For every small business, it is essential to have access to an emergency fund. It is useful for whenever an opportunity to grow arises which needs financing, or when the business itself is facing a loss or a reduced inflow of cash. It helps the business grow on a consistent rate, and also provides the support it requires in times of need. That is where a commercial line of credit (LOC) comes i...
Many small business owners realize the importance of hiring a lawyer when they’re just starting, but most don’t consider it an ongoing expense. But, any Missouri corporate law attorney worth their salt will tell you that keeping a good business attorney around offers a range of advantages. You may not have the type of business where it’s necessary to keep one on retainer, and there are some issues where you can proceed without a lawyer. But, legal advice should be part of your ongoing cost of doing business for a few reasons.
Legal Problems You Can Tackle Yourself
Although several of these matters are legal matters, paying an hourly fee or a retainer to have a lawyer handle them might be an unnecessary expense. There are plenty of legal resources online and legal blogs that offer solid advice. Just make sure you choose one with a reputation for providing accurate information that’s applicable to your state and type of business.
You’ll probably be okay without an attorney if you’re:
- Drawing up a business plan, partnership agreement or LLC operating agreement
- Choosing a business or domain name; those that are taken or trademarked can be found with a quick web search
- Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Applying for licenses or permits
- Hiring staff
- Updating business agreements or terms of sale
- Filling out IRS or tax documents
When You Need an Attorney
If you have better-than-average legal knowledge, you can probably do a few more things on your own. However, there are some situations where having a lawyer is imperative. These are issues where you could be in legal jeopardy, when the situation is extremely complex or when not having an air-tight contract could cause you problems down the road. A few examples would include:
- You’re being sued by a former employee for a matter pertaining to harassment or discrimination
- You’re entering into a merger, acquiring another company or selling your business
- You or your company are being investigated at the state, local or federal level
- Your company is implicated in an environmental issue, even if you weren’t directly involved
When choosing a lawyer, find one that specializes in business and tax law, and who has practical experience in your type of industry. You’ll find that a trustworthy corporate attorney is a good business partner to have around.