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We Know Business Law

Companies that can’t afford to hire quality in-house counsel, and can’t absorb the high fees of big law firms, often pay significant hidden costs in the form of liability pay-outs, contractual miscues or missed opportunities.  Legal issues large and small can arise every day in the life of a small business, and the ability to make sound decisions, avoid needless risks and maximize opportunities can make a big difference in the long-term success of your business. Examples of how qualified business counsel can help your business include, but by no means are limited to, the following:

 

 

Contracts and Commercial

  • Your company has signed a two-year lease for a new location.  The agreement looks like standard boilerplate.  You think about talking to an attorney, but you know the hourly rate (typically $300 and up) will cost you money you can ill-afford, especially since you have no idea how may hours it will take to review the agreement.  So you sign it.  Two years later, just as you have identified a superior location and are planning to move, your landlord informs you that the agreement automatically renewed for an additional two-year term.  You’re stuck in a lease you don’t want, simply because of a stray provision in a contract. 

 

  • You have been a distributor for a trusted supplier for several years.  Corporate changes lead the supplier to terminate you, or to appoint a competitor in your market area.  Your business suffers, and you don’t know what your rights are.

 

  • You would like to appoint a sales agent or a distributor, or perhaps you would like to act as an agent or distributor for another company to monetize your sales network or build out your product offering.  Without a clear understanding of the legal ramifications of such a relationship, you could easily find yourself spending more to sever the relationship than you ever could have hoped to earn from it. 

 

  • You have a meeting with a key supplier, and they are bringing their corporate counsel.  You know you should have a lawyer with you, but the idea of spending a thousand dollars or more gives you pause, so you go to the table alone.  Rather than focusing on the opportunity at hand, you find yourself worrying about the legal implications of the agreement, or, worse yet, forego a great opportunity because you are unable to satisfy yourself that your legal interests are adequately protected.

 

Corporate and Transactional

  • You are operating your business as a sole proprietorship, but wonder if creating a corporate entity would have tax or liability advantages, or might allow you to provide equity interests to your key employees to keep them motivated and loyal to your business.  You put off the decision because you don’t have time to evaluate it, and aren’t sure you can justify the thousands of dollars it will cost you for a legal review this month.  While you procrastinate, key employees bolt for greener pastures, a third party sues you individually for a business liability, and you realize your personal assets are now at risk.

 

  • Your business has gone public or issued public debt, and you need help managing your securities law obligations.  Your internal staff is struggling with the new workload, and outside counsel costs for securities support seems overly costly.  You know that compliance with these obligations is now mission-critical to your business, and you need a cost-effective solution. 

 

 

  • You are considering buying a franchise, or would like to know if you can franchise your business.  You know that franchise law is complex and need seasoned counsel who is familiar with franchise law and understands your business enough to help you evaluate the pros and cons of franchising and your likelihood of success.

 

  • You believe your business might be suitable for an initial public offer in the future, and want to understand the legal requirements and other considerations as you evaluate this possibility.

 

  • You are considering selling your business, or buying out a competitor.  You’ve never been involved in this kind of transaction, and you need a trusted advisor to brainstorm your options and approach, and to execute the transaction quickly and on budget.

 

  • Your business needs additional financing, and you are evaluating the different options available to you.  While conventional financing from a lender may suit your purposes, you might also consider selling equity in your business to a venture capital firm, seeking a small business loan, taking on a partner or issuing equity to your employees.

 

Employment

  • You discover that one of your employees is operating a competing business on the side, and is poaching your customers, and you want to terminate her.

 

  • One of your employees is underperforming and you are considering adverse action, but the employee has made clear that he will sue and seems to be setting you up for his lawsuit.  You need counsel to help manage this potentially costly situation but also to give you the latitude to take the steps necessary for the health of your business.

 

  • You would like to develop international relationships to grow your business, but do not know where to begin.  Perhaps you believe your product could be sold effectively in Europe, or that you could source components more cost-effectively from Asia.  Not knowing where to look for help, you forego this lucrative opportunity, and miss a chance to take your business to the next level.

 

Litigation and Regulatory

  • You are facing a regulatory challenge that threatens to disrupt your business.  You need someone who is experienced negotiating with regulatory authorities and who can help keep your business running while the regulatory matter is resolved.

 

  • You find yourself facing several lawsuits from injured parties, terminated employees or commercial partners.  Your law firm seems to be handling the cases capably enough, but the costs are threatening your business. 

 

  • You have learned that a product you sold may have caused a personal injury and need to evaluate responsive action, including dealing with potential litigation and product recall obligations.

 

Intellectual Property

 

  • You have developed a new technique or product, and you think you might have patent rights.  You know it will cost you thousands of dollars to evaluate your options using a traditional law firm, so you decide to forego this possible protection.  Your competition develops a knock-off, and you learn that it is too late to prevent them.

 

  • You have developed value in your company name or in a brand, and need to evaluate the advantages of formal registration of your marks in the U.S. and abroad, but do not want to invest significant money until you understand the full costs and benefits of doing so. 

 

 

These are all very real scenarios facing businesses every day, and we are committed to providing legal support for these kinds of real-world issues at affordable rates.  To be successful, a business needs the capability to handle the multitude of legal issues such as these that arise every day.  Big companies have a common approach to addressing these issues: they turn to their general counsel, who knows the business and is part of an ongoing dialogue that allows for seamless identification and management of legal issues. Unfortunately, due to budgetary considerations many smaller companies forego the use of qualified legal counsel for many of these types of problems, while others call their attorney only after the problem has become critical.  This is why big companies have the upper hand when it comes to managing legal issues: their lawyers know their business, their costs are fixed, and they prevent most problems rather than attempting to fix them once the damage is done.