If you are starting a new company in Maryland, particularly a small business, you may wonder, "why do I need a lawyer?" With the abundance of information readily available on the Internet, couldn't you save money on lawyer fees by not retaining a business lawyer from the outset and just hope legal issues either don't arise or are simple enough for you to navigate on your own? After all, you can find a lot of legal information readily available in Maryland, for example, on the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (http://dat.maryland.gov) and Department of Commerce (http://commerce.maryland.gov/start/resources) websites, such as the types of legal entities recognized, the forms to set up the type of entity you select, and some basic business information.
However, retaining a knowledgeable Maryland business lawyer from the start has many advantages, including: advice on planning and starting your business, evaluating the right type of business entity for your needs, selecting a location, complying with zoning laws, tax planning and business deductions, employee issues, copyright/trademark, complying with regulations and business filing requirements, safeguarding your work product, understanding covenants not to compete, licensing and permit requirements, technology, financing, loans, and many other issues just to get our business off the ground and started on solid footing. Often starting a business is much more complicated and involved than most people realize.
Consequently, advanced planning with the business knowledge of a reputable Maryland business attorney can save you headaches, money, and avoid potential costly legal battles that may have been avoided. An attorney who understands your business model, goals, customers, competition, and cash flow can offer a wealth of wealth of strategic advice and help you steer clear of rouble areas or effectively resolve them.
So, while you can try to “wing it,” trying to piece together information from the Internet (perhaps not knowing whether certain cites are up to date or credible), it is advisable to have a trained lawyer skilled in understanding, explaining, and keeping up to date on statutes, regulations, and case law governing start-ups in Maryland.
Katherine Taylor is an experienced Maryland business attorney and a former CPA who understands the ins and outs of starting a business. Go to www.taylorlegal.com to see more about TaylorLegal.