The short answer is no. But having a dedicated Ontario small business lawyer involved from the start has numerous advantages. This blog post will provide 5 reasons why you should have a small business lawyer to help you start your business.

If you need legal advice from a contract lawyer in Ontario, book your legal consultation with Supply Law today.

*Disclaimer: this guide is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice nor create a solicitor-client relationship between the author and reader. As with all legal matters, a lawyer should be properly retained and consulted where legal advice may reasonably be considered necessary. 

Why You Should Have a Lawyer Help You Start A Business

When you decide to start a business, you can do most of the underlying “legal work” yourself. From incorporating your business to drafting a contract or filing a trademark application, there is no legal requirement that these tasks must be completed by a lawyer. However, as any small business owner that has survived for a couple of years can attest, there are numerous benefits that come from having a licensed Ontario contract lawyer around when its time to start your business.

Some of these benefits include:

  1. Lawyers save you money
  2. Lawyers can help connect you with other professionals you need
  3. Lawyers have a variety of experience across different industries
  4. Lawyers make your business more marketable
  5. Your time is better spent working on your business

These 5 benefits will be explained below.

Ready? Here we go!

1. Lawyers Save You Money

Most people view lawyers as an expensive burden, charging hundreds of dollars per hour to draft contracts no one can understand and billing at six-minute intervals to squeeze every possible cent out of their clients. As a result, most small business owners neglect having a lawyer in the start-up phase and are only willing to pay for a lawyer’s time after a legal dispute occurs.

Contrary to these preconceived notions, having a lawyer can actually save you money. Think of hiring a lawyer as a form of insurance. For example, paying for a lawyer to draft contracts that clearly articulate each party’s obligations, limit your liability, and provide for what should happen if a party doesn’t perform, will help prevent expensive contract disputes.

Despite this reality, business owners usually only call a lawyer after they find themselves in hot water. Now, instead of paying for a few hours of time to have a lawyer draft a proper contract to protect them, the business owner is paying a large monetary retainer to cover their lawyer’s time spent reviewing evidence, interviewing witnesses, filing documents, communicating with opposing counsel, and attending court. Unfortunately, most small business owners will eventually learn this lesson the hard way.

2. Lawyers Can Help Connect You With the Other Professionals You Need

There are other professionals you will need to rely on to provide you with the advice you need for you business to succeed. From the onset, your go-to-professionals will be your lawyer and your small business accountant. Usually the first time you’ll start looking for a lawyer is when you decide it’s time to incorporate. While a basic incorporation is something you can do yourself, setting up a proper corporate structuring for tax planning and liability protection will be a bit more complicated and should involve a lawyer and accountant working together.

Aside from accountants, there are other professionals you will need to rely on such as insurance brokers, commercial real estate agents, and various other experts in their fields. With so many professionals to choose from, its hard to know who just wants your business and who has your best interest in mind. Because you lawyer deals with accountants and brokers daily, they’ll be able to connect you to other professionals you can trust.

3. Lawyers Have Experience Across Different Industries

From construction to e-commerce, your lawyer will spend their day helping other small business owners across a variety of industries. As a result, they tend to have knowledge and experience that you may not be exposed to in your day to day operations. Your lawyer can take their knowledge of what works in other sectors and apply them to your industry. For example, a general contractor’s building contract with milestone payments can easily be reworked to provide a clear and comprehensive agreement for a website design business. This helps prevent contract disputes and makes it more likely you’ll be paid the full amount for your services when its time for your clients to pay their invoices.

4. Lawyers Help Make Your Business More Marketable

Whether you’re looking to bring a partner on board or take out a business loan, nothing will raise red flags faster than revealing the sloppy legal work underlying your business. For instance, when applying for a business loan, incomplete or unkempt corporate records could bog down an otherwise routine transaction and prevent you from acquiring the capital you need to grow your business. Similarly, when you go to sell your business in the future, the purchaser will want to inspect various aspects of your business to gauge any potential exposure to future liability. You can be assured that they’ll want a discount for any potential risks they spot such as operating without a privacy policy, not registering trademarks, or using contracts that won’t hold up in court. In addition to limiting your liability, your lawyer will help make your business more marketable on the back end.

5. Your Time Is Better Spent Working on Your Business

Besides the potential money you’ll save by paying for a lawyer, you also have to think about the lost opportunity cost from the countless hours you’ll spend trying to comply with all of the various laws and regulations your business must follow.

On average, it takes 7 years of schooling, 10 months of experiential in-firm training, and passing 2 written examinations before the Law Society of Ontario will recognize a potential lawyer as being competent to practice law. Even when a lawyer is finally called to the bar, no matter how much experience a lawyer has, they are required to complete numerous additional hours of professional development each year just to maintain their license.

There’s a reason it takes so long become a lawyer. The law is often overwhelming complicated and wide reaching. Minute details can make or break a case and unravel huge corporate transactions. You can spend days trying to make sure your business isn’t breaking any rules but, if you don’t have a firm grasp of basic legal concepts, you won’t know where the pitfalls are until you encounter them. Avoid sinking you time into learning the law, leave the legal work to the lawyers and focus on what you do best, building your business.

If you need legal advice from an Ontario small business contract lawyer, book your free legal consultation with Supply Law today.