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A lot of startup owners see hiring a business lawyer as a redundancy. They either see this move as premature or unnecessary, however, there’s much to be gained from having such a professional on your team. Taxes can become a lot simpler and the likelihood of making a mistake while doing them can become significantly lower. Then, there’s so much contract-making in the business world nowadays and with the help of a lawyer, you can streamline this process and make it much more dependable. Overall, here are the top six advantages to hiring a business lawyer for your startup.
1. Choosing a legal structure
The legal structure of your business determines more than just equity in a company. For instance, different structures of enterprises have different tax schemes. Also, if the business is not a sole proprietorship and one of the owners dies, chances are that the estate management and succession are going to be quite complex. From the perspective of a business model, your legal structure can determine liability, accountability, and even reporting structure within your company. With the right legal expert on your side, this is much easier to figure out.
2. Handling your contracts
As a business, you’re going to make a lot of deals, some of which are going to rely on contracts. When you have legal aid, it is far less likely that you’ll make a mistake. For instance, when leasing an office space, you’ll have to hire lease lawyers to help you follow the proper legal form. Imagine a scenario where you have to vacate premises amidst the busiest part of the year and there’s no contract to provide you with suitable legal protection. Imagine breaching a point in a contract due to misinterpreting something. This way, you get to avoid all these potential pitfalls.
3. Intellectual property protection
It is a lot easier to avoid infringing on other people’s intellectual property, as well as protecting that of your own when you have a lawyer on your team. Filing a patent is something that you can do on your own, as well as applying for a trademark. However, it will take you quite a while to get a grip of all the paperwork and peculiarities of the industry. Also, what are you going to do if there actually is an infringement in question? The best way to handle this situation is to find a legal team with previous experience in IP and put your trust in them.
4. Online business
When running an online business, it will sometimes be hard to figure out whether or not you’re following all the necessary rules and regulations. Even if you do business strictly online, you need to follow the national regulations of the country where your business is based in. Also, you might want to look for various licenses (especially Tier-1 licenses) and this is a field where a lawyer could prove to be invaluable. Also, keep in mind that the financial protection of your client’s assets may depend on insurances and compliances that your business follows.
5. Avoiding false marketing accusations
While this may not be the first thing that will pop up when thinking about hiring a lawyer, protecting your business from a lawsuit regarding false marketing can be a great benefit. In a way, this would make your legal counselor into a marketing consultant. You come up with an ad and show them and they reveal whether there’s any ground for you to be sued for false advertising. While this won’t protect you 100%, it does put you ahead. After all, Red Bull was sued because their energy drink didn’t help one of its users grow wings. The worst thing is that they ended up having to pay $13 million in a settlement.
Sure, as a one-person enterprise you may feel like you don’t have the need for a lawyer. However, is this always going to be the case? Once your business start growing, so will your responsibilities and liabilities. So, why not hire a lawyer right away. If they’re with your business from the start, it will become a lot easier for them to keep an eye on all your assets and legal processes in the long term, as well. Overall, this is a decision that you will have to make eventually, and sooner is better than later.
In the end, hiring a business lawyer for your startup shouldn’t be mandatory (just like hiring an accountant). Outsourcing highly specialized tasks are smart, safe, and scalable. Keep in mind that while some legal tasks may be handled by the layman, this would simply take too long and the likelihood of an oversight or a mistake would be quite high. With the right lawyer on your side, all of these problems can be brushed away and you will finally be able to focus on the money-making process.