Corporate Law

Lex dura Lex, or why online businesses need a lawyer.

While the Internet develops rapidly, the threshold of entering international markets for companies becomes blurred. The business owner is no longer required to plan a serious budget for business meetings or consultations abroad. An average e-commerce enterprise that is permitted to do a business in any EU country has no more difficulties with entering the markets of other continents. Nevertheless a huge problem remains with the fact that the company management is unaware of any regulatory practices or active restrictions in each country the company is providing or can provide its services. There is nothing surprising here because it is impossible to keep abreast of changes in legislation in more than 200 countries constantly – the head will always have other responsibilities and things to do. That is why the online business is in dire need of the services of corporate lawyers with experience in international and local legislation.

When will you need a lawyer? Let’s say you are examining the market to start a new business, you have already developed a product or service, created a sales concept, and now you have motivation, energy and budget to run it. And then, your future business hits the wall of inexperience, because you do not know what you need to do to keep the company “clean” from the point of view of the law. Do I need a license? Is it necessary to open a company to sell products online or is it enough to be a private business? What about contracts or invoices for deliveries?

Undoubtedly all the information you are interested in can be found on the Internet, but firstly its relevance is questionable and secondly the blog “Tips for a Beginner Entrepreneur” is managed by the same users, with no legal practice (yes, including this article’s author also :-) ). Nevertheless it would be much more reliable if you turn to a lawyer specializing in this niche even at this stage, because any information placed on your website automatically becomes a part of the offer contract, for which you, as an owner, bare the full responsibility and obligation of fulfillment to your clients.

Many are afraid of the cost of hiring a lawyer in the staff, but no one forces you to sign a contract for consulting services on an ongoing basis. Moreover, even at later stages, it is more expedient for an online business to outsource this article of expenditure and confine to just situational consultations. Modern online technologies and services allow you to select a specialist in a specific niche time after time. If your company enters the US market, it is logical to assume that the American lawyer understands the local legislation better than British one. At the same time, he should be capable for both the federal law and the laws of each particular state. This applies especially to gambling companies: one state requires just a Legal Opinion, while another provides no regulation at all, and in the third one you will need a specific license for activity.

There are a lot of services on the Internet that provide information about lawyers, their specialization and cost of services in the interactive map mode. Lawyer’s advice on one particular issue rarely takes more than 15 minutes and $20-30, as a result you will receive up-to-date information that will help you and your business to avoid unwanted fines or other sanctions in case of an unintentional violation of the law.

Finally another good way to save on possible problems in the future is to use web applications to compile such documents like Privacy Policy, Terms of Service/Use, Non-Discolsure Agreement and others. Such websites have flexible templates, customizable by specificity and location, and therefore will save you time and money for regulatory and bureaucratic regulation of your online business.