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Navigating Legal Waters: When Your Small Business Demands a Lawyer, Not Just Forms – Unveiling the 9 Critical Instances

Photo by SugarPlum Creative

Hiring a small business lawyer is a good investment to get your business legally legit. We panic over the cost of hiring an attorney when we are first starting, or even after we’ve been in business for a minute. Unenforceable contracts, no contracts, or incorrect agreements can cost your business much more. Melissa Wick of Wick Law Offices LLC shared with the Haven Community 9 times when a lawyer will be better for your business than downloading a form from online services.

9 Times to Hire An Attorney To Protect Your Business

Protect IP 

(copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets). Hire an attorney to guide you through the IP search and application process(es) to help you avoid mistakes. They can tell you what marks will likely pass through the process successfully.

Services Contracts. 

Customizing contracts for your specific business and industry is critical. Cover all your bases with disclaimers, waivers, and releases that are clearly defined. For example, cancellation and refund policies must be strong, so hire an attorney.

Online Course Contracts or Terms of Use. 

These contracts get signed before a client buys from you and are like service contracts. They have more protection for your IP, timing parameters, and liability limits.

Group Coaching Memberships. 

Discuss customizing these contracts, confidentiality sections, and dispute resolutions with an attorney.

Website Protections. 

Make sure your privacy policy, terms and conditions, and disclaimers are up to date and customized for your online business.

Contractor vs Employee Agreements. 

Avoid hiring pitfalls by discussing your requirements with your attorney. Then get them to draw up the appropriate contract for your first or next hire. Often, we think we want to hire an independent contractor, or 1099, but legally that may be wrong based on your needs to control what and when that person completes their tasks. Your lawyer can make sure you avoid any mistakes that will cost you down the road.

Strategic Partnerships. 

Brand collaborations, ambassadorships, and affiliate partnerships work best when the terms are clearly defined in an agreement. Online forms are too general for this type of partnership. Consult an attorney to make sure all parties are covered.


Fundraising can get very tricky, so consulting an attorney can help you if you are raising funds from friends, family, or angel investors (if you are looking for venture funding, it gets even more tricky.). Consult an attorney to follow all SEC regulations and other laws. Have an attorney review and customize all company promissory notes and equity stakes.

Confidentiality Agreements. 

Use an attorney to define confidential information, spell out ownership of what you’re protecting, and outline remedies if there is a default for confidentiality agreements.  

About Melissa Wick

Hiring the right attorney for your business provides you with a strong foundation to build from. They will help you assess risks associated with your specific business and industry. Lawyers customize contracts, guard your intellectual property, and protect you with waivers and releases. Focus on running your business and hire an attorney to take care of the rest.
Read more about Melissa Wick and how she supports small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers here.
Melissa is a coach at Haven, supporting the community by answering questions in one-on-one private sessions. To learn more about private coaching and other Haven support services, join us for a tour today.

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