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Stamford, CT business law attorney

When starting a business in Connecticut, one of the most overlooked issues is how to structure the business. The business entity that you choose will have a profound impact on your rights and responsibilities as a business owner. The way your business is taxed, the liability you expose yourself to as a business owner, and several other critical issues are affected by the business entity you select. Choosing the wrong business structure can lead to considerable financial and legal problems.

Deciding How to Structure Your Business

There are many different things to consider when choosing a business entity. One of the most significant differences between LLCs, partnerships, and other business entities is the degree to which the business owner’s personal assets are at risk. This is a major issue to consider when starting your business. You should also consider the tax implications of different business structures and whether you plan to share ownership with one or more individuals.

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Fairfield County family business law attorney

If you are like many people, you see business ownership as a means of determining your own destiny and creating a legacy. A family business can be a great way to ensure that you get to work with your loved ones on business ideas that you feel passionate about. The benefits of business ownership are considerable. However, starting a family business also involves substantial risk. When starting a family business, it is important to work with a skilled business law attorney so you can avoid mistakes that can lead to legal problems and financial hardship.  

Choose a Business Structure and Develop a Solid Business Plan First

For many aspiring business owners, one of the biggest appeals of starting a business is having a great deal of creative control over the business. You may be eager to name your business, start social media and marketing campaigns, and begin developing your products and services. However, the best way to ensure that your business will be as successful as possible is to first develop a business plan. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Your business plan should include information about:

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Stamford, CT business law attorney franchise

If you are ready to become a business owner, one option you may be considering is buying a franchise. Purchasing a franchise location of an existing company is a great way to start your journey into business ownership. Buying a franchise allows you to operate your business while still receiving guidance and leadership from the franchisor. However, a franchise is not the right choice for everyone. If you are thinking about buying a franchise, make sure to speak with an experienced business lawyer so you can avoid costly legal mistakes. Additionally, consider the following factors.

Your Business Goals and Personal Aspirations

Being the owner of a franchise is much different than starting your own business. The benefits of a franchise are plenty. The business will likely be profitable more quickly than a startup, you gain valuable resources and assistance from the parent company, and you benefit from the company’s established reputation. However, buying a franchise also limits the direct input you have on how the business is run. You will be expected to conform to the franchisor’s policies, rules, and procedures. If you are a person who thrives on creativity and independence, buying a franchise may not be the best option for you. However, if you are looking to buy a business that is ready to start operations immediately, a franchise may be the right choice. You will need to evaluate your own goals and aspirations to know whether buying this type of business is the best way to achieve these goals.   

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Greenwich business law attorney noncompete agreement

noncompete agreement, also called a “covenant not to compete,” is a contract that business owners often ask their employees to sign upon employment. Many people underestimate just how important this particular type of contract can be. A noncompete can help you protect your business from unfair competition and ensure that your employees do not use the information and practices they learned through you to undermine your business. However, noncompete clauses must meet certain criteria to be legally enforceable in Connecticut.  This is one reason why it is so important to have an experienced business lawyer review any employee contract for weaknesses or flaws.

How Can A Noncompete Benefit Me?

If you are like most business owners, you have probably put countless hours into your business. You may have honed your business strategies, pricing, sales techniques, marketing campaigns, employee policies and procedures, and other aspects of your business to be as efficient as possible. Even if you still have business goals and personal aspirations that you have not yet achieved, you are most likely closer to those goals now than you were when you first decided to start your company. A noncompete agreement helps protect all of this hard work from being used to benefit a competitor. When an employee signs a noncompete, he or she is agreeing not to work for a competing business for a certain period of time after leaving your company. This prevents the employee from using knowledge about your business to benefit a competitor or even to start his or her own competing business. Noncompete agreements may dissuade employees from leaving your company for a similar position at another company. They may also deter competitors from attempting to steal your most successful employees.

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Norwalk business attorney

Business ownership has numerous perks. You get to “be your own boss” and manage the business exactly the way you want. However, becoming a business owner also involves substantial risk. Studies show that about 20 percent of small businesses fail within a year. Many of the common mistakes business owners make can have substantial legal consequences. The best way to lessen the chances of your business failing is to avoid these crucial errors. In addition, an experienced business attorney can help you with the legal aspect of owning your own company.

Business Mistakes You Should Avoid

As the old adage goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” If you are interested in starting your own business or buying an existing business, educating yourself about the legal steps involved in business ownership is crucial. Some of the most common mistakes new business owners make are also some of the most consequential.

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Fairfield County business law attorney employee handbook

If you are a small business owner, you probably have a close relationship with your employees. You may believe that your employees know what is required of them and will continue to meet your expectations – even if those expectations have only been implied. Unfortunately, this type of thinking has gotten some business owners into hot water. Although you are likely overwhelmed with concerns that appear to be more immediate, the importance of creating a comprehensive employee handbook cannot be overstated. By putting your expectations, procedures, and policies in writing, you reduce your vulnerability to legal actions and increase your team’s productivity.

Protecting Your Business Against Lawsuits

As your business grows, you will likely hire more and more employees. It is certainly possible that some of these employees will not end up being a good fit for your business. This is one important reason why you need clear policies regarding employee expectations, disciplinary actions, and termination. If you do not have a consistent method for evaluating employees and recording any problems, you could be accused of discrimination in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Furthermore, creating these policies helps employees understand exactly what is expected of them. The key is to make sure you create policies that are realistic and achievable. Consistently abide by the policies you have put in place and do not forget to record any disciplinary actions you are taking.

