What Legal Advice Does a Business Start-Up Need?
Do you need an attorney for your start-up? When should you hire an attorney? Is it a good idea to have a Florida business law attorney on retainer? Can you save money by starting without an attorney and hiring one later? Do you increase your legal liability and chance of future legal problems by creating a DIY start-up?
The above questions are difficult to answer. In many cases, the answer is “it depends.” Some of the factors that may impact the decision of whether to hire a Florida business attorney for your start-up now or later include:
- Are you familiar with the legal requirements for creating a business entity?
- Do you know which type of business entity is best for your start-up?
- Are you familiar with all the forms and documents necessary for the business entity you choose?
- Are you comfortable drafting legal documents that will be binding on you and your company?
- Do you know how to file for patents and trademarks?
DIY forms you find online are not always the best choice for your startup. These one-size-fits-all forms do not consider all the factors that could impact your business. They also try to cover the law in all 50 states, which often results in forms that do not comply with state laws and are not detailed enough to provide adequate legal protection for you and your company.
If you decide to tackle some of the steps to organize your startup, you need to research the laws in your state regarding corporations and business entities. You also need to research requirements for filing and obtaining patents and trademarks. You may also need to research the various forms you need to protect yourself from liability and protect your company, such as employment contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and non-compete agreements.
Other Matters That May Require the Assistance of a Florida Business Law Attorney
Forming and organizing the business entity for your startup is just one consideration. There are many other legal matters that you need to consider when starting a new business. Depending on your background and experience, some of these legal requirements could create liability for you if you do not know how to handle them correctly.
In addition to the above matters, other matters which may require legal advice include:
- Develop a vesting schedule for all founders and partners.
- Preparing to retain employees. You need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and set up payroll accounts. You may need to draft employment contracts and an employee handbook, which includes classification of employees, developing your management structure, designing a compensation scale, drafting job descriptions, and considering a benefits package.
- Creating a detailed company handbook that complies with all federal and state laws regarding issues such as discrimination and harassment.
- Determine if you need to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
- Developing a bookkeeping and recording keeping system.
- Obtaining all required business licenses and permits to ensure legal compliance.
- Devising a plan to keep business and personal assets and income separate.
- Purchasing another business or business assets.
- Responding to a lawsuit from a vendor, client, employee, or another party.
- Reviewing and drafting business contracts for various situations.
- Determining what is required if you intend to operate or offer services/goods in another state or country.
The above list is not an exhaustive list of all instances in which a business law attorney could help you with your start-up. A good rule of thumb to remember when starting a business — if you are not sure of the answer to a question, it is better to ask for advice than open yourself and your company to liability, fines, penalties, and other legal trouble.
Contact a Florida Business Law Attorney for More Information
If you have questions about starting a business or a new start-up, we are here to help. Matthew Fornaro provides comprehensive business law services in Coral Springs, Parkland, and throughout Broward County. To request a consultation, call 954-324-3651 or contact us online.