Everyone knows attorneys are expensive. This fact leads many startups and small businesses to avoid retaining legal assistance until the moment they get sued. But this strategy is short-sighted – waiting to hire a startup attorney inevitably ends up costing more money in the long run. It is essential for a startup or small business to build a relationship with a lawyer before legal trouble comes knocking.

This will ultimately save you time, money, and needless headaches in 2 ways:

1)    A small business lawyer can help your startup or small business minimize risks so you don’t get sued in the first place.

2)    A small business lawyer can help you structure your business to protect your assets in case you do find yourself in legal trouble.

A good small business attorney can provide you with legal counsel for your startup from the get-go. For example, a small business lawyer can review your business plan and advise on ways to minimize any legal risks. A small business attorney can also discuss what type of business organization is best for your startup – whether it be a partnership, LLC, or other option – and help you prepare and file the proper documents and ensure you are complying with meeting and paperwork requirements.

Additionally, you can work with your small business lawyer to deal with any licensing, real estate, or zoning issues that may come up. Your small business attorney can also help you draft and review contracts with vendors, clients, employees, independent contractors, etc. Your small business attorney can also assist with hiring and firing employees and independent contractors. As your business grows, you will need legal counsel regarding asset protection and wealth management.

Building a relationship with a small business lawyer who fundamentally understands you and your business before you are in serious legal trouble is one of the best decisions you can make as a start-up or small business owner or entrepreneur. Find one you trust to help your business get going and keep growing.

Michelle Green is a general practice and Chicago small business lawyer with G &G Law.