Although it can seem like a cost-saving measure to avoid hiring an attorney or keeping one on retainer, the benefits of this investment typically outweigh not having it.
Having a retainer ensures that you can work out an advantageous legal strategy with your attorney. That effort increases the chance you’ll prevail during litigation. Your lawyer can also help you avoid some troubles that might come your way proactively.
When an attorney has an upfront familiarity about who you are and what you do, it is much easier to manage legal issues.
What Are the Benefits of Keeping an Attorney on Retainer?
1. You can incorporate the business.
Your attorney’s advice and counsel can help you get through the documents needed to incorporate the business. If you start an LLC, a lawyer can review your structure to discuss if it is better to be an S-Corp or a C-Corp for your filing status. Each option has specific tax implications to review.
2. You can protect the interests of each partner.
A partnership agreement should receive some attention from an attorney before putting it into action. This benefit is especially helpful when the people involved in a business venture don’t know one another well. A lawyer can help your organization outline each partner’s expectations for the others in the arrangement.
3. You can guard against disgruntled workers.
When employees believe that they’ve been harmed by a dismissal or specific actions taken by a company, they might sue your SMB and its leadership. Hostile work environments, safety violations, or termination without cause are all potential issues to manage. Your lawyer can help you navigate these processes.
4. You can manage breach of contract issues.
If a vendor, supplier, or customer breaches a contract with you, an attorney can step in to help achieve compliance. When that outcome doesn’t happen, having a lawyer on retainer can let you get what the agreement owes you without wasting tons of time or cash.
5. You can work with a real person.
Apps and software can help you fill out paperwork or manage court filings, but it is not the same as having someone there with you to guide you on this journey. Retaining a lawyer provides absolute peace of mind that your business has some protection.
If you’re unsure who to hire, please use a site like AVVO to see what attorneys may be available to help you. If you are still getting your business off the ground, check out these books you need to learn more about running a healthy business.