Is an attorney essential when starting my business?

By Alexander Hunkin

While it’s undeniable that every business needs help from a legal expert now and then, is an attorney essential from the very start? This is one question that’s nearly impossible to answer for everyone. In some scenarios it depends on the size of your operation, seeing as how a one-person startup that’s started as a side-project might not be able to afford an attorney, even if they did see the need for it. On the other hand, this is probably not industry-dependent, seeing as how an attorney plays a crucial part in some of the most basic processes of your firm. With that in mind, here are several things you need to know on this topic.

-Registering your business

The first step in making your firm official lies in registering it. However, there are so many different things you need to worry about during this process. For instance, you need to protect your intellectual property from day one, including getting a trademark on your name, logo and slogans. Aside from this, you may also need some special permits and licenses, and it’s much easier to get them if you entrust this task to a lawyer who deals with this type of thing every day.

[amazon_link asins=’1634251679′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’85813abf-c706-11e8-b33b-95e6193f8da0′]-The issue of liability

The issue of liability is a prime reason why so many young entrepreneurs are advised against running their first business as a sole proprietorship. On the other hand, even if you do run your business as a partnership or an LLC (limited liability company), you’ll have some legal responsibilities towards your company and your investors.

The main reason you need a legal expert here is so you can protect your personal assets and those of your family in a case things go wrong. Sure, some optimism definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing; however, you can’t just venture into the business world pretending that bad things don’t happen.

Moreover, if you’re not the sole owner of the business, you might become liable for the actions of your partners. Keep in mind that while in theory a business partner is supposed to be someone you trust 100 percent, this is not necessarily the case in practice. This is why you need a legal expert to warn you and protect you from the actions of your partners and the other way around.

-Accidents happen since the first day

If there’s a statistic claiming that an average office experiences two employee injuries per year, this doesn’t mean that your first office injury is several months down the road. In fact, there’s no rule that guarantees that it won’t happen five minutes into your first workday. This is probably the most compelling argument for having an attorney on your retainer when starting your business. Having skilled workers compensation solicitors in your team can ensure that no minor incident gets blown out of proportions and that both you and your employees are protected from the legal standpoint.

[amazon_link asins=’B06Y2W32W1′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’964dc3c7-c706-11e8-8b38-255cfe28ec85′]-False advertisement claims

You would be shocked to see just how absurd some false advertisement claims can be. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Even those that completely contradict logic or even common sense can cost your company a small fortune if you don’t how to legally distance yourself from any kind of ambiguity. A perfect example of this is a scenario in which Red Bull agreed to pay a $13 million settlement to a person who took the slogan “Red Bull gives you wings” literally.

As we already mentioned, here, it’s futile to try relying on logic, which means your intuition simply won’t be enough. A skilled lawyer, on the other hand, might just be able to turn the tide ever in your favor and help you circumnavigate these expensive, yet easily avoidable situations.

-If you’re being sued, it’s already too late

At the end of the day, you need to keep in mind that if there’s someone already suing you, the moment past which you should have had a lawyer is already gone. This is something we’ve already hinted on several times in this article. The way in which a lawyer saves you money is by advising you of the safest course of action, not by settling things or resolving them in court. Sure, it’s never too late to get a lawyer; nonetheless, by doing this too late you’ll prevent them from helping you out to their full potential.

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As you can see, having an attorney is an incredibly important thing for a young business. Why? Well, because a large conglomerate always has a chance to settle, bribe or leverage their way out of the problem. For a several-weeks-old startup, doing things legally and according to all regulations is the only safe path towards success. Needless to say, for the most part, these things are too complex for a layman in these legal matters.


Alexander Hunkin is an Australian based startup advisor with in-depth experience in growing business. His meaningful and strategic advices have helped in setting and growing many startup companies in Brisbane and Perth.

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