Are you launching a small startup?
Congrats on your leap. Now it’s time to finalize the details by ensuring that you dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s.
One of the many things to not only consider but do is hire a lawyer.
“But I don’t need one,” you might proclaim. Well as you know two heads are certainly better than one. This is especially true in business.
Starting a business comes with a myriad of questions, one of which should be, “What does a business attorney do?” Learn everything you need to know here.
What Does a Business Attorney Do?
Business attorneys are integral in helping business owners to resolve their problems. Essentially, they help you as a business owner to understand the problems you’re encountering as well as prepare you for possible legal challenges in the future.
Now that you know exactly what they do, take a look at the four reasons why you should definitely hire one.
Incorporating Your Business
With a lawyer on board, you will garner help to decide what type of business you want to start and why. You can decide if you’ll be incorporated as an LLC, C-Corp or S-Corp.
Since each type has different structures and tax implications, having a lawyer to help with the paperwork will ensure that you choose the best one for your business.
Choosing Business Partners
Despite screening and selecting your business partners carefully, there is no guarantee that they will carry out duties as they should.
A good way to hold them to their obligations is to have your lawyer draft a partnership agreement that is to be carried out by all partners. This agreement will clearly outline each partner’s expectations of the other, their responsibilities and their financial duties.
Employees and Contracts
Lawyers will help you to determine which forms a new employee should sign and if they should sign a waiver. They can also draft the employee’s contract.
If you run into problems related to employee benefits or workplace safety, a lawyer can educate you on what to do. Your lawyer will also be able to represent you or suggest someone who can.
A business attorney can let your contractor know that they have dishonored your contractual agreement. Your attorney can also work with the contractor on your behalf to demand that you are paid what you are owed.
They negotiate and speak on your behalf and will even file a lawsuit if necessary. Your lawyer can advise you on how to deal with compliance issues with contracts and more. They can even help to implement systems to monitor and reduce risk.
A Final Look
As you launch your business, it’s good to know the answer to the question, “What does a business attorney do?”
A lawyer will help with incorporation, compliance, contracts, and partners. They make it easy for you to have peace of mind when dealing with the legal aspects of your business.
If you would like to hire a business attorney, please contact us.
The government has passed laws that govern the operations and taxation of different forms of businesses. The regulations are also applied to online B2C and B2B sales and transactions. In this article, you will learn more about e-commerce regulations and taxes to help you make informed decisions. If you find the compliance requirements to be challenging, you can seek the services of e-commerce service providers who can help you out with issues such as VAT tax, shopping tax, and the prevailing foreign exchange rates.
E-commerce Regulations and Taxes
The Taxation of Export Businesses and E-Commerce Platforms
Many e-commerce professionals say there are no legal differences between e-commerce and transactions by exporting businesses. In 2018, a Christian clothing store called The Good News Tee exported and sold Christian t-shirts via e-commerce and was required to pay the same amount for all sales. The government applies the same taxation, customs, and licensing rules to the two forms of businesses. In some countries, there are different duties structures depending on industries and geographical locations. Some countries have also enacted strict e-commerce laws to protect consumer data privacy.
Domestic sales tax is calculated based on the “sales tax nexus.” We spoke with Veterans CBD and they mentioned that they are required to pay sales tax whenever someone make a purchase of a commodity on their e-commerce platforms in the U.S. Custom Duty and Value Added Tax paid varies depending on the country you live in. The two types of taxes are also paid during every e-commerce purchase.
There are online resources that you can utilize to get an estimate of the amount of foreign exchange that you are likely to pay. American firms are allowed by the law to pass the cost of VAT to their customers. As a US-based businessperson, you are required to register for the Value Added Tax in the country you are importing the goods from.
The Function of the Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission
The U.S Department of Commerce is tasked with helping local businesses to comply with the GDPR data transfer regulations. The legal provision requires every business to disclose facts such as when they are collecting customer data, how the data will be used, and any third parties that will have access to the information. The EU law defines personal data as any information about an identified or identifiable person such as their identification number and physical location.
The Federal Trade Commission was formed more than a century ago. It regulates the operations of e-commerce platforms in the U.S. Over the years, it has presented numerous resources that can help the local business owners to understand different e-commerce concepts. The Federal body also protects customers and promotes competition among businesses. It develops relevant policies by collecting information from avenues such as workshops, conferences, and hearings. The commission works closely with relevant international bodies and law enforcement authorities locally and abroad to achieve its objectives.
