Every small business needs a business attorney who can be a resource as legal issues arise. Small businesses use a business attorney in many ways:
A new Minnesota business may need an attorney to:
- Form a business entity—such as a Minnesota LLC, Minnesota S Corp, or Minnesota Corporation—to obtain limited liability and protect your personal assets
- Draft an agreement between co-owners such as a buy-sell agreement, member control agreement, partnership agreement, or shareholder agreement.
- Analyze a contract such as a franchise agreement, bank loan agreement, or other contracts
- Create an employee manual
- Advise on ways to minimize taxes and prevent IRS problems
An ongoing Minnesota business may need an attorney to:
- Represent the business in a lawsuit, arbitration, or tax audit
- Write a letter to pressure another party to perform according to a contract
- Draft contracts, legal documents, and letters
- Negotiate deals
- Conduct a merger or acquisition
- Analyze a contract, real estate transaction, or other legal documents
Beyond this short list, there are countless legal issues that may arise in your small business. After forming your business, you probably won’t need an attorney for a while. When a legal need comes up, it’s nice to have a relationship with a business attorney who can answer a few quick questions by phone for free. Some attorneys will answer quick questions by phone without charging you, while others will charge their hourly rate for the phone conversation.
Qualities of a Good Small Business Attorney
When you look for an attorney for your small business, find one who is experienced in business law. You can test the attorney’s understanding of the area in which you need help by asking the attorney about specifics. For example, ask the attorney to specifically explain to you what he or she would recommend in your particular situation, what the other options are, and what factors the attorney used to make that recommendation. Also, look for an attorney who will listen to your concerns.