LLC Attorney for Partnerships, Formation, or Division in Tacoma, WA
Starting a business is one of the most exciting, and slightly terrifying, adventures we can take in our adult lives. But, if done right, the payoff is absolutely worth the struggle. One of the biggest risks most business owners take without recognizing it is skipping a consultation with an attorney. A small business budget may not seem like it has room for attorney fees, but, just like business cards and a website, it is an essential component of a strong foundation. Contacting an experienced LLC attorney should be the first step you take when starting a business.
WHY DO I NEED AN LLC ATTORNEY WHEN STARTING A BUSINESS?
Whether you sell cupcakes to dogs or high rises to multi-millionaires, your business is a legal entity. Every moving part within your business, like buying supplies, designing a website, hiring employees, engaging customers or clients, signing a lease and so on, has a legal component. Plainly speaking, starting and operating a business without legal guidance leaves you and your business exposed to liabilities in every transaction. It’s like buying and driving a car without taking drivers ed or getting a license. You can do it, but eventually it will catch up to you in a big way.
Just a few of the things an experienced business law attorney can help you with during formation include:
- Selecting the best business structure for your unique needs
- Business formation, governance, and reporting requirements of the different types: Limited liability corporation (LLC), PLLC, S-Corp, Non-Profit, LLP, etc.
- Registering with the state
- Drafting an operating agreement
- Negotiating and reviewing lease terms
- Drafting an employee handbook
- Creating and reviewing employment contracts
- Writing and reviewing vendor contracts
- Anticipating zoning and compliance issues
- Researching and filing for trademark protection
LEGAL ADVICE FOR AN ESTABLISHED BUSINESS
Once business formation is complete, and your business is up and running, it might feel like you dodged the bullet, and everything is going to be roses from here on out. We hate to run the risk of sounding self-serving, but the truth is you still need a law firm or LLC attorney even when things are ok. In fact, especially when things are ok. Who wants to sue a business with no assets, amiright?
Having an attorney on retainer can help you maintain your business’ success. An experienced business lawyer will meet with you periodically to go over big issues, but is also helpful to have an attorney just an email away for solid legal advice on issues like:
- Reviewing contracts
- Evaluating potential business moves
- Drafting cease and desist and/or demand letters
- Responding to complaints
- Analyzing potential liabilities and risks
- Hiring and firing employees
- Many other daily surprises that pop up in the wonderful world of entrepreneurship!
If nothing else, it is worth building a relationship with an attorney even if it is just for one or two consultations a year to talk about your business and any risks, concerns or issues you are having. When the day comes that you really need one, you will be so glad you have a familiar and trusted confidant to turn to for guidance.
WHAT ABOUT DO-IT-YOURSELF BUSINESS KITS?
The internet has created a world where an hour of research can give us the confidence to try anything ourselves. For less than $50 you can buy a do-it-yourself tattoo kit online complete with instruction booklet. However, if the results from the internet search “self tattoo kit fails” tells us anything, it is just because you can do it yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Over time you may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars building your business. In addition to that, you invest time, sweat equity and passion into building your dream. Attorneys spend years in school studying the law and a lifetime after graduation mastering their craft in a specific area of expertise. Their job is to analyze your unique position, anticipate potential risks, and develop a strategy that protects you and your assets. Even if you have gone to all the workshops and read all the books, drafting an operating agreement, developing a business formation, or creating a limited liability corporation is complex. It is worth the investment of an hour or two with an attorney to protect the future you are working so hard to build.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY TO END MY PARTNERSHIP?
Business partnerships aren’t all that different from marriages. During the formation, the planning and daydreaming is exciting, and most people are in an optimistic, collaborative, sometimes generous headspace. They make commitments and promises freely without really considering the hard work and tough times that go with them. As soon as the bills start rolling in and there are shifts to cover and employees to manage, especially when funds are tight, the honeymoon phase ends and only the strongest of partnerships will thrive.
Many small business partnerships do not draft a comprehensive operating agreement, which leaves a mountain of unanswered questions when it comes time to dissolve the partnership. Working with an attorney during a business partnership dissolution can help resolve issues like:
- Which partner will keep the business
- The terms and conditions of the buyout
- Who has rights to the branding and any trademarks
- Can the leaving partner start another similar business in the same geographical area
- Can they take clients with them or send them direct marketing
- What happens if they’re not supposed to, but they do anyway
- What will the clients/customers be told
- How will assets and debts be divided
- What will the new business be called and how should it be registered
WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED LLC ATTORNEY TO SET UP YOUR BUSINESS
No matter where you are on the entrepreneur path, an experienced business attorney can help you protect your personal and business assets to keep your dream healthy and thriving. Call us today to learn more about what our firm can do for you.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided above is intended to be a general discussion of common business formation issues, and is not intended to be taken as specific legal advice that applies to your individual fact situation. Always seek legal counsel for advice on your unique case needs.