Is It Worth the Cost of Retaining a Lawyer for Your Small Business?
You've started a small business. Maybe it's a single-person freelance company, perhaps it's an LLC partnership or maybe you got together with a group of friends and started your own company. Whatever the case, you're a professional company but you're still little and you aren't quite used to treating the work that you're doing professionally. You don't have an accountant because you can handle your small payroll yourself and you don't have a secretary because it's not cost-effective to have someone else taking your calls.
But you also know that there are a lot of things about small business that you don't know as well as you need to and you're wondering if there are legal issues that you're toeing the line about. Should you consult an attorney? Or should you do more than just consult and actually retain an attorney to deal with the regular legal complications which may come up during the operation and growth of your small business? You probably should. Let's take a look at why.
Small business attorneys double-check that you've got all of your legal details in order so that you don't have issues down the line with the law or with your business partners. Let's face it; companies get dissolved and things get ugly. Employees get disgruntled and want to take action. And even if you and your business partners and employees never have a single problem with one another, your business still may draw the attention of the law because of issues with taxes, environmental violations or even minor paper filing discrepancies. If you had a lawyer handling the details all along, your business documents will be in order so that problems can be handled as cleanly as possible whenever they come up.
Yes, a small business lawyer can put a dent in the budget of your company. But legal hassles down the line can actually be far more expensive - in terms of both actual cost and the effects of unplanned-for cost - than is the regular allotment of a portion of a business budget for retaining a lawyer. Do your research in advance to find a small business lawyer who has the knowledge that you'll need to handle issues which might come up in your company (environmental legalities if you dispose of toxic waste, sexual harassment problems if you employ a staff, and in-house legal issues like taxes and drawing up of documents). Discuss retainer fees and hourly rates with attorneys before selecting the one that is right for your small business.
In the end, it doesn't matter how small or large your company might be; legal problems can come up. They are always draining - emotionally and financially - for the people who are involved. But you can offset some of the stress and a portion of the costs by allocating part of your budget to retain a small business lawyer. It's simply one of those cases where you'd probably rather have the lawyer and not need him than need him and not have him.