For most businesspeople in San Antonio, deciding whether to call an attorney should be like deciding whether to go to the doctor. If you have severe chest pain, odds are you’re not going to hesitate to call your physician or hightail it to the emergency room. But if you just have a bad cold, you might wait a few days to see if it turns into pneumonia before you drag yourself to the dreaded doctor’s office. Likewise, you should call a lawyer when you have a serious legal problem for instance, you’re being investigated for fraud or a customer is severely injured by one of your products. Before deciding whether or not you need legal services in San Antonio, think carefully about your unique situation.
There are plenty of factors to consider, and making this decision it might not be so clear. For instance, do you need a lawyer when you’re starting a business? Dissolving one? Buying or selling a business? Hiring high-level employees? Since legalities seem to pervade even the most basic business—and lawyers have helped this perception along—you might be afraid to tackle a “legal” issue without a lawyer. Or, on the flip side, you might have had a bad experience with a lawyer that was enough to put you off them forever, no matter what the cost.
If you’re the “always need a lawyer” type, there is actually a lot you can start to do for yourself. But if you’re the “no lawyers for me, thanks” type, it’s important to recognize when you’re in over your head and need the help of a competent lawyer.
When should you seek out legal services in San Antonio?
There are a few situations when you’ll want or need the advice of a good small-business attorney. Here are just a few examples of serious legal issues that require the help of an experienced lawyer:
- You and your business partners want to make so-called “special allocations” of profits and losses in your partnership agreement or LLC operating agreement (this is a tricky area that needs the help of an experienced tax attorney).
- You or your business partners want to contribute appreciated property to a partnership or LLC (this also requires the assistance of an experienced tax attorney).
- You’re buying a business and a major environmental issue comes up (environmental protection laws carry heavy penalties for landowners, even for those who didn’t cause the contamination).
- An employee or former employee threatens to sue your business for discrimination or one of your managers for sexual harassment.
A mistake in any of these areas can cost you—and your business partners—serious money. In any of these situations, paying for the help of an experienced lawyer will more than offset the potential harm you might cause your business if you don’t deal with these issues properly. The tricky part is finding a lawyer who is experienced in these specialty areas, as well as being someone you can work with.
While working with a local attorney surely has it’s benefits, you may want to do some research on your own. One of the nice things about taking care of your own legal tasks is that if you educate yourself about basic legal issues. You can take care of a lot of the legal legwork yourself and just involve your attorney when you have a specific question.
Lots of businesspeople like to create their own business contracts and then ask their lawyer to review the documents. This “legal coach” arrangement can be one of the most cost-effective ways to use legal services.
No matter how you decide to approach business legal issues, make sure you find an attorney with whom you have a good rapport, who is responsive and willing to let you handle some of your own legal issues. One of top recommended local law firms in the areas is Woodall Batchelor PLLC—there are also plenty of other resources available in the San Antonio area.