Whether you have a problem to solve or need to plan, a lawyer may be able to help. Here’s when you should consider using one.
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Are you starting a business?
Anyone can fill out the forms to become a corporation or LLC. This doesn’t mean that you’ll know how to do it the best way to maximize your protection and flexibility. A lawyer can also help you choose the right form of business.
Do you understand your liability exposure?
You may take various steps to protect your business activities and personal assets. A common suggestion is incorporating, but you may not understand the full benefits or limits of forming a corporation or LLC.
Are you involved in a contract dispute?
If you’re in a contract dispute and haven’t been able to reach a resolution, going to a lawyer may be the next step. A letter from a lawyer is often enough to get the other side to stop ignoring you and solve the issue. Keep in mind that you may have a contract even if you didn’t write up a formal contract.
Do you have another legal matter?
It’s important to understand that part of the reason to hire a lawyer is that you don’t know what you don’t know. While hiring an attorney can be expensive, it can be even more expensive to face fines or get sued because you weren’t aware of your legal obligations. If you think you might have a legal issue, or even if you don’t, it’s a good idea to ask a lawyer for a consultation.
Your business could be impacted by the following types of legal issues.
- If you’re charged with a crime, it could jeopardize your professional licenses. You may also need a criminal defense attorney if your business is criminally cited for something like a liquor law violation.
- If you purchase or sell real estate for your business, you may want to work with a real estate attorney to make sure the transaction goes smoothly.
- A family law attorney can help with what happens to your business ownership stake in settling a divorce or how to allocate business income in alimony or child custody proceedings.
- For disputes on smaller contracts, you may need to take a client to small claims court.
- If someone is injured on your property, you may need help from an injury law attorney.
- If you have a dispute with your insurance company, you may also need an attorney to help you get full coverage for your claim or the proper defense to a claim against you.
Where can you find a lawyer?
If you need an attorney for planning, document preparation, or to solve a problem, the American Bar Association maintains a list of attorney directories by state. Many law firms specialize in personal or small business issues.
Local law schools sometimes offer free legal services, performed by law students who represent clients under the supervision of attorney professors, to those meeting eligibility criteria. If you’re a member of a co-working location or startup incubator, you may also have access to legal assistance.