Although you don’t need a lawyer for your business, there are situations when you should really consider getting one. Our society, especially during an economic downturn, has become increasingly litigious.
You can probably take care of some legal business issues on your own with some diligent research. However, other tasks and unexpected situations will arise and you will need legal consultation or representation. Although you may not need an attorney for every step of the way, this article will address certain issues you should consider getting professional help to better protect yourself and your business.
Tasks that require an attorney:
Employment issues: In the wake of the landmark Walmart case decision, it has become increasingly clear how important understanding employment law is. You should at least speak with an employment attorney on some issues that can result in litigation. The way you treat your employees, hire employees and train other employees, especially regarding discrimination issues, is crucial. There are different rules on what you can and cannot ask during an interview. There are also different labor laws you must follow (hours employees are always to work, benefits you must pay for, etc.). Even the type of worker you hire, whether it’s an independent contractor versus an employee, can get you in trouble if you don’t interact with them correctly. Save yourself the headache in the future and consult an attorney first.
Patent issues: Your patent is a signature to your business. Patented products are often what set one business apart from another and you want to be sure you are protected. Hiring an attorney to help you get the patent is so important because if you are not experienced, you may end up having your patent rejected. Or you may not know how to go through the patent filing process and someone else can beat you to it. Attorneys give you the peace of mind of knowing the patent is filed correctly and in a timely manner. Also, in today’s global market, attorneys can help ensure that your product is protected internationally and instruct you how on to vigilantly guard your patents after it’s successfully filed.
Contracts between business partners: You should have an attorney review contracts between business partners. Experienced attorneys have the foresight to know what clauses are missing or needs to be changed. Attorneys help ensure that you’ve not been short sighted and that your individual interests are protected.
Threats of litigation: Do not try to respond to threats of litigation on your own. Some business owners may think that they can reach out to the other party and try to work things out. Although sometimes this strategy works, often times it merely worsens the situation. The things you say and do can be held against you in the future even though you are trying to do something in good faith. An experienced attorney knows how to tactfully navigate through a dispute and hopefully come to settlement or guide you through the litigation process.