Cover Your Legal Bases Columbus MS
Criminal Defense, Land Use & Zoning, Litigation, White Collar Crime, Education
University of Mississippi School of Law
University of Mississippi
Business, Personal Injury, Litigation
Loyola University New Orleans
Personal Injury, Probate, Family, Debt Collection, Business
Baylor University,Texas A&M University
Health Care, Business, Litigation
Business, Litigation, Medical Malpractice, Health Care, LLC
Tulane University Law School
Intellectual Property, Business, Insurance, Personal Injury, Real Estate, Litigation
Cover Your Legal Bases
Even if Just a Part-Time Business, it Makes Sense to Use a Legal “Professional”
By Jim R. Sapp
While you may be able to handle most of the issues that will arise in a new part-time business, you will want professional assistance for more complex legal issues. Even the smallest businesses need legal advice from the beginning. Don't wait until you have a legal problem to look for an attorney.
Use a two-step approach to find a good attorney. First, carefully select a firm by getting personal references and then examining the firm’s web site. The web site can give you information on that particular firm’s areas of expertise and their specialty. Also contact state bar associations to check an attorney’s bar certification.
You don’t have the time or money to pay someone to learn about your specific industry, so find a professional who is servicing your business sector already. If your company is highly specialized, a business trade publication may list professionals who will understand your specific needs.
Second, when you have settled on one or two law firms, conduct a face-to-face interview with the candidates before you hire. Interview the specific individuals who will service your business and are close in proximity. Ask questions, such as where they went to school, what their expertise is, and if they have experience in your industry. Other good questions include:
• What is your hourly billing rate?
• How often do you increase your rate?
• Can I talk to one or two other small business people you work for?
• What types of work do you most enjoy?
Make your final selection carefully. It is expensive to switch law firms!
Issues An Attorney Can Help You With:
You should do as much for your part-time business as you can yourself; however, a lawyer should review the complex issues. To begin, write a list of exactly what you want the attorney to do for you.
Choosing a Business Structure
An attorney with small or home business expertise can assist you in selecting the structure for your business: a sole proprietorship; partnership; a corporation; or a limited liability company (LLC). An attorney can also help you complete the necessary forms to incorporate your business. Further, it’s important to have the name and address of an attorney for a loan document or any leases you need to have reviewed.
Safeguarding Intellectual Property
An attorney can also help you safeguard your intellectual property, and reserve your own Internet domain name, copyrights, trademarks, and patents. An attorney can also help you to avoid violating other companies’ copyrights, trademarks, or patents.
An attorney can also help you mediate conflicts with consumers and with vendors before they become expensive litigation or before relationships with them are beyond repair. An attorney can also advise you on how to handle potential claims and avoid lawsuits.