Business owners often seek to represent their business in court. Attorneys can be expensive and, especially for minor issues, self-representation may seem like the best course. This could backfire on a business and it may even be illegal, especially when handling litigation where larger sums of money or specific types of issues are in dispute.
Understanding the Legal System
Attorneys not only attend law school, they have relevant, daily experience in navigating the laws, state regulations, and legal system of Utah. They can leverage this knowledge and experience to help business owners resolve conflicts quickly, avoid future problems, and get the best possible outcome. Depending on the situation your business finds itself in, experienced counsel may have connections with state agencies to help understand and quickly handle issues with regulatory agencies. Further, an experienced business attorney has likely dealt with many similar situations and can advise you on likely outcomes.
Helping prevent future issues is another huge advantage a business attorney can bring to the representation. From designing documentation that clearly outlines the resolution to correctly handling evidence and objections during court to prevent unnecessary appeals, a business litigation attorney can keep you from facing problems you weren’t even aware could occur.
Representing a Corporation
According to the Utah Supreme Court Rule of Professional Conduct 14-802, an individual who is not a properly licensed attorney can only represent themselves in court, not another person. Most businesses are legally considered to be “persons” separate from their owners and thus must be represented by law by a lawyer, not their owner. Failure to have an attorney represent your business can lead to claims of unauthorized practice of law. The judge may also refuse to hear your case until your business is correctly represented.
The exception to this rule is businesses appearing in Small Claims Court. An employee of a business can represent the business with the court’s permission, so long as that individual is not being paid for their representation, according to Utah Rule of Small Claims Procedure 13. This is useful when contesting parking violations, handling minor customer issues, or resolving simple disputes. However, even when facing an issue in Small Claims Court, an attorney can add value.
It helps to talk to the team from Dunn Law Firm when considering your particular situation. They can advise as to whether an attorney is necessary for a small claims proceeding and outline how having experienced representation can add value beyond simply handling the work. To learn more about our law firm and the type of business representation we handle, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.