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Small Business Legal Help: 3 Low-Cost Options

Starting a business is an exciting journey for entrepreneurs and small business owners. However, navigating the legal aspects of business formation can be challenging and costly. Hiring a private attorney provides personalized legal advice but can be expensive. Fortunately, there are low-cost alternatives to get legal help.

This article covers three low-cost alternatives to get the small business legal help you need.

1. Use Do-It-Yourself Legal Forms

Do-it-yourself legal forms are a great resource for some entrepreneurs. These forms offer guidance on various business-related issues. This includes aspects including incorporation, commercial leases, and creating a business plan. Providers of these forms often include helpful answers and instructions to help small business owners. They help them decide on the best legal structure for their business. Some might help with hiring employees or registering your intellectual property.

You can save money by creating your business online. FindLaw's forms comply with all state and federal requirements. They contain the terms your business needs to insulate itself from liability. All you need to do is fill in the specifics.

If you don't have time to fill out the forms yourself, you can choose to have a professional complete them for you at a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney. Of course, even if you don't feel comfortable representing yourself in a certain legal matter, you can still save a significant amount of money. Fill out the do-it-yourself legal forms yourself and then have an attorney review them. Although these forms are a low-cost option, it's important to remember they don't replace personalized legal advice.

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2. Access Free Legal Resources

Before going to a professional for small business legal help, it's a good idea to explore the free legal resources that are at your disposal. Research will help you understand your legal issue, so if you do need to hire an attorney, you'll know what questions to ask. On the other hand, you may find that the issue can be resolved without the help of a legal professional.

Many organizations, like the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), offer free legal information. This includes information on planning, starting, and managing a business. Also, the SBA's local district offices offer free consulting services to business owners. Take a look at the SBA's directory to find a district office near you.

If you're interested in learning about a specific area of business or employment law, it helps to go straight to the source. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, for example, offers a wealth of information. They provide information on workplace discrimination and state anti-discrimination laws.

In addition, the Internal Revenue Service's website provides free tax information for businesses. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provides helpful resources, too. They offer free safety and health consultation services. OSHA also provides information on compliance issues and workplace safety laws.

These are just a few options for ways to save money while you get your business off the ground. If, after your research, you decide that hiring a private attorney is best for you, those options are available to you here as well.

Legal Clinics and Nonprofit Organizations

Many local nonprofit organizations and legal clinics offer free legal help. This is especially true for low-income entrepreneurs. These services often include free business training and webinars. It can also include one-on-one sessions with volunteer lawyers. Topics covered might include business law basics. It might also include understanding real estate for commercial purposes. It can also include business development and formation.

Online Legal Assistance Programs

Many online platforms now offer free legal advice and resources. These platforms might host webinars and provide downloadable resources. They can also connect small business owners with legal professionals. They serve as a small business resource, offering insights into the legal aspects of business development.

3. Get a Group Legal Plan

A relatively new and innovative option is subscribing to a group legal plan. These plans, offered by some legal service providers, allow small business owners to access legal advice at a reduced cost. Members might pay a regular subscription fee. As a result, they gain access to a network of attorneys for legal advice on business-related issues. This can include issues like business structure, incorporation, and commercial leases. This option balances cost with the need for professional legal guidance.

Hiring a Private Attorney

While low-cost alternatives offer valuable resources, hiring a private attorney ensures personalized and comprehensive legal service. Private attorneys provide in-depth advice tailored to your specific business needs. This can be from drafting a business plan to navigating real estate or intellectual property matters. They can also represent you in legal proceedings, offering a level of expertise and representation that other options cannot match.

If you are interested in hiring a private attorney, you'll be able to find one in FindLaw's directory of lawyers. A skilled business and commercial law attorney can help you succeed.

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