Whether developing a new business or maintaining an old one, it is difficult to keep legal standards up to par. Everyday new techniques and laws are developing and it is very difficult to ascertain whether a business utilizes and abides by them. With businesses today, it has become significantly more important to protect themselves from potential legal problems before they occur. This is why it is essential to make sure that the legal workings of a business have not become outdated or vital aspects have not been overlooked. Even if a business has its own attorneys, it is possible that in focusing on the tasks they are given, they overlook problems that may exist.
Therefore, having a business inspected for legal problems before they arise may be in the best interest of everyone who is involved. Many aspects need to be investigated in order to complete an evaluation and insure that everything is updated. The first step to begin the process is to find an attorney who is familiar with the type of company that is getting the inspection. Researching the attorney’s legal experience is generally the best way to do this. However, his qualifications are not the only important characteristic. It is also essential to make sure that he does not have conflicts of interest. This might include past work with a competing company or an interest in another business. Furthermore, attorneys currently working for the business should not be used in the evaluation as they are a part of the company.
It is important that all aspects of the business are evaluated. The business needs to be as forthcoming as possible with the inspecting attorney in order to make sure that any potential problems are accurately assessed. It will not be beneficial to the company to cover up problems that may already exist. The inspection’s purpose is to prevent future litigation; not prosecute current problems.
Lawsuits Developing From Employer-Employee Issues
Many lawsuits develop because of employer-employee issues. Therefore, this is an important facet to examine. The manner in which problems with employees are dealt with should be reviewed to ensure that the rights of both sides are adequately protected. This includes engagements that occur prior to, during, and after employment.
- Prior to employment: During the hiring process, questions that improperly assess the candidate can create danger for the employer. Questions regarding race, religion, current relationship status, or any other non-job related questions are generally off limits.
- During employment: Evaluate the company handbook to make sure that no language contained within it can be construed to create a binding contract on either the employer or the employee. A good idea is to include a disclaimer in the handbook to prevent any claims of a binding contract.Working conditions continue to be important today. Ensuring that employees are properly protected while they are working prevents injury, illness, and discomfort, as well as the legal troubles that typically accompany these issues.
- After employment: Termination practices should be reviewed. Often times, predicaments arise when employees are let go. Making sure all practices are standard to everyone ensures that there are not discrepancies, and most importantly, no lawsuits.
Legal Issues Arising From Contracts
Every current contract the company has needs to be given to the inspecting attorney for evaluation to make sure the company is properly protected. This way, the attorney can assess whether to upgrade old boiler-plate forms and start using new ones that account for new laws, policies, or practices. Some things to consider would be whether you need non-compete clauses in your contracts, whether you would prefer to handle disputes through arbitration, mediation, or litigation, how to handle the nondisclosure of trade secrets, and so on.
Keeping Up With Government Regulations
The government and the various regulatory agencies are creating new laws and changing old ones very frequently. If a business interacts with the government, it must make sure to keep up with the changes. An attorney inspection can review the business’s interaction with local, state and federal governments, as well as monitor compliance with rules that will affect the business’s operations.
Assessing Current or Potential Future Litigation
In the assessment, the attorney can review current or potential future litigation that the company will take part in, and give an opinion regarding how the business should proceed. The attorney can also determine whether legal issues exist that the company should be pursuing such as, violations by competitors.
The complex corporate issues that could potentially be reviewed is seemingly endless. This list merely scratches the surface. There are many factors that need to considered, and it is difficult for a business to spend time and resources on these matters when there is another job to do. An inspection is crucial to assess exactly how the business functions, and whether its practices are up-to-date. Most importantly, an inspection is a great way to minimize any future legal problems that may arise.
Making the investment to have the company evaluated can ultimately add to the bottom line, and keep the company efficiently moving along. After deciding to be evaluated, the first step is to find an attorney who will be effective and straight-forward. Remember, the goal is to find the small problems and fix them before they become big ones.