Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the pandemic of a lifetime. Until a few days ago, everything looked normal. The extreme low tide lured everyone out onto the dry cove to collect seashells as the beachgoers glance up to see the impending tsunami on the horizon heading straight for them. The government seems utterly unprepared. How has this affected small business clients? In short, the coronavirus will be devastating for small businesses. This blog outlines some of the major legal issues affecting small business clients as the tsunami is about to rocket onshore.

Fiduciary Duties 101

Thursday, 24 October 2019 by

You may have heard about fiduciary duties, something about loyalty and care, but truth be known, you have no idea what that all means. Let’s set the scene. Your startup company is up and running. You have consulted with your startup lawyer  about forming the company as a limited liability company. What duties do you owe to those who have invested in the company. They are after all part owners and have invested their hard-earned money into your company. You talk with your startup lawyer and he or she explains that you owe the owners a fiduciary duty—fiduciary what, you ask? If you violate these fiduciary duties, you may be personally liable. Well, that should get your attention. This article discusses what a fiduciary duty is and who it is applied to.

Lawyers are not immune from the travails of business divorce. They must address the same issues that any small business must address when business partners no longer want to be in business with one another. They must decide whether one or more of the partners will continue the law firm or dissolve the law firm. This article looks at one of the most contentious matters in law firm dissolutions: what happens to pending matters when a law firm dissolves.

Calling it a Day: LLC Dissolution

Tuesday, 07 August 2018 by

The great thing about our country is that even the least experienced entrepreneur can form a new company in a matter of hours. And the second best thing is that if you are a small business owner, you have the right to go out of business. This blog post will discuss the dissolution of an existing company. Since the vast majority of new businesses are limited liability companies, we will discuss the dissolution of LLCs in particular. If you don’t have a lot of debt, and simply want to move on, then you can dissolve your company without any stigma of bankruptcy. This blog post summarizes the steps you take to dissolve a limited liability company.

Small Business Response to Lawsuits

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 by

Lawsuits for small business can consume enormous time and resources. The best way to protect your small business from lawsuits is preventative care. That means that if you are a small business owner, you should use written agreements with everyone: employees, independent contractors; vendors, business partners, investors, everyone. Nonetheless, even if you have an agreement, you may find yourself or your business named in a lawsuit. This article discusses some of the initial steps that a small business should do if it is named in a lawsuit.

Anatomy of a Business Dispute

Monday, 04 September 2017 by

Almost all small businesses frequently encounter disputes—some small, some not so small. In the vast majority of these business disputes, the small business owner can resolve the conflict without resort to a lawyer. In this blog, we describe what measures you can take as a small business owner to minimize the risk of business disputes, tactics to take to resolve disputes when they arise, and finally, when after a dispute arises is the best time to see your small business lawyer.

This article summarizes possible outcomes from a business divorce. There are rarely good options in a business divorce, only ways to minimize the risk and uncertainty. It is not unlikely that the partners will engage in a self-defeating street fight with only losers and no winners. There are several issues that may affect the partners’ respective negotiating positions. In terms of the company, there are a limited number of possibilities: the company will continue to exist or it will be dissolved. There are of course other variants such as the assets of the company may be purchased or the company may be merged into a different company. In terms of damages or other remedies to the aggrieved party, courts try to fashion a remedy depending on the alleged harm. Whatever the outcome in a business divorce, usually none of the parties is particularly happy. The best medicine is preventive medicine. You should go into business only with those whom you trust and those with whom you can manage a long term relationship. And before you go forward with that partner, even the most compatible partner, make sure you speak with your small business attorney to craft an agreement for what you and your partner should do when you disagree.

Business Divorce and Small Businesses

Friday, 11 November 2016 by

At one time or another there will be an end to your business. When you started your business, you should have developed an exit strategy, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. The business may end happily in a merger or acquisition and sometimes less happily by dissolution or bankruptcy. Without clear guidelines at the outside, you will find that extricating yourself from your partners may be costly. A business divorce may have similar acrimony to a family divorce. In a family divorce, there is the combustible combination of kids and money. In a business divorce, the business partners undoubtedly will also argue about money—and will contend for control over their business, which for founders, can be like an extension of their families. The disputes among partners are not easy disputes. And business divorces like their family counterparts have numerous moving parts in various areas of the law such as business organizations, contracts, unfair trade practices, employment law and trade secrets. This article summarizes some of the considerations you should keep in mind when discussing with your small business lawyer what steps you and your partners should take to minimize the risk of a messy divorce with your partners down the line.

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