Whether you are just getting ready to launch your business or have been running a company for years, working with a business lawyer can play a significant role in your enterprise. A commercial lawyer can help you with business formation, draft and review your contracts, protect your intellectual property, and more. Your lawyer can also protect your company from lawsuits and shield your reputation.
The skilled legal team at TLF – Florida Business Lawyers expands on what a business attorney does, why you should hire one now, and why it’s crucial to work with the right business lawyer.
8 Reasons Why You Need a Business Attorney
Some business owners believe that a commercial attorney only handles lawsuits. While commercial litigation is vital to a business lawyer’s job, business attorneys help, empower, and protect company leaders in many other ways. Here is a partial list of what commercial lawyers can do for your business.
1. Make Sure You Set Up Your Business the Right Way
Even if right now you are a two-person startup operating from a crowded co-working space, you need to give your business the tools to grow. Invest in legal guidance now to save money and avoid trouble down the road.
While your business is still in its beginning stages, a commercial lawyer can advise you on:
- Business formation. Should you establish a partnership, a limited liability company, or a corporation? Every business structure has different tax requirements and liability. Your business lawyer can help you choose the right business structure, both now and in the future – for example, if you consider transitioning from an LLC to a corporation.
- Shareholder and operating agreements. Shareholder and operating agreements define the terms for transferring company shares, determine what happens to the shares of a deceased shareholder, and map out action plans for unexpected events. A commercial lawyer will work with you to set up a shareholder or operating agreement that protects your business in any scenario.
2. Create, Revise, and Screen Your Contracts
Legal contracts define your business relationship with employees, suppliers, and clients. A competent business lawyer will draft and review each contract to ensure it suits the transaction’s purpose and weed out any loopholes, inconsistencies, or problematic clauses. A business lawyer can also advise you in breach of contract cases.
Examples of contracts your business attorney will handle include:
- Client contracts. A well-written client contract protects your business from liability and ensures you get paid on time.
- Employee contracts. A business lawyer can help you create employee contracts that clearly define employment terms and protect you from wrongful termination lawsuits.
- Nondisclosure agreements. NDAs ensure that no sensitive information, like product secrets or client data, leaks out of your organization.
3. Guide You Through Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions are important events for your company. M&A transactions have complex and long-lasting consequences, so working with a competent lawyer throughout the merger or acquisition process is vital.
When your firm considers a merger or acquisition, your commercial lawyer can help you:
- Build a merger or acquisition roadmap, complete with milestones and timeframes
- Assess regulatory requirements and obtain approval
- Negotiate deal terms with the other side
- Draft a contract that promotes your business goals (e.g., gaining market share or expanding your reach)
- Revise your tax structure if applicable
4. Help You Navigate Delicate Employee Issues
A business attorney can guide you through any issues related to your employees, but his or her role does not always need to be reactive. A good business attorney will also help you take all the necessary precautions to avoid future problems, such as:
- Craft a non-compete agreement
- Properly designate your staff members as employees or independent contractors, according to their particular role and the consequent legal implications
- Properly classify workers as exempt or non-exempt according to the parameters set in place by the Fair Labor Standards Act
- Help you craft appropriate training materials which reflect company policies that are compliant with local, state, and federal legislation
“One of the most challenging aspects of running a business can often be the people. Whether that be employees, customers, or vendors, such relationships are important and delicate. Therefore, when creating agreements between parties, having a team of seasoned attorneys assist throughout the process is crucial in your businesses long term success.” – Chief Legal Officer & Firm Partner, Elias Correa, Esq.
5. Shield Your Intellectual Assets
A business attorney can help protect your intellectual property (IP), such as your business brand, logo, patents, trademarks, or secret product-related information. Examples of intellectual property protection include:
- Handling patent applications to maximize chances of approval
- Preventing others from stealing or reproducing your products
- Educating staff on the approved use of IP vs. intellectual property violations
- Protecting intellectual property overseas
- Taking legal action against competitors who violate your intellectual property rights (for example, by recreating and selling patented items)
6. Take Steps to Keep You Out of Court as Much as Possible
Business lawsuits can cost your organization a lot of money and harm your public image. One of the most crucial roles of a business attorney is protecting your company from litigation.
A corporate attorney can take some steps to keep your business out of court, including:
- Counseling you on protecting digital privacy to avoid business confidentiality breaches.
- Ensuring your business complies with federal and state workplace discrimination laws.
- Ensuring legal compliance with all human resource (HR) matters, including hiring, termination, and employee benefit payments.
- Drafting or reviewing your contracts to add clauses that lower the odds of litigation, like a requirement to mediate disputes before filing a lawsuit.
