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Don't scrimp on getting proper legal advice

The cost of employing a lawyer often seems too expensive to many start up business owners. However, not having appropriate advice throughout the, at times, complicated red tape process of setting up can be disastrously expensive in the end.

Proper legal advice is worth its weight in gold, and the waiting until you are in legal stress is usually too late. Use a good solicitor to identify potential risk categories and protect you and your business from the outset. Good basic legal advice is not always the high price we assume it will be. There are community legal advice portals around where great advice can be free. Plus, there are lawyers who offer a half hour free service for basics.

Lawyers For Your Business offers this free half hour service on key topics that can impact business. This includes business structure, employment law, contracts, leases, or finance. Lawyers For Your Business is networked amongst 1,200 solicitors firms in England and Wales. They offer specialist advice to small and medium sized businesses. Email lfyb@lawsociety.org.uk and they'll email back a list of participating lawyers in your area.

Use a Qualified Solicitor Only
All solicitors are certified by the Law Society as fit and qualified to undertake legal practice. This Law Society certificate should be displayed in the office of the solicitor. Alternatively, contact the Law Society for verification.

Members of the Law Society are suitably qualified and suitably insured to carry on in business. All members must continue to study and maintain sufficient levels of knowledge and skills to continue to carry out their role. The members are bound to operate within a strict code of ethics. The Law Society have a competent complaints procedure and carry out disciplinary procedures whenever necessary to ensure high standards are maintained.

Finding the Right Solicitor for You
The law society has an online search tool you can use to help you find a suitably qualified solicitor in your area.

Don't forget, solicitors are providing you with a service. Be confident they are skilled, experienced in the areas needed, and can carry on a good on-going relationship with you.

Make a list of potential candidates from the search; phone them to discuss your needs. Decide if you need questions answered to a specific question or a general overview. From there narrow it down to 2-3 and arrange meetings with them to help make your final choice.

Fully understand your lawyer's charging structure. If in doubt, ask.

What A Solicitor Does For Your Business.
They provide professional help and advice on a number of topics.
Insurance: the required legal and optional insurances businesses need.
Business Premises: Where to operate from, what is involved in working from home and lease agreements.
Legal obligations: For advertising and buying or selling.
Employment Law: handling disputes.

Solicitors can advise the best option for your trading status, keep the taxes to a minimum, and advise on other financial matters. You may wish to consult your Qualified accountant on these matters.
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