Small Business Counsel

Running a small business is an exhilarating as well as daunting task. There are so many things to think about – from marketing and sales to accounting and HR – that it’s easy to become overwhelmed. That’s where trusted small business counsel comes in.

If you’re thinking of starting a small business or you’ve been running one for a while, consider utilizing the many legal services of The Dean Law Firm. We can help make sure your business is running legally and in compliance with local laws and regulations, which will help you avoid costly mistakes.

It is imperative for small businesses to have their proverbial “ducks in a row” when it comes to legal matters. Paying appropriate attention to issues such as incorporation, employment practices, liability protection, and contracting can help businesses avoid future pitfalls that could result in fines or costly litigation.

What is it?

A general counsel can provide a small business with legal guidance and advice, helping the company to stay compliant with state and federal laws. The general counsel can also help to resolve disputes and protect the business in the event of legal action. Generally, the general counsel will have experience in various legal areas, including contract law, employment law, and intellectual property law. For a small business, it is essential to find a general counsel who can provide cost-effective legal services and understands a small company’s unique needs.

How The Dean Law Firm Can Help

The Dean Law Firm will help your small business address some of the common legal
issues your company will confront, including:

Whether you are a sole proprietor, a LLC, a partnership, or a corporation, every small business should regularly review whether their corporate structure best suits the nature of the business they are engaged in. Whether it’s a limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or S-Corporation, we will help select the appropriate structure and guide you through the organizational or incorporation process.

I am often struck by the many business owners I meet who do not have an operating agreement in place for their businesses. Every business should have an operating agreement that outlines the business structure, details ownership shares, dictates how decisions are made, and provides guidance for the transfer of ownership stakes, sale or dissolution of the business. Operating agreements should have strong indemnification clauses that shield the owners from liability.

Plan Small business owners should have a plan in place that outlines what happens to your business if you or any of the partner owners become disabled or pass away. The plan can be included in your operating agreement, and should also be referenced in your personal Will or Trust.

Do you have the appropriate State and local business licenses for the work you are performing? Are the licenses up to date? Operating without the proper license in place could cause many problems down the road, from fines to loss of liability protections, to even the suspension of your business.

Most businesses contract with vendors, clients, customer or other entities with whom they interact. Having a solid contract in place can help avoid sticky issues if problems arise down the road. Businesses should have a standard contract in place that both assigns the proper amount of risk and complies with State and local laws that dictate contract terms.

If your small business has employees or hires independent contractors, there are a whole host of legal issues and requirements related to hiring, firing and protecting your business from illegal employment practices. Every small business should have standardized employment agreements that clearly outline the terms of employment, ensure confidentiality of business work products and contain terms of separation. In addition, the business should have an employee handbook that contains the business employment policies and prohibitions against illegal practices. There are Federal, State and local laws, ordinances and requirements that must be adhered to.

Small business, particularly those that interface with the general public, always run the risk of getting sued by customers, clients or employees for a variety of
issues. The last thing the business needs is an expensive lawsuit. Small businesses should regularly analyze their place of business and business practices to detect and correct issues that could cause a lawsuit in the future. Whether it’s maintaining a safe place of business for your employees and customers, or properly supervising the work that’s done, it is always a good idea to think ahead, and of course to be properly
insured.

These are just some of the issues I regularly confront with the small businesses that I represent. Taking the time to take care of these things in advance can save a lot of money and heartache down the road. Your small business is likely your most valuable financial asset. Don’t let the neglect of its “legal health” ruin your hard work and sacrifice!

How do I get it?

It can be difficult for small businesses to find general counsel who can provide the legal services they need at an affordable price. However, there are a few easy steps to obtaining general counsel for small businesses.

  1. Find an attorney that has experience in small business law.
  2. Ask the attorney to create a general counsel agreement outlining their services’ scope.
  3. Have the attorney provide training on effectively using and managing their services.
  4. Meet with the attorney regularly to discuss any legal issues in your business.

Be sure to clearly communicate your needs and budget constraints to your general counsel. This will help them better tailor their services to your specific needs. Additionally, be sure to ask for regular updates on your legal matters so you can stay informed about what is happening in your case.

Hiring a small business general counsel can be a great decision for your business. They can help you navigate the legal landscape and make sure you’re compliant with all applicable laws. Additionally, they can provide valuable advice on a wide range of legal issues. If you’re thinking about hiring a small business general counsel, contact us for more information.