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A business law attorney offers legal advice in nearly all stages and aspects of a business. Generally, she will ensure that a business is in compliance with local and international business laws. She can offer advice and file forms for each step from the formation to the dissolution of a business as well. She also may handle lawsuits, review and write contracts, create staff manuals, and enforce guidelines or policies. She may even cover all communications with the media, particularly if an issue is a hot topic.
One of the most important duties of a business law attorney can be at the very start of the relationship, the formation of the business. Advising the business owners on the kind of business they are forming, such as a corporation, a limited liability company, or a partnership, is key. The formation entails a concrete understanding of the tax and liability implications of each kind of business. Once the business has been formed, she may be responsible for filing all annual reports and other forms with government agencies.
Many business owners use a business law attorney when they want to dissolve or terminate their businesses. They may want to ensure the pre-established dissolution guidelines are followed. The attorney may handle new issues as well, such as outstanding debt, a large number of assets, or a lien.
A business law attorney may also be asked to give advice on some of the day-to-day happenings at the business. For example, she may be asked to write a staff manual or develop staff guidelines regarding the hiring and firing of employees. She may also handle a lawsuit regarding wrongful termination, discrimination, or sexual harassment, working on behalf of either the employer or the employee.
Sometimes business owners may have specific questions on ways to save money. For example, they may ask a business law attorney whether they should lease or own a building. They may also want advice on where they should conduct business to avoid high taxes, particularly if they are interested in expanding internationally. Occasionally, a business law attorney will give legal advice regarding business ethics as well.
If a business has developed a product, they may want to patent the product to protect their interests. In those cases, the business law attorney may need to be familiar with patent law or be able to recommend a respected patent lawyer to the owners. In addition, the business may want to trademark its name or the name of its product, which also requires an understanding of intellectual property laws.
If a particular topic or lawsuit catches the interest of the media, the business law attorney may function as the business's spokesperson. Typically, this is done when the information discussed with newspapers, magazines, or news shows is sensitive. For example, if a company has been threatened with a lawsuit, anything said to the media may be used against the business in the courtroom.