First of all, congratulations. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re either considering starting a business or perhaps you’ve recently taken the plunge and went for it. Either way, it’s a big accomplishment that you should be proud of. All businesses from startups to those well underway need a lawyer for a variety of reasons. We’ve listed out just a few reasons you might need a business law attorney (as a startup) below.
Top Five Reasons Your Business Might Need a Lawyer
Incorporation and forming a business entity.
Negotiating contracts with customers and suppliers, including establishing terms of service for websites and license agreements for software.
Incorporation and Forming a Business Entity
While you don’t necessarily need to hire an attorney for incorporating your business, hiring an experienced business law attorney can save you time and ultimately money. Are you looking to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC), S-Corp, C-Corp, no corporation? Will your company be vested or unvested? Will you have a Board of Directors? Mangers? Employees?
It can be tough to find the right resources to assist in deciding the right fit for your business, not to mention time consuming. That’s where an attorney can help. They have the experience to not only recommend the type of business entity that may be right for your business, but they know the right documents to file and where they need to be sent. This then frees up your time to focus on running your business.
There are many laws in effect, both federal and state, that an employer must adhere to towards their employees. A violation of those laws could constitute a lawsuit. An attorney can educate you on the appropriate state and federal laws to ensure that you are knowledgeable in what you need to be in compliance. In addition to compliance with all relevant laws, you’ll need a contract to protect both your business as well as the employee.
A contract can define the scope of work, salary or wages, and sometimes can define a length of time. The contract will lay out the rights and responsibilities of both the employer and the employee.
You may need to add a non-compete clause, depending on your business as well. You wouldn’t want someone with insider knowledge to also be working for your competition. This presents a conflict of interest. A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) may also be a document your business will need. The purpose of the NDA is to ensure the employee is aware that they may not divulge your trade secrets without permission.
While this article has listed a few, there may be other types of employment contracts and/or clauses an attorney may recommend, depending on the type of business you own.
Negotiating Contracts with Customers and Suppliers, Including Establishing Terms of Service for Websites and License Agreements for Software
This is a big one. Contracts these days, are almost always a necessity. They are to protect your business as well as the client. It is your agreement on the scope of work or product, the cost of the service or goods and how/when the payment will be made. Depending on the product/service, there may also be other clauses needed to provide additional protections.
This section is important. Not only might you need an attorney to draft a contract to protect your business, but you may also need an attorney experienced in contract law if one of your customers or suppliers breaches your contract, or you, yourself, may be accused of breaching a contract. An experienced attorney keeps all of this in mind when writing your contract to ensure if these issues do arise that you’re properly protected.
Should a breach of contract occur, your attorney can represent you through mediation or appearing in Court on your behalf.
Obtaining a patent for your invention can be research intensive and time consuming. While you don’t need an attorney, a patent attorney certified by the USPTO knows the ins and outs of obtaining a patent. They can help you create and file all documentation, counter any disputes from the USPTO or anyone who challenges your invention, performing thorough research, wordsmithing your documents for success and dealing with the USPTO during the process. If you do decide to utilize the services of an attorney, make sure they’re certified through the USPTO to practice patent law.
So, you’re ready to grow. Perhaps you’re looking for an investor. There are lots of options out there, but there are also lots of regulations out there governing how you can solicit investors. Federal and state securities laws require that any part of your company that you sell in order to raise capital for your business either be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the state OR exempt from registration. Relying on the exemption from registration holds many limitations on how you can solicit investors as well as who may invest. While you’d be directly responsible for finding an investor, an attorney would be able to advise on the type of investor that any regulations prohibit you from using. Once an investor or group of investors has been secured, your attorney can prepare the relevant documentation depending on the type of investor and what part of your business you’d be selling for the capital.
When it comes to establishing and protecting your business, you’ll want to find a lawyer who is competent, responsive and experienced with these types of legal matters.
Business Law Attorney in Prince George’s County, Maryland
Whether you’re starting a business or wanting to patent your product, Kemet Hunt Law Group has over 20 years of experience. Attorney Anu Kemet is a certified patent attorney located in Prince George’s County, Maryland, representing clients from all over the state of Maryland.
Kemet Hunt Law Group, Inc. is a Maryland based law firm whose strong belief in client communication and down-to-earth values make it a unique asset to those who need legal assistance. With a mission to serve their clients with respect, professionalism and skill, the attorneys at Kemet Hunt have used their expertise to successfully represent hundreds of people with family law, criminal, business, bankruptcy, immigration, and other legal issues. To schedule an appointment, please call: 301-982-0888