You can absolutely start an LLC without an attorney! Just browse the internet briefly and you’ll find a lot of low cost and do-it-yourself ways to form an LLC. Some even offer “free forms” to assist you. Setting up your own LLC sounds so incredibly simple that you may ask why anyone would be silly enough to pay a lawyer to do it. A prudent business would never waste money on legal fees – especially with how much attorneys charge!
But, is it really wise not to use an attorney to start your LLC?
Based upon our informal surveys in representing all types of businesses across Oklahoma, roughly 65% of LLCs are started using free tools online or kits that don’t involve an attorney. It’s very attractive – you save some money plus you the pride of accomplishing the work yourself! It sure feels like a definite accomplishment. After all, lawyers spend 7 years in college and have to pass the bar examination before being handed a license to practice law. And you did your own LLC without any legal help at all! Amazing, you can almost hear the drum roll and the applause of all your friends and family as everyone congratulates you on a great job!
Growing up, I was told over and over that a “professional” is someone who does a job and makes it look so easy that anyone could do it. The skill set is so smooth that countless little minuscule details are performed almost without observation.
You may have decided to learn some magic tricks as a child growing up. You went to see a magician and were wowed and impressed. After the show was over, there were some booths with books, magic cards, and all sorts of tricks you could purchase. Like most, you probably purchased a few and went home to become a magician.
The next day, you showed your friends your “magic”. But, it turned out a little more like a comedy routine than the magic you watched the night before when the magician performed. When he did card tricks, they always worked and no one could guess how he did it. Your card tricks were instantly figured out by your audience of friends. They all laughed at you for using gimmicks that anyone could see through.
You spent the rest of the day wondering what happened. The magician made it so simple and you bought the books and the prepackaged tricks. How come it didn’t work for you?
Attorneys Like Magicians Spent Years Developing Their Skills
The magician spent years practicing his profession and developing his skills. You, on the other hand, spent minutes (an hour at most) and thought you could do the same thing. While you may be bright and learn quickly, it’s the ultimate arrogance to believe that you can do things as well as someone who has decades of experience.
Ever watch a veterinarian give your dog a shot? Have you tried to vaccinate an animal? It’s not impossible to learn how by any stretch of the imagination. But, the first few times you are the one plunging in the needle, it’s not quite the same as when the vet does it.
Buying An Online Kit Is Not The Same As A Good Lawyer – Not even close!
Buying an online kit or setting up your LLC without an attorney is similar to the magic tricks sold after the show. The internet promises setting up an LLC is fast, simple, and anyone can do it! You acquire the forms and you’re ready to do the show. In fact, it seems to go really well in an hour or so that you spend. You type in a little information, pay the fees, and presto you have a paper from the State indicating a new LLC has been formed.
Ah, but the hand is faster than the eye! In the world of illusion, you appear to have a legitimate, valid LLC. After all, you have some forms, a certificate from the State, your accountant got you a tax identification number, business cards were printed, and your new website even has the LLC name in great big letters. It sure looks like an LLC to you!
You Want An LLC That Holds Up
In high school, I took a shop class like a lot of young men in my generation. There were 6 week-long sections on woodworking aspects, welding, and various trade activities. Welding is the one that really stands out in my mind. I learned how to make those little circles in the molten metal and some of them actually didn’t look half bad. The metal pieces gave every appearance of being welded together tightly and securely.
The test was the shop teacher taking a small hammer and tapping the joint. If the joint survived a couple of small taps, then he hit the welded joint a couple of more times considerably harder. You only passed the test if your weld could withstand the stress. Mine always seemed to fail about the second or third tiny little tap. If you haven’t figured it out by now, welding didn’t come naturally to me. I decided that I didn’t want to be a welder!
LLCs get tested by the courts with a highly trained and often talented attorney probing and asking questions. If your LLC doesn’t have the structural integrity and strength to hold up under the stress, it’s going to break apart just like my welding did in shop class. The difference was that my welds were only practice welds. The failure was personally disappointing, but there wasn’t any significant consequence. I had to go do it again (typically failing once more), but getting credit for the course along with everyone else for my best efforts.
The Test of Your LLC In Court is Serious Business
Legal challenges and stress tests to your LLC carry real consequences. If your LLC doesn’t hold up to the pressure, then when it falls apart your family’s personal financial resources are available for the taking. And I promise you that any lawyer who has worked hard enough to tear down your LLC isn’t going to smile like my shop instructor and say, “Well, go try again!”
So, you can start an LLC without an attorney. You can even learn to operate an LLC correctly. The question is, do you really have the time to spend learning all the little ins and outs to do it the right way? Do you have access to good sources of answers?
Law School Takes 3 Full Years
Be careful that you’re not simply deceiving yourself into believing that you are smarter than an attorney with years of law school followed by decades of law practice. Maybe you really are that bright; we aren’t saying you’re not.
We can tell you that LLC legal attacks have been increasing thee past few years. More and more court cases demonstrate that many LLCs aren’t able to stand up to the stress. When these LLC break down, then the personal and family assets are devastated. So maybe the question isn’t “can you start an LLC without an attorney”, but “should you”?
Suppose you already formed your LLC without using an attorney or have started the process without an LLC lawyer. Do you just have to start all over? Glad you asked! The answer can be explained using my shop class welding for an analogy. There were occasions when parts of my weld actually stayed together. Sometimes the top part held firm, but the bottom section broke. The teacher would tell me the top was strong enough, but that I needed to go work some more on the weak area.
Use An LLC Check-Up To Analyze Your LLC
One of the reasons we have LLC Maintenance Checks is to look over your work and offer insights and suggestions on areas that are weak. We take (in legal terms) a small hammer and check to see if you have solid welds or not. If we locate weaknesses, then we tell you what needs some additional support so you can make corrections.
The ability to learn from the mistakes made by others is an incredible advantage. We’ve watched others making mistakes in planning and operations, as well as the resulting lawsuits, for over 30 years. We don’t pretend to know everything or to have all of the answers. The benefits are that we’ve seen a lot of businesses make mistakes that we can help you avoid.
It’s So Easy – Do It Now!
If your LLC was started without an attorney, we would be glad to arrange a time to run a check on your LLC. Just contact us to schedule a time convenient for you! If you’re thinking you want to start an LLC without an attorney, then remember one day someone will put your LLC to the test!