Do smaller Jersey businesses really need a lawyer?
Among the countless considerations for smaller Jersey businesses who are starting or are already running a small business is the question of whether they need a business lawyer.
There is a reluctance among small business owners to engage a lawyer. This tends to happen only when confronted with a serious legal problem (e.g. the business gets into a dispute).
It is true to say many of the problems a smaller Jersey business will encounter will be much the same as problems faced by a larger company. There will of course be different scales when it comes to such issues, for example a cleaning business will probably have different legal issues to an online service provider. However, fundamentally all businesses have legal issues that have to be considered and resolved. These issues fall into several general categories.
Businesses of all sizes will need to understand and work with the laws for forming and operating a business. The scope and scale will depend on the circumstances of the actual business, for example its size, structure, location and services/products. Wherever the type of business, it is most likely to have a degree of corporate governance that requires legal attention. Corporate governance is actually a vital part of a business, the structure through which a business operates can have a significant effect upon its financial return and ability to react to changing circumstances.
Contracts can range from business to client contracts to highly complex distribution contracts. Whatever the nature of the contract, seeking appropriate legal advice on a commercial contract can be the difference between a good deal and a bad deal. A commercial contract lawyer can be a helpful advisor for businesses. They can assist with the drafting, negotiation and reviewing of commercial contracts. A good commercial contract lawyer will always look to ensure the commercial contract terms are legally enforceable. They will also seek to limit the liability and exposure of your business.
The increasing complexity in this area means it is crucial for all Jersey business, whether employing just one to employing several hundred, to have a thorough understanding of the law and practice of employment law. Employment law issues can become costly, time-consuming and stressful if you don’t handle them appropriately. An employment lawyer, can assist a business with the development of appropriate policies to ensure legal compliance and proactively resolve problems before they grow. A consistent, positive relationship with employees is vital to a business’s success.
Regardless of size, all Jersey business must contend and comply with a host of regulatory issues. A breach may have significant ramifications. As such taking advice from lawyers qualified in regulatory issues who have an understanding of such can advise businesses of their responsibilities, how to manage risk and how to lessen the impact of complex regulatory regimes on a business’s transactions or day-to-day operations. Remaining ‘compliant’ is integral to the success of any business.
Smaller Jersey businesses might have countless other legal considerations. The business might have industry-specific legal considerations. It might be online contracts. It might have intellectual property that requires protection. It might be acquiring another business or perhaps selling its own. It all depends on the business’s particular set of circumstances.
Most importantly a Jersey business’s emphasis should be on preventing issues from occurring in the first place. For example, by the time a client or a supplier sues you for a breach of contract, all you can do at that juncture is hire a lawyer to defend the lawsuit, the preventable damage has been done. If, on the other hand, you had consulted a Jersey business lawyer beforehand, you would have known the terms and conditions of the contract. The small effort at the beginning of the process could save the business an enormous and potentially costly headache later.
While a Jersey business certainly does not need a Jersey lawyer for every step of running the business, it is true to say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. Legal help should be a cost of doing business that can often save you money and helps your business in the long run.