What’s a Business Lawyer – And When Do I Need One?

Sep 12, 2022 | Small Business Tips

A business lawyer, as the name implies, provides legal advice and services to businesses and entrepreneurs.

Their counsel assists businesses in avoiding legal problems, complying with industry regulations, quickly resolving business disputes, successfully defending themselves in court if they’re sued, and much more.

Unlike litigators – who you’ve probably seen on T.V. argue court cases – business lawyers can spend their entire careers without ever setting foot in a courtroom because they primarily deal with business contracts.

These attorneys are also known as corporate or commercial lawyers.

What Can a Business Lawyer Do for You?

Corporate attorneys are experts in all business-related legal matters and can assist you as a small or midsize business owner with any legal challenges you may encounter.

Some of the common legal processes a business lawyer in San Diego, California, can help you with include:

  • Business Registration

If you’re starting a business, you may wonder whether to start it as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. A San Diego business lawyer can advise you on how to save on taxes and protect your personal assets from business creditors through the business entity you form.

  • Drafting Contracts

36%+ of small business owners are sued annually, and at least 43% face a possible lawsuit, according to a survey done by the Small Business Administration. 

The cost of a lawsuit can cripple your business or shut you down, and the best way to deter anyone from suing you is by signing watertight contracts with your employees, supplies, customers, etc. A corporate attorney can help you draft these contracts and ensure you’re well protected should you be sued.

If a party in a contract you sign doesn’t perform what is expected of them, they’ll have breached the contract. A corporate attorney can also help you make the person carry out their obligation or file a lawsuit against them if they continue not to honor the contract.

  • Negotiating Lease Agreements

Many businesses lease the premises they operate from and rental payments are often their biggest fixed cost. So you must negotiate the best rent amount and protect yourself from unjustified rent hikes or changes in the lease before it expires. 

Since business lawyers create, evaluate, negotiate, and help resolve commercial rental agreement disputes regularly, they know what clauses are bad or good for your organization and their future impact on your business. 

This knowledge gives you a competitive advantage when negotiating your lease and is valuable in ensuring you sign a favorable lease agreement.

  • Getting Permits and Licenses

To operate your business, you’ll most likely have to apply for several permits and licenses. 

For example, if you’re opening a restaurant, you’ve to get a license for it and your state may also require that you have a building permit, which proves your premises are suited for the restaurant, and a food service permit, which all businesses serving food must have.

If you don’t get the right licenses, your business can be shut down, and you could also be fined. A business attorney can ensure you get the required business permits and licenses on time. 

  • Complying with Industry Regulations

Depending on the industry you operate in, you might have to comply with a large number of rules and regulations, failure to which you could also be fined heavily or face a costly lawsuit. 

An experienced business attorney who knows your industry well can guide you on compliance laws and create systems you can use to regularly monitor your adherence to the regulations.

Other processes a business attorney can handle for you are:

  • Copyrighting, patenting, trademarking, and other intellectual property registrations
  • Transferring of business shares or ownerships, for example, during a merger or acquisition
  • Legally dissolving your company
  • Changing your business structure, for example, from an LLC to a C corporation
  • Settling legal business issues. Despite taking the necessary precautions, your business might face legal challenges related to workplace safety, sexual harassment, discrimination, etc. An experienced business attorney can help you resolve these issues fast and at minimal cost without going to court.
  • Filing for corporate bankruptcy

Why Should You Hire a Business Lawyer?

The answer to the above question is simple. A commercial attorney can help you save money and safeguard your company’s future by avoiding legal trouble.

Despite this fact, many small business owners only hire a business lawyer when they’re in a serious legal problem — for example, they’ve been sued by an employee.

This may be too late because, at this point, a lawyer may not be able to help you avoid paying damages, fines, court fees, etc. So, as a business owner, you should work with an attorney from the start of your business to prevent legal issues from happening.

You might think that you can handle legal matters concerning your business alone, but every day we see many business owners who become their company’s attorneys making very costly legal mistakes.

A good business lawyer has years of legal education and experience, so you may find that the time spent resolving a legal issue is shorter, and results are better than if you handle it yourself. They may also offer you legal options you may not know about or be considering. 

So to ensure all your legal issues are properly taken care of, you should use the services of a corporate attorney.

If you choose to hire a business lawyer, some of the skills they should have include:

  • Excellent communication skills. A good business attorney should be able to clearly explain to you the legal challenges your business might encounter or is facing and how to address them cheaply and fast
  • An analytical mind. They should be able to understand your legal problem and quickly solve it
  • Research skills. Regardless of how obscure a legal issue is, the attorney should be able to find laws and regulations that can be used to address the specific matter
  • Excellent writing skills. The attorney will draft many legal documents for you. So, them being a confident writer is crucial
  • Teamwork. They’ll probably work with your company employees or others in the legal profession to ensure everything your business does is above board. It’s, therefore, important that they be a team player
  • Negotiating skills. Because you could be hiring them to negotiate lease agreements and other business contracts for you, they need to be good at negotiation to ensure you get the best terms on all contracts you enter

Gallagher Krich, APC: Experienced San Diego Business Lawyers

We have 30+ years of combined business law experience at Gallagher Krich, APC, and can successfully assist you with a wide range of business-related matters, including business establishment, dispute resolution, taxation, intellectual property rights, business sale, employee relations, and compliance.

Call us at (858) 926-5797 or contact us online today if you’re a business owner in California in need of an experienced business attorney. You can schedule a confidential consultation with one of our San Diego, CA, business attorneys using our Contact Us page.

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Thomas F. Gallagher, Esq.

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tom [at] tomgallagherlaw.com

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troy [at] tomgallagherlaw.com

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