One of the scariest parts of running a business is dealing with the legal setup. This post addresses some common legal questions and provides resources to find good legal advice in your area.
Since we're not lawyers, this post should be viewed as a starting point, not legal advice. Learn some tips on how to find a lawyer for your practice below!
First of all, why do I need to set up a legal entity for my private practice? What is it anyways?
Legal entities are types of business structures. LLC, C-Corp, S-Corp are some common ones.
There are two key reasons to set up your business as a legal entity.
1. Liability- when you operate a business. there are risks. As you grow, get new customers, etc. you get more risks. Having a legal entity separates the risks for the business and your personal risk. So that if the business is ever sued- you don't run the risk of losing your home etc. A good liability insurance policy can accomplish many of the same goals. Some providers choose to do a sole-proprietorship or DBA rather than setting up a LLC.
2. Simplifies the contract writing. The business entity becomes a central hub so the "entity", or business itself, can sign contracts, join partnerships etc. This makes it much more simple to do day-to-day business.
3. It builds trust and simplifies the contracts with insurance companies.
What entity should you choose?
The main considerations when choosing which business entity are governance and compliance. Each state has different requirements, so it's important to get a lawyer that can help you with this.
Some entity options (varies by state):
Sole-proprietorship/Doing Business As (DBAs)- These businesses are like creating an alter ego for yourself. So if you're looking for the benefit of separating the risk from work and home, you may want to consider adding a good liability policy. A lawyer can help you figure out if you will be covered adequately with malpractice/liability insurance when you choose a policy. This structure is one of the most simple options.
Other options include:
Limited Liability Corporation (LLCs)
Professional Corporation (PC)
Professional Association (PA)
Professional LLC (PLLC)
This sounds complicated- I need a lawyer. Where do I find a good one?
The key things to consider when evaluating lawyers are:
1. Can you trust this person?
2. Does the person know enough to give good advice? Expertise matters. Just like you would never hire a cardiologist to fix your teeth (you would hire a dentist!). You don't want to hire a criminal defense attorney to do your business legal work.
1. Recommendations from other business owners that you know in your area/state.
2. Check out sites like: priorilegal.com, upcounsel.com and lawgo.co that have vetting processes for the attorneys on their site. They are invested in connecting you to high quality attorneys. All of them come with free initial consultations so you can meet a few folks and find someone that meets your needs and you connect with. Also, most of these sites negotiate fees upfront, often with reduced rates for you.
3. It's not a great idea to use a tool like Legalzoom and RocketLawyer for all your work. But you can sometimes save money by creating your forms on Legalzoom or RocketLawyer, then hiring a lawyer to look over your docs and make any corrections you need. Talk to your lawyer about this as option before investing the time in doing the work on your own!
4. The best lawyer-client relationships create value. Maybe the expertise will help you just sleep a little better at night, but often times lawyers can help you grow and scale your business.
Thanks to Siddartha Rao, for his help with this post. Stop by tomorrow to learn more about him and his practice!
This post is not sponsored, nor is it legal advise. We do hope it helps you get started.