Types of Business Attorneys – Which One Do You Need?
Small business owners may find hiring a lawyer expensive and may want to cut corners on the same. However, if your business is subject to a lawsuit, you’ll find it a lot of relieving that you’ve hired a lawyer. While hiring a lawyer, you’ll have to evaluate them for which you’ll have to ask a lot of questions and try to find out how they’ve helped other businesses like yours.
Another great benefit of hiring one of the local attorneys is that it helps ensure that your business is operating legally. They can check contracts and other documents that you would otherwise assume to be legitimate. Additionally, some lawyers are knowledgeable about tax matters, even though they’re not accountants. They may have handled legal tax issues for other businesses and can make sure you don’t run into the same problems. Of course, you should have your lawyer discuss with your accountant. Here we’ll see 6 types of lawyers for businesses so you can determine which one is best suited to you.
You may wonder if there are different types of business lawyers. The answer is yes. Lawyers often specialize in different aspects of business and you should look for the one who specializes in your particular topic of concern.
General Business Lawyer
As indicated by the name, a general business lawyer can offer legal advice on a wide array of matters. This type of lawyer has knowledge in every legal discipline. If your business is not facing special situations, a general business lawyer may be your best bet. If you’re considering to hire this type of lawyer, ask questions about various situations that could arise in your business. If you don’t think that your business would be covered in those situations, you may want to turn to a more specialized lawyer.
Employment and Labor Lawyer
When your business has employees, hiring an employment and labor lawyer makes sense. If you have employees, your business should comply with state and federal laws. Local Attorneys in this area can assist you in drafting employee manuals and ensure safety standards are in place. Some of the employment aspects that could influence your business are wrongful terminations, sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, although this is not a complete list; therefore, this type of lawyer can protect your business. If you feel you need to terminate an employee, you should first discuss the matter with your lawyer as they know the best way to handle the scenario. If any legal issue occurs, the lawyer can step in and represent your organization. Employment law is an area which often sees changes, but it’s your lawyer’s job to keep an eye on these changes, so you don’t have to.
Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Lawyer
While buying and selling businesses, you’ll have to negotiate for the property and assets of those businesses. You may not be always clear about what you’re entitled to during these negotiations. In such a condition, it’s worth having a M&A lawyer representing your interests in the transactions. M&A lawyers know the nuances that come with merges and acquisitions. The opposite party will try to negotiate the best deal to their benefit. M&A is a complicated process and doing it without an M&A lawyer may cause you a loss. The documentation process is yet another complex part of M&A deals. It’s very likely for small business owners to neglect the need of documents. M&A lawyers have knowledge about the documents and filings. They are also experts in the laws regarding pensions and employee rights associated with deals. Deals that involve intellectual property may need the expertise of an IP lawyer. Some M&A lawyers even have this expertise, but you should ask about it beforehand rather than presuming it.
In a business, taxes can become complicated at times. In that scenario, a qualified tax professional such as a tax lawyer can be very beneficial. Although a Certified Public Accountant or CPA can help you when your business gets audited. But when a situation arises where the tax authority decides to take a legal action against your business, you’ll need an experienced tax lawyer. You can take help of a tax attorney also when you decide not to hire a CPA or you find that the CPA you hired was not qualified or was crooked. Both these scenarios could cause the IRS to pursue a legal action. While looking for a tax attorney, consider ones that are experienced with tax law. They should be licensed lawyers and must have gone through tax law training, preferably a master’s degree. If you’re a member of an association for your business, try asking around for a referral.
Intellectual Property Lawyer
If your business owns trademarks and patents, you’ll possibly need an intellectual property (IP) lawyer. These lawyers are qualified to handle issues concerning copyrights, patents, trademarks and even brand recognition concerns. An IP lawyer can also make sure your business isn’t infringing on the IP concerns of other businesses. Most businesspersons aren’t trained to know when they’re in violation, and in that case, the IP attorney becomes a great help. IP violations are some of the greatest payouts for lawsuits. Any information is considered intellectual property. People think they can exchange data freely on the internet, but often have to undergo legal troubles for sharing the wrong data. For example, if you use phrases like “Just Do It” or “Taco Tuesday”, you’re very likely to hear from an IP attorney because both these phrases are trademarked and highly protected by Nike and Taco John’s.
Many businesspersons tend to use templates they find on the internet for their contracts. Such templates may work but could cause legal problems for your business in the future as templates won’t cover the specifics for your business. Here a qualified contract lawyer can determine the correct contracts for your company. Most deals need provisions not covered by templates. Templates could pigeonhole your business into undesired obligations. The legal language contained in any contract, including templates, is too difficult for a layperson to understand. You may be needed to fulfil these obligations. This can cost your company much more than expected. But contract lawyers cost much less than what you’d pay for undesired provisions. If you often use contracts, consider hiring a contract lawyer to review them and make sure there is a proper representation of your business.
Knowing the different types of attorneys will enable you to determine which type among your local attorneys is suitable for your situation. So, have you determined what type of attorney you need?