There are two types of professionals every business should consult early on: an accountant and a lawyer. The reasons for hiring an accountant are obvious—you need someone to help you set up your accounts, review your numbers periodically, and prepare all of your necessary federal, state and local tax returns. The reason for hiring a business attorney may not be so apparent.
A good business attorney will provide vital assistance in almost every aspect of your business, including:
If you are being sued, it’s too late. Most businesses put off hiring a lawyer until the sheriff is standing at the door serving them with a lawsuit. Big mistake. The time to team up with a good business lawyer is before you are sued. Once you have been served—the problem has already occurred, and it’s just a question of how much you will have to pay (in court costs, attorneys’ fees, settlements and other expenses) to get the problem resolved.
Our legal system moves slowly and can become very expensive, especially in business litigation cases. While nobody likes to pay attorneys’ fees, the fee to keep you out of trouble or to minimize the risk of loss is a small fraction of the fee it will take to get you out of trouble once it’s happened. Having appropriate company protection and contracts that will protect you and minimize your risk are easy steps that can be taken. Structuring your business to protect your individual as well as significant assets is another easy step to minimize your exposure to what can be taken from you.
Most people are optimistic and often look past potential pitfalls. Law school is all about the “what if” scenario. Most law schools will admit they don’t teach people to practice law, but instead teach them to “think like a lawyer.” Lawyers are trained to spot the issues down the line, and then to analyze them based on the rules and regulations applicable from all angles to determine the best arguments for each side. Then the lawyer uses logic to argue for the best solution for their client given the situation that they are dealing with.
Having a sit down meeting to discuss your plans and potential options is well worth the small cost associated with the same. Call to schedule an appointment before you get into trouble.
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