According to Rocket Lawyer’s recent semi-annual small business index, 33 percent of small businesses dealt with a legal issue during the first half of 2014.
It’s smart business sense to know what might arise and how to address legal matters that could impact your business. We’ve put together some basic information covering why you might need professional help and where to find it.
Some reasons a small business might need legal assistance include:
Employment and Labor Laws Small business owners are subjected to some of the laws and regulations that apply to large corporations. The U.S. Small Business Administration has resources that can help small business owners understand which requirements apply to their business.
Protection of Home and Personal Assets If you are operating your business as a sole proprietor or general partnership you need to be aware of situations where you could incur personal liability.
Intellectual Property Does your business rely on original technology or information that you or your employees have designed? Do you have a distinguishing name, logo or product? Business owners need to make sure they are protecting their rights to use intellectual property.
Getting Sued Small business owners can be sued by customers, clients or employees for fraud, breach of contract and other various claims.
What exactly is a legal professional? A business lawyer has experience with and knowledge of issues surrounding the starting and running of a business. They are typically generalists who have a working knowledge of a wide range of issues.
Not all legal matters require a lawyer, but you should know where to go for assistance. Here are some resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs to explore:
The American Bar Association (ABA) has a comprehensive Consumers’ Guide to help you hire an attorney. Questions that are addressed include how to find and hire a lawyer. They also have a map search feature to help find legal help in your area.
SCORE is an organization dedicated to helping small businesses offering free and confidential small business advice. Find a local SCORE branch here and ask if they have legal experts available to answer questions.
AllLaw is a one stop shop for legal information. You can also use a location tool to find an attorney in your area. The most popular topics and products on the site include debt, business and money, wills, trusts and estates.
For owners of small businesses or for entrepreneurs looking to launch a business, LegalCORPS volunteer attorneys can provide advice to help prevent costly troubles. LegalCORPS attorneys can give assistance for issues concerning taxation, government regulation, employment and real estate.