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Do you need an attorney to start a business?

There is no law in California that says you do. The best way to answer the question is to explore what an attorney does that could save you money and prevent legal headaches in the long run.

The Benefits of an Attorney

  • Ensure compliance: A lawyer can help make sure that your business opens and operates by federal, state, and local laws.
  • Reduce risk: Doing business exposes you to risk, but a business attorney can help you establish a set of procedures that will limit your risk.
  • Minimize liability: A lawyer can help define business terms of service and contract language that restrict your liability in the event of a legal claim.
  • Establish agreements: A lawyer can help you establish formal legal documents that govern relationships across the organization. This way, you know what you owe to your partners, employees, vendors, customers or clients and their deliverables in return.
  • Understand taxes: Attorneys trained in tax law ensure that you pay the tax you owe; they can also suggest valid business deductions and reimbursements.

Types of Business Entities

Sole Proprietorships are the simplest business entity. No corporate documents are required. However, you will need to follow the process of selecting a name and making sure it has not already been taken. Local licenses and permits are required along with the filing of an EIN from the IRS. Most paperwork can be filed online but you will have to research and comply with requirements as they pertain to licenses and permits.

LLC (Limited Liability Company) requirements are more complex. They require the filing of articles of organization, the appointment of a registered agent, and other state requirements. Lawyers also create operating agreements particular to a specific business. They are not one size fits all.

Corporations are more complex and thus require a good deal of legal document filing, including articles of incorporation, establishing corporate bylaws, appointing corporate directors and issuing stock to shareholders. Online legal services can guide you through the process but may not provide guidance specific to your business situation.

Starting a new business?

Don’t discover later that you haven’t met all of the California state requirements. Let Eric J. Proos guide you through the process.  Residents in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Westwood and surrounding CA communities call now (213) 784-3640.

All information provided in this article is for educational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. Each situation is dependent on the specific facts and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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