Best E-Commerce Practices
Hopefully, you now have a broad understanding of e-commerce regulations and taxes. Recently, the International Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development published some guidelines for e-commerce platforms which outlines the best practices to ensure that they comply with customer data protection laws and regulations. Some of the issues that have been addressed in the guideline include dispute resolution mechanisms, payment methods, online disclosures, and the best marketing practices.
Small business owners who want to compete with the well-established giants in their industry face a number of issues when starting out. Indeed, 20 percent of start-ups and small businesses go out of business in the first 12 months, and that figure increases to 50 percent after five years. To increase their chances of survival, new businesses need to try and steal an edge over their rivals by doing some things differently. Right now, one of the best ways to do this could be to offer cryptocurrency payments.
The world is currently split on the stance over whether bitcoin or another cryptocurrency could go mainstream in the future. Some people find it impossible to fathom that a monetary system that isn’t overseen by a central bank could exist.
Others are convinced that the decentralised blockchain system is infallible and will be used for a number of things in the future. For small business owners, it doesn’t matter whether you believe that bitcoin will take over the world or not. It is simply a case of giving those that do see it as the currency of tomorrow an outlet to spend their assets.
To say that bitcoin has risen to highs of around $20,000 in the past from starting out with no actual value, the digital currency is still far from being mainstream. For it to become the global currency that it aspires to be, many more businesses will need to begin taking payments with it. If bitcoin rises to the fore, other smaller cryptocurrencies will also gain attention. Bitcoin trade sites allow cryptocurrency enthusiasts to exchange their assets for others if they begin to gain traction. Business owners who already accept bitcoin, therefore, could easily switch to taking payments with other tokens if they become more widespread.
Bitcoin is not currently regulated, which means there are fewer restrictions for businesses that want to use it. This enables global transactions, as the currency can be used from almost anywhere. If your small business is an online store and you want to ship to countries all over the world, using bitcoin transfers means that there will be no hassle with fluctuating exchange rates. The fees for international transfers are also much lower than they would be with banks.
Small businesses don’t need to go down the route of only offering bitcoin, it can simply be used as one of many different payment options for customers. Having the freedom to choose between preferred payment systems will also make a business more attractive to potential customers. Talking to a lawyer about anything you are uncertain with is also advisable.
Some small businesses, including coffee shops and restaurants, have gained a lot of attention by giving customers the chance to pay with bitcoin. Not only does it give consumers more choice, it also helps lower transfer costs. In addition to this, if bitcoin does end up going global, businesses who got on the bandwagon first will end up reaping the rewards.
Starting a new business venture is a time that should be exciting and fun.
No matter what type of business you plan to open, you need to make sure that you are following the law. You have a lot of responsibility on your hands, and that means you need to know the various laws that apply to businesses inside and out.
You can’t use the excuse that you simply didn’t know. That won’t work in a court or with an attorney.
Read on to find out the most important business laws you need to know before you start your business.
1. American with Disabilities Act
In 1989, Congress passed this law and it was signed by President Bush in 1990. This was a huge victory for people with disabilities in that they could not be discriminated against.
From a business perspective, any public building has to be accessible to all people. The law is also being applied to websites. This is one area of the law that is changing, so you need to be aware of the changes.
When hiring employees, you have to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities.
2. Federal and State Tax Laws
You know that taxes are a part of life, and they’re a big part of your business. You need to know your tax responsibilities at the federal, state, and local levels. How much in taxes you need to pay depends on your legal structure, how many employees you have, your revenue, and your location.
Are you starting an ecommerce business? You may now be responsible for paying sales taxes. This is another area of business law that’s evolving. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for states to collect sales tax from retailers doing business there.
3. Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws
If you’re promoting your business, there’s a good chance you’ll have a blog or a website. When you’re putting your website together, you may see an image online that looks great, so you decide to use it.
You could put yourself in legal trouble by doing so. You could be violating someone else’s copyright or intellectual property. They would have the right to seek damages for that copyright violation.
On the flip side, someone could violate your intellectual property. For example, another business could start a business with a very similar name, creating confusion in the marketplace. Someone else could use your secret recipe that your restaurant is known for.
These are important aspects of your business that need protection. Check out
https://weisblattlaw.com/business-litigation/ for more information.
4. Data Privacy Laws
Technology has changed business laws and that includes how data is collected and stored. There are a few data privacy laws that you need to be familiar with.
There are industry-related laws like HIPPA for the healthcare industry, and Sarbanes-Oxley for the financial industry. Both of these regulations have stipulations for storing, sharing, and collecting sensitive data.
Other data privacy laws are coming out that are supposed to give consumers more control over how their personal information is collected and used.
One is GDPR or the General Data Privacy Regulation. This applies to European businesses or businesses outside of Europe that have website visitors or customers from Europe.
California recently adopted a similar version of GDPR, called the California Consumer Privacy Act, which is due to go into effect on January 1, 2020. This applies mostly to larger organizations, but you should expect other stated to pass similar laws in the next year or two.
5. Employment and Labor Laws
If you are planning to hire employees, this is one area of law you need to know. There are federal and state employment standards that you need to abide by.
There’s FLSA, FMLA, EOC, ADA, and Worker’s Comp. Is your head spinning yet? These acronyms just scratch the surface of what you need to know.
FSLA is the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law that oversees minimum wage and overtime laws. Most states have a minimum wage that’s higher than the federal standard, so you need to know both.
FMLA is the Family Medical Leave Act, which gives employees up to 12 weeks of medical leave without losing their job.
The Equal Opportunity Commission works to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity for a job. Worker’s Comp. is insurance that you need to have in case an employee gets hurt on the job.
6. Business Licensing Laws
As you start your business, you’ll need to have a proper business license to operate. This is one confusing area of business law because there is no set standard.
It will vary from municipality to municipality. You don’t want to get caught opening a business without a license.
You can learn about your laws by contacting your local government. You can also use resources like your local chamber of commerce and the Small Business Administration office.
7. Environmental Laws
Some businesses like healthcare or manufacturing will have to know environmental laws. There are laws on the books that deal with disposing of hazardous waste and keeping the air clean.
Some of the business laws include the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Federal Insecticide, and the Fungicide & Rodenticide Act
8. Healthcare Laws
Do you need to provide health insurance to your employees? That depends. That’s why you need to know about the Affordable Care Act.
If you have 50 or more employees, you do need to provide health insurance to your employees. If you have fewer than 50 employees, you can offer insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
Protect Your Business by Knowing Business Laws
You worked hard to start and build your business. You should protect it by understanding how you could be in legal jeopardy.
You don’t need to be an attorney, but you do need to know the various business laws and how they apply to your business. For every action you take in your business, you have to assume that there’s a legal implication.
Everything from using images for a blog post to hiring employees requires some legal knowledge. If you’re ever in doubt about business laws, don’t assume anything. Check out the directory and contact a business lawyer.
Taking your first step into the realm of startups is an exciting time. Before you can push forward, do you know what you need to get started?
There are a lot of important business documents that you cannot ignore. Without them, you might be in major legal trouble if you try to do more than chat about your great new business idea.
We have the five most important business documents you need to get your startup started.
1. Business Formation Documents
To start, you need to file documents to create a legal business entity. This will help set the foundation for your business and cover personal liability and taxes.
There are three major forms of businesses you can choose from.
The first is a corporation. This allows you to get outside financing and allows you to offer shares in the business to employees.
The second is an LLC, which offers more flexibility in how you operate the business and share profits.
The last form is an S corp. These companies distribute their profits and losses to the shareholders and often avoid federal taxes. For more information, here are documents for starting an S Corp.
2. Governing Documents
To operate as a professional business entity, you must have governing documents. These showcase how a business operates, like how shareholders can operate and organize or how to decide where profits and investments go.
These documents should cover everything that a company does and dictate how it does it. Many startups ignore this because everyone involved knows each other, but one disagreement could tear the whole company apart.
3. Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement
That idea you had to start your company is the foundation of your entire startup. It is intellectual property that needs protection at all costs. Intellectual property covers any kind of product or even an idea for a service.
Without this agreement, your company cannot use the idea if a shareholder or employee created the idea before the founding of the company. You must transfer the rights of it over with one of these agreements.
IPAAs and NDAs are common materials to use when starting a business.
4. Shareholder Agreements
Shareholder agreements are similar to the governing documents, but with stronger specifications. They outline shareholder details, such as the nature of the shareholder position and how they interact with each other.
This set of documents also describes how buying or selling the company works and how to settle shareholder disagreements.
5. Employee Contracts
Employee contracts are the foundation for how the employee/employer relationship work in your company. Employee contracts are a vital part of smooth management.
You need a clear and strong employee/employer relationship. If you don’t manage your employees well, you’ll have a hard time keeping a stable workforce. Do your employees right and your business will succeed.
Getting Your Business Documents in Order
Starting a business can be a rewarding experience, but dealing with business documents isn’t always interesting or easy. It is a required part of the process though, so doing it right the first time is important.
From the legal documents to marketing strategies, we at AllTopStartups have guides for all your needs. Check them out.
The dream of becoming your own boss is seductive. Making your own hours and signing your own paycheck is only one of the many perks of becoming an entrepreneur.
But before you quit your day job, hire a lawyer for business startup. Lawyers might not seem necessary in the digital age, but a good attorney can help you avoid many common pitfalls startups face.
Let’s explore the many advantages of hiring a lawyer for your startup.
Solid Business Formation
Yes, your county’s business division might have filing paperwork available online. To save money, your instinct might be to download the articles of incorporation to mail in yourself.
This can be a risky decision if you have no understanding of how business entities impact your financial and legal standing as a business owner. An attorney can help you choose the business structure that makes the most sense for your goals.
For example, a tech startup won’t want to incorporate as a sole proprietorship if the company plans to go public at a later date. Not understanding your limitations when you choose a legal entity can mean placing limitations on your business goals.
Your relationship with customers, investors, and coworkers can all be affected by the type of entity you choose.
The bigger your dreams, the larger the legal protection you may need. Starting out correctly can help save you headaches in the long run.
Here are the most common types of legal entities:
- Limited Liability Corporation
- Limited Liability Partnership
- Sole proprietor
Navigating Intellectual Property
Intellectual property goes by many names. Artwork, designs, computer software, and literary works are just a few.
A good business lawyer can help you navigate the complex world of intellectual property and avoid theft of your ideas. If intellectual property is at the heart of your business, it’s important to put the necessary protections in place.
Lawyers can help you choose between a patent and copyright or decide whether it’s necessary to trademark the logo. Here are the common types of intellectual property.
Copyright Law applies to fine arts, publishing, entertainment, and software development. If another person or business chooses to copy, present, or display the work without permission, the owner is protected by copyright laws.
Trademarks apply to words, phrases, symbols, and design. Business entities can apply for a trademark on a design to make sure no other business copies its image or uses its branding without permission. When you apply for a trademark registration, you can protect your brand from misuse or any form of imitation and prevent others from making money on your business.
Famous brands like Coca Cola and McDonald’s have trademarks on their brands to make sure their logos are protected. If another brand creates a logo or slogan too close to your own, you can file a complaint to avoid a copycat brand.
Trademarks laws are regulated by the Federal government to protect against infringement.
The most complicated of intellectual property filings is a patent. Inventing something new doesn’t automatically give you the right to a patent.
Instead, you must prove that the invention rightfully belongs to you. This can be a time-consuming process that is best overseen by an attorney.
Patent law can apply to a design, a process, or a product. When you become the owner of a patent, you have the right to protect yourself from anyone else producing or copying your process.
Anyone seeking to use your patent must first get permission in the form of a license, assignment, or purchase.
Once you’re in business, you may establish practices, formulas, and ways of operating that give you a competitive advantage. Protect your trade secrets by consulting with an attorney.
Every idea won’t qualify as a secret, but information that’s specific to your product or service might be worth pursuing. A famous example of a trade secret is the formula for Coca Cola, which is protected by a variety of intellectual property laws.
Settling Founder Disputes
Disagreements amongst business partners are guaranteed to happen. The severity of the dispute, however, is impossible to predict.
Consulting with a lawyer during the startup phase can help you and your business partners decide how to settle any disagreements that may arise. Whether it be financial, operational or otherwise, legal documents can help set guidelines to place limits on disputes.
Taxation and Representation
Legal entities are all taxed differently. The amount of revenue you earn each year should help determine which entity you choose.
Consulting with an attorney can help you simplify this process. Choose an attorney with experience in your industry, as they’ll have access to past client financial information.
Having access through your attorney helps you make more accurate predictions on how a business in your industry should perform within a given time.
Your business entity needs to be set up in a way to maximize compliance with the IRS so that you have fewer tax surprises when you reach success.
The Best Lawyer for Business Startup
Finding a lawyer for business startup won’t be a walk in the park. Given the long long-term impact of the work of an attorney can provide your business, you should take your time choosing the right professional.
Consider the services you need an attorney to perform before getting started. Make a list and estimate the experience level, the attorney should have to perform each service.
A first-year associate may not have the experience to negotiate with a 20-year venture capitalist. Make sure the work matches up with the attorney’s areas of expertise.
Set aside time to interview potential attorneys through consultations to learn whether the firm is a good fit for your new business. A good attorney will be a trusted advisor that allows you to feel confident making important business decisions over time.
For more information on navigating the startup process, check out our blog for updates.
Getting sued sucks. Having to sue also sucks.
But what can make it suck less, or even turn into a positive for your small business, is a good lawyer.
And that need for trying to turn a negative into a positive is a wider reality than most will admit. One survey shows that 60 percent of small businesses have experienced a significant legal event in the two years before the survey.
Lawyers aren’t only needed for pursuing or defending against litigation. These professionals provide a service that is often invaluable to a small or upstart operation.
Here are the five reasons you would need a small business lawyer.
1. When Starting a Business
If you’ve never set up a business before, or you have an idea on how to start that you haven’t tried before, consult with someone who can walk you through the hurdles of corporate structures, bylaws, and basic strategies before running headlong into the unknown.
Each state has different structures that require different items for compliance. A bar-admitted lawyer that specializes in corporate law will help you get going in the right direction.
2. When Trying to Protect Intellectual Property
Your great idea for your business will make you money. You need to know how to protect it, especially if you have a genuine belief that your idea is fundamentally different than what’s come before.
Patent, trademark and other intellectual property lawyers can ensure that you don’t infringe on other people’s rights and ensure that your rights to that intellectual property remain intact.
3. When in Disputes with Employees or Vendors
It’s all too common that some accident or that someone with ill intent will cause some kind of employee dispute. Even if there is no fault on the part of the employer, everyone has a right to seek redress through the courts. These issues can range from basic contract disputes all the way up to workplace injury issues which can have a wide range in the type and the size of the compensation.
Bert Louthian of the Louthian Law Firm says that work injury compensation can cover everything from hospital bills to emotional trauma.
4. Collections from a Small Business Lawyer
Not everyone will pay what they owe for the goods or services that your business provides. There will be a time to forcibly collect on the debt owed.
But there are right ways and wrong ways to do that. A small business lawyer will know what remedies are available and the processes that surround those remedies.
5. Document Review
Not every business’s interaction will be so damaging or dramatic; sometimes it will be great news. Small business lawyers will be able to read the documents that make up the foundation for new agreements, service agreements, merger or ownership transfer documents.
Having a sharp legal mind review those will help avoid signing your name to something you might regret later.
A Small Business Lawyer Is Right for You
It’s not a matter of if or when you will need a lawyer. It’s a matter of what kind of service you will need. Hit up our directory, which you can sort by locations and specialty, to find the right small business lawyer for you.
Let us know how we can help you do what you do.
If you have just started into a business or entered into a partnership with another entrepreneur, the chances are high that you have a significant amount of questions. Some answers can be found through generic online sources and word of mouth. However, others might require the expertise of a trained professional. This is why securing the services of a business solicitor is often a wise choice. What are some variables to take into account during the search process and how can you be assured that you have made the correct decision? Let us examine this process in more detail in order to obtain the necessary clarity.
Specific as Opposed to General Expertise
Try to avoiding hiring a “one-size-fits-all” lawyer. While this might represent the more cost-effective option, he or she will often not possess the experience to deal with specific issues. For example, obtaining the services of a generic law firm will normally cause issues when dealing with complicated variables such as how to incorporate a business abroad or what to know when dealing with the regulations of the Malta Gaming Authority.
Still, some firms offer a host of solicitors which specialise in individual areas. It is a good idea to speak with a representative in order to determine if the scope of your business operations fit into their legal model. There is nothing wrong with sorting through dozens of organisations before you finally encounter one which addresses your requirements. Always remember that the relationship between a business and a solicitor should provide long-term benefits for all parties involved, so a bit of research is extremely prudent.
Taking Personal Rapport Into Account
Psychology plays a surprising role when choosing a business lawyer. Trust is arguably the most paramount issue to address, as you need to feel comfortable divulging potentially sensitive information (such as profit/loss margins and upcoming marketing campaigns) to a third party. While solicitors are normally bound to strict confidentiality rules, these will serve little purpose if you do not inherently trust the character of the solicitor in question. Try to answer these basic questions when coming to a decision:
- Do I feel that this lawyer is truly interested in the needs of my business?
- Does he/she exhibit an in-depth knowledge of business law?
- Can I develop a long-term relationship without feeling that I am placed under any unnecessary obligations?
- Am I confident in the claims made by the firm in question?
Interpersonal rapport should then be combined with testimonials from past and present clients. What have other customers had to say about their experiences with the firm? Is the lawyer openly willing to provide you with such feedback? It could also be a good idea to check online for these reviews, as objective opinions will help you make an unbiased decision. Hiring a business lawyer is an important step to take down to the road to success, so preparation and insight will go a long way.
Just like you conduct thorough research before contracting vendors and business partners, the same rules should apply when choosing the right person to represent your company’s legal interests. Fortunately, the pool of legal talents is deep and promising. But precisely because you have so many options to choose from, it makes it even harder to decide on the right one.
When choosing a lawyer, you need to take into consideration various aspects, such as their expertise in the field your business activates, their reliability and trustworthiness, as well as how well they are referred by past or current clients. Below is a list of aspects to focus on, before hiring a new lawyer for your company.
The first thing you should take into consideration is the size of the firm your lawyer is part of. Both small firms and big ones have advantages and disadvantages, so weigh them carefully before making a decision.
On one hand, lawyers from small firms often have more time on their hands, which means you receive more attention for your issues, as they do have a smaller portfolio of clients. This will, most of the time, result in you establishing a much closer relationship with your lawyer. Small firms also focus more on retaining their clients and get more involved in the cases. As they are working towards growing their firm, they know how important it is to dedicate as much time as they can to their existing clients. Plus, if you stay with them from the beginning, chances are you will become one of their most important clients over time.
On the other hand, big firms do have more expertise and, although they have more clients, they can sometimes give you valuable advice based on years of practice. Because they are in the field for many years, big firms tend to be more respected and feared by opponents, in case you need to negotiate something.
Part of finding an attorney that best fist your needs is finding one whose services won’t burn a hole in your company’s pocket. Legal services can be expensive, but that depends on the needs of your business and how often you are going to use the lawyer’s services.
Before making a decision, present the attorney with the case, discuss your needs and ask for an estimate price, to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Chances are, they are not going to be able to tell you an exact price, but at least they can let you know what approximate costs you should be looking at.
Typically, attorneys work on an hourly rate, but there are some that work on fixed amounts as well. However, the preferred approach nowadays seems to be a combination of both, depending on the work you are asking for. If, for example, you need some type of filing they are used to, they know how much to charge from the start and they will ask for a fixed amount. On the other hands, if your requests are more peculiar and they may end up spending many hours working on a complex contract, they may charge hourly.
Reliability and Reputation
Finding an attorney that you can trust is extremely important, as you will be putting your company in their hands. An attorney with a bad reputation can affect the reputation of your company as well, and the last thing you want is to find yourself facing other legal issues, while trying to solve some basic ones.
When having your first discussion, pay attention to what they say and ask yourself if they are treating you with consideration, or they are simply trying to get your money. While it is common for lawyers to keep an optimistic tone when talking to their clients, if they sound too optimistic and don’t present you with the potential risks in regards to your case, this can be a massive red flag.
Another way to see if your lawyer is as reputable as they say they are is to do a free background check on them. This way, you can find more information that would, otherwise, require huge amounts of time to gather and make your decision faster.
When talking with your attorney, ask for referrals from their past or current clients. They should be able to provide you with enough information about cases they have worked, that are similar to yours. This way, you can see if they are on the level they claim to be.
At the same time, go to your friends or business partners for recommendations as well. There is no better marketing than word of mouth and, if they are pleased with a lawyer they have worked with, you already have some sort of a guarantee. Ask about their issues and how the lawyer managed to handle the situation, as well as if they have encountered any problems throughout the case.
If you have connections in your field of industry, chances are can connect you with a good lawyer that has expertise in the field and can provide much better service.
Expertise is just as important as trustworthiness, when it comes to finding the right lawyer. Look for someone who has won at least one case that is similar to yours and knows how to handle the situation. Try to keep away from general practitioners, as even though they are good for basic situations, they may not have in-depth knowledge about more complex matters. In a difficult case, this can really lower your chances of winning.
If you can’t find someone with enough experience, at least try to find someone who is willing to learn and gives their best to gain as much knowledge as they can. Sometimes, an attorney that has less experience, but goes out of their way to gather documentation and do research has a much bigger chance of winning, as they can give a fresh and new perspective to the case.
