Business Attorney In Alpharetta GA

When Do You Need a Business Lawyer?

Many business owners are experts in their industry. With this knowledge, they are well-equipped to start a business and make money on their own without a lot of assistance from professionals. We sometimes get asked why a business owner would need a business lawyer if they are not in a lawsuit. Well, hopefully you will avoid a lawsuit altogether by getting a business lawyer to help keep you out of court. 

A business lawyer can help owners during the launch of their business to get compliant and avoid penalties from the government, when running their business and hiring employees and independent contractors to ensure they are following state and federal labor and employment laws, when preparing to sell or bring on new owners or investors by ensuring documents are legally enforceable and protect the business from bad actors, and many other times when the stakes are high. A business lawyer can assist you at all stages of the operation of your business:

Launching a New Business

Launching a new business can be a daunting task, and, of course, business owners are always concerned about keeping costs down, especially when a business is new. Hiring the right professionals, however, can greatly increase the chances for not only a successful launch, but for the long-term success of your enterprise. 

The first step in launching a new business is determining the type of business entity that will be appropriate. The most common types of business entities (or tax classifications) include:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • LLC
  • C Corporation
  • S Corporation

A business attorney will meet with the business owner to get information about the nature of the enterprise, its location, the number of partners and employees, estimated annual sales and expenses, and other details. In determining the best business entity for your business, an attorney will consider many factors, such as protecting business owners from personal liability, ease of accounting, investment or capital raise goals, and tax consequences. If the business is to be operated as a corporation, LLC, or partnership, the business entity should be established and registered with the proper state and local governing bodies before any contracts, leases, or other legal documents are signed. Failure to properly register a business organization may result in the owners/partners’ personal assets being at risk in the event of a lawsuit.

Alpharetta Business Law Firm

After the business entity has been registered, your attorney will draft the governing document for the enterprise, which will be determined by the entity type you choose such as bylaws, partnership agreement, or operating agreement. The governing document will cover:

  • Amount of capital contributed by each owner/partner/investor
  • Debt financing and related responsibilities 
  • Continuing contributions expected of owners/partners
  • Who will be in charge of the day-to-day operation of the business 
  • Who is authorized to make contracts and conduct business on behalf of the organization
  • What will happen in the event of the death or retirement of an owner/partner
  • How the assets of the organization will be distributed upon the sale or dissolution of the organization
  • Preferential returns

Prior to opening your business, your attorney may also assist in setting up contracts and agreements with customers, employees, and others. These include:

  • Lease or purchase and sale agreements for real estate
  • Employment contracts
  • Vendor and customer contracts
  • Non-disclosure, non-compete, non-solicitation agreements 
  • Employee manuals 

Well written and clear contracts with employees, vendors, and others can save thousands of dollars in litigation costs later. Having a good business lawyer will help you save money in the long run. 

Running Your Business

A good working relationship with a business attorney that knows you and your business can help you achieve your short-term and long-term goals and increase your efficiency and profitability. A business attorney can help with the day-to-day operation of your business by:

  • Sending notices to delinquent customers and taking further legal actions if necessary
  • Reviewing vendor, employee, and customer contracts periodically
  • Negotiating new leases and other contracts when necessary
  • Making changes to partnership agreements when needed
  • Filing annual reports, minutes of annual meetings, and other reporting documents required by state and/or local governing bodies
  • Auditing legal risk in your business so you can stay ahead of changing laws and regulations 

Selling Your Business

Selling your business is exciting… and also nerve-racking! There are so many moving parts and you want to be sure that you get the best deal for your business. A business attorney will help you structure the purchase of your business to ensure that you achieve purchase price and terms that are best for you while mitigating tax and other burdens. A business lawyer can:

  • Assist with negotiations with the buyer
  • Draft and redline the purchase and sale agreement 
  • Create asset lists and allocation sheets
  • Draft bills of sale
  • Draft assignments or assumptions for liabilities 
  • Escrow funds during due diligence 
  • Protect improper disclosure of trade secrets and other confidential information during due diligence 
  • Ensure all taxes, fees, etc. are paid from closing
  • Help resolve apparent deadlocks on terms 
  • Modify employment agreements, consulting agreements, etc. to ensure successful transition

Passing Your Business to Your Spouse or Children

When owners decide to step down from their business, there are a lot of things that need to be formally handling. In addition to helping you think through your plan and all of the options available to execute it, a business attorney can also :

  • Amend existing governing documents to reflect the terms for succession before the time comes
  • Ensure the estate lawyer, trustee, and/or executor of your estate is clear about your wishes for the business when you pass 
  • Create transfer documents that ensure tax and regulatory compliance 
  • Modify employment agreements, consulting agreements, etc. to ensure successful transition

Winding Up or Dissolving Your Business

Properly winding up a business is just as important as setting it up. Upon the death or retirement of a partner or co-owner, their share of the business must be distributed to their heirs or to the remaining owners according to the terms of the governing documents such as the bylaws (or buy-sell agreement), partnership agreement, or operating agreement. 

When the business ceases operations, a careful winding-up process will ensure that former owners or partners are insulated from continued liability. A business attorney will help protect the owners from actions by creditors or governmental agencies that can cost thousands and threaten your post-retirement plans. A business attorney can help you create a well-tailored plan for a successful dissolution so you can move on with peace of mind.

Business Lawyers Near Me

If you develop a good working relationship with a business lawyer when you first start out, you will be less likely to suffer some of the common pitfalls of new business owners. Talk to a business law expert at Sage Business Counsel before you launch your business, or at any time during the life of the enterprise. Our Chief Legal Suite ™ is designed to decrease your risk, increase your profits, and allow you to focus on doing what you do best – producing a first-class experience for your customers. Call us at 678-825-4545 to learn more about what we can do for you and your business.