It is wise to consult a lawyer when dissolving a business, whether you’re simply shutting it down, declaring bankruptcy, or merging it with another company. Depending on the size of the company, you might need to consider who has the right to intellectual property (IP) such as company logo and tagline trademarks, and whether those rights need to be transferred or dissolved. A lawyer can help you take stock of IP rights, as well as client lists, liabilities, debts, stocks, assets, and permits. All of these loose ends must be tied up to protect you, your company, and your legacy. Read more information here or contact one of our lawyers today.
No, you can draft your own contracts, but there’s a reason you may need an expert in legalese. Lawyers can ensure your contracts are enforceable and avoid loose-ends, as well as tailor the document to suit the specific needs of you and the other party. Moreover, having an attorney either draft or at least review your contract can also protect you from potential liabilities. At the very least, it’s wise to consult your business lawyer to verify you’re on the right track!
This depends on what your business is. The most common models are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations.
For a smaller business, a sole proprietorship or partnership might suit your needs. These business models are ideal for companies just starting out, where liability isn’t much of a concern. If you are worried about liability, an LLC can be an ideal route, as it prevents the owner from being held personally liable for debts or lawsuits associated with the business, unlike a sole proprietorship.
You can always change from one business model to another as your business grows. What started out as a sole proprietorship can grow into an LLC and then a corporation. Talk with one of our business lawyers to understand what set-up is best for your business, and read more here on the different models.
What differentiates one kind of partnership from another is usually how much liability is shared between owners. General partnerships share equal rights, profits, and liability; that means each partner can be held responsible for the company’s debts and lawsuits. However, it does have some tax advantages.
A limited partnership, as the name suggests, limits the amount of liability each partner has in the business. One partner in a limited partnership must be a general partner, thereby assuming both the management responsibilities and the legal liability. The limited partners are generally investors who receive some profits but aren’t involved in the running of the business.
A limited liability partnership (LLP) protects both partners from liability and can be the best of both worlds for partners wanting to protect their personal assets from being associated with the company’s debts and obligations. A business law attorney can advise you on the best path for you and your partners and can convert an existing partnership into an LLP.
Officially documented meetings are generally reserved for corporations. The first meeting after a corporation is founded is called an organizational meeting and, as the name suggests, focuses on evaluating the company, electing officers and directors, drafting bylaws, and issuing stock.
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of board meetings is the requirement to take meeting minutes. This document is a way of monitoring how the business is being run and can include the names of those present at the meeting, the items covered during the meeting, any decisions made, necessary action to be taken, and important dates, in addition to other specific considerations. Board meeting minutes not only provide written records, but accountability, a critical component to running a corporation ethically.
This depends on your kind of business. If you’re operating a brick-and-mortar business, you may need zoning and health department permits, a transaction privilege license (aka a sales tax license), and city-specific licensing. Additional considerations include federal and state regulatory licenses, such as for the sale of alcohol, firearms, clothing, investments, etc. And don’t forget to obtain an employer identification number (EIN)!
Documentation to start a company varies depending on your business. For instance, a corporation will need far more documents to establish than a sole proprietorship, including company bylaws, meeting minutes, and business plans. One of our attorneys can draft the necessary paperwork and supply you with a checklist of documents to fill out.
A trademark protects anything that distinguishes goods or services as belonging to a specific company, such as a logo or a tagline. Copyrights protect written material, while patents protect an invention or idea. All of these aspects fall under intellectual property (IP), a specific branch of business law.
IP can be a complicated area, especially if a business hasn’t laid down clear protections before a problem arises. The simple answer is you should worry about IP when you have IP that can be stolen, plagiarized, or profited by without your consent. If you’re worried about copyrights, patents, or trademarks, contact a lawyer to get the legal protection you need; better safe than sorry!