All businesses must hire two professionals for a smooth-sailing operation. The first one is the accountant who will be responsible for helping you monitor and analyze your finances. The second and equally important one is an attorney. But contrary to what you may think, business attorneys are not only needed for representing the company in court. In fact, a reliable business attorney will assist in all aspects of your operation. To understand more about the purpose of hiring one and what they can do for your company, here is everything that you need to know.
What Is a Business Attorney’s Responsibility?
Before further discussions about the scope of business law, you must understand exactly what an attorney is responsible for. There are many types of attorneys with different skills and specialties. Some attorneys were trained to prosecute or defend criminals, while others hold office to advocate for a person’s civil rights or navigate family law. In this case, a business attorney is focused primarily on helping companies with all the legalities of running a successful business.
An attorney basically has two primary duties to fulfill: to uphold the law and protect the rights of the clients. Your attorney must clearly understand the law and possess good communication skills to carry out these essential duties.
What Can a Business Attorney Provide for Your Company?
A good business attorney will be well-rounded. They should have the necessary knowledge to look at a contract, negotiate a complicated business deal, help you avoid litigation or represent the company in court if necessary. In other words, business attorneys need to be flexible in solving the legal problems of their clients. (There are also areas of specialties, such as Employment law or Immigration. We are currently focused on a good, solid business generalist in this article.)
Here are some of the most common areas that business attorneys can fix on behalf of your business.
Launching a business – When starting a business, some owners have a hard time deciding which business formation they want their company to have. It may either be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation, or an LLC. Without a business attorney, it could be easy to make a wrong decision that could cost a lot of money to fix. Working with a business attorney at the beginning of this journey will benefit you in the long run.
Composing Contracts – Businesses need contracts to protect the organization and the people that they are dealing with all the time. With the help of business attorneys, your company can have legally binding contracts that you can use when hiring new employees or forging transactions with new clients or vendors. They must also help draft any contracts that can meet requirements specific to your company.
Protect your company’s intellectual property – Whether it’s your proprietary technology, systems, products or services, your trademark or your patents, a business attorney is a vital resource to protecting your intellectual property from infringement. Having the right protections in place is a good start, but should another company infringe upon your IP, your business attorney will be able to assist you through the legal process.
Resolving workplace Issues and Claims – Despite establishing precautionary measures in your operation, your business may still inadvertently get involved in various workplace-related issues like discrimination, harassment, and safety. Your business attorney may advise you regarding the applicable laws and practices that must be implemented. They may also represent you in court when the issue escalates.
Help with Mergers & Acquisitions – If you plan to buy out a competitor or a larger company wants to acquire your business, you need a business attorney to guide you in dealing with the processes properly. They will help protect you so you will get the best end of the deal. Additionally, if you’re looking to expand through a merger or acquisition, your business attorney can provide the legal requirements to make a clean deal.
Fix Disputes – There might come a time when another party disputes a legally binding contract. Your business attorney will help you solve it in the most legitimate and fairest way possible. Their main objective should be to keep you OUT of litigation, but if it does occur, they can represent you in disputes.
A good business attorney should be viewed as an addendum to your current team, much like an accountant. If you don’t have the budget or are not yet large enough for in-house legal counsel, you’ll want an attorney who will still view your business as a partnership and be there to support you as you grow. In such cases, a Fractional General Counsel (or Outside Counsel) is a great resource to engage now and as you grow.