Every business owner at one time or another needs legal advice. While it may be tempting to turn to the Internet for your legal needs, there are three important instances when you will want to consult with a real live Creative Business Lawyer®:
When you are ready to start your business, you will need the advice of an experienced business attorney to assist you with entity selection. While the easiest way to launch a business is as a sole proprietorship, it is not always the best way. An attorney can help you consider the long-term implications of your entity selection decision — sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), S-Corp, C-Corp or partnership — by laying out the legal and tax advantages and disadvantages of each. By considering your long-term vision for your company, you can save money upfront by choosing the proper business entity.
Just about every business has some form of intellectual property to protect, and doing so from the outset with copyrights or trademarks will ensure that you reap the benefits of your IP for years to come. Engaging an attorney early in the process can save you from costly litigation down the road. If your brand becomes successful, there will undoubtedly be attempts by others to infringe upon your trademarks or copyrights. This can usually be avoided by having an attorney who can send cease-and-desist letters to potential infringers, warning them they face potential litigation. If you don’t take the necessary steps to protect your IP, you risk not only brand erosion but also a loss of legal protection for your brands.
Every business uses contracts and agreements as a normal course of business to protect and enhance their relationships. But if these contracts and agreements are not drafted properly and reviewed by an attorney, you may not only be jeopardizing your rights, but putting your relationships at risk and creating a lot more cost and heartache than is necessary. While generic contracts can be downloaded from the Internet for a nominal fee, many do not do a good job of providing the protection or relationship enhancement your business needs — and could end up costing you more in unwinding an ill-conceived contract or agreement. One of the things we do is set up your contracts to ensure you get paid by your clients quickly and easily — this alone is worth the investment in working with a Creative Business Lawyer, rather than trying to do it yourself.
The way you engage with your team members is one of your greatest areas of business risk. You may want to structure team members as Independent Contractors to save money on payroll taxes and to employ people with entrepreneurial mindsets, but if you do this in the wrong way, you could end up at risk of lawsuit or get in big trouble with our State Labor Board. We can help you navigate this risk in a healthy manner and even safe harbor this area completely.
If you are going it alone, maybe you can consider doing some of the things discussed above without a lawyer, but if you are setting up your business with one or more partners, doing so would be absolute peril. There are simply too many considerations that you cannot and should not navigate without the support of trusted counsel when it comes to ensuring your partnership relationship is properly documented for maximum success.