Unfortunately, many new business owners make the mistake of failing to consult with a lawyer to make sure their business and practices are legal. This has come back to haunt them. Below are some reasons provided by Brisbane firm Quinn & Scattini why you should hire a lawyer before starting a business and continue to consult with one as your company grows.
Copyright and Trademark Issues
One mistake many businesses make is choosing a name for their company or products that is already being used by someone else. This is illegal and could be grounds for a lawsuit. Even worse, if you invested a lot of money into intellectual property you didn’t have the right to use, all of that investment could be wiped out by a cease and desist order.
One way to prevent this is by hiring an attorney experienced in intellectual property cases to make sure you will legally own the trademarks and copyrights associated with your business. As your company grows, you may also see competitors try to steal your intellectual property. So it’s always good to have a lawyer with that kind of expertise on hand.
You will also be dealing with customers for the first time. You need an attorney to help make sure those interactions and transactions are legal. For example, if you want to run an online store, you will need to have policies in place in regards to how customer information is used and stored. If you don’t, you could be putting both your customers and business at risk.
In general, you need to make sure your products and services are supplied to customers in a safe and legal fashion. Businesses are common targets of lawsuits. You don’t want to make yourself a target.
Human Resources Issues
Starting a business also means becoming an employer. Like it or not, there are a lot of laws that determine how employers can deal with employees. Breaking these laws could result in a lawsuit from a disgruntled employee. For this reason, you need to have an attorney help you craft the rules and regulations for how your company handles employees.
Without legally binding rules and regulations, things could get ugly fast. For example, you could be accused of discrimination for firing a certain employee. However, a lawyer could help you to create a legally binding discipline system. The system could describe infractions for specific behaviors. Employees who engage in these behaviors would be subject to termination. Therefore, you would be able to defend your business in court.
You also need to make sure your workplace is physically safe for your employees. There are many government regulations in place from bodies like OSHA that determine what constitutes a safe workplace. You need a lawyer to make sure your work stations and processes would pass an inspection. If not, you could end up with hefty fines. Even worse, one of your employees could get hurt.
Overall, you need to make sure that every part of your new business is legal with the aid of an attorney. This should happen both during the inception of the company and as it expands. Not doing so could be putting the success of your company at risk.