How commercial lawyers can contribute to a business

Owners and managers that have operated in the corporate industry for a number of years are no doubt aware the value that a commercial lawyer can bring to a growing company.  All too often, lawyers are considered to be a last resort in cases where some kind of legal matter or problem has presented itself; the business may have been sued or be going through restructure for example.

However, it is a well known and pro-active business strategy to establish a relationship with a good quality commercial lawyer who will be a real asset to a company and add value to your business transactions and planning, particularly in the initial stages of the business or when those complex transactions or disputes arise.  When companies are starting out, there are often a myriad of things that need to be dealt with in order for the business to find its feet; from staffing to marketing.  Legal matters may not always be at the top of the list of priorities for those running the business,however, taking preventative measures with a commercial lawyer can go a long way in assisting in the business being protected and processes running smoother into the future.  We have set out a number of the ways that a commercial lawyer would contribute to providing your business with solid foundations for business growth and a legally healthy wellbeing.

Employee contracts

For many businesses  the owners and managers view organising employee contracts as a fairly standard process that doesn’t necessarily require any special knowledge.  However, in some industries, complex agreements and stipulations can be applicable and very important – the construction industry is a common example.  Contracts will often be required that protect the companies’ interests and resourcing requirements in the case that the employee decide to leave.  Technology companies may need to protect their interests as far as trade secrets and knowledge about developments and products.  In these kinds of cases, the assistance of a commercial lawyer is imperative, to ensure the contract deals with the various legal and commercial issues including the provision for any restrictive covenants or confidentiality agreements, for example.

Intellectual Property

Commercial lawyers can organise the paperwork to ensure that a business’s intangible assets are protected via trademarking, copyrighting and patenting.  This can include anything from the names, branding and logos, as well as designs or even ideas, which can cover anything from an idea about how to build machinery, plant or equipment  to building certain software or even inventions.  Given that such things may be the basis for the starting of a business, protecting the related entitlements and interests legally is very important indeed and can prevent the loss of IP to another company as well as any costly re-branding that may occur if a business fails to secure a business name, logo etc at the outset.

Structuring advice

The way in which a start-up is structured – whether as a partnership, company, trust, etc. – can have a large bearing on how assets are used and divided, which can effect overall profitability and determine how secure it is financially.  Part of the role of a commercial lawyer is to determine the most beneficial means of structuring the enterprise with respect to the number and value of assets, the parties involved and various other factors.  It is of upmost importance to speak to a commercial lawyer when determining the best way to go and planning, particularly when the business starts to expand and grow.  Understanding not only what you are trying to achieve in the start up phase but also anticipating requirements down the track is a all a part of developing the best overall structure for your business and of course a focus on tax minimisation is always at the forefront of Usher Levi’s corporate team when advising clients.

Exit strategies

Frequently startups are structured in such a way that two or more partners contribute to the investment, with the expectation that things will run smoothly into the future.

In the initial stages, often it is the case that little thought is given to how things will work out if there is some disagreement and things don’t work out.  Commercial lawyers can help protect the interests of all parties by planning for such events and ensuring that if certain parties are inclined to leave, the process will be as straightforward and painless as it can be and, if possible,the business can continue without financial burden.

There is a long list of ways a commercial lawyer can positively impact and add value to a business, at just about every stage of the business’ life.  Working with quality commercial lawyers is an important part of managing a successful business in just about every industry. Usher Levi has extensive experience in the Corporate sector and can assist you in developing strategies to maximize your profits and seek the right legal advice proactively to avoid costly restructures or claims down the line.

Please note the information contained in this article is merely a guide and does not purport to provide a full explanation of the law or provide legal advice.  This firm cannot take responsibility for any action readers take based on this information.  We would be happy to assist you with any corporate or business related issues you may have, please get in touch via [email protected] or (07) 3087 3463 and one of our experienced commercial lawyers will respond to you.