What Business and Commercial Lawyers Do
In general terms, these lawyers work with businesses of all sizes to prevent and address legal issues. Laws that apply to business operations cover a huge range of expertise, from environmental laws to trade and commerce to labor and employment laws. Business lawyers know a lot about everything.
What a commercial lawyer does for their clients depends on the business and its needs. These are just some examples of services they offer business clients:
Starting a New Business
Several legal issues arise when starting a new business, from choosing organization type to securing loans and contracts. Lawyers give new businesses a solid foundation, ensuring everything is done correctly from the start and preventing future problems.
Dealing with Contracts
Contracts are essential for most businesses and are legally binding contracts. Lawyers help their commercial clients write contracts, negotiate terms, and settle disputes. They may litigate in cases of contract violations.
Real Estate, Mergers, and Acquisitions
Businesses often need to buy or sell property and buildings, rent facilities, or even buy or acquire other businesses. Several legal issues arise in these transactions and require the careful, experienced eye of an attorney.
Settling Liability Cases
Business owners have a responsibility to provide safe products, services, and premises. When individuals accuse them of negligence and try to prove liability, a lawyer defends them, negotiating settlements and even litigating in court if necessary.
Licenses, Permits, and Regulations
Many businesses need permits or licenses to conduct their operations. They are also bound to local, state, and federal regulations. Business owners rely on their lawyers to explain what they need to operate, the regulations that apply, and what they must do to avoid violating those rules.
Protecting Intellectual Property
A business lawyer helps clients protect their brand, trademarks, patents, and other intellectual property. They ensure the business gets the right legal protections for intellectual property and handle any misuse or theft by others.
Reasons to Hire a Business and Commercial Lawyer
If you own a business or are thinking of starting one, don’t wait until you have a big legal problem to hire a lawyer. A business and commercial lawyer should be with you every step of the way. They can provide so many important benefits, beginning with day one:
- Start on the right foot
You need a lawyer for your business right from the start to ensure you do things right. Working with a lawyer from the beginning means you can avoid costly fines, contract mistakes, and even lawsuits against you.
- Manage business relationships
If you have a partnership or do business with other people and companies, a lawyer can help you keep those relationships professional. They can ensure you make fair deals, establish contracts that suit your needs, form and dissolve partnerships, and avoid unnecessary conflict.
- Maintain compliance
Companies must comply with laws and regulations in their industries. A lawyer will help you comply with them right from the start. They can also advise you when laws and rules change, as they often do.
- Save money
While the cost of a lawyer may seem high, the costs of not having one can be even higher. Lawsuits, bad contracts or real estate deals, failing to pay taxes, not complying with regulations, or mistreating employees can all cost you a lot of money. A lawyer can help you avoid these costs.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Small Business?
There is no question that medium-sized businesses and large businesses need legal guidance. But what about small businesses? Can you handle your own legal questions? In some cases, yes, especially if you are a sole proprietor and run your business alone. However, even small business owners should consider working with a lawyer in certain situations:
- You are ready to hire employees or contractors.
- You’re facing lawsuits against your company.
- Government agencies have denied permits or licenses or claimed you have not complied with regulations.
- You want to contribute appreciated property to an LLC or partnership agreement.
- Someone has stolen or is misusing your intellectual property.
- You need to buy or sell real estate or property.
- You need to draft contracts with other businesses or partners.
- You’re facing an IRS audit.
Choosing a Lawyer for Your Business
You should find many options when it comes to a lawyer who can take on legal matters for your business. The tricky part is choosing the right one. Plenty of individuals and firms specialize in commercial law, but you may need someone with more specific expertise, such as real estate or contract law.
When meeting with lawyers and law firms, interview each one and make your choice based on what they can offer and the needs of your business. Some important questions to ask include:
- What is your experience in business law?
- Can you show me examples of clients and how you help them?
- Do you have a specific type of business law specialty?
- Do you work with other clients in my industry?
- Will you be the lawyer working with me, or will many people be handling my needs?
- What are your fees, and how do you bill clients?
Take your time making this choice. If you find the right lawyer, they can advocate for you and guide your decisions for years, becoming a huge asset to your business.
How to Work with Business and Commercial Lawyers
Once you choose an attorney or firm to work with, be a good client so that you establish a long-lasting working relationship that benefits your business. This means being on time with payments, being open and honest about your business and its operations, and being communicative and easy to reach.
Working with a business lawyer is like an ounce of prevention. It’s worthwhile to spend a little upfront so that you don’t end up with huge costs due to preventable mistakes, fines, and lawsuits. Talk to a business or commercial lawyer as soon as possible to get your business up and running.