It takes a lot of work to own and run a business. With so much time dedicated to managing day-to-day activities and communicating with clients, having a solid plan in place for defending yourself against legal action is often the last thing you have time to worry about.
However, it’s important to note that there is a multitude of different legal situations where assistance from a lawyer might be required to ensure that your business is functional and compliant with all the provincial and federal laws.
Improve Your Ability To Understand Legal Issues
As a business owner, your time is better spent on building your brand. Lawyers have a far more advanced understanding of the possible legal issues that may affect a business and specific situations that may require legal help. They can help explain legal jargon in a way you can understand so that you aren’t left guessing or uncertain.
Business contracts are required in any type of business transaction, including negotiations, document preparations and reviews. It is essential to seek legal assistance whenever a revision or negotiation occurs as lawyers will ultimately help protect your business’s legal rights and interests against bad contracts. This notion extends to a company’s invoices as well; it is important to ensure that your expectations of clients or customers are clear and legal.
Legal Aspects of Owning a Business
Privacy law, consumer protection, tax structure, shareholder rights and agreements, employment agreements, trademarks and many other legal processes are sure to be involved when owning a business. It can be very challenging to understand the ins and outs of each aspect, so it’s good to have a lawyer on your team for clarification. The last thing you need is for your business to run into legal challenges that could have been easily averted.
Leasing or purchasing a commercial space for your office can be more complex and stressful than you think. Leases are often curated to fit and benefit the landlord over the tenant — and details can easily be missed if not given the proper review. It’s in your best interest to consult a lawyer to review any offer before it is submitted to make sure there is nothing problematic included that you may regret.
If you do decide to end a tenancy, there are rules about how a lease can be terminated. This can all be found under the Commercial Tenancies Act.
Media, design and creative businesses may want to register products or services under the corporation to gain federal trademarks and copyright protection. The Ontario government has outlined five different types of intellectual property that you may apply to your business.
- Patents: Applies to any new and useful invention or an existing invention.
- Industrial Design: Refers to the original visual features of a product.
- Trademark: Unique combination of letters, words, sounds or designs as well as other non-traditional signs (i.e. scent, taste etc.)
- Copyright: Applies to original works such as literary, dramatic musical etc.
- Trade Secrets: A form of IP that services its value from secrecy. Trade secrets cannot be registered in Canada, but can potentially last forever provided; it remains a secret.
A lawyer can play a crucial role in intellectual property cases, as well as represent your business in a court setting. Intellectual property can be tricky at times because there are so many steps to registering your ideas, so it is vital to consult a lawyer before making any allegations or positions.
Choosing a lawyer for your business and having a sense of trust between owner and lawyer is very important. You want to be able to know that your lawyer has your best interest in mind and puts your company first.
Try to align yourself with a lawyer (or law firm) from as early in the process as possible. This way as the legal needs of your business change, you have counsel who is familiar with your situation and knows what is best for your business.
Here at Epstein & Associates, we want to prove to you that we can be trusted and show you that we care about making sure your business is fully supported through any legality that may arise. For a free 30-minute consultation, please contact us today.