As the owner of a small business or start-up, you likely weigh the costs against the benefits in many business situations. Have you applied this analysis to legal advice? It might be tempting to save money and use free forms or contracts; however, a free form doesn’t consider all the intricacies of your situation and can leave you vulnerable to a botched deal, bad contract, or even a lawsuit.
What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need for a Small Business?
Hiring a business lawyer who is experienced in working with small businesses, from business formation documents and the certificate of incumbency to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and buyout clauses, can be well worth the price. Finding a dedicated small business attorney who will function as an in-house counsel can actually help your business succeed and avoid pitfalls along the way.
How Do I Incorporate a Business in Georgia?
When you start a business in Georgia, you need to register with the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) to pay business taxes and obtain certain licenses, as well as to register any company vehicles and set up withholding procedures for employees. Before registering with the DOR, you will need to have determined:
- The legal name of your business, location, and mailing address,
- Type of business structure,
- Employer identification number (EIN),
- North American Industry Classification System code,
- Names, addresses, and social security numbers of all managing owners, partners, and officers.
You will also need to check with the Georgia Secretary of State about state regulatory requirements and business-specific permits and licenses.
What Should I Ask a Small Business Lawyer?
With all the decisions and paperwork involved in starting a business, the process can get complicated. When working with a small business attorney to form a business, ask them about:
- Choosing and forming the best business entity, whether sole proprietorship, partnership. LLC, or C corporation,
- Picking a unique business name and filing trademarks to protect it,
- Obtaining all the appropriate licenses, permits, registrations, and other legal documents necessary for operation.
In addition to helping with all the corporate formation documents and procedures, your business lawyer can:
- Create custom contracts for all your business relationships, including vendors, customers, and employees,
- Set up protections for confidential information and intellectual property, from patents and copyrights to NDAs,
- Assess business risk and proactively address potentially difficult situations.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Form an LLC?
Each business type has particular regulatory requirements for set-up and annual filings. A limited liability corporation (LLC) enjoys the benefits of both a partnership and a corporation. It is generally taxed as a partnership in that profits and losses flow through to owners, but at the same time, the LLC structure protects owners from debt and legal issues.
As with a corporation, the LLC has to register annually, keep board meeting minutes, file annual state and federal tax returns, pay state and federal employer taxes, and file and pay sales and use taxes. If your LLC does business in another state, it may be required to register as a business in that state as well. A small business attorney can help you properly set up your LLC and establish policies and procedures to meet annual legal filing requirements.
Does Every Business Need a Lawyer?
As a small business owner, you probably spend most of your day marketing and drumming up a new business, serving clients, managing employees, and paying the bills. This leaves little time for updating contracts, escalating debt collection, writing an employee handbook, making sure departing employees sign an employment separation agreement, complying with regulatory procedures, and other necessary business law processes. Hiring a small business attorney to deal with legal issues and documents can free you up to do what you do best — focus on day-to-day operations and long-term business strategy.
How Much Does a Commercial Lawyer Cost?
Many law firms charge by the hour, which can get costly when setting up and running a small business. InPrime Legal instead charges one monthly fee and provides you with a dedicated legal team that acts as your in-house counsel. The InPrime Legal team also regularly reviews contracts and documents and proactively assesses and addresses business risk. Your InPrime Legal team serves as your outsourced general counsel, strategically addressing legal issues and operating as a key business advisor.
Your InPrime Legal Team
Let our team help you with setting up your business, writing contracts, establishing HR procedures, and protecting your intellectual property. To learn more about how our experienced attorneys can help you set up your business and assist as it grows, contact InPrime Legal online today or call us at 770-407-8889.
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from one of our licensed attorneys.