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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

When Should You Reach Out to Your Small Business Attorney During the Life Cycle of Your Business?

A good rule of thumb is to hire an attorney on retainer and resolve potential issues before they arise. This list is not exhaustive, but it will give new business owners an idea of some of the legal issues their businesses may face. Contact an attorney during these points in the life cycle of your small business:

1. When you have an idea for a business name. You should hire a small business attorney to help you determine whether you can use a business name. Your attorney may tell you that the name you chose is already trademarked and cannot be used.

2. When you know that you can use your business name. Once you have the business name, your small business attorney can advise you on the pros and cons of forming sole proprietorships, LLCs, and corporations. Your attorney can help you register your business, draft formation documents, and create an LLC/corporate record book. Your state may require that you complete additional steps such as obtaining a business license in D.C. or publishing an LLC in N.Y. in order to complete the business formation process. Failing to complete all of the required steps may mean that you do not have the limited liability protection you thought you had.

3. When you have more than one business founder. You should hire an attorney to draft a founders’ agreement, operating agreement, or shareholders’ agreement. We strongly recommend that you do not attempt this on your own.

4. When you have a website. Your attorney can draft contracts that will protect your company from liabilities that arise from the content or comments posted on your website.

5. When you send out mass emails or email newsletters to a list. Your small business attorney can advise you on what you are required to include in every email you send to an email list.

6. When you post on social media or do marketing. Your attorney can advise you on what you are required to include in every post in accordance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

7. Before you begin selling to the public. Your attorney can draft agreements between you and your customers.

8. When you are considering hiring people. Speak with your attorney about the correct way to advertise for and interview prospective hires so that you are not inadvertently discriminating against a protected class or asking prohibited questions.

9. When you hire an independent contractor or an employee. Your small business attorney can draft agreements that protect your company’s client lists, vendor lists, intellectual property, business processes, and more. Your attorney can also advise on state and federal labor laws, and potential unemployment and workers’ compensation claims that can arise.

10. When you use interns or volunteers. Your attorney can draft internship and volunteer agreements and advise you on the best way to manage interns and volunteers.

11. When you need to terminate employees and independent contractors. Your small business attorney can advise you on the correct and incorrect ways of terminating an employment or independent contractor relationship.

12. When you want to add or remove an owner from your business. Your attorney can advise you on the correct way to add or remove an owner from your business. Adding an owner may raise securities questions so we strongly recommend that you work with a small business attorney on this matter as well.

13. When it’s time to review your business contracts and renew licenses and registrations. Work with your attorney at least once per year to review contracts to ensure they are compliant with the latest legal developments and to renew your licenses and registrations.

14. When a business conflict arises. Whether you have an internal dispute or a conflict with a third party, a small business attorney can assist with business litigation or drafting letters short of litigation.

15. When you have industry-specific issues. For example, you may have a business that is required to comply with HIPAA laws or you may require a license to sell liquor and comply with health inspections or you may have a tech startup that needs to protect proprietary information concerning its mobile application. Contact your attorney for advice on industry-specific needs.

If you want to operate your business properly, in compliance with all of the laws and regulations applicable to your business, retain an attorney to handle your business’ legal needs for you. 

 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for educational and informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not formed by visiting this website, commenting on this post, or submitting information through the Contact Us form. The information provided here is not intended to, and should not replace, advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Kimberly Shin Law Firm PLLC disclaims all liability with regard to any and all actions taken or not taken as a result of information contained here.





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