Sheltowee Business Network Blog

The Case for Consulting a Lawyer

The Case for Consulting a Lawyer

Aug 16 2019

The Case for Consulting a Lawyer

by Carlos Hernandez Ocampo, Esq.

In today’s Internet of Things and AI-powered world, many believe that lawyers will soon be obsolete. The question “Do I need a lawyer?” seems to be coming up more in entrepreneurship and small business circles.

Well, do you? The short answer is that you don’t. You can stop reading now...

For those of you who kept going, I think you know that the real answer is yes.

To illustrate my point, I’d like to start with a short story. A month back, I found myself at my office, explaining to a prior client and friend the details of one of my services and the price tag that came with it. He smiled at me and said he didn’t need it and that he had already done most of the work. In his own words, “Why should I hire you to do the rest? Can’t I just do it myself?” I smiled politely and said, “Sure, you can do anything you want.”

I then asked him a silly question, one I knew the answer to: “What do you do for a living again?”

“I lay roofing.” He answered.

“Really? I laid roofing as a kid, you know,” I said.

“I think if I watched a couple of YouTube videos, I could brush up on how to do it again.”

Then I told him, “I bet anybody can figure out how to lay roofing material these days. Why should they even hire you?”

Without batting an eyelash, he answered confidently, “So that it’s done right.”

I said, “Exactly.

He laughed pretty loudly and told me he got the point. He hired me.

Technology has given the layperson access to unprecedented knowledge, and the tasks left to lawyers in the past are being performed by them at the touch of a screen. This advancement in our field is a good thing, my brothers and sisters of the Bar may want to put down the pitchforks. Technology is far from replacing us completely. If anything, it has freed us from the small, mundane tasks we used to have to do as part of our job and left us with the more profound work that requires a law license.

Let’s take the beginning of a business. Most people tell me they need to open an LLC. While an LLC is an excellent business entity for many business types, it presents several issues for others, and although LLCs are accessible and easy to form, there may be other business entities that are better suited for your concept. This is why you should consult a lawyer at the inception of your idea.

If you’re like my friend, though, and you just want to do light construction work, an LLC may be good enough for you. Furthermore, if you are just as savvy as he is, and you already filed the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State and gotten your FEIN, your state tax account, and any other license needed to operate as a business, congratulations—you are ahead of the game. However, there are still some other factors you should consider before hammering that first nail.

Here are a few essential steps that a DIYer can get wrong in their haste to send their first invoice. In some cities, like Louisville, you also have to register your business with the local government. In Louisville’s case, you should do it with the Louisville Metro Revenue Commission. Luckily, they also have an excellent website to help you do that.

If you haven’t yet done so, you should also open new bank accounts for your business. Here’s a bit of good news—all the paperwork generated by this whole process is required by most banks to open the accounts. Remember to make yourself a folder of all of those to take to your banker. Register your business with all of the relevant authorities and open your accounts, then you should conduct all your business through your newly formed entity.

All finances should go through its accounts. The purpose of having a separate business entity is to isolate you and your possessions from personal liability if something goes wrong. The easiest way to end all of that is by blending your assets with your business’ assets. It’s called “piercing the corporate veil” if a court catches you doing this.

Lastly, if more than one person is opening this business with you, you should have an operating agreement—a contract that will direct the operation of the company and what will happen in the event of internal disagreement, among other things.

As a business owner, your time is better spent working on your product or service and knowing when to outsource is good business. I barely scratched the surface of what it takes to start a business, and it took me more than seven hundred and fifty words. I’m sure you know what I am going to say, consult a lawyer “So that it’s done right.”

This legal article is made available for your educational purpose only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law as it applies to businesses, not to provide legal advice. You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from a lawyer licensed in your own state or jurisdiction. This article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction.