Do I Need a Small Business Attorney for My Small Business?

Usually you do not need a small business attorney for your small business. However, some situations present themselves which probably lend themselves to finding a small business attorney. Some times you may be looking for a small business attorney include:

Your Company or You Are Sued

That’s not too hard. Although you can usually represent yourself in court and do not need to hire a small business attorney attorney, one exception to this rule in California is is if your small business is formed as a corporation in California because in California (like many other states), a corporation must be represented by an attorney, you have no choice. So, if your corporation gets dragged into a lawsuit, you probably should not call up the attorney representing someone else in the lawsuit and (a) tell that attorney you apologize for whatever it is you feel you need to apologize for; or, (b) explain to that attorney why their client has no case. Undoubtedly, these decisions may place you in a more difficult decision to perfect your case.

Hiring Employees or Independent Contractors

You hire someone as an independent contractor to avoid having to pay payroll taxes and the other myriad of things you need to provide an employee. This can be a very tricky and fact-specific area of the law. If you’re wrong and the person you are calling an independent contractor is determined to be, instead, your employee, the tax penalties could be quite severe.  If you are hiring any help be it in the form of employees or independent contractors, you would be wise to at least consult with a small business attorney.

Funding or Positioning a Start-Up

If you have never done this before, or even if this is the twenty-third time you have been down this road, hiring a small business attorney to get you started is not a bad idea.  When you want to position your start-up company either to be sold or to go public in a few years, a consultation with a good attorney should be in your future. This is not your family’s company – this is your lottery ticket and you want to pour your heart and your soul into your start-up for a few years and then cash out BIG, either through obtaining new investors or selling out. The right small business attorney can advise you on the proper steps to take and help you position your company to make it attractive, or even sexy, to investors.

Collections Issues

Are many of your customers not paid up and you’re worried about ever getting paid?  Do you have some backlog of accounts receivable?  Is your bank asking you what you are going to do about your high accounts receivable? A small business lawyer can help you create collection strategy which may include the use of a prejudgment writ of attachment which would allow you to attach some of the customer’s assets before a judgment so that you can make sure you get paid.

Other Issues

Anytime you get that feeling something is not quite right, and we all get that sometimes, it could be you feel an employee is lying to you, maybe your inventory is inexplicably low or maybe you see a large client declare bankruptcy right after assuring you that they were “fine,” but you have not been paid.  When you have that something’s not right feeling, you should consult with your small business attorney.
Unfortunately, even in the above situations, most entrepreneurs don’t want to call a small business attorney particularly because they do not want to get that hourly fee bill. Mentally, the small business owner feels like he or she is getting into a taxi cab, with the meter running and not knowing where they will end up.  That’s one of the reasons why many lawyers have “membership” or “retainer” programs. Under those programs, the client pays a monthly fee and has access to their lawyer on an as needed basis. That way, rather than thinking “I won’t call my lawyer because it’s too expensive,” the clients call when a small issue is still small and before it becomes expensive.  Usually, it is much less costly to be proactive than reactive and that is especially so when it comes to legal issues.

If you find yourself having one off or ongoing legal questions, Integrated General Counsel can help you determine your next steps.  If you are ready for a results-driven plan of action, contact us either by telephone at (925) 399-1529, schedule yourself into our calendar for an appointment at a time convenient for you, or complete the Contact Kristen form and we will get back to you.


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  1. This is something new to me. I just knew that some laws don’t apply in other states in the US. This can be quite confusing and inconvenient for some who might be facing issues in other states. But all in all, a lawyer is advised to help you in your business undertakings, whether big or small.