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How do you check the legality of a new business model to make sure it will be legal, and you won't be running afoul of some law you have no idea of?

2 Answers 2

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Hire a lawyer, who is licensed and trained in law and who is obligated to be honest with you and advocate for your interests, and get him/her to review your business plan. He/she will point out real or potential problems with your ideas and plans, show you legal gray areas of the law and advise you on what you can and can't do.

Some lawyers offer a free initial consultation. As an example, you can browse and read specialties and qualifications for legal help in New Jersey: https://www.justia.com/lawyers/business-law/new-jersey

There's no substitute for real legal advice; not consulting with an attorney before signing contracts or starting a business can put in in real legal jeopardy. Don't ask legal advice from randos on the Internet, as they are not trained or licensed, and it is illegal to act or work as a lawyer without being licensed.

As ohwilleke points out, you may want or need to consult several different lawyers.

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    If it is truly novel and the first lawyer you talk to tells you so, you may want to consult with multiple independent specialists in that area of law as different lawyers may be different insights about what is problematic and what could work to achieve the same ends, since novel business models are usually in legal gray areas.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 9, 2023 at 1:41
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    I am fairly sure giving specific legal advice whilst not a lawyer and whilst you're not paid for it is legal in virtually all places (I think even if you're a lawyer and you don't get paid it's okay in most places, but I never had to look into that 😅 ) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Jun 9, 2023 at 7:01
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    @DavidMulder You are 100% wrong. It is illegal to give specific legal advice in almost all places if you are not a lawyer whether you are paid for it or not.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 9, 2023 at 17:37
  • @DavidMulder Free legal advice isn't worth the money you paid to get it. Jun 10, 2023 at 6:05
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    @ohwilleke I think you may need to distinguish between describing yourself as a "legal advisor" or "lawyer", which could be reserved named professions that require professional qualification and just giving legal advice without making such a claim. On the face of it your statement would mean giving an opinion on e.g. the question "is it legal to park here ?" would somehow be illegal, which is absurd. Jun 11, 2023 at 20:12
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When you have a problem with your car, you take it to a person who is trained to fix cars and knows about them. You pay money for their time and expertise.

This is more or less the same situation- you consult a lawyer.

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    The answer of consulting a lawyer is the correct advice here but the example of having a problem with your car isn't great. Plenty of people will attempt to repair their own car themselves, even without being an expert. They are frequently successful even. Jun 9, 2023 at 15:23
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    @MiniRagnarok, well I guess the same can be said about law no? Plenty of people and even business owners go through life without highering lawyers. The stakes might be a little higher though.
    – Kvothe
    Jun 9, 2023 at 15:27
  • @Kvothe I'm not sure I agree. Most of your life doesn't require a lawyer, just like most of your life doesn't require you to choose between hiring a mechanic and doing it yourself. Most people do not represent themselves when given the opportunity. Jun 9, 2023 at 15:33
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    Outside of the first world, it's pretty much expected of a man to take care of his car.
    – Therac
    Jun 9, 2023 at 15:45
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    An essential benefit of hiring an actual licensed lawyer is that someone who in good faith follows the professional advice of a licensed lawyer will often benefit from legal protections that would not be available if they acted upon anyone else's advice. Someone acting upon anyone else's advice would have a duty of care to ensure the advice was correct, but someone who acts on the advice of a lawyer will generally be deemed to have satisfied that duty.
    – supercat
    Jun 9, 2023 at 20:58

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