"Growing businesses operate lean by necessity and intelligent business owners never spend money they don't have to spend. This frugality can be both a blessing and a curse. A spendthrift company quickly burns through its cash and disappears from the competitive landscape while the frugal company persists. The frugal business goes too far however when it ignores critical elements such as proper legal assistance. This critical legal work is a bit like insurance, the up front fees can seem daunting, but are far less so when compared to the long-term liability created by their absence.
When you need an attorney
There are a number of undertakings a business should not enter without consulting an attorney. These can include, but are not limited to:
There are of course many other areas where an attorney may become necessary ranging from contracts with suppliers or alliance partners to negotiating lease or buy agreements for your new office. Attorneys should be involved in any business ownership issues, sales tax issues, and should help address any interface your business has with privacy laws."
Incorporating your business - you can choose the 'one-size fits all' pre-packed incorporation, but it will invariably come back to haunt you. Both an attorney and an accountant should help at this critical stage to ensure your business is structured properly. It will cost more at the outset but is the economical choice in the long-term.
Raising capital - both federal securities law and...banking law make raising money a task business should never enter without consulting an attorney skilled in securities law. The pitfalls are deep and expensive.
Intellectual property - Your competitive advantage is critical to your success and if that advantage is not properly protected your competition can walk away with your ideas. Many business owners are unfamiliar with what can and cannot be protected in their business yet need to understand the scope, value, and defensibility of their intellectual property. This property is more than just patents. It includes trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights.
Employment law - Many growing businesses cut corners in the human human resources department and often only worry about this area of the business or contact an attorney when suddenly facing a lawsuit from a disgruntled ex-employee. It is important to understand your obligations as an employer and discuss these with an attorney prior to adding to your staff. It is absolutely essential to engage an attorney prior to firing an employee.
Read more in this Invest Nebraska article.