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Do I really need a business lawyer?

When you're starting a business, funds are tight. You run the numbers, and there's just never enough to go around. So many small businesses see business lawyers as a luxury or as an emergency flotation device; you'll only need one when things get dicey. However, having an attorney by your side may actually save your business money in the long run. That's because business attorneys do a whole lot more than just bail businesses out of trouble.

An attorney can be an invaluable help at any point along the way, from the first inklings of an idea to the everyday minutia of a well-established company. Here are a few of the ways a lawyer can help your business:

  • Listening to your dream and helping you come up with a viable business plan.
  • Finding a great name and establishing a web presence.
  • Dealing with the paperwork, permits and legal filings you'll need to set up the business.
  • Keeping you compliant with the IRS, including the handling of audits.
  • Helping with the hiring of employees.
  • Staying compliant with all state and federal regulations.
  • Drafting solid contracts and helping you fight breaches.
  • Establishing professional working relationships with vendors.
  • Defending you from lawsuits, investigations and complaints.

This is far from a complete list. An attorney can almost act as a partner in the business, giving you as little or as much guidance as you need. For small businesses whose budgets are tight, an attorney can act as a consultant. For businesses who don't want to do as much legwork, an attorney can step into a greater role.

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