Hiring an attorney may not be at the top of the list when starting or managing a business. Small business owners, like most ordinary citizens, tend not to think about hiring an attorney until after a legal issue arises. There are, however, several benefits, namely time and money, to hiring an attorney before a legal issue arises. This blog provides a brief overview of the benefits of hiring an attorney to help you in your small business endeavors.
We live in a very “legalized” world. It seems today that every decision has the potential for legal implications, and this is especially true in the business world. As such, when running your small business, you will inevitably face some type of legal issue. But, you may be wondering, how is hiring an attorney before a legal issue arises beneficial to my business? Isn’t the point of an attorney to help me when legal trouble comes about? The short answer is yes, attorneys help when legal issues arise, but the goal for you as a business owner should be trying to avoid legal issues all together. But how is this done? Didn’t you just say legal issues were inevitable? Yes, and I stand by the comment that legal issues will inevitably arise, but what an attorney can do is try to proactively prevent legal questions from ever becoming legal issues in the first place.
Preventing legal issues from arising is key to you as a business owner. Waiting until a legal issue arises to hire an attorney could result in you spending a lot more money. You’re probably wondering how? Here is how. If you wait until a legal issue arises, then most likely your issue will involve court. Court costs, and everything that comes with an active case, are expensive. Paying an attorney to draft and file documents on your behalf, appear at court on your behalf, and defend you against whatever legal issue you may be faced with adds up quick. On the other hand, hiring an attorney before the issue arises can prevent it from becoming a legal issue, thereby saving you all of the money you would spend by bringing in an attorney to do damage control. Furthermore, court cases take a lot of time. Business owners know better than most how valuable time is. Proactively preventing legal issues from arising is crucial for business owners because time is taken away from successfully running your business.
You are probably wondering what exactly would an attorney be doing that could “proactively” prevent legal issues from arising? Well, actually an attorney can do a lot. Some of the areas in which an attorney could help prevent legal issues from arising are:
- Contract formation and negotiation
- Formation of the business
These are just a few areas in which attorneys can help, and areas in which most, if not all, business owners will encounter.
Let’s look at an example to help drive the point home. Imagine there are two small business owners, and both of them enter into lease agreements with a third party to rent out some space. The first business owner does not have an attorney, and instead, enters into the contract on his own with the third party. Little does the first business owner know that the contract contains several unfair provisions that are detrimental to the company. Now say the third party goes to enforce the provision and takes the business owner to court. At this point, the first business owner is going to have to spend a lot of money defending against the contract he entered into. On the flip side, the second business owner already had an attorney, who looked over the contract before the business owner signed it and pointed out the unfair provisions. The second business owner was able to negotiate these provisions, which resulted in the third party being unable to take the second business owner to court. The second business owner saved a considerable amount of time and money by having an attorney proactively prevent future legal issues.
While it may not be at the top of a small business owner's “to-do” list, it is something that every small business owner should consider. As a business owner, your goal should be to preventing legal issues from ever occurring, not waiting until one arises. Preventing legal issues from arising is one of the keys to running a successful business. Obtaining skilled counsel is key to relieving some of the burden and stress that comes with running a business. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., who handle a wide variety of business-related issues throughout the state. It is written and posted for general educational purposes and is not to be construed as legal advice or solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.