When you get down to it, Bret Jones, P.A. is a business law firm. Every area of practice in which we endeavor has some connection to business. Almost every client of the firm is in business (or owns one or twenty!). “Business” includes everything from formation of companies to preparation of annual minutes, employment agreements, contracts, leases, operations strategy and procedure, and human resources issues.
Florida Business Law Firms: What do They do?
A business law lawyer is a lawyer who works with business owners who are in need of legal counsel. They work with those who may have already established their business or may need help in creating a new one. The help of a business attorney can be the key to success that a business needs. A law firm that focuses on business law most likely also has a very good understanding of other legal fields. This is because business law accompanies many different legal subjects. A law firm that takes business law cases probably also takes cases related to real estate, bankruptcy, and finance. If you are starting a new business, or have an already existing business, no matter the size of the business, it is a good idea to consider hiring a business lawyer.
How can a Business Lawyer Help a New Business?
To a new business owner and entrepreneur, it may seem intimidating to seek the counsel of a lawyer, but their help will prove to be well worth it. When starting a new business, the future business owner must decide what type of company format they want to take on. A business attorney will be able to help determine which is best for their client. There are four business formats for a business owner to choose from, and they are:
- A proprietorship. This is a company with a single owner. It is the simplest business format where the business and the owner are one in the same. Although it causes for a simple and easy start-up, it can also lead to a large amount of liability for the owner. If the company fails, the owner is responsible to pay all of the company’s debts from their personal accounts.
- A partnership. This is a company with more than one owner. Much like a proprietorship, it is a very simple and easy format. Also like a proprietorship, the owners hold a lot personal liability. In a partnership there is also the possibility of partners disagreeing with one another.
- A LLC. Also known as a Limited Liability Company, this is a company where the owner(s) and the business are legally separate entities. Limited liability means that if the company fails, only the money the owner invested into the company is at risk, and they are not responsible to pay for the company’s debts from their personal accounts.
- A corporation. This is a business format where the company and the shareholders (for a corporation owners are referred to as shareholders) are legally separate entities. Corporations are usually large companies and are subject to double taxation. This means that the business’ income is taxed twice, once as the business, and again as each employee pays income taxes on their personal earnings from the business.
There are certain types and sizes of businesses that work best for each of the business formats. Florida business law firms help a business owner decide which format is best for their clients’ companies, further there are specific concerns if the business is a franchise. The size of a company will also determine how much structure must be put in place, the larger the company the more structure it will need. Business lawyers and attorneys help draft internal documents to put this structure in play. When it comes to starting a new business there is a dense legal forest to climb through. A lawyer can help a new business owner navigate through this. It is a good idea to keep a lawyer around as the company ages.
How can a Business Lawyer Help an Already Existing Business?
Once a business is established, business law lawyers help the business’ owners navigate through the laws that pertain to the business. Business law pulls from many other legal disciplines such as tax law, intellectual property law, real estate law, sales law, employment law, bankruptcy law, and many more. Apart from these disciplines, a specific business may deal in a specific discipline. For example if you own an agriculturally related business there will be environmental laws to adhere by, or if you own a restaurant, there are specific food service laws to be aware of. It is the job of a company attorney to guide their clients through these laws.
As businesses age, they usually also grow in size, which is exactly what all business owners want for their companies. Just as it is a good idea to have a business lawyer handy when you are starting a new business, it is also a good idea to have a lawyer handy when an existing business is starting a new business venture. Most business law firms can be kept on retainer with a periodic (usually annual) fee which ensures priority over non-retainer clients. Always going back to the same lawyer for your business law needs expedites the legal process which means that fees will be minimized because the lawyer is familiar with your business and does not have to spend time looking over the work of other lawyers.
How is Business Law Different from Other Types of Law?
What sets business law apart from other types of law is that business law is preventative whereas in other realms of the legal field it is a lawyer’s job to solve already existing issues. A business owner’s main goal is to run a successful business, and legal issues get in the way of that. By setting up and managing a company correctly, legal issues can be avoided. Lawyers for businesses meet with their clients and help them abide by the laws that pertain to their business, in order to avoid legal issues which can cost a lot of money if it comes to the point of going to court and litigation.
Even with all precautions put in play, some issues are not preventable. Be it a faulty product or a disgruntled ex-employee, businesses can be presented with law suits even with the guidance of a lawyer. A business owner in such a situation is in a good position if they have a regular business lawyer to consult with. If the business does not have a regular lawyer, their company, and depending on the business format, the business owners’ personal finances can be at risk.
Is There a Difference Between a Florida Business Law Firm and Business Law Firms in other States?
Indeed there is! Each and every state has its own set of laws which means that a business in Florida has different laws it must adhere to than a business that is in say in Texas, Michigan, or New York. Florida, being the third most populated state in America, is a great place to have a business, start a new business, or move an already existing business to.
I Have a Small Business. Is Hiring a Lawyer Worth it?
Small business owners should definitely seek the expertise of an attorney. When it comes to owning a small business, not only would the business owner want to hire an attorney for all of the reasons already talked about, but also because a lawyer will guide their clients through the specific local county and city laws of which the business is in. It is a good idea to find a lawyer who practices in the same city as the small business.
Begin with looking for small business attorneys in your area. This is because a good lawyer is involved in their community and can help their client’s network by introducing them to the “who’s who” of the town. Attorneys in small towns often are themselves small business owners, so they can relate to their clients with small businesses.
Do Large Companies ever hire Law Firms?
Some large corporations have their own attorneys, but not all do. Specifically, in the state of Florida, there are Florida business law firms that have many large corporations on retainer. Just as there are laws that pertain to businesses within Florida, there are laws that pertain to businesses based in Florida, but do business across state borders. Business lawyers and attorneys counsel owners and others involved in large corporations to stay away from expensive litigation and other court costs just as they would with smaller businesses. The difference here is that there tends to be more laws that pertain to the big businesses than laws that pertain to a small business. No matter the size of the business, Florida business law firms are equipped to counsel owners of all businesses.
Where Can I Find a Business Lawyer?
Right here of course! Fill out a form on the site and we’ll contact you as soon as possible. Also, there are many great online resources that can help you find a lawyer or attorney for your needs.
Look for firms located in the same area as your business, and make sure the firm does indeed practice business law. Once you’ve done your research, make some calls and see how much each firm charges for a consultation. Most firms may not be able to tell you exactly how much their service may cost, but based on how much they charge for a consultation may be a good measure. Shop around to make sure you find the best Florida Business Law Firm that best meets your specific needs.
U.S. Small Business Administration https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/learn-about-business-laws