What is Business Law?
Business law (aka corporate law) is an umbrella term that refers to many different aspects ranging from starting a company to putting protections in place to reduce liability for current businesses. Under business law falls categories such as tax law, real estate, sales agreements, corporate structures, employment law, partnership agreements, bankruptcy, intellectual property and much more. With lawsuits being filed daily against business owners, companies are being dissolved and stripped of their assets.The most at risk companies in the marketplace are small businesses. The following are a few reasons why:
The most at risk companies in the marketplace are small businesses. The following are a few reasons why:
- Small companies usually are strapped for cash during the start-up phase and thus do not initially set up the company the correct way or put liability-reducing protections in place
- They have been running their business for 30+ years, and everything has been going well thus they have the mentality of “why change it if it's not broken?”
- Businesses that are small are easy to bully around by bigger corporations and businesses that have taken the time to protect themselves via contracts, handbooks, waivers, proper corporate structures and more
- They don’t have the resources to defend themselves as big companies do
“Run your company like it’s a big business and one day it will be” - Clay Patterson
The above-referenced risks are why small businesses need maximum protection when entering into this lawsuit-frenzy marketplace. The small amount of upfront fees, which yes I know many small businesses don't want to spend, outweigh the negative consequences tenfold for not protecting the company, your family, or your assets properly.
Societal benefits from corporate law
Having corporate entities follow certain standards is a fundamental process for establishing a prosperous business arena within a country. An enforceable set of business laws helps everyone in society by providing for effective and efficient transactions across a wide range of markets. The benefits of such an evolving legal structure for businesses are:
- Less corruption
- More protections for buyers, sellers, and consumers
- Fair opportunity in the marketplace
- Standardized rules across all industries, making it easier to do business within different industries
An example of business laws at work is when a supplier contracts with a buyer to sell goods on credit. If proper protections are in place (contract), the buyer is assured that he will receive the goods and have a specific amount of time to pay for them. The seller will know that it will receive the funds within the time frame established in the contract and that it has actions that it can take (outlined within the contract) to force the contract if necessary.
What does a business lawyer do?
Business lawyers help companies even before they start. This is essential because sometimes before the formation of the corporate entity, they need legal advice on various matters. Business attorneys can help with:
- Business Formations
- Internal Documents
- Partnership Agreements
- Employee Contracts
- Independent Contractor Agreements
- Independent Sales Representatives
- Service Contracts
- Terms & Conditions for websites
- Privacy Policies for websites
- Commercial property purchases
- Industry tailored non-disclosure agreements
- Non-compete agreements
An example of a how a business lawyer could help you would be in the case of hiring an employee versus an independent contractor or independent sales representative. The agreement needs to be tailored depending on what exactly they are. You might have an agreement that calls the person an independent contractor, but other language in it is conflicting and treats them more as an employee even though you inserted language such as “independent contractor” through the entire document. If this person does something wrong, injures someone while driving to work or a job...etc., you may be responsible and even personally liable, which could result in you losing all of your personal assets. Do you know the technical language, requirements, and cases that have determined such a distinction?
Do you really need a business lawyer?
If you aren't sure, then you probably do. When hiring a service provider such as a transactional business lawyer, you are paying to access their knowledge and expertise. They have been trained to not only think differently but to spot issues that others do not see as well as being able to put into words binding protections for your business. You make them part of your team and since they have a different skill set, they are invaluable.
“You don't know what you don't know” - there are generally two ways people handle this type of unknown situation
- In the first group, you have people who don't want to spend the money and think they will be fine or know enough to get by because they have never found themselves in serious litigation or anything like that. These people are flipping the coin. These are the people who find themselves in court and realize they should have done things very differently. The other (second group below), maybe won't avoid court, but they will have a different outcome because of the proactive measures they took which are a fraction of the cost of losing a lawsuit, shutting their company down, or getting all their personal assets taken.
- The second group consists of individuals who do realize there are too many unknowns and that we live in a hyper-lawsuit society. These people have either trained themselves to weigh the pros/cons versus not protecting themselves properly, or were at one point part of the first group. This group might be sued, or something might happen that potentially jeopardizes their business but they took steps early on to insulate themselves from such liability. They will minimize the collateral damages, attorneys, fees, and other damages such as the dissolution of their company, their personal assets being taken and more.
Our law firm works with the second group of individuals. We are here to help protect your company, your personal assets, your family, and the harmony in your life. We provide the peace of mind that you have taken the necessary steps of protection needed to do business in the State of Florida. We want you to be able to focus on and in your company without distractions from lawsuits, non-compliance issues, liability concerns.
A BIG tip from our business lawyer Clay Patterson
Keep your eyes and ears open for business lawyers who have actually owned or do own a small business. These lawyers can provide much more than just contract protections and legal advice. Attorney’s that own their law firm or who actually study various aspects of business usually can provide more insight than the attorney at the big firm who has no real world experience in employees, formation, marketing, business theory, negotiation tactics and more. A good business lawyer will be there for you through it all so choose wisely!
If you would like to discuss any business law matters with an experienced business lawyer, please call us at (407) 636-4066, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form HERE. We look forward to providing our expertise to protect you and your company now and well into the future!