You started your business or startup a few months ago and business is booming. Great! Remember all the legal elements you disregarded when you first started out? Well, maybe it’s time to make sure you’re protected on all fronts. Here are 5 signs your business needs a lawyer.
Of course, please take this as legal information and not legal advice. If you have any questions regarding your business’ legal needs, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You don’t have a written agreement with your business partners
This is one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs made: thinking that they can get away with not having an agreement with their business partners because they’re friends. Partners leave, friendships end, and as your business grows, there’s a lot more at stake. You don’t want to be caught in a bad situation without a shareholder’s agreement or an associate agreement. If you don’t already have one, it’s time to get one professionally drafted.
- Your intellectual property is not protected
Are you spending a lot of money and time into developing your branding? If so, you should be registering your trademarks if you haven’t done so already. It’s a worthwhile investment that will allow you to not only have the exclusivity over your trademarks for 15 years (renewable), but also to be more protected if licensing is part of your business plan. As for copyright, patents, and industrial designs, your need for such protections will depend on your intellectual property assets. You should therefore consult a lawyer to determine what types of protection are suitable to your situation.
- You’re still using that service agreement based on a template you found online
Maybe you were lucky and that service agreement you found online never got you into any legal trouble, but now that you are getting more clients, you need to make sure you are protected on all fronts and that starts with a service agreement that is adapted to your needs and to the industry you are in (you can read more about why you need a proper service agreement here). Getting one drafted is relatively inexpensive for the amount of protection it brings you. It therefore should be on top of your list.
- You’re hiring new employees
You cannot hire employees without a proper work contract. If you are planning on building a team, you should be asking a lawyer to draft you a contract you can use with your employees that will include clauses to protect your business such as non-compete clauses, non-solicitation clauses, and clauses to protect your intellectual property.
- You’re about to rent new offices
You found the perfect office! Great! Were you planning on simply negotiating rent and signing the lease? If so, you absolutely need to consult a lawyer. Commercial leases should never be signed as is. You can make modifications to them and always should. Ask a lawyer to go over your lease to determine what clauses should be added or modified to better suit your needs (or even better, ask your lawyer to negotiate your lease directly with the building owner)!
Hiring a lawyer is an investment that will go a long way (and that isn’t as expensive as one might think). Start out with a consultation and determine with your lawyer what your needs are and what should be at the top of your list. Do not hesitate to send us an email at email@example.com if you’d like to discuss your needs with us or click the link below to schedule a consultation.