When does my small business need a lawyer?

September 22, 2022by Robert M. Bovarnick

Getting into business on your own can be a turbulent process. Every industry and business type is going to have different requirements and permits. While there are tons of legal self-help services and resources out there to get you through the process of forming a company and ensure all the right paperwork is filed, are these tools always enough? When does your business need an actual lawyer?

Legal Self-Help services have come a long way and can do a lot, but they can’t do or know everything. Many entrepreneurs find themselves in need of a lawyer from the very beginning, working with an experienced lawyer during the formation of your business ensures a strong foundation for everything that follows. A lawyer can help you explore the different forms of business more thoroughly and ensure that you’re making the best decision for you. Lawyers can also help patent and trademark your brand identifiers. That being said most small businesses can get up and running on their own without a hiccup and won’t require legal councel until more extenuating circumstances pop up.

Many business owners will first reach out to a lawyer in regards to a contract they want to be signed or are worried about signing themselves. Contracts are everywhere in business law and navigating them can feel like walking through a legal minefield. Lawyers can spend their whole career just assisting businesses with contracts; writing them, editing them, litigating them, you name it. Contracts will define much of your business and its relationship with others, so take your time when drafting them and always get a legal opinion on new contracts.

Most businesses start as a one-man show, changing that should also include a lawyer. Legal Self-Help services can help with a lot of the basics behind hiring an employee and making sure you have all the necessary resources available, but a lawyer will be much more familiar with the nuances of state and local laws and employment regulations. Discussing your employee policies with a lawyer can keep you from getting into hot water in the future. If the day should ever come that you need to fire someone it’s always smart to approach a lawyer about this as well to avoid any potential lawsuits.

Obviously, a lawsuit is a situation where legal counsel is a necessity. The unfortunate reality is that over 30% of businesses will get slapped with a lawsuit at some point. If and when it happens to you be prepared, it’s best to have a relationship with a good lawyer you can rely on before you ever face a lawsuit. Having a lawyer that is familiar with you and your business will ensure the best defense possible.

Business law can seem complex and fraught, but don’t let the legal aspects of it all chase you away from your dream. Owning a business is one of the most rewarding challenges on the planet, and there are lawyers in almost every city waiting to help you conquer it!

by Robert M. Bovarnick

Rob Bovarnick is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law. Prior to starting his firm, he was Vice Chair of the Bankruptcy Group at a 170 lawyer firm and head of the Creditor’s Rights practice at a 20 lawyer firm. He is the former Chair of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference.