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Do you need a solicitor when starting a business in the UK?

Need a solicitor for business start-up

There is no legal requirement for any business owner to have a solicitor on-hand, whether the business is just getting off the ground or has been running smoothly for decades already. It’s perfectly possible to establish a business without a solicitor, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, beneficial, or even going to work out for you.

Corporate solicitors like Willans, a Cheltenham-based firm with extensive experience in corporate law, are highly knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects that can – and, in all likelihood, will – affect you and your business, its employees, customers or clients, shareholders, directors, and business contacts at some point in the distant (and not so distant) future.


So, just as there is no law stating cyclists must wear helmets, the fact that there is no law compelling new business owners to reach out to a solicitor isn’t a convincing argument in and of itself.

However, there are plenty of convincing arguments in favour of reaching out to a solicitor. Including…

Help choosing the right business structure

Most of us don’t understand the full ramifications associated with the different types of legal structures businesses can follow – although they are extensive and will influence the way your business develops over the coming months and years.

No one else is better placed to help you than corporate solicitors with extensive experience helping businesses find their feet.

Guidance for issuing shares

The processes of allotment and issue are not something you should expect to handle on an as-and-when basis. It may involve restructuring your company’s share structure, and putting together a statement of capital that confirms the structure. You will also need to put in place the proper legal framework for your new shareholders – something that will be far better equipped to serve the needs of the business if it has been handled by an experienced solicitor.

Advice on employment contracts and procedures

Employment law is a particularly complicated area, and is continually changing to keep up with the work environment, and wider issues that impact the way it should run. From drawing up sound employment contracts to dealing with workplace issues as and when they arise, it is very risky to attempt to navigate this area without consulting regularly with a solicitor.

They will protect your intellectual property before it’s too late

Your business’s IP is one of its most important assets but, without the right protections in place, it is vulnerable to theft – something which could derail the entire business and force you to miss out on what is rightfully yours.

A solicitor’s input will offer the level of reassurance you need to carry on with business as usual, without worrying about your IP.

Help with agreements on business premises

Renting or purchasing a new business premises just as complex as renting or purchasing somewhere to live – only, on top of everything else, you need to continue serving the needs of your business and ensuring everything can go on as usual.

You don’t need to lose hours to hard-to-understand legal documents, trying to make head or tail of the implications for you and your business. This is something a solicitor can handle on your behalf.

Advice for obtaining licenses to trade

No business operates in a vacuum, and many new business owners end up feeling thrown in at the deep end when it comes to obtaining the appropriate licenses to trade, unless they can lean on a solicitor who understands the minutiae of drawing up contracts and ensuring everything remains above board and mutually beneficial.

Financial and tax-related issues are some of the most challenging any business owner can encounter, and, if you don’t have the right expertise, there is considerable room for misinterpretation and human error. Solicitors are adept at handling tax rules and other financial concerns (and the relationships between the two), and it’s far more prudent to reach out to them from the off.

Help with the goods and services you offer

This includes matters like contracts, product liability, and what you can and cannot include in your adverts and promotional materials. A strong solicitor will make you aware of issues before they become issues for you and your business’s reputation.

Help protecting your interests

The more your business takes on – whether through investments, stakeholders, or a public trade offering – ensuring that your own interests are protected by a watertight legal framework is incredibly important. It’s impossible to know whether or not you’ve secured your own interests within the company on your own.

Insight on creating a succession plan if you’re a family business

A succession plan is a fundamental part of any strong business, since it ensures that the company itself is strong enough to survive the loss of its current leadership – and that future leaders know what to do, and how to do it, when that time comes.

Putting together a good succession plan is far more effective when you have a knowledgeable solicitor by your side, who can help you feel confident the future of the business – and of your family – is secured.

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