The expertise that an attorney can bring to a business comes at a cost that not all entrepreneurs can afford, which leaves many aspiring business owners asking, “Do I need a lawyer to start my small business?” Below, I outline some of the benefits of consulting a lawyer to get your business up and running.
Save your money and avoid sites online legal websites:
Essentially, these online platforms use expensive marketing techniques that trick customers into paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to do all of the work themselves. They bury in complicated terms and conditions so they become extremely difficult to cancel while their platforms fail to offer any legal guidance or accuracy guarantees. Not to mention, these sites are more expensive than doing it yourself and they give you much less than hiring a lawyer and assuring that the job was done right. So, what I say to entrepreneurs is – you deserve better than that!
There are some situations where a lawyer is not likely needed. Whether it be representing yourself in small claims court or responding to a subpoena to be a witness in a case that you are not a party to. In these limited circumstances, you’re likely okay going it alone. However, for more complicated matters it’s important to hire lawyer. Typically, undoing mistakes made with “do it yourself” online "legal services" can cost you and your business significantly, as opposed to just using a lawyer the first time around.
Also, these platforms use fill in the blank legal documents that can open your business up to legal exposure down the road and can put you in a situation where you are on your own when things don’t work out. Hiring the services of a lawyer gives you an actual legal professional who is devoted to making sure your businesses affairs are in order. Moreover, the real value of a lawyer at the incorporation stage is not just in preparing the actual documents, but in helping you figure out what you need such as an LLC vs. corporation, or what sort of vesting schedule makes sense, and so on. Online legal form providers don't always do it right. Businesses aren't one-size-fits-all, so blanket legal documents don't always work.
Things you should keep in mind when considering a startup:
There are two professionals every small business will need early on – an accountant and a lawyer. Hiring an accountant has its obvious reasons, a startup will need assistance in setting up things like "chart of accounts," and review the numbers periodically, while preparing all of necessary federal, state and local tax returns.
The reasons for hiring a lawyer may not be so apparent. A good lawyer will provide vital assistance in almost every aspect of your business, some of the most common reasons a startup will need a lawyer are:
All of this will enable you to focus on other aspects of the business, so you don't have to spend time learning the legal processes. Lawyers can also add value in the obvious ways, such as helping to avoid early mistakes, like not having the company’s independent contractors sign sperate service agreements limiting liability. But more importantly, a lawyer on the early team can contribute to a thriving company culture by asking the right questions at the right times, providing perspective on crucial transactions, and getting smart fast on issues where the rest of the team lacks expertise.
It’s been said that America's judicial system is a lot like a Roach Motel – it's easy to get into court, but very difficult to get out once you've been “trapped.” Even lawyers understand that nobody likes to pay attorneys' fees for anything, or let alone even want to deal with lawyers, but the fee a lawyer will charge to keep you out of trouble is only a small fraction of the fee a lawyer will charge you once you’ve gotten into trouble.
How much will it cost to incorporate your new start-up?
The most common way to keep legal costs manageable is establishing a fixed flat fee for the services. After discussing the scope of the legal services required, a lawyer at our firm will typically estimate the total hours necessary to complete the project, multiply that by their hourly rate, and establish the flat fee. A flat fee fixes the amount that a project will cost and will not be exceeded. However, flat fee agreements are not a one size fits all approach and depending on the size and complexity of the matter hourly billing may be more appropriate. No matter the issue, give me a call personally at (314) 808-4696 with all of your business questions or concerns.
Our team fights for those who have been injured. So, naturally, we deal with all kinds of injuries: spinal, knee, shoulder, etc. Oftentimes, the big insurance companies and corporations’ only defense is that our clients were not really injured. To support its position, insurance companies and corporations hire a doctor to “examine” our client. This is called a defense medical exam (“DME”) or independent medical exam (“IME”). However, there is nothing independent about the exam.
What does a defense medical exam mean for our clients? Our clients take off work, travel to a doctor’s office, and are examined by a doctor they have never met and who will not provide any treatment to them. In Illinois, our clients have the right to have their lawyer present for the exam. Our team tries to go to every exam. First, we know how uncomfortable being examined by a stranger can be. Second, our team has found that hired doctors often “forget” what they say during the exam. We want to hold these hired guns accountable.
Our team is known for standing up against the insurance companies and corporations’ hired guns. In several cases, our client is wrongfully being denied compensation based on these DME doctors and their reports. Once we dig into their reports, we see flaws, missing records, and even the wrong person named in the report.
In a recent case, our client was notified that the workers’ compensation insurance company would not pay our client’s medical bills based on the insurance company’s hired gun’s report. Once we questioned the hired doctor about his report, it became very clear that the report was full of errors, discussed treatment our client did not receive, and did not even have the right age for our client. Angie Zinzilieta asked the doctor whether it bothered him that our client was being denied medical benefits based on his report. The hired doctor finally relented and affirmed that it did bother him.
What we do is hard work, but it is also heart work. Our team spends hours preparing for and fighting these hired guns because it matters. Make sure that the legal team you hire fights for you every step of the way.