Protecting your business against legal challenges can be crucial for your continued success. Business law can be taxing to navigate, as the law touches your business in many ways. Therefore, you might want to consider having a qualified lawyer at your disposal.

First and foremost, a good business lawyer should be someone that you feel comfortable dealing with. It is also equally important for your business lawyer to possess the experience and expertise to help you make informed business decisions.

Throughout the life of your business, you will likely encounter a number of legal issues that a lawyer can help you resolve. For effectiveness, you may want to enlist the services of a lawyer from the start of your business as a good business lawyer will help you understand how to avoid legal trouble before it arises.

Some of the legal issues that a business lawyer can help you resolve include:

  • Setting up your business structure: determine the organizational structure that is best for you
  • Preparation of contracts: understand the legal ramifications of signing on the dotted line
  • Registration, licensing and taxation issues: fulfill government requirements of your business
  • Intellectual property: protect the products and services that you create
  • Real estate: avoid signing a lease agreement that benefits only the property owner and not you
  • Buying a business: recognize your obligations and the terms of your agreement
  • Employee conflict: ensure your decisions regarding human resources are fair and legal

To better inform your search for a business lawyer, meet with several before deciding who will best suit your needs. Speak with experienced business owners and ask for their advice and recommendations. Consider your prospective lawyer's area(s) of expertise. Different lawyers specialize in different branches of law; therefore, a tax lawyer may not be the best choice to prepare your business contracts. Some larger law firms may offer “one-stop-shop” legal services, in which they employ a number of lawyers with differing specialties.

In choosing the right candidate, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this person possess expertise that is well-aligned with my business needs?
  • If/when necessary, will they provide me with a referral to a more specialized lawyer?
  • Is this someone I feel comfortable dealing with and can I trust their perspective to help me make business decisions?

If you are able to answer all of these questions positively, maybe you've found someone with the right fit to help your business.

Consult our  Legal issues for small business page for more information. To learn more about protecting your interests, check out our Management and Operations section.