Disclaimer: We understand that every business has specific needs that must be met. That being said, this is a legal consultation checklist detailing what should be discussed with a business lawyer during your consultation to make the most of it.
In order to ensure the success of your business long term, it is important to make sure you are following through with all of your legal obligations.
Legal consultation checklist
Basics of your business
- Summary of your business
In order to understand what type of legal services you do or do not need, it is important to first discuss your business. What is your business idea? What type of goods or services will you be supplying your clients? How do you plan to supply the clients with your product?
- Business stage
How far along are you in the process? Depending on the product, there may need to be prototyping, product testing, and multiple trials that must take place before the product is ready to be sold. Further, there are grants and investments that you may apply for to fund the different stages of your project.
- Business structure
To register your business in the UK, you must first decide what business structure you would like to create. Through the Companies House you will be able to register your company as a sole trader, limited company, or partnership. Typically the structure will be dictated by the specific needs and resources of your business.
- Terms and Conditions
You are going to need Terms and Conditions to protect both your business and your clients. Terms and Conditions will explain how your business works, what customers can expect, and sales procedures. By creating Terms and Conditions, everybody knows the expectations of the business and customers, hopefully dissolving any conflicts before they start.[tweet_dis_img][/tweet_dis_img]
- Directors, shareholders, and partners
Your type of founders will be determined by your business structure. Sole traders operate as a single self-employed owner. Conversely, if you have a limited company, you will need at least one director, and most limited companies are also owned by shareholders who also have rights in the company. Partnerships are created between two or more partners who share business responsibilities.
With any type of business structure involving multiple founders, there should be founders agreements in place to mutually protect and respect all parties involved, as well as inform all parties of their responsibilities. Shareholders Agreements will detail the number of shares held and the provisions for making decisions. Directors Service Agreements detail the contract’s terms and length, and responsibilities of directors.
- Employees, contractors, consultants, and freelancers
The type of employment used in your business will depend on your business structure and, even more so, on the type of goods or services your business supplies. You will likely find that at some point, in addition to your full-time employees you will need to hire a contractor or consultant for a limited period of time.
Whichever type of employees or other outside help you may hire, it is necessary to have employment contracts, consultancy contracts, and a staff handbook. These documents will specify tasks to be completed, timeline, expectations, salary, benefits, and terms of termination. Having these contracts in place will protect your company and your hires in any instance where disputes may arise.
If your business has a website, the function of the website should be discussed in your legal consultation. Is the website purely for advertising purposes? What type of information will you be collecting on your website? Can customers order products or services on your website? Depending on the function of your website, you may have a variety of different legal obligations.
Will you be using a third party service for online payment purposes? If so, there are further implications and obligations that come with this. It is important to go over this section carefully when seeking legal advice because to fully understand your legal obligations to your customers online.
- Web agreements
Intellectual Property: Copyright, trademark, design rights, and patents
In the UK, there are four different types of intellectual property protection which you can obtain. The type of IP protection you need is dependent on what you are hoping to protect. Anything from logos, to product designs and mechanisms can be protected, however, the process for obtaining these different protections vary.
Budget for legal services
Finally, it is important to discuss how much your business is able to spend on legal services in the first year or so. While it is important to seek out legal advice as opposed to trying to understand all of your legal obligations on your own, hiring lawyers can get to be pricey.
At Linkilaw, we offer a free legal consultation detailing what your next steps should be concerning legal services. Get in touch with us!