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Five Important Legal Considerations For Entrepreneurs

By: Jillian A. Centanni, Esq.

Congratulations, you just started your own business!  Are legal issues at the forefront of an entrepreneur’s mind?  Probably not. Unfortunately, it is these legal issues that can either create roadblocks or destroy the business.  That is why it is important to hire an attorney to ensure that the business is protected from the start.

1) Establish the correct legal structure.  Not choosing the right legal structure from the beginning can open an entrepreneur up to personal liability.  The appropriate legal structure will depend on several factors, including, but not limited to, the type of business, the cost implications, and the tax consequences.  An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can help an entrepreneur decide if the business should be a proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, C corporation, S corporation or LLC.     

2) Document the arrangement between the owners.  If an entrepreneur is going into business with other individuals, it is important that the appropriate legal documents are in place.  Documenting the rights and obligations through a partnership agreement or shareholder agreement, depending on the business structure, is useful in the event of success or disputes between the owners.  An attorney can help draft a document that states how issues will be decided between the owners and what happens if an owner leaves, dies, or gets divorced. 

3) Obtain Intellectual Property Protection.  Entrepreneurs often underestimate the value of their intellectual property, until another business steps in and tries to take it.  Intellectual property is an intangible asset and the three main areas of intellectual property law are: patents, trademarks, and copyrights.  Due to the complicated nature of intellectual property, it is imperative that the attorney have a technical background to assist the entrepreneur with protecting this asset.     

 4) Formulate human resource policies.  Unfortunately, there have been some instances where successful companies have gone bankrupt over former employees suing them.  Do not let this happen to you.  Enlist in an attorney’s help in creating an employee manual that helps guide employee conduct.   

5) Get paid.  Every entrepreneur wants to get paid and make a profit.  An experienced attorney can help an entrepreneur achieve this goal by properly drafting terms and conditions in the agreements that an entrepreneur has with his or her customers. An attorney can also review documents that the entrepreneur has signed with vendors to make sure that the entrepreneur’s rights are adequately protected.

Contact The J. A. Centanni Law Firm. P.C. at 908-753-0153 to help with your business needs. Jillian A. Centanni, Esq. is the Owner and Founding Member of The J. A. Centanni Law Firm, P.C. Ms. Centanni has a B.S.E. in chemical engineering, an M.B.A. and a J.D. She was recently named to the Super Lawyers® – Rising Star list, a designation given to the top 2.5% of Attorneys licensed in New Jersey who have been practicing law for less than 10 years or are under the age of 40.  She is also a Registered Patent Attorney. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.  You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

Jillian A. Centanni