The only thing constant in business is change. Whether it’s your business operations or matters relating to your workers, changes in your supply chain or in your customer base, federal regulatory updates or new case law in your state…changes bring both concerns and opportunities.
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to anticipate, recognize, and respond to changes in a positive way. Ensuring that your documentation is current given the status of the business, that it clearly outlines your agreements with others, and that it is compliant with existing laws is a necessary step to protect your business from potential disputes or other legal matters.
In 2019, I helped clients in disputes with their partners about how to split up the assets of their LLC. I worked with employers whose employees left and solicited customers away from the business. I helped business owners come to resolution with their clients over past due payments and services not rendered as expected. And I responded to lawsuits such that all matters were resolved through negotiation, and not actually through protracted litigation. With advanced planning, these situations might not have become antagonistic.
A legal strategy session is just what many business owners need!
The goal of this session is primarily proactive. Here’s what will occur:
- First, we’ll have a thorough discussion about the state of your business. What services and products do you offer? What does your staffing look like? What intellectual property does your business own? What sources of funding do you have and what insurance policies are in place? What legal problems or concerns arose last year? Where do you see risks for the business?
- Next, we will discuss the legal documentation that is in place. Do you have service agreements with customers? Do you have employment or independent contractor agreements with your workers? Have you clearly documented workplace policies and procedures? Do you have partnership agreements that address day to day operations as well as exit strategies for each of you? If relevant, do you have confidentiality, non-solicit, and non-compete agreements, waivers or releases?
- Finally, we will discuss any changes that you see happening in the coming year. Will you be bringing on new partners? Is your offering changing? Will you be buying or leasing new space? Are you looking to transition out of the business and if so, do you have a plan in place for the continued success of the business.
- From here, we will know what work needs to be done to make sure that your business’s current obligations are clearly spelled out. The goal is for you and everyone you deal with – workers, clients, suppliers, partners – to be on the same page regarding your commitments to each other. Short agreements, verbal agreements, or no agreements lead to misunderstandings (and lawsuits) because so many situations that might arise are just not addressed. Our goal is to remedy that. You will leave our meeting with a strategy for specific tasks that need to be completed, research that needs to be done, or documents that need to be drafted.
A great benefit of an annual strategy session is the chance to discuss matters that are not part of your day to day operations with an independent third party – your attorney. In addition to offering my experience representing and advising many small business owners in their legal matters, I can also offer the perspective of someone who managed a marketing department in public and private companies for more than 20 years. This dual perspective – business and legal – will allow us to discuss problems and opportunities in a completely different and eye-opening light.
Cost of legal services is always a concern for business owners. With a legal strategy session, you will know what next steps are recommended, but the choice is yours. Often, the recommended next steps are not urgent, and can be spaced out to accommodate budgeting throughout the year. The one-hour session itself is an investment of only $350.
If you own a small business and do not regularly consult with an attorney, a legal strategy session is a low-risk, low-cost opportunity for you to gain valuable insight into the health of your business. It’s my passion to help business owners protect themselves. Contact me to schedule your legal strategy session so we can work together to do this for you.
NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES. IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE, NOR DOES IT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. EACH SITUATION IS DIFFERENT. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY TO DETERMINE YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS, REMEDIES, AND DUTIES.
By Wendy M. Anderson, Esq.
Law Office of Wendy Anderson, PLLC
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