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Power Of Attorney

How to hire a lawyer

With a well-thought-out business plan in place, you've got the ball rolling.What's your next step? Preventive law. That is, consulting with a businessattorney to make sure all your I's are dotted and your T's are crossed. Yes,you could try to cover the bases on your own, but do-it-yourself law can bedangerous. And undoing any damage done can be costly to your bottom line aswell as to your business's reputation. "If you start [your] business with theprofessional assistance you need," says Torrance, California, attorney CynthiaL. Eller of Popeney, Lebetsamer & Grange, "things are set in motion thatprotect you."

Here is a sampling of the general areas a business attorney handles:

*Written agreements. Have your lease agreements, purchase contracts oremployment agreements been drafted to document the specifics of each party'sduties and expectations?

*Industry-specific licensing and ordinances. Will you need to belicensed or bonded? Will you require liability insurance?

*Business structure. Which form is most appropriate for you?Corporation? Limited liability company? Sole proprietorship? Have you takeninto account the benefits--and drawbacks--of each?

*Tax requirements. How is your industry taxed? What are the taxreporting requirements in your industry?

*Co-ownership agreements. What happens if one or more owners wantout of the business? Do you have an agreement in place that provides for anorderly and peaceful ownership transition (even in the event of death ordisability)?

*Employer-employee relations. Are you familiar with thelaws that govern hiring employees? Have you developed anemployee handbook outlining your company's policies and procedures?

Don't gamble with your business's future by attempting to handle legal mattersyourself. A little sound legal advice can go a long way.

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