When Considering a Business Lawyer
David Reischer, Esq.
Attorney & CEO of LegalAdvice.com
David Reischer is a practicing attorney in New York City in the areas of civil litigation, commercial litigation, education law, and business law.
There are many reasons why a business should find and retain a business lawyer to address important legal needs before the business even begins operations. There are many legal parts that have to be complied with before a business can start operating and it is critical to consult with lawyers to ensure everything is set up correctly. Many clients do not realize that as a business moves forward that there will still be the need to have legal counsel on hand. By having an attorney on retainer before any legal troubles occur, the attorney will already be familiar with your business and there will be the advantage of having a head start to avoid activities that put a business at legal risk in the first place. Also, an attorney’s upfront familiarity with your company will help to streamline the process of working through legal issues when the time comes and increase the likelihood of prevailing against any obstacle.
A business should hire an attorney based on the lawyer's familiarity with the industry the business operates within. Many legal services companies can help identify a qualified attorney but developing a rapport and feeling comfortable working with your attorney is a personal decision. A lawyer needs to be qualified, competent and also understand your business and top management.
The primary benefit of speaking to a lawyer from the moment a business begins operation is that the company can get adequate advice and counsel to avoid dangerous legal jeopardy that could put the business at risk in the first place. It is always good to sit down with your lawyer before any legal difficulties arise so as to get counsel before making any major business decision. Changing a lawyer in the middle of an active situation is like changing pilots in the middle of a flight. It will take time for the new attorney to become familiar with the business, particularly if the litigation becomes complex. A new attorney will bill a business for the time spent performing that review and getting up to speed. Having an attorney on retainer will likely save money in the long run.
What to look for when retaining a lawyer for a start-up…
Attorney at Law
Alton Moore is an attorney with experience in a diverse set of fields, specializing in individual, corporate, and partnership tax compliance and advisory engagements at the state, federal, and international level.
There are many purposes to having a lawyer on retainer as a business owner.
In a complex legal world, you’ll need a highly trained professional who has navigated those murky legal waters before, and leads you as a start-up business owner in the right direction. There are a few categories that you should look for when retaining a lawyer for a start-up.
(1) Business and entity formation.
This really requires a lawyer to work hand-in-hand with the start-up owner to understand where the start-up is currently, where they plan to be in the near-term future, and even where the start-up plans to be in the long term. From this, the lawyer should be able to help the start-up form the correct legal entities that best fit the owner's plans for their business.
This considers a number of things—how many owners and employees the start-up envisions, how owners want to limit their liability, and where they eventually see their exit happening, and even consult with the start-up how they should form their business relations with their intended business partners.
(2) Contract Drafting.
This is really a subset of the first category, but owners of start-ups should be wary of the provisions in operating agreements, employment agreements, and other general business agreements they are entering and how they will impact the business going forward.
Generally, every business will need its own personally tailored set of contracts moving forward—this takes an attorney who can really understand all of the aspects of the start-up’s business and begin to implement these agreements in order to position the owner and the company. Also, this is a recurring relationship—throughout the life of the business; there will undoubtedly be new agreements that neither the attorney nor the owner of the business envisioned at the beginning.
(3) Regulatory Consulting.
This is a big one—all businesses should aim to be the in good terms with the regulatory authorities, however, not all start-ups or their owners understand the regulatory requirements that are imposed on them. When you think about it, these regulations vary on the federal, state, and local levels—that means you as the owner would have to understand and correctly implement three layers of regulations. This is no easy task, and an attorney who has worked in the specific industry should be retained to help the owner and the startup navigate these waters to make sure that the business is and stays in compliance with all applicable laws.