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Steve Yahnian is an attorney and a CPA.
This is good for our clients: There are two professionals every business will need early on: an accountant and a lawyer.
The reasons for hiring an accountant are pretty obvious–you need someone to help you set up your “chart of accounts,” review your numbers periodically, and prepare all of your necessary federal, state and local tax returns, advice on financial matters, and render business advice and planning.
The reason for hiring a business attorney may not, however, be so apparent. A good business attorney will provide vital assistance in almost every aspect of your business, from basic zoning compliance and copyright and trademark advice to formal business incorporation and lawsuits and liability. First, some general rules about dealing with lawyers:
If you are being sued, it’s too late. Most small businesses put off hiring a lawyer until the sheriff is standing at the door serving them with a summons. Bad mistake. The time to hook up with a good business lawyer is before you are sued. Once you have been served with a summons and complaint, it’s too late–the problem has already occurred, and it’s just a question of how much you will have to pay (in court costs, attorneys’ fees, settlements and other expenses) to get the problem resolved.
America’s judicial system is a lot like a Roach Motel–it’s easy to get into court, but very difficult to get out once you’ve been “trapped.” Most lawyers agree that while nobody likes to pay attorneys’ fees for anything but the fee a lawyer will charge to keep you out of trouble is only a small fraction of the fee a lawyer will charge to get you out of trouble once it’s happened.
Generally speaking, the larger the law firm, the greater the overhead, therefore the higher the hourly rates you will be expected to pay.
As a business attorney, Steve Yahnian has the following sets of skills.
c.. Real estate. Leases of commercial space–such as offices and retail stores–are highly complex and are usually drafted to benefit the landlord unless they are prepared by large, franchise type companies who prepare them as proposed tenants. Because they tend to be “printed form” documents, you may be tempted to think they are not negotiable. Not so. Steve Yahnian can prepare agreements or provisions that benefit you.
While you certainly need to retain an attorney for the serious issues above, your emphasis should be placed on preventing such occurrences in the first place.. By the time you or your business is sued, the preventable damage has been done and the only question that remains is how much you’ll be paying in attorney’s fees, court fees, and damages.
For example, by the time a prospective employee files a lawsuit claiming gender discrimination based in part upon questions posed at the job interview, all you can do is hire an attorney to defend the lawsuit. If, on the other hand, if you had had Yahnian Law Corporation review the situation and the most current applicable law on anti-discrimination laws, you would have known not to inquire as to whether the applicant was pregnant or planned on becoming pregnant. The small effort at the beginning of the process would save you an enormous headache later.
You won’t need a lawyer for each and every legal issue that comes up in your business. But when you do, it’s good to know where to find the right one. And — more to the point — you may not know you need legal help until it’s too late, as attorneys can help you stay in compliance with the law and spot developing legal issues early. Get ahead of the curve by finding an experienced small business attorney near you today.