One of the most important things an attorney can do for a business owner is to eliminate “unknown unknowns.” During the life-cycle of a business, there are 11 inflection points where business owners should consult with their attorneys.
(1) Incorporation-Before you open your bank account and start doing business, your attorney can help you:
(2) Annual Maintenance-If you do not properly maintain the corporate formalities for your entity, the corporation or LLC will not be effective as a liability shield. Your attorney can help you:
(3) Employees-Before you hire your first employee, you should meet with your attorney to make sure you are legally protected from future employee issues. He or she will also teach you about the advantages and disadvantages of structuring the agreement as an independent contractor. Your attorney can help you prepare:
(4) Contracts-Any time you do significant business with a third party, you should have a written contract to avoid future disputes. Contracts that you should have your attorney draft or review include:
(5) Investor Agreements-If you need capital for growth and are looking to bring in additional investors, your attorney will prepare a stock purchase agreement and prospectus.
(6) Dispute Resolution, Litigation & Collection-If you have a dispute with an employee, a customer, or a vendor, a good attorney will work to settle the dispute without litigation. If litigation or collection become necessary, your attorney should always have an eye toward minimizing your expense while aggressively advocating on your behalf.
(7) Solutions for Distressed Businesses-If your business is in distress, your attorney can help you formulate a comprehensive strategy to either get your business back on track or start over with a clean slate, by:
(8) Exit Strategies-When you are ready to move on to your next venture, your attorney will help you formulate an exit strategy. This may include:
(9) Estate Planning-You have worked hard to build your business. Your attorney will help you make sure that your assets are protected from: