If you are a business owner, every move you make or don’t make can have a profound impact on the success and longevity of your enterprise. While you have the support of others who have a stake in your business, like investors and shareholders, sometimes the perspective of an insightful – but objective – outsider is what you need in that crucial moment of decision-making. The most sound advice you’re likely to get is from that of a skilled and highly experienced business attorney. In this blog, we’ll disclose the 6 ways that a business lawyer can help you achieve the long-term goals and vision you have for your company.
- They help you remain legally compliant.
Like everyone else, businesses and their owners must follow the local, state, and federal laws. If or when they don’t, they are considered “non-compliant” which can lead to a host of consequences, such as:
- Personal liability – also sometimes referred to as the “piercing of the corporate veil” and refers to when a court determines that the individuals who own or oversee the business should be held personally accountable for any debts or wrongdoings
- Audits – a long and expensive process in which the government inspects the processes and financials of a business
- Financial penalties – such as fines, back taxes, interest, and more
- Suspension or termination of the business – when a business has a pattern of non-compliance and falls out of good standing with the local or state entities
- Prison sentences – in some cases, owners, officers, or directors may be sentences to jail time if their personal actions with unlawful or negligent
- Damaged brand reputation – the denigration of customer and vendor confidence, leading to lack of trust in the company
Business lawyers are extremely well-versed in the laws, and continuously educate themselves on the frequent changes that are made to them. They can advise you as to whether or not your business is currently in compliance and what changes you need to make if it is not!
- They identify and mitigate risks.
It goes without saying that business owners are going to have to take a fair share of risks throughout their lifetime – owning a business is, in itself, a risk! But some risks are worth taking more than others, and a business attorney can help identify and mitigate risks before they’ve caused damage instead of simply addressing the fallout after the fact. By analyzing the potential negative consequences that the risk could bring, compared to the positive consequences that the reward could yield, a business will be able to make better decisions that are more likely to get them to their long-term goals.
- They ensure your contracts are strong.
Contracts are essentially like partnerships to a business; just like a person likely wouldn’t want to enter into any sort of partnership with someone they didn’t trust or someone they felt was not going to follow through with their end of the deal, so would a business want to avoid contracts of the same nature.
Contracts have a tendency to be full of difficult technical jargon, so the first way a business attorney could assist you is to interpret the language and spell it out in a way that is easier to understand. This ensures that the terms are fair to your company and don’t impose any undue costs. They can also help you draft contracts in a way that protects your interests and maintains their ability to be legally enforceable in a court of law.
Additionally, your attorney can negotiate the terms of the contract to secure the best possible deal and limit the exposure you could face if the deal falls through. Finally, they can quickly and efficiently handle contract disputes, if they arise, so that the least amount of disruption is caused to your operations.
- They help you protect your intellectual property.
Some companies would literally be reduced to nothing if they were to lose the idea, product, or design which sets them apart from their competitors. This is why protecting your intellectual property through patents, copyrights, or trademarks is so critical. Business attorneys are the best professionals to help with filing these forms of protection with the correct government entities, as well as stepping in when they are violated.
- They make mergers and acquisitions smooth.
There are 5 main stages of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and a capable attorney should be involved through each one. They are:
- The pre-merger stage, in which careful legal analysis is conducted to assess the viability of the proposed transaction
- Negotiation and drafting of agreements, in which attorneys contribute significantly to drafting and negotiating various agreements, including letters of intent, confidentiality agreements, merger agreements, asset transfer agreements, stock purchase agreements, and more
- Compliant with regulatory frameworks, in which attorneys act as a guiding force to ensure M&As comply with the various regulatory frameworks, such as antitrust laws and securities laws
- Due diligence, in which attorneys conduct a meticulous examination of a target company’s legal and financial intricacies to determine the legitimacy of contracts, assess potential liabilities, and uncover potential legal risks associated with the target company
- Post-merger integration and compliance, in which a keen understanding of contract law, employment law, and corporate governance regulations is essential to guiding the integration process and guaranteeing a seamless transition
6. They help prevent lawsuits from employees.
While business law and employment law are not the same field of legal practice, a business attorney can still ensure that you are running your business in a way that minimizes your chances of an employee filing a civil suit against you or your company. The most common disputes are typically over unfair practices, contract violations, workplace discrimination, and safety hazards.
The key is to hire your business attorney before any problems arise. They will be able to identify red flags within your standard operating procedures that could jeopardize the health and safety of employees or cause other issues that lead to lawsuits. While it cannot be guaranteed that you will never encounter a lawsuit, even if you do, the fact that you have a history of working with an attorney to improve your SOPs and provide a fair and safe work environment to your employees will certainly work to your advantage in court, as it shows your dedication and desire to protect everyone involved.
Let Zecca Ross & Smith Set Your Business Up For Success
Our knowledgeable team of business attorneys have over 20 years of combined legal experience and have helped countless Californians run a more profitable company. Call today to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your concerns, as well as your goals. Don’t wait until tomorrow to get honest and dependable guidance that could make your business thrive today!