Starting a new business is exciting and frightening, and you may be feeling optimistic and overwhelmed all at the same time. When you have what feels like a million decisions to make and every penny counts, it can be tempting to forgo consulting a business lawyer, but that may not be the most cost-effective decision. Hiring a business lawyer at the start can save you money and headaches in the long run.
A common reason you may need the help of a lawyer for your business is to comply with the employment laws and to avoid potential employee lawsuits. The federal and statement employment rules—including rules regarding immigration, tax withholding, worker’s compensation and benefits—are complex and failure to follow these rules can leave your business open to penalties and fines. In addition, prospective, current and past employees can sue for discrimination, wrongful discharge, and other unforeseen reasons. If you’d spoken with a lawyer when starting your business, there may have been some preventative measures you could have taken to avoid these. Lawyers can also look write or review your employment contracts, help with employment and hiring policies, and give advice about independent contractors (the so-called “1099s”). The IRS and State of Maryland have gotten very aggressive about businesses wrongly characterizing employees as independent contractors, and an experienced business attorney can help you avoid potential pitfalls in this area.
Violations of federal, state and local laws and regulations.
Certain businesses in Maryland are highly regulated and it can be difficult to navigate the various federal, state and local laws and regulations, including license requirements, zoning and environmental issues, and building codes. Speaking with a lawyer before starting your business could prevent costly issues later. Although no one can anticipate every problem, an experienced business lawyer may see issues with your business practices before the government can, allowing for adjustments to prevent future problems. If there are issues in the future, having a lawyer who is familiar with your business will help you to navigate the system, determine if you are exempt from the penalties and, if necessary, negotiate any penalties or fines you may be assessed.
Acquisition and Sale Negotiations
If you are considering buying an existing business (or selling yours) it is imperative to speak with a lawyer before making any decisions. Questions and negotiations about whether to structure the sale as an asset or stock sale, what should be included in the sales contract, and financing and taxes issues can be complicated and even the most savvy business owner can use the advice and expertise of a business lawyer.
In many cases speaking with a lawyer proactively can save business owners money and headaches in the long run. Also, the cost of hiring an attorney to form your business and advise you through the process is often less than the cost of some of these online services that merely form your corporation and LLC and send you the papers! While not all lawsuits and problems are preventable, with the help of an experienced lawyer you can be confident that your business is starting out the right way. At DK Rus we can help you start your business with a strong foundation you can build on. If you are starting a new business, give us a call today!