“Not only can’t companies represent themselves in court, but representing yourself in court is a huge mistake. Most times, people make mistakes, unintentional admissions, and end up causing themselves to expend much more money for an attorney to try and fix the errors than they originally would have if they had just hired a knowledgeable attorney from the beginning. It won’t save you money – it can cost you your business.” – Managing Partner, Christian E. Rodriguez
7. Represent You in Court
While every company tries to avoid litigation, sometimes you must go to court. Someone could file a lawsuit against you (like an ex-employee claiming wrongful termination), or you may need to take legal action against another party (for example, in breach of contract cases).
In business lawsuits, it is vital to work with a skilled litigator with plenty of courtroom confidence and experience handling similar cases. Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer may:
- Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case and counsel you on potential legal consequences for your organization.
- If applicable, dispute the veracity of a plaintiff’s claims and pursue a counterclaim.
- Negotiate with the other party and try to achieve a settlement.
- Engage expert witnesses to support your evidence.
“We are absolutely not afraid of the courtroom, but we know that taking a case to court is usually an expensive endeavor that can drain the resources of a business. That’s why we try to guide our clients to take action to prevent getting to court–we’d rather see them invest that money, time, and energy in measures to further grow and protect their business.” Managing Partner, Christian E. Rodriguez
8. Save You Money Long-Term
While hiring an experienced business lawyer can increase your costs, skimping on commercial legal services can cost you much more. Hiring a competent business attorney is an investment that will pay off in the long run. Your business lawyer can save your company money in many ways, including:
- Recommending the right stage for transitioning from an LLC to a corporation.
- Ensuring that any written agreements you sign protect your company’s interests.
- Helping you establish policies that reduce the risk of employee lawsuits.
- Revising your commercial lease agreements to avoid overreaching terms.
- Creating an asset protection plan to protect your business property against creditor claims and lawsuits before they may arise.
When to Hire a Business Lawyer
Commercial law plays a part in every stage of your business: from formation and contracts to taxes and litigation. That’s why it’s vital to hire a business lawyer before you start a business and maintain a consistent relationship with your commercial law firm.
If you are launching a business, working with a commercial lawyer makes it easier to apply for the necessary permits and licenses, draft employee handbooks that ensure your company complies with labor laws, and ensure any contracts you sign are enforceable.
Don’t wait until a crisis hits home. Start working with a business attorney today to avoid legal issues, optimize your contracts, and sidestep potential pitfalls.
What to Look for When Searching Online For “Business Lawyers Near Me”
You will rely on your commercial lawyer to handle some of the most sensitive aspects of your business, like contracts, mergers, and employee agreements. You will also trust your business lawyer to help you avoid lawsuits or negotiate settlements on the best possible terms.
Because a business attorney performs exceedingly high-stake work, you should take time to search online for a “business attorney near me” and choose an attorney that suits your needs, preferences, and industry. Here are some qualities you should look for in your business law firm:
- Experience. Choose a seasoned commercial law firm with years of experience in your industry rather than a new attorney just out of law school.
- Scope. For maximum convenience and efficiency, it’s best to work with one business law firm that can handle all your legal needs, from franchising and contracts to wrongful termination lawsuits.
- Reviews. High ratings are a great indicator, but take the time to read some reviews. What do clients have to say about the lawyer’s level of service? Do they feel this business law firm goes the extra mile to protect their interests?
- Pricing. Commercial law services are seldom cheap, so you should examine the value you get for your money. What does the law firm’s service include, and does the company’s fee structure fit your budget?
- Attorney-client relationship. Does your potential business lawyer come across as someone transparent, attentive, and dedicated to your goals? How responsive is the law firm to your queries and concerns? An in-person interview is an old-fashioned but effective way to determine whether you feel comfortable working with this commercial attorney.
Why Trembly Law Firm – Florida Business Lawyers?
Companies and entrepreneurs in South Florida know that TLF offers:
- Experience. Our attorneys bring decades of experience in every aspect of business law, from employee contracts to commercial litigation.
- Range. We serve over 250 businesses in Florida and across the U.S.
- Flexibility. We represent small startups and mega-corporations with a revenue of over $1B.
- Trial Record. TLF has won every jury trial over the past few years.
- Commitment. We employ every legal tool to protect your business from litigation, problematic contracts, and asset loss.
Does your business carry solid protection against lawsuits? Find out by taking our brief Danger Zones Quiz.
Contact TLF for a Miami Business Attorney
If you are an entrepreneur or business owner in Florida, you need a skilled, experienced business attorney. Contact the Trembly Law Firm – Florida Business Lawyers, a commercial law firm committed to protecting the economy, one business at a time. We are here to handle all the legal aspects of your business, from operating agreements to commercial lawsuits and beyond.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.