconceptions that appear to be easy, small, and honest can cost a business owner tens of thousands of dollars to correct. In many of those circumstances, a brief consultation with a Portland business lawyer may have avoided all of the issues. If you ever tell yourself as a business owner, “I don’t need a lawyer, I can handle this myself,” it’s time to consult with a business lawyer and find out for sure. You should spend your time running your business rather than trying to address a legal issue on your own.