Business Law includes business formations including corporations; limited liability companies; partnerships; and matters involving contracts, tax matters, and employee relations. A business attorney may also serve as in-house counsel for small business owners who encounter a wide spectrum of legal issues that come up regularly (or on occasion). Having an attorney advise in business matters can help business owners achieve financial success.
Individuals who own businesses as sole proprietors should consider the merits of forming a business entity to reduce legal liability and to provide for certain tax advantages. Forming a business entity may include forming a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or partnership. In most instances, liability should be limited to one’s investment in the business and not one’s entire net worth.
It should be noted that merely setting up a corporation, LLC, or partnership is not enough to avoid personal liability. For example, a business entity must be run as separate and distinct from its owner(s), and not the mere alter ego of its owner(s). Additionally, the observance of certain corporate formalities is necessary to achieve the benefits of corporate immunity for the officers, directors, and shareholders.
Corporations and Partnerships
On occasion, the governance of corporations and partnerships can result in internal conflict which requires legal assistance to ensure that the corporate by-laws are adhered to, and to promote and facilitate resolution of internal conflicts. A good corporate attorney must educate and be prepared to implement the policies of the leaders and decision-makers of the business.
Contract and lease review, negotiation, and enforcement are common occurrences in running a business. A good business attorney is not to be viewed as a “deal killer” in proactive treatment of contractual issues, but as a “loss preventer” when the contracts are breached. Ultimately, the cost of doing business should be less with proactive legal support.
Finally, dealings with government, whether it be a city which has raised a permit or licensing issue, a county on a property tax issue, the State on issues of sales and use tax, a Labor Commissioner or Cal/OSHA issue, or the Federal government on a myriad of issues, having a competent business attorney is a good investment in preserving the assets of the business.