For small business owners – there is a common myth that you should only enlist the services of a commercial lawyer if there is an urgent need like a plumber or an electrician. However, there are many instances where it can come in incredibly handy to have a commercial lawyer – particularly for new businesses.
Here we discuss why every business needs a commercial lawyer.
To Assist with Corporate Governance
It could be that you have already sought after a commercial lawyer to help with the set up and incorporation of your company – but there are ongoing legal requirements that you need to take into consideration so you can keep your incorporation status. You need to take into consideration shareholder meetings that should be held annually, confirmation statements, and other standard maintenance required.
Claiming Intellectual Property
You should be legally protecting any intangible business asset you have. Your company name and branding for example, should have copyright protection. If someone tries to open a company with your name further down the line – this could end up costing you lots of money to try and claim it even though it was yours to begin with. A commercial lawyer can help with trademark registrations as well as assist you should you need anything to be patented.
Employee Contracts or Handbooks
You will need to get legal contracts made up for your employees to sign in-keeping with current legislation. It’s also good code of practice to have an employee handbook that will further outline certain policies and procedures such as expenses, entertainment policies for clients, social media policies etc. Not only do these need to be created, they need to be maintained too. An important element of these is ensuring that you have protected yourself should an employee leave your company. It could be policies such as ensuring they don’t contact any of your prospective clients, or that they are aware all ideas and creations that have been developed within their time at the company will be owned by the company.
Help out with Exit Strategies
You always need to have a contingency plan when you are setting up and running a business. Sometimes there could be a situation where an exit strategy needs to be created which is where you will need a commercial lawyer. If you find a major shareholder or partner chooses to exit – it could cause a threat to your business – in fact it could even stop running. Make sure that there are shareholders agreements in place, as well as buy-sell or buy-back contracts. That way everyone knows where they stand and will save any problems in the future.
Although you may think that you will only need a commercial lawyer for the setting up of your business, as you can see – you need to have a strong relationship with your law firm to help you on an ongoing basis. Ensure you do your research before you hire someone to represent you and your company.