When you’re starting a small business, the last thing on your mind is hiring a lawyer. Yet, most entrepreneurs often need a variety of legal services, depending on the nature of their businesses.
And if you’ve never hired a lawyer for your business, you’re probably thinking you need just one business lawyer to take care of all your legal issues. Well, the truth is the kind of legal issue you’re facing dictates the kind of lawyer you will hire.
To shed more light on this important topic, we’re listing the different types of attorneys your business might need.
General Business Lawyer
General business lawyers are professionals who don’t specialize in a certain field of business law. Their job largely involves advising and helping entrepreneurs start a small business.
For instance, if you’re establishing a small plastics manufacturing business, you might need to hire a general business to help you determine the right structure for the business. They’ll assess your situation and establish whether you need to set up a limited liability company or a corporation.
A general business lawyer can also serve as an attorney for business contracts.
Let’s say you’re setting up your company as a partnership. For the arrangement to be formal, you need to sign a partnership agreement. But if you’ve got no knowledge of contracts, drawing up a contract that can be used in a court of law is hardly possible.
A general business lawyer will draft such contracts. And if a contract is already drafted, such that you only need to sign it, the lawyer will help you understand its terms and conditions. You’ll know what you’re getting into.
A Patent Attorney
Are you an inventor?
If yes, one of your primary goals is to create a product and bring it to the market. In the process, you’ll establish a company.
Your product can be a runaway success and earn you lots of money, but if you don’t have a patent on it, nothing stops unscrupulous entrepreneurs from creating a copy of the product and knocking you off.
The process of getting a patent on anything can be complicated to the layman. Your patent lawyer will create the necessary paperwork, file it with the U.S. Patent Office, and help you understand what’s happening at every step of the way.
Here’s the thing. Getting a patent doesn’t always stop fraudsters from trying to knock off your product. If this happens, your patent attorney can sue the party for patent infringement and ensure no one is profiting off of your creations.
Trademark and Copyright Attorney
If your business is based on copyrighted works, it’s almost impossible to go without hiring a copyright attorney.
Commonly known as trademark and copyright attorneys, these professionals are like patent attorneys. They will help you secure your business trademarks and ensure no one infringes on your copyrighted material.
In some instances, it’s possible to find a lawyer who specializes in patent, trademark, and copyright law. If you’d like to hire one lawyer to do this job, look for an intellectual property (IP) lawyer.
Employment and Labor Attorney
As your small business grows, you’ll naturally have to bring in more people as employees or independent contractors.
If you’ve never hired anyone before, you could think it’s as easy as putting up a job ad, conducting interviews, selecting the best candidate, and onboarding them. Then, they put in their shift, and you pay them at least the minimum wage, right?
Well, that’s part of what hiring employees entails, but there’s a lot more. For instance, your employees are people who will have access to sensitive business information such as trade secrets. How do you ensure they don’t use this information for their own gain?
This is where an employment and labor attorney comes in.
They’ll help you create employee contractors and other legal documents that will protect the interests of your business while ensuring you’re infringing on the rights of your workers.
In some instances, your own employee can sue you. Maybe your workplace doesn’t meet the legal health and safety standards or you’re paying them below the minimum wage.
In any legal dispute with your employees, you’ll need an employment and labor attorney to defend the interests of your business. Even when it’s just an internal dispute, your lawyer can advise you on how to best handle the issue.
You probably don’t need a tax attorney if your business is a small sole proprietorship. As long as you keep accurate track of your business’ finances, you’ll do just fine as far as filing taxes is concerned.
However, if your business is quickly growing; perhaps you have employees and multiple expenses and several assets, you might need the services of a tax attorney.
This professional will take care of your business’ tax obligations, effectively ensuring your business doesn’t underreport or overreport its income. When it comes to tax deductions, count on your attorney to ensure your business is making the most of it.
Know the Different Types of Attorneys Your Business Needs
As a business owner, it would be nice if you could go without needing a lawyer. After all, these professionals don’t come free.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to avoid needing a lawyer. What’s more, you might end up needing different types of attorneys. When that’s the case, you know which business lawyer to look for.
Keep reading our blog for more small business tips.