Top 4 Actions a Lawyer Can Assist a New Business Owner With in New York City
Starting a new business in New York City can be hugely rewarding but also very expensive and legally perilous. However, a lawyer can help a new business owner reduce their legal exposure by ensuring they comply with all regulations and standard business practices. Here are a few practices a new business owner in New York City can take to lessen possible liability:
Maintaining Written Procedures and Protocols
Personal injuries from negligent business practices are some of the most common lawsuits. A business is negligent when it was responsible to take certain actions but failed to do so. Businesses should maintain written policies and procedures so that employees know what is expected of them and so that there is written documentation that such practices are in place before an accident occurs. New employees should sign acknowledgment forms and employee handbooks to ensure these company policies are recognized and complied with. Employees should also record all inspections they conduct.
Separating Personal Assets from Business Assets
Most business owners should incorporate their businesses in order to maintain a legal distinction between their business and their personal assets. Incorporation can limit the property and assets that may be vulnerable if the business or business owner become involved in a lawsuit. The process may require extra money and documentation initially, but will save substantial money and stress in the long run.
Once the business is incorporated though, the business owner must maintain the distinction between business and private assets. The corporate veil may be dissolved if the distinction between the owner and the corporate form is not a meaningful one. The corporate veil can be dissolved if business and personal assets are commingled, if the business is undercapitalized, or if assets are removed from the business immediately prior to litigation.
Making Non-Disclosure Agreements
Proprietary information is necessary for new businesses to grow. Employees and vendors need to access confidential information, but start-ups must keep their confidential information from their competitors. Non-disclosure agreements enable employees to speak and share documents freely without the risk of confidential business information leaking. Non-disclosure agreements should specifically state who the agreement covers, what information is confidential, and how long it the agreement lasts. However, non-disclosure agreements cannot prevent a former employee from changing jobs or working in the same field. Non-disclosure agreements must be written precisely so that they are enforceable.
Drafting Enforceable Contracts
Some small companies use contract templates they discover online. However, these templates may not cover your specific business or jurisdiction. A template may box your business into an undesirable legal position or may even be unenforceable depending on your jurisdiction. A contract can be an essential tool to minimize liability for your business, especially if your business involves a possibility that your customers may injure themselves or others. A legal contract should be enforceable in your jurisdiction, be compliant with local and state public policies, and protect your business from the negligence of others. A competent contract attorney can determine the right contracts for your business.
Should I Hire a New York Business Lawyer?
Business law can be difficult to navigate. Various regulations and laws can be a burden on running any business. A skilled New York business lawyer can help you manage, start, or dissolve your business and help ensure that you and your business are compliant with all state laws.