Santa Barbara
67° F
Clear
Clear
Santa Maria
67° F
Clear
Clear
San Luis Obispo
65° F
Clear
Clear
Ventura
66° F
Clear
Clear

Why every small business needs a good lawyer

Published On: Aug 15 2013 10:15:51 AM CDT

istock

By Joe Chase, Special to THELAW.TV

Business owners are busy people. Their days are filled with attracting new customers, keeping existing customers happy, and finding and retaining talented employees. Small businesses, particularly those just getting off the ground, usually also have tight budgets.

Often lost in this hectic mix is the need to pay attention to legal issues relevant to any business. It is a mistake for small business owners to give in to the temptation of putting off dealing with legal issues until their companies are larger or only when problems arise.

Entrepreneurs can often save themselves a great deal of money and aggravation by dealing with these issues from day one. Getting appropriate legal advice up front can, among other things, help protect a company against expensive lawsuits brought by employees, customers, suppliers and other parties; help protect a company's intellectual property and other proprietary information; and, ultimately, make a potential future sale of the business relatively painless.

Quality legal advice does not need to be expensive. Many of the legal choices that a small business needs to make, and many of the documents that a small business should have in place, can be prepared quite efficiently. A good business lawyer can help a small business owner "triage" his or her needs to get the most bang for a limited legal budget.

In particular, a business lawyer at a good full-service law firm can have much to offer to a small business. A full-service firm will have experienced professionals in most of the areas of practice relevant to a small business. For example, business lawyers deal day in and day out with, among other things, drafting and negotiating contracts, structuring business entities, and issues relating to how business entities are controlled and managed -- in other words, they are not litigators. But, should a lawsuit arise, a lot less time will be spent laying the groundwork for the litigation if the litigator handling the case has a close working relationship with the company's business lawyer -- all the better for a small business' bottom line. Even if the business lawyer's firm does not have an attorney with the necessary skillset, by virtue of working with a variety of sophisticated clients, day in and day out, a good full-service law firm will have relationships with lawyers outside of the firm who have proven themselves capable in the areas of law that are important to businesses.

Although regional full-service law firms may be more expensive than individual lawyers in general practice, the small business owner who develops a relationship with the right business lawyer at a regional full-service firm can receive the legal assistance he or she needs at a reasonable price.

That said, there are plenty of business lawyers who work as solo practitioners or in smaller firms who have developed networks of lawyers outside of their firms that allow them to help their clients with problems involving various areas of legal practice. These lawyers often primarily represent small businesses and can be very in-tune with the needs of small businesses. However, small business owners should be wary of solo practitioners who claim to be "Jacks of all trades." Legal practice becomes increasingly specialized with each passing year, and a lawyer who truly believes he or she is capable of handling every matter faced by a small business likely does not "know what he or she does not know."

As most experienced lawyers will readily tell you, the most dangerous thing for a lawyer is not being able to readily identify matters that are beyond his or her expertise. That is, the most effective business lawyers -- whether or not they are members of full-service firms -- are those who recognize when a particular issue goes beyond their own skill-set and requires the help of a lawyer in a particular area of law.

So, what are the legal issues every small business should address? Stay tuned: future articles in this series will cover the key issues entrepreneurs should consider sooner, rather than face the cost and aggravation of considering them later.

The author, Joe Chase, is an attorney at Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A., "Florida’s Law Firm For Business."

Comments

The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • fatal_accident_investigation

    Extensive Investigation into Triple Fatal Accident

    An extensive investigation is underway to determine the cause of death in a triple fatal rollover accident Monday morning in Santa Barbara.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    3 Dead In Early Morning Accident, Driver Arrested For DUI

    The 101 southbound through Santa Barbara reopened just before 12:30 Monday afternoon as authorities investigate what they say was a deadly two car DUI accident.

  • girl_child_coughing_sick_whooping_cough

    Contagious Diseases Making a Comeback in California

    Deadly diseases that were a thing of the past are making a comeback in California.

  • Witnesses to Fatal Crash

    Eyewitnesses See Triple Fatal Crash from Roadside Camp

    A homeless couple watching the freeway from their campsite in Santa Barbara this morning, witnessed the triple fatal accident that took the lives of two teens and a young man.

  • fuzion_store_business_santa_barbara

    UCSB Group Boycotts Business For Promoting Deltopia

    A UCSB student group is boycotting a local business for creating the Deltopia Facebook page, which they said brought in thousands of outsiders to the small college town.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    DUI Driver in Fatal Early Morning Accident Ordered to Detox Program in 1995

    The Santa Barbara woman arrested for DUI in the early morning accident that left three people dead early Monday morning has a lengthy court record out of Ventura County. Kimberly Kreis, 52, was ordered to serve 30 days in a detox program as far back as 1995.

    The car that Kreis was driving crashed into a disabled Mazda near the Castillo off-ramp of the southbound 101 freeway in Santa Barbara. Two 17 year old North Torrance High School students were killed in the accident- Jessica Leffew and Danielle Murillo. 20 year old Brian Lopez also died in the wreck. The driver of the Mazda, Eric August, is hospitalized in critical condition.

    A NewsChannel 3 investigation found records out of Ventrua County that appear to show that Greis has at least one prior conviction involving drugs and or alcohol, and in 1995 she was ordered to serve 30 days in a Cottage Hospital detox program.

    CHP investigators are still trying to piece together why the Mazda veered right into a guardrail, causing it to flip onto it's roof before coming to rest in the middle of the southbound freeway, which set into motion the deadly accident.

    CHP Officer Jonathan Guiterrez, said "A lot of things could have happened, He could have fallen asleep. We just don't know at this point."

  • Parents of Mallory Dies Sue Congresswoman, Her Former Aide, and U.S. Government

    The parents of a young Santa Barbara woman killed in a high profile, DUI case are suing Congresswoman Lois Capps, her former aide Raymond Morua, and the U-S government in federal court.

  • Larry Lee Cal Poly Coach

    Cal Poly Baseball Earns No. 1 National Ranking

    The Mustangs achieved the school's second No. 1 national ranking in Division I as Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has placed Cal Poly atop its Top 30.

  • Lupita Nyong'o

    REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

    People's 'World's Most Beautiful' list 2014

    People magazine recently named Lupita Nyong'o its "World's Most Beautiful" for 2014. See which other ladies earned a coveted spot on the annual list.

  • Slideshow: Extensive Investigation into Triple Fatal Accident

    An extensive investigation is underway to determine the cause of death in a triple fatal rollover accident Monday morning in Santa Barbara.