Why Small Business Lawyers are Right for Small Business Companies
Small business lawyers: they serve small businesses, right? But how, exactly? Although most people know what tax attorneys, divorce lawyers, and real estate lawyers do, not many people understand the duties of small business lawyers. Additionally, very few small businesses understand how to use small business lawyers to grow their companies and scale their operations.
The truth is that small business lawyers are the most applicable legal professionals for small companies. Brands that know the difference between small business lawyers and other types of attorneys can leverage them to grow their operations and build a more effective business.
According to Business.com, about 13 million (roughly 60%) of small businesses have experienced a “significant legal event” in the last two years. These legal issues include everything from debt collection to contract review and internet security breaches. As you can see, legal trouble is widespread for small businesses. In fact, they’re most common for companies with 250 employees or less. If your company runs into something similar, you don't want to be in it on your own.
Today, we're going to talk about the difference between small business attorneys and other kinds of lawyers, as well as the difference between the two primary types of small business attorneys: litigators vs. transactional attorneys. Let's dive in.
What do Small Business Attorneys do?
Ask virtually any small business owner what a small business attorney does, and you'll get a variety of answers. Some people think these attorneys draw up contracts. Others imagine that they spend all day suing people. Still others believe their time is absorbed with tax law.
While it might be true that the average small business attorney wears a suit and goes to court every once in a while, the fact that small business owners do not know what these legal professionals do is killing the world of small business as a whole. One of the biggest misunderstandings comes from the fact that people do not understand that not all attorneys are litigators.
Although litigators are the prizefighters of the legal world, most small business attorneys are transactional lawyers. These people are the handyman of the legal world. They keep the everyday operations of small businesses and corporations running well. They are critical strategic partners that help business owners avoid problems, take advantage of opportunities, and grow intelligently. Unfortunately, most small business owners don't understand the vital role these transactional attorneys play in building a business. As a result, they fail to use them and, consequently, fail to grow their businesses as a result.
Transactional Attorneys: Your Company’s Strategic Partner
If we can come back to the building metaphor for a moment, you can see how transactional attorneys are so critical for small businesses. Think of a transactional attorney like their construction professional:
They come in, provide advice, spot issues that you wouldn't even know to look for, and complete the jobs that you don't know how to tackle. They provide a strong foundation for your company so it can grow from there. When transactional attorneys do their job right, small businesses thrive. Because of this, the return on investment of the small business attorney is generally massive. Sure - you'll spend some money hiring the attorney, but what you get in return is worth far more.
What Small Business Attorneys can do for you
Still curious about the function of a small business attorney? Here are a few things these valuable legal professionals can help you achieve:
- Entity formation. Not sure whether your company should be an LLC or a corporation? A small business attorney can help you figure it out. Not only do they understand the tax implications associated with each business entity type, but they can file the paperwork actually to create the entity for you.
- Tax planning. Business taxes can feel a bit like learning to speak a different language. When you have a skilled small business attorney on your side, though, you can rest assured knowing you’re set up well for tax season.
- Strategic planning. Transactional lawyers can help you recognize opportunities and avoid bad deals. If your company faces a dispute, your small business attorney can help you resolve it before it goes to court. In short, small business attorneys help you use the law to your advantage. This is a critical service for any company that wants to grow intelligently.
Where many small businesses make a mistake is that they don't think they need a transactional attorney when everything is going well. The truth, however, is that small business attorneys operate in the background of your company. Think of them as a helping hand that is there to ensure things go right, even when you don't think you “need” them.
Litigators vs. Transactional Attorneys
When most of us think of lawyers, we're thinking of the kind of lawyers we see on TV. People who manage special victims cases and go into a courtroom, yelling and pursuing justice. While this is a dramatic portrayal, to be sure, it's not entirely accurate. In fact, most of what makes up the legal world is mundane, transactional work. This includes contract drafting, negotiating leases and confirming proper licenses and permits
Don't let this fool you, though. Litigators are an essential part of the legal system. When you need somebody to fight on your behalf in court, or to represent your case aggressively, litigators are where you turn. For everything else, though, there are transactional attorneys.
Not only are transactional attorneys generally much less expensive than litigators, but they're also much more frequently used. Think about all of the times you need an attorney in your daily life: you need an attorney to draft a business contract, to look over a non-disclosure agreement, to conduct the sale of real estate, to create a will or trust, or to help you come up with an exit agreement that protects your company as you hand it over to your successor. Litigators do not do this work. These are the transactional, small business attorneys that companies should rely on much more frequently than they do.
To put it bluntly, small business attorneys create the most value for small business clients. While litigators can charge thousands or millions of dollars for their services, small business transactional attorneys work in the every day of your company with you. They advise you on how to leverage the law to grow your business, how to avoid common missteps, how to plan for taxes, and much more. In short, transactional attorneys help you stay out of legal trouble. They keep your company between the lines and ensure you have everything you need to continue growing and thriving.
Protect Your Company: Hire a Small Business Attorney Today
For just a moment, think about a small business attorney like a doctor. If you waited to see the doctor until you had a massive injury or some catastrophic health condition, you can pretty much bet the outcome would not be as positive as it might otherwise be. The same goes for attorneys.
When you onboard a small business attorney before you have an issue, you get to benefit in many ways. Small business attorneys provide regular check-ups for your company, catching minor issues before they become big ones, providing guidance, and preventing you from going off the rails in a big way.
Instead of waiting until a legal issue turns into a lawsuit, hire a small business attorney now. Not only will you save yourself the stress and expense of trying to find an attorney last minute, but you'll establish a relationship with the legal professional that you trust, and who is dedicated to helping you grow your business.