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Does a Startup Business Need Legal Services?


When first starting a business, many new entrepreneurs wonder if they really need legal services.


For some business types like partnerships, LLCs, or corporations, legal services may be necessary to help you register your business with the state. Other business structures like sole proprietorships do not require you to register with the state — but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from an attorney’s help.

Regardless of whether legal services are required for your business, it is still helpful to contact an attorney to help you get started and ensure you’re taking the right steps forward. Here are some reasons why small businesses may need legal services and how an attorney can ease their startup processes.


Reasons you might need business legal services

  • Taxes - Depending on your business structure, you'll have different tax advantages and disadvantages. This can be difficult to navigate on your own, especially if you’re a new entrepreneur, so it helps to have a legal representative or a CPA to help sort out the details.

  • Liability - As a business owner, you have different protections and risks for your business. Having an attorney can help you avoid or minimize personal liabilities, reducing your risk of losing personal assets if your business does not do well.

  • Capital - When you're first getting on your feet as a new business owner, you're going to need to raise money to fund your business. Involving an attorney in this process ensures both you and your investors are financially responsible and will help you avoid any difficult legal procedures.

  • Trademarking - If your business requires any trademarking or licensing, an attorney will need to be involved to help you through those procedures.

Where to find legal services

Finding small business legal services can be difficult, especially ones who fit your needs. When looking for attorneys and law firms, try to find ones that specialize in your industry or small businesses. Here are some common places where you can find legal services:

  • Online Forums - Small business forums and message boards are a great place to get firsthand recommendations from other small business owners who have already gone through this process.


  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) – The SBA is a great resource for all your small business needs, including legal advice. You can type your issue into their search box and get results that lead you in the right direction.


  • U.S. Department of Justice – The Department of Justice’s website has a list of lawyers in each state, many of whom specialize in small business.


  • LawDepot - LawDepot allows you to print and download customizable legal documents for a multitude of occasions, including forms and contracts you'll need as a small business owner.


  • Nolo - If you need help finding a lawyer or want to create your own legal documents, Nolo is a great resource. They’ll match you with a lawyer who can best handle your needs, or you can buy their software, which will help you take care of your legal needs yourself.

Still looking for help with business legal services? Check out some of our recommendations here.


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