You’ve been told you need a business attorney. On top of everything else you currently worry about, now you wonder, “do I really need an attorney to start my business?” The answer to this question is simple. No, you do not need an attorney to start a business.
However, an attorney can save headaches later. There are many things you can do on your own. Partnering with an attorney can help you prevent legal issues before they happen. It is also comforting to have counsel to call upon when you feel stuck and want guidance.
For many, deciding when to contact an attorney is similar to deciding when to see a doctor. The thought is that “If it’s not bad now, why not wait to see if things become worse?” As I’m sure your doctor would also advise you, this is not how this decision should be made. Being proactive in obtaining counsel, like receiving a flu shot, is a preventative measure.
It is much better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. The last thing you want as a business owner is to not have someone to call when a customer slips in your parking lot and sues you. Or the State calls and says that you’re not actually an entity because your filings were incorrect.
You could draft your own agreements, contracts, and entity formation documents. Having counsel to do this takes the stress of these nuanced processes off from you. However, when it comes to starting your business, there are many things you can do on your own.
- Drafting a business plan
- Deciding on the name of your business
- Hiring employees
- Reserving a domain name for your website
When agreements and contracts are professionally drafted, you can take comfort in knowing that they are drafted to protect your specific interests and the general interests of your business. You could draft your own documents and have counsel review them. This ensures that what you drafted is legal and sufficient for your intended purposes.
You also want counsel to review any contracts you are to sign. Ensure that you are not signing your life away for a small benefit. Counsel should also be retained if you consider patents or trademarks, as these processes can be demanding and particular. An attorney can also act as your registered agent.
When you form an entity, there are annual filings that must be made with the State. If you have counsel as your registered agent, they complete the filings for your review and submit them each year. This is one less thing you, the busy entrepreneur, have to worry about.
You do not want to miss any filings or fees with the State. Having someone to track this and do it for you provides the comfort you need to continue running your business. You also want to retain counsel when it is time to deal with the real estate and property of the business.
If you want to purchase or lease a commercial property, counsel can research the property, draft purchase agreements or leases, and prepare transfer documents on your behalf. This means that you can go to your closing knowing that the necessary due diligence has been done. The perfect property for your business will be yours.
On The Other Side…
If you determine that it is time to sell your property or your entire business, counsel can facilitate this deal, as well. Selling your business can be a stressful, emotional time. Having counsel can ease your mind and allow you to seamlessly move through the process. While you can form your business on your own, a second set of eyes is always better than one.
You don’t need an attorney. Having a true strategic partner for your business can help you get off on the right foot. Remain moving in the right direction. Your business is yours. At Rudman Winchell, we would be honored to be your partner in helping your vision become reality.