Have a Start-up? You need a good business lawyer.
February 7, 2012
You have a good business relationship with your business’s bank. You have your CPA on speed dial. What about your lawyer? What do you mean you can’t afford a lawyer? If you think you can’t afford a lawyer before you have a legal problem, wait until you have one! Then you will realize you cannot afford to not have a lawyer.
Many entrepreneurs believe that cutting corners when it comes to legal services, opting for ‘DIY’ legal forms and internet research, will help them save money. When it comes to the law, however, what you don’t know very well could hurt your business. Each business is unique, and, therefore, so are their legal needs. If you expect your business to be healthy, competitive, and to grow, and especially if you have partners, (LLC) members, or shareholders, an off-the-shelf, once-size-fits-all strategy is a recipe for disaster.
The best business lawyers are not just creative problem solvers, though they do wear that hat among many others; they are creative problem preventers. Preventative Law is the practice of the law with a focus on preventing legal risks from becoming legal problems. The best business lawyers are preventative law experts, attorneys who understand both business and the law, and who can analyze business issues in a legal context, spot potential risks, and develop innovative solutions custom tailored for a business that prevent those risks from becoming legal problems. That process starts from the beginning of the life of your business, with business formation.
For partners or officers of a business other than a sole proprietorship, having a strong legal foundation on which to build their business relationship is absolutely essential. That means a partnership should be governed by a Partnership Agreement, a contract that spells out issues like who makes what decisions, how to resolve disputes, and “winding up” (selling or shutting down) the business. For Corporations, these documents are the Articles of Incorporation, and for LLCs and the like, these documents are Articles of Organization.
By having a good business attorney carefully draft these business formation documents to custom fit your business, many legal risks can be addressed before they become legal problems. Preventative Law is the “ounce of prevention” that “is worth a pound of cure” (i.e., litigation). A good business lawyer will work with his client to make sure they understand the legal issues as the issues pertain to the client’s business. You need a lawyer who can think and communicate like a businessperson; you can’t expect a businessperson to think like a lawyer.
In the end, you need to be able to tell your lawyer what it is you want to do, from a business standpoint, and be able to reasonably expect your business lawyer to advise you regarding how to do what you want done and, to the extent reasonably possible, how to avoid the risks associated with each of your goals. Executive Legal Professionals can craft an innovative custom package of legal services tailored to your business’s unique needs, whether you are just forming a business, or have been in business for years. You cannot afford not to have an attorney, and you will be surprised just how affordable legal services from ELP can be.
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