Why You Should Have a Corporate Lawyer on Staff
Corporations and small businesses are sites of expertise in their own industries. Business executives are highly specialized professionals whose main focus is the efficient and profitable management of their businesses. These professionals must be able to dedicate their time and energy to that purpose, not to worry about big and small legal issues for their companies. If you are managing a corporation or small business, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney or in-house staff to help you navigate the legal issues. Below are some of the reasons why you should hire a dedicated attorney who is familiar with your business.
Contracts and other commercial agreements
Whatever your business, chances are good that you will routinely enter and execute contracts with a variety of parties. Typical corporate contracts include sales contracts, leases (real estate and otherwise), supply agreements, and association or corporate structure documents. The consequences can be serious if one of these agreements contains an unfavorable or unenforceable provision. While your business staff can be skilled negotiators, an attorney can review these documents to help protect your business from litigation or other negative effects of unenforceable contracts.
The HR Minefield
Employment law is a complex area of law with radically different requirements for different types of companies and employees. A general attorney can help you and your human resources staff with common legal issues related to employee leave, benefits, and hiring practices.
Depending on the nature of your business, it may be subject to various regulatory requirements at the local, state, and federal levels. Examples include securities regulation, environmental regulation, campaign finance / political regulation, and intellectual property filings. Since regulatory violations can result in substantial fines, it is important to stay abreast of these ever-changing rules. An attorney can help you identify the relevant requirements and complete any necessary government filings or reports.
Your tax liability and responsibility depends in part on the corporate structure of your company. While you should use a certified accountant for tax preparation, an attorney can assist you with planning and tax advice to help minimize your overall tax burden. An attorney can even help you structure your business from the start in a way that reduces tax liability.
Litigation and crisis management
While the other examples have primarily dealt with “chronic” legal issues, having an attorney on staff can also help you with “serious” legal issues, such as civil or criminal litigation or government investigations. In addition to writing pleadings, an attorney can help you with settlement negotiations.
Since these legal matters can be time consuming, having an attorney on staff ensures that your company devotes adequate attention to legal obligations while your business professionals remain focused on the business itself. You can hire an outside attorney from a firm who is experienced in each of these areas, or you can hire an in-house attorney as an employee of the company itself. Whichever option you choose, you can be sure that a trained attorney will minimize your business liability and ultimately save your business money in the long run.