One of the most important decisions you will make as a fledgling business is choosing your legal representation. It is also one of the first decisions you should make.
If you are competent enough to start a business, you probably can do many things without an attorney, but there will be some decisions that will at least justify an attorney’s review.
Decisions that you make in the early days of your business will affect your operations for as long as you are around.
You can probably figure out how to fill out and file documents to establish your LLC, to create your tax ID number and the applications for your permits and licenses. The real reason to hire lawyers for your business is to make sure you are filing the right documents, to begin with.
Does your business need to file an LLC, or is an S corp more appropriate?
What kind of founders documents will you need to allow for growth without complications later? You should outline your buyout procedures before there is really a business to buy.
Basically, a business attorney will be ready to help you make the decisions that you are unprepared or unequipped to make on your own. A business lawyer is trained in the intricacies of business operation that will help you to set your business up for success.
Finding the Right Attorney is Key
Even in a relatively small area, there may be hundreds of attorneys in business. This does not mean that just any of them will be the right one for your business.
Just like your business specializes in specifics, attorneys are specialized. A family practice attorney will not be comfortable with the intricacies of criminal law, and should probably avoid taking a murder case.
In the same way, criminal defense attorneys are not going to be as comfortable with the ins and outs of contract law, articles of incorporation, and all of the other things you might need your business attorney to know.
A business lawyer will also know what type of insurance you should purchase, and what type of lease is most practical for your business. They can also assist with negotiations when landlords place unreasonable restrictions on your business or try to take advantage of your share of obligations.
When you need to find a new attorney, networking is key. Contact business owners you know in your area, especially those in fields related to your business. They can let you know who they use and most will gladly give you a recommendation on whether or not you should as well.
Another resource for finding attorneys is the internet. If you search for your business type along with “lawyer” and your area, you will get quite a few results. Use these results and the review ratings as a starting point.
Now that you have several names, schedule consultations with a few of them that seem promising. In this meeting, discuss the type of business you will be opening. Ask them questions about how they manage businesses like yours, and try to get a feel for how well they know your industry.
These consultations are a job interview for your attorney. Take this time to make sure this is someone you will be comfortable working with. They won’t be working in your office, so don’t worry about fitting in with company culture, but they should be someone the principles in the company feel comfortable with and trust.
Make these selections early in the process of starting your business, because you will need this attorney in the establishment of your business. In summary, you should find an attorney early who can help you establish your business. Interview several, and find the one who is perfect for you!