Whether you’re a fashion designer who runs their business online or an insurance agent with a physical location, every entrepreneur will have to interact with lawyers at some point. Attorneys can help you set up your business, negotiate better deals, protect your assets, and even defend you from accusations of wrongdoing.
Here are a handful of the different types of attorneys you might need to seek out or otherwise interact with as a business owner.
1. Contract Lawyers
Contract lawyers can vet the terms of deals you’re working out with other businesses, clients, or employees to make sure your interests are protected.
Say, for example, you work as an independent contractor as a landscaper for corporate clients. Having a contract lawyer review the terms of your contracts before you agree to them can help you negotiate payment terms or offer advice for bringing on sub-contractors for big jobs.
2. Intellectual Property Attorneys
If your business relies in any way on intellectual property (patents, copyrights, and trademarks), you’ll want to work with an IP attorney.
IP lawyers specialize in helping you research and apply for patents and trademarks, sue copyright violators, and actively defend trademark violations that could confuse your customers or harm your reputation.
3. Tax Attorneys
As an entrepreneur, you might not want to handle your taxes on your own. Business taxes are significantly more complex than personal taxes, so you should consider working with a tax attorney.
Tax lawyers don’t only help you file your business taxes. They also help you maximize returns, minimize tax requirements in any legal way possible, and walk you through the tax implications of big business decisions.
4. Personal Injury Lawyers
As a business owner, you might not only interact with attorneys working on your behalf. You might also find yourself dealing with lawyers for individuals suing you or your company.
For example, let’s say you don’t remove ice and snow adequately in the winter and a customer slips and injures their back when visiting your business. You could find yourself facing a personal injury attorney who’s representing an injured customer. You might find yourself in a similar position if an employee injures someone in a car crash while driving a company vehicle or if a defect in your products harms one of your customers. You can avoid dealing with a personal injury firm by making sure that your products and storefront are safe.
On the other hand, if you’re a laborer who gets hurt while working in unsafe conditions, you should reach out to a personal injury lawyer to file a claim.
5. Corporate Attorneys
If you own a reasonably large business, you might want to keep a corporate attorney or legal counsel on retainer.
These are the lawyers who can help you register your business as an LLC. They can also help you manage selling your company, acquiring another one, or finalizing a merger. Corporate attorneys can also advise you on your, and your company’s, legal rights and responsibilities.
There are many reasons you might interact with lawyers as a business owner. It’s important to know what each kind can do for you, or what you might need to defend yourself against. The business world is full of both risks and opportunities, and the right attorney can help you navigate both.