Managing a business and practicing business law run in my DNA. I grew up in a family of attorneys and business owners. From an early age, I saw my grandfather and my parents running wine related businesses, while having full-time law practices. I have spent over 20 years of my life practicing and studying the law, managing my own business, and representing business owners and entrepreneurs. Coincidentally enough, many of my clients are wine distributors, importers, and producers. I have firsthand knowledge and a lifetime experience knowing how to protect my clients’ interest.
What Does a Business Lawyer Do?
A Business Attorney has the knowledge of the law and the training to handle all your business needs. Whether you are starting a company on your own, with partners, or with investors, a Business Attorney can help you protect your business and your investment, prevent misunderstandings with your business partners, and most importantly, protect yourself from personal liability for business debts and legal obligations.
Do You Need a Business Attorney?
You have saved money to start the business of your dreams and have a business plan ready to be executed, but you still have several preliminary concerns to address. The decisions you make at an early stage will affect your daily operations going forward. From choosing the name of your business and making sure it is available for you to use, to properly selecting the type of business entity that is right for you, you need the advice of a Business Attorney. The selection of a business name may be either unavailable, or may be already in use by someone who may be a senior holder, or the name you chose for your business or the product you will be offering, may also conflict with a word known to the public.
The preliminary decisions you make at an early stage of the execution of your business plan will save you time, money, and problems in the future. A Business Attorney has the knowledge, the training, and the skills to advise you properly. An attorney understands the law, has your best interest in mind, knows how to file documents with different authorities, can explain your rights, the pros and cons of a legal situation, and can prevent you from making mistakes.
These are some of the reasons that justify why hiring a Business Attorney is a good investment decision:
1. What Are Your Options?
A Business Attorney will make sure you make an informed decision that is right for you. Your options depend on your short- and long-term business goals and on the type of business you are about to start. Do you need liability protection? Will you have business partners? Will you hire employees or raise capital in the future? Will your immigration status and income level have an impact on the type of entity you choose? A Business Attorney will explain you whether starting a business as Sole Proprietor, or forming a Corporation, a Limited Liability Company, a Partnership or some other entity, is the best option for you.
2. Protect Yourself and Your Family’s’ Assets
One of the reasons to incorporate a business is to protect you and your personal assets from personal liability. However, filing articles of incorporation or articles of organization alone, will not release you from personal liability. An entity must be properly formed according to law and must comply with the statutory formalities. You must keep and operate the business separate from your personal finances. These are basic considerations that will give you initial protection.
3. Contract Drafting and Negotiations: Avoid Oversights!
A Business Attorney will draft the standard contracts you need when dealing with customers, clients, employees, and suppliers, and will help you understand contracts other parties want you to sign. When you are about to enter into an important agreement, you will want an Attorney to review it and make sure it gives you enough protection, provides for indemnification in case of a breach, and the terms are clear and fair. You invest in the success of your business when you engage a Business Attorney to draft and revise contracts that will have legal effects on your business.
4. Buying or Selling a Business
Whether you are buying or selling a business, there are many legal consequences associated with it. A Business Attorney will conduct the due diligence and advise you whether you should buy the stock of a Company or its assets, will write the acquisition and purchasing agreements, and transfer the licenses and permits necessary to continue operations. An experienced Business Attorney will help you save money and avoid liabilities.
5. Licenses and Permits
Additionally, you may need to apply for a license(s), permit(s), and you may even need to give public notice of your intention of starting a business or acquiring assets of an existing business. A Business Attorney will guide you through the process and file all necessary documents with the respective boards and government offices.
6. Tax Liability
The type of entity you select for your business will have an impact on your personal and on your business taxes. Preliminary tax questions should be answered before you get started. If you hire employees, you need to set up payroll and collect payroll taxes. A Business Attorney will respond to preliminary tax questions and will work together with your Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
7. Intellectual Property
Are you starting a business based on a product or a design you created? Designs, logos, original work, and your own inventions are trade secrets and they have a value. Protecting your intellectual property is critical in today’s competitive market. Your intellectual property may require filing registrations of your trademark, patent o copyright. Whether you have an innovative product you want to protect or you are about to enter into an agreement with a third party that requires the disclosure of certain protected intellectual property, a Business Attorney can help you protect, preserve, and prosecute your legal rights to your intellectual property.
8. Employee Laws and Policies
Hiring employees and growing your team should be the focus of your business. A Business Attorney can guide you on the applicable regulations, codes, and laws related to hiring employees or independent contractors. The right legal advice will prevent you from possible claims for discrimination, misclassification of employees, or braking state and federal laws.
Effective January 2020, CA passed Assembly Bill 5 that requires companies that hire independent contractors to reclassify them as employees, with a few exceptions. Knowing and following the law beforehand will prevent you from a potential legal action against you for misclassification of employees.
You will also need to establish workplace rules and regulations to follow. A Business Attorney can assist you in preparing an employee handbook for your business and outline the business policies and procedures applicable to all the employees in your organization.
9. Real Estate Leases
A commercial lease agreement is a legally binding agreement made between a Landlord and you, the Tenant. Knowing what you are getting into and the legal effects of the lease are important for the success of your business. What are the consequences of terminating the lease before the expiration of the term? How do you give proper termination notice to the landlord? What are your options in case of Force Majeure? Is Pandemic included as a cause of Force Majeure? What are your responsibilities under the lease? You will want your Business Attorney to review the contract and fine print on all the agreements before you sign.
10. Peace of Mind
Owning a business is exciting and stressful at the same time. There are many different components to launching a business that it can create an important burden for you to bear. Hiring a Business Attorney will give you the peace of mind you need to success on your business. Delegating the legal aspects to the legal expert is the best investment you can do.
While there are many issues successful business owners can handle on their own when starting a business, there are times when a business faces issues that are too complex, that require to be handled by an experienced Business Attorney. You need to have an attorney you can trust when you need one. My clients choose Tondini Law APC for their business legal needs while they focus on growing their businesses.
Silvina Tondini is a bilingual, skilled, international advocate, negotiator, and corporate counsel with years of diversified experience providing counsel and directing individuals and business clients on business and immigration law matters.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact our office.