What Common Business Litigation Matters Does Your Firm Handle?
We handle the person that walks in to our office and says I’m forming a business and I really don’t know what to do. Should I incorporate? Should I file an LLC? Should I be a sole proprietor? So we give them advice on the pros and cons of all those business organizations and then typically we draft the documents to set that corporation or legal entity up whether it’s an LLC or a DBA. So we’ll set up the business organization for them from the get go so that they are shielded from personal liability as much as you can through those types of legal entities and also, to make sure that they understand the interest they would have in the business and draft those documents and it’s typically businesses that have more than one person who is involved in ownership.
Not always, sometimes there is just a sole person but a lot of times there will be more than one person involved and so you have to lay out what the ownership interests are and then you also have to describe and delineate who is going to manage the business and who is going to get the different officers or different titles of officers and directors or managers depending on the legal entity that is set up. We also do a lot of contract work where we review contracts, where we draft the initial contract and we litigate over contractual disputes. So I would say that those two areas are probably the most common that we handle.
How Can Businesses Protect Themselves From Lawsuits With A Proactive Plan And An Attorney?
It’s an interesting question. I used to belong to a referral group where you go to these meetings and you have all these different kinds of businesses and trades and they would refer work to each other. When I worked for a law firm, I was kind of the designated attorney to go to those meetings and when I would go to those meetings, people would come up to me especially with small businesses and ask about the cost of drawing up documents and getting them set up and sometimes considering that my price is reasonable for the experience that I have or the geography that I’m in, I would tell them that I belong to that organization and they would be, “No. Just go ahead and take care of it myself. I have other expenses that I have to deal with and it certainly isn’t a necessity.”
Then I would see them 6 months later and there would be an issue that could have been resolved very inexpensively and in a short period of time if they had taken that to a competent business attorney.
I certainly consider myself to be a competent business attorney but any competent business attorney probably could flesh out the problems before they actually presented themselves and prevented that. So it’s the penny wise pound foolish thing where and especially in large businesses they understand that attorneys and attorney’s fees are the cost of doing business and you have to have one. If you don’t have one in house, which a lot of firms do, you need to have a law firm that is experienced in transactional law for businesses and for litigation to kind of help you out and in small businesses, the persons that either own those or run those, I think that their understanding has changed a little bit and they are more willing to seek out attorneys from the ginning which is a good thing, not from a self-interest point of view obviously, it’s good for attorneys to have that kind of work.
It just saves so much aggravation and grief because it’s not just money involved in a lawsuit. If a business is sued and an owner or a manager has to spend time with a lawyer preparing for depositions and answering interrogatories and going over requests for admissions which is all part of the discovery process and collecting all of those documents to produce to the other side is very time consuming. So the business owner and the interested parties are actually losing money when they are involved in litigation. They may win in the end but it may be what they call an empiric victory where you’ve lost a lot of money and time going through the litigation process. So if you can avoid it, it’s obviously ion the business’ best interests to avoid litigation if they can.
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