As a small business owner, you’re busy! You’re most likely wearing several hats yourself. Because you’re so busy, sometimes it can be tempting to push business documents forward without getting them reviewed by an attorney first. That can cause problems down the road, so it’s important to have an attorney review business documents upfront. Here are a few examples of how your lawyer can help.
Attorneys Review Business Contracts: An Ounce of Prevention
That old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds a lot of truth. It’s generally easier to prevent problems before they ever happen. In our opinion, that’s the main reason why you should have an attorney take a look at business documents.
For example, let’s say you’re about to enter into a big business contract with a customer. What if the language is too vague, making it easy for them to get out of the contract but difficult for you? Or what if there are certain loopholes that allow them to take a long time to pay you and still abide by the contract?
Or think about a contract with your property management company. That’s an important one, especially if they’re encouraging you to sign a long lease. You want to get into a contract that’s fair to both parties, and an attorney can make sure the paperwork you sign leans in that direction.
The cost of preventing issues now will be much less expensive than dealing with the issues later.
Attorneys Should Be Consulted when Hiring or Firing Employees
The paperwork associated with hiring and firing employees should be looked at by a business attorney. Both situations can get you in trouble if you aren’t prepared.
For example, when interviewing new candidates you can’t ask questions that make the candidate feel discriminated against. For example, you can’t ask what year someone was born, as that would tell you their age. You can’t ask if they’re married or have children either. An attorney can consult you ahead of time to let you know what questions are okay to ask.
Another example is firing. You don’t want to let someone go and have it come back to haunt you. Even though you are generally allowed to fire someone as deemed necessary, it can seem illegal depending on the circumstances. For example, if someone recently posted a discrimination complaint and you fire them a few days later, that can be seen as retaliation. Or if you recently found out an employee is pregnant, letting them go can be seen as discriminating against a protected status.
Consult Attorneys when Setting Up Your Business
Confused about what kind of legal business structure you should set up? An attorney can walk you through that process and help you understand the pros and cons of each.
For example, they can explain the potential pitfalls of a sole proprietorship or partnership. They can also advise on whether or not an LLC, S-Corp or C-Corp is the best entity based on your long term goals.
Having an attorney review business documents and be on your side is one of the best things you can do to safely grow your business. Give us a call at (714) 663-8000 and we’ll help you any way we can. We look forward to hearing from you.