For the majority of small business owners, hiring a law firm is similar to calling a plumber or a fireman – one only does this when there is a problem. Of course, to only hire a lawyer when something goes wrong is a foolhardy approach.
New business, in particular, tends to take marketing, sales, staffing and merely beginning the business as higher priorities than legal concerns. However, a smart business plan should include the prevention of problems and ensuring the business is protected against any legal issues by hiring an attorney. This article will provide information on the different ways a commercial law firm can help your business.
1. Corporate Governance
While the majority of corporations utilise attorneys as help with the process of incorporation, new businesses tend to neglect the on-going legal requirements to maintain a corporation status. Annual director, shareholder and partner conferences need to be held with the minutes recorded, and the election of officers conforming to legal regulations. Any failure to adhere to these rules can result in a loss of corporate status, a potential legal action against the company, and exposure of corporate officers to other legal problems.
2. Intellectual Property
Most of the intangible assets of a company should be legally protected, such as the company’s logo, brand name, services and original goods. All of these items are entitled to copyright protection, whereas items including vessel hull designs, proprietary computer software and other creations can be eligible for trademark registration. Patents are typically used to cover manufactured products and machines; however, they can now protect service processes as well, such as a composition of chemical mixtures or a method of refining petroleum. Copyright, trademark and patent registrations can assist a company in protecting the items that give it an advantage in the relevant industry.
3. Employment Agreements
Many companies in the 21st century, particularly technology companies, value the knowledge of their staff as highly important assets. However, if they fail to protect these assets via non-compete agreements and non-disclosure agreements, it is possible that the knowledge will be shared with rivals. Inevitably, staff will leave the business and it is essential that the company is protected against this potential sharing of information with competitors.
4. Exit Strategies
It is often seen that entrepreneurs are so focused on beginning the business that they do not consider what will happen if a principal member in the business chooses to leave. If a major partner or shareholder opts to suddenly leave, it can threaten the company’s operations. To avoid this situation, the closely held corporations opt to have buy-sell agreements ensuring major players are able to see their stock without any legal entanglements or placing financial burden on the company.
Final Words On The Matter
As one can imagine, a high-quality commercial law firm can be costly to hire; however, this should not be a deterrent to hiring legal professionals. The investment of a commercial lawyer’s time can help you deal with different issues ranging from exit strategies to ensuring intellectual property remains your own. Using the information above, you can determine whether or not hiring a commercial law firm to help your business is the best solution for your needs.