Although entrepreneurs by definition do much of the start-up work themselves, it often helps to have an experienced attorney to help you start your business. An attorney can help you pick which type of legal structure is best for your business, and make sure that you have all of your forms and paperwork in order to form the correct legal structure. FindLaw's Business Formation Legal Help section provides information to help you determine if you should hire an attorney to help you with the tasks involved in starting a business. In this section, you can also find information and resources to help you find a small business attorney, as well as some sources for low-cost legal help.
When starting a business, it's important to make sure you do everything by the book. Failure to file the right taxes or obtain the applicable permits can have negative consequences not only on your business, but also possibly on your personal life. Choosing the wrong business structure, or incorrectly filing the paperwork for the structure you choose, could leave you unintentionally open to personal liability for your business's debts.
How an Attorney Can Help
Although it's an added expense, an attorney can be a helpful asset to a person who is starting a business. Attorneys are familiar with the laws that will pertain to businesses in your location and industry. Attorneys can make sure all your business affairs are in order and can help you with a variety of business tasks. For example, an attorney can help you draft contracts with vendors and/or customers that you can use as the basis for future contracts. An attorney can also assist you in establishing hiring and firing practices and policies that can help shield you from lawsuits in the future. An attorney can also draft any partnership agreements, government registration documents, and tax forms to get your business started. Finally, an attorney will help you determine and obtain all of the permits and licenses required of your business.
Low-Cost Legal Help
Although an attorney can be very helpful in starting a new business, sometimes there just isn't enough money for you to spend on one. In that case, there are some low cost options for handling the legal aspects of your business. One simple, low-cost option is using do-it-yourself legal forms. These forms must usually be purchased, but are usually not very expensive. If you want to make sure your forms are all correct and in order, you can have an attorney review the forms, which would save considerable costs when compared to having an attorney draft the legal documents him or herself.
There are also some legal resources that are free. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), for example, provides helpful and free information on all aspects of a business, including starting and managing a business. You can always also use the Internet to research the legal topics or issues. This research can help you determine if it's something you can take care of on your own, or if it would be a good idea contact an attorney.