Business Lawyer: Hire, Consult, or DIY?

Business lawyers are veterans of dealing with complicated legal issues.  They handle everything from copyright infringement to tax problems.  They are knowledgeable, experienced, and confident because they deal with these business legal affairs on a daily basis.

Lawyers are pricey and charge a hefty hourly rate.  For small business, this fee can be crippling.  When legal issues arise, what should your response be?

DIY

A lot of small business owners only consult with business lawyers out of absolute necessity.  Legal issues that are simple and straightforward can be taken care of by the business owner.  With a little homework and research, a business owner should be able to do some of the legwork a lawyer would do.

As a business owner, you can create your own business plan.  You can brand your own business and think of a name.  Cheap online trademarking services will help you in this area.

You can write up agreements for Limited Liability Company, legal partnerships, and agreements for shareholders.  You can acquire your employee tax identification number, apply for necessary business permits, and hire your own employees.

You can also submit the required Internal Revenue Service forms, create buy sell agreements for your partners and handle correspondence with the IRS.

Hire a Lawyer

There will be some issues that you will not be able to handle on your own.  You will be confronted by some tasks that are complicated, will take a lot of time, and have tricky liability problems that need a professional touch.

It is best to get a business lawyer involved when dealing with Field and In-Office Audits from the IRS, discrimination lawsuits, complaints or investigations from a government section, environmental issues, and selling or buying a company.

Consult a Business Lawyer

Beside DIY and hiring a lawyer there is a third route you can take.  Small business owners like peace of mind especially when starting up a business.

By getting a consultation from a lawyer, you are avoiding the mountainous legal fees from hiring a lawyer.  You will pay a smaller fee for a consultation.  The lawyer will give you advice, and you will do the legwork.  The business lawyer can then review the work you have done and make suggestions.

Prevention

The best way to avoid the high costs of involving business lawyers in your business operations is to prevent legal issues from happening.

If you ask the wrong question at an interview it lands you in some legal hot water, you will have no choice but to hire a lawyer.  To avoid situations like this (and the sizable fees it would take to clear away the legal mess), research what questions, for example, you can and can’t ask at an interview.  Be aware of the anti-discrimination issues.

Action Plan

You need to have an action plan as a business owner.  What legal work are you capable of doing?  What legal problems will require the hiring of a lawyer or a consultation?  Are there are areas where you can prevent legal snafus?

Be careful in your dealings and you will be able to have a good relationship with your business lawyer.

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