A small business can not afford to keep a lawyer on its payroll, full time. But, a small business should not become incorporated without consulting a business lawyer and getting the business set up properly with the state that the small business wants to become incorporated in. There are ready made documents that a small business can fill it and incorporate itself without a lawyer, but that is the surest way to lawsuits and irregularities that might show up when trying to apply for a small business insurance policy. At any event, introducing yourself to a lawyer when beginning a business and keeping him on a retainer is inexpensive and can save the small business lawyer unnecessary stress if confronted by a legal situation.
What a small business owner should keep in mind is that a small business lawyer is bound by ethics that he shouldn’t violate without risking his own license. A small business lawyer kept on a retainer should be treated like a highly respected officer of the law, which is after all what a lawyer is. Once you have a lawyer on a retainer you can refer lawsuits, harassing clients, or make inquiries into legal proprieties before submitting a contract. A small business owner is knowledgeable about the products and services that he sells, he is not expected to be knowledgeable about business law, company law, or corporate law.
It is also advisable when facing an IRS audit to contact your small business lawyer. If he is not qualified to help you, he should be able to advise you on who to contact for assistance. You should never face an audit alone without your lawyer present. If you are being sued, you should never deal with the suers lawyer or the one suing you personally. You might find yourself being sued for negligence and be found guilty just by talking to the one suing you as if you are admitting fault. Never let yourself open to charges of harassment by thinking that you are being nice by accepting a direct call from a lawyer of from an individual who is suing you in court.
If you want to settle out of court, let your small business lawyer handle the situation. There are many cases where small business owners tried to settle out of court and ended up being charged for attempting to bribe their way out of a lawsuit. Anyone who is suing you is not going to be taken in by an offer of money to settle out of court unless the offer is made by lawyer talking to another lawyer.
Jack writes about small businesses and lawyers for small businesses.