People with disabilities have the right to access websites, mobile sites, and other forms of information technology, according to Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Unfortunately, not every business or organization complies with the accessibility standards outlined in Section 508. Many entities don’t include the support features needed to eliminate the bottlenecks that individuals with disability experience when using technology.
But, failure to adhere to Section 508 guidelines can have dire consequences; both financially and legally. And organizations outside the United States aren’t off the hook, either.
The World Wide Web Consortium’s implementation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 & 2.1), have also been adopted by many countries and international organizations around the globe.
Bearing this in mind, business owners, website owners and government funded organizations need to get on board with accessibility; not only because accessibility lawsuits are on the rise, but also because it’s the right thing to do.
Overview of Section 508
Places of public accommodation must consider people with disabilities when developing, procuring, maintaining, and using ICT. The resources should be accessible to every citizen, whether employees of such entities or not.
Employees with disabilities should be able to work on devices such as computers, telephones, and office equipment. Public entities should ease access to online resources such as courses and other information to people with disabilities.
There must also be fairness when citizens apply for jobs and competitive opportunities. Whether with a disability or not, a person looking for information about a program should access it like everybody else. The same applies when filling online forms.
Section 508 defines ICT as any system or equipment used to create, access, duplicate, or convert information and data. Some of them include computers, phones, televisions, DVD players, copiers, intranet sites, PDFs, webinars, and many more.
- ICT resources in commercial and public entities must be available to people with disabilities conveniently
- ICT includes systems that create, access, duplicate, or convert information and data
- Online platforms such as websites are part of places of public accommodation
If you are in charge of a public or commercial organization, Section 508 compliance standards are your business. Here are some accessibility issues you should know.
1. Rules of Section 508 Compliance Standards
Public entities and commercial establishments must avail information and programs available electronically to users with disabilities. Employees should be able to perform technological functions without feeling disadvantaged.
Job applicants with disabilities should also compete with other candidates for opportunities equitably. Therefore, places of public accommodation should ease access to programs and the application process for all.
Section 508 also insists on fairness for all employees, and people with disabilities should enjoy equal privileges and benefits as other workers. Public agencies, therefore, should provide the necessary electronic devices and software for people of all abilities to access information.
2. Content for Public Websites
Owners of sites that offer services and information to the public must keep accessibility to people with disabilities in mind.
The Bureau of Internet Accessibility offers this advice, “Accessibility is not an optional requirement for your websites, apps and kiosks. It is a federal law. Non-compliance to ADA’s regulations leaves your company liable to user driven lawsuits.
But, more than the need to reduce liability, it is the right thing to do. More than 1 Billion persons with disabilities are not your customers because they cannot consume the content on your website. These include, but are not limited to those with physical, vision and hearing challenges, and military veterans.”
The United States Access Board released the Revised 508 Standards in 2018. The roadmap enhances ICT accessibility and usability to individuals with disabilities.
Content in websites must be:
Website users should perceive all information, content, and interfaces without difficulty. These include people with hearing and vision impairment as well as cognitive disorders.
Users of all abilities should understand the content offered on the site. You must present the information in a user-readable format.
User interfaces must be easy to operate for everyone, regardless of their abilities. For this reason, incorporating support features like assistive technology and keyboard-only navigation is essential.
Electronic material presented to website users must meet the current standards. It should be adaptable to keep pace with accessibility developments like innovations in assistive technologies.
The 2018 refresh shifts the focus from products to functions. The standards for devices like laptops and smartphones that serve similar purposes are now combined. In this case you expect the regulations for a task like browsing the internet to be comparable.
3. Testing for Section 508 Compliance
A full audit by an experienced internet accessibility agency can detect most of the compliance issues within a website. It involves an in-depth examination of the site by an expert as well as with automatic scans.
In this process it is essential to invite an individual with a disability to interact with the website using assistive tools. Their experience should inform if you’ve met the accessibility requirements or you need to work on the site further. Learn more about accessibility testing here.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is a sophisticated part of the law that affects website management. It provides some of the most prevalent accessibility regulations in the United States, and website owners should take note.
Managers of business and public websites should implement Section 508 standards to avoid user-driven lawsuits, and more importantly, to enhance fairness in access to information.
Failure to conform to accessibility requirements can land your business in legal hot water, and cost your business precious time and money.