Running a business is no easy task. On top of the responsibility of handling day-to-day operations, business owners face a number of legal requirements and obligations. From formation to employment matters, nearly every step involved in running a business can require legal help. The problem is that small business legal help often comes at a big cost. There are, however, alternatives to hiring an attorney. Below, you’ll find low-cost ways to get the small business legal help you need.
Do-It-Yourself Legal Forms
Running a business often involves a mountain of paperwork, from compliance reports to employment contracts. Hiring an attorney to draft your contracts and legal documents can be expensive. The good news is that you can handle much of this paperwork on your own. Whether you need to hire an employee, or register your intellectual property, you can save your business money by purchasing do-it-yourself legal forms online. Just be sure the forms you use comply with all state and federal requirements and contain the terms your business needs to insulate itself from liability. Then, all you need to do is fill in the specifics.
If you don’t have time to fill out the forms yourself, in many situations, you can choose to have a professional complete them for you at a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney. Of course, even if you don’t feel comfortable representing yourself in a certain legal matter, you can still save a significant amount of money on small business legal help by filling out do-it-yourself legal forms and then having an attorney review them.
Free Legal Resources
Before going to a professional for small business legal help, it’s a good idea to explore the free legal resources that are at your disposal. Research will help you understand your legal issue, so if you do need to hire an attorney, you’ll know what questions to ask. On the other hand, you may find that the issue can be resolved without the help of a legal professional.
Many organizations, like the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), offer free legal information on planning, starting, and managing a business. In addition, the SBA’s local district offices offer free consulting services to business owners. Take a look at the SBA’s directory to find a district office near you.
If you’re interested in learning about a specific area of business or employment law, it helps to go directly to the source. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, for example, offers a wealth of information on workplace discrimination and state anti-discrimination laws. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service’s website provides free tax information for businesses of all sizes. Finally, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration offers free safety and health consultation services and provides information on compliance issues and workplace safety laws.
These are just a few options for ways to save money while you get your business off the ground. If after your research, you decide that hiring a private attorney is best for you, those options are available to you here, as well.
Hiring a Private Attorney
If you are interested in hiring a private attorney, you'll be able to find one in FindLaw's Lawyer Directory. A skilled business and commericial law attorney can help you, no matter what step you are in in the business formation process, from employment matters to intellectual property.