If you own or are considering opening a small business, it is vital that your business is started and run both ethically and legally for long-term success. To ensure everything is done properly, it's important to seek legal counsel on matters that go beyond your expertise as an entrepreneur. However, should you hire a business lawyer or can you get by using the services of online legal sites?
Online services for legal documents
For many simpler tasks such as filing legal documents for permits and applications, online legal services can be fitting to use for your small business. Many state and government applications may be found online to print or download for free or a nominal fee. Such documents and procedures found online might include applications for permits, licenses or copyright, researching zoning or city-planning. These documents, if filled out and filed properly, can save you energy, time and money. Keep in mind, when working with legal documents, it is best to thoroughly read the instructions before completing them to ensure the correct form is used and that all information provided is accurate to avoid bumps in the road later. When in doubt, refer to the source for help.
Choosing an online legal service
Anyone can create a website and pose as an expert. If you choose to use an online legal service for your small business, make sure to evaluate the online company as you would any other website with whom you conduct transactions or communication. First, verify the legality of the company. Ask yourself the questions you would ask about any other online business. Is this company or provider authorized to provide these documents or services? Is what they are provided up to date and correct? Is the company properly certified and qualified to offer these services? Check the fine print on the website if there is a disclaimer stating that the services provided are not legal counsel.
Finally, do some research and find out how the online legal services company is rated both by consumers and other companies. If all of your questions can be answered positively and services or documents from the provider are clear and complete, proceed ahead.
When online legal services may not be the right choice
There are instances, however, in which utilizing an online legal service site would not be recommended. For example, if you have been sued or summoned to court, you may benefit greatly by getting legal advice in person to get all your questions answered. You may also wish to consult an attorney in person if dealing with a field in which the legalities are constantly changing and an updated website would not suffice. Take steps toward success by being thorough and detailed, and be sure to understand your legal responsibilities for your business.
Entrepreneurship is a hefty yet rewarding endeavor. Making your next business moves strategically and legally will heighten your chances for growth and long-term rewards.
This article was written by Kena Sosa for Small Business Pulse