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Fairfield County business law attorney breach of contract

Business contracts are an integral part of a successful entrepreneurial career. Whether it is a purchase order, bill of sale, employment contract, lease agreement, or another type of contract, knowing how and when to use contracts is a vital skill. When a party subject to a contract violates any of the contract’s terms and conditions, the violating party may face a breach of contract claim. The party wronged by the violation may be entitled to damages. As a small business owner, writing clear and effective contracts with help from an experienced business lawyer is one of the best ways to avoid facing liability for breach of contract.  

Failure to Fulfill the Requirements of a Contract

There are several different types of contract breaches. A minor breach of contract is one that involves non-fulfillment of a minor detail in the contract. These breaches do not impact the overall purpose of the contract and are typically able to be resolved outside of court. An anticipatory breach or anticipatory repudiation occurs when the breaching party notifies the non-breaching party that it will not be satisfying the terms of the contract. A material breach of contract is one that is so significant that it prevents the parties from being able to execute the responsibilities contained in the contract. Anticipatory breaches and material breaches often lead to legal actions.

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Norwalk business law attorney succession

If you own a family business, you may not have ever given much thought to succession planning. You may intend to pass the business down to your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, or another relative, so you assumed that succession planning was not necessary. While handing down a business to a loved one may seem like a straightforward process, there are countless issues that can arise that will hinder your company’s growth and continued success. The best way to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible is to create a detailed succession plan well in advance of your successor taking over.

It Is Never Too Soon to Start

You may not be planning to retire or transfer ownership of your business for several years or more. However, it is never too soon to start building your succession plan. As your business evolves and grows, your succession plan can be modified accordingly. Keeping the eventual transition in mind helps ensure that you are currently making choices that will allow the business to flourish under new owners in the future. Including your family in the business succession planning process can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and prevent disputes in the future.  

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Darien business law attorney

If you are currently a Connecticut business owner or soon will be, you probably already know that business contracts are an integral part of a successful business. Whether you are creating a partnership agreement, non-compete agreement, financing agreement, bill of sale, employment contract, or another type of business contract, you need to ensure that the contract is effective and enforceable. Seemingly minor mistakes can lead to major misunderstandings and contract disputes. This is one reason that it is always a good idea to have business contracts reviewed by a qualified business law attorney.

Assuming That a Verbal Contract Will Suffice

In an ideal world, we would not need business contracts. A person could simply be trusted to keep his or her promise. Unfortunately, this is not how the business world works. Informal agreements and casual contracts are ineffective and extremely difficult to enforce. You have probably poured a great deal of time and energy into your business. You need to know for certain that your business is protected if a partner, vendor, or contractor fails to keep their end of the bargain. Well-written, clear, enforceable contracts are the only way to protect your business in the event that a party breaches the terms of a business agreement.

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Fairfield County business law attorney commercial financing

Whether you are launching a new business or you are interested in expanding your current business, financing your business goals is probably one of your top concerns. Small business owners and entrepreneurs have several different options when it comes to securing funding for a new business venture. Some of these individuals use their own savings, borrow from their home’s equity, withdraw retirement funds, or even use a credit card to finance the business. However, many people find these options to be too risky and instead choose to take out a loan. Conventional bank loans and Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are two popular options to consider when financing your small business.

Conventional Bank Loans

Conventional loans are the most popular type of lending for small businesses. When a borrower obtains a conventional loan, the bank lends him or her a set amount of money at a fixed or floating interest rate. Payment schedules are negotiable and may involve monthly payments, quarterly payments, or annual payments. The parameters of the loan are based on the bank’s particular policies and the business’s overall credit risk. Typically, the higher a business’s perceived risk, the higher the interest rate. Conventional loans are highly dependent on personal and business credit scores. Young business owners with less credit history may not qualify for a traditional loan.

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Greenwich commercial and business law attorney

One of the most important decisions you will ever make as a new business owner is choosing a business entity or business structure. Although making this decision may not be as enjoyable as choosing a business name or making decisions about products and services, it is an absolutely crucial aspect of starting a new business. Many new business owners find themselves in deep legal and financial trouble after choosing a business structure that does not fit their ambitions and needs. This is why it is essential to make an educated decision when choosing how to structure your business.  

Types of Business Structures

The type of business structure you choose will have a major impact on how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxes your business revenue. Your business structure will also determine your level of personal liability for business losses. The most common types of business structures include:

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Greenwich commercial and business law attorney

If you are considering forming a startup business, you may be eager to make your dreams a reality and excited about what the future holds. Understandably, you may also be a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of issues you must address. Starting a business is likely to be one of the most challenging professional and personal endeavors you will embark on. However, it also has the potential to be one of the most rewarding experiences you ever undertake. One important consideration when starting a business is where your startup will be located. There are several important factors you should be aware of when selecting a location for your business.

Choosing the Best Location for Your Business

The location you choose for your business has the potential to make a major impact on the success of your company. Whether you are interested in an office, warehouse, retail space, or another location type, there are several factors you should consider:

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Greenwich commercial and business law attorney

If you are in the process of becoming a business owner, you may have an overwhelming number of tasks ahead of you. You will need to decide on a business structure, choose whether or not to share ownership with business partners, develop a business plan, and much more. One matter that you may also be considering is whether or not to hire a business lawyer. If you are like most entrepreneurs, you are probably looking to reduce costs wherever possible. You may assume that a business lawyer is only necessary if you are being sued or have other urgent legal matters. However, retaining an experienced legal representative from the very beginning of your journey into business ownership may help you save a significant amount of time, money, and frustration.

A Poorly Written Contract Can Be Disastrous for Your Company

An entrepreneur’s skill set and that of an attorney are often vastly different. Entrepreneurs and business owners are often creative, abstract thinkers who look at the “big picture” instead of focusing on small details. Lawyers, on the other hand, are trained to scour business contracts and other important documents for even the tiniest mistakes that could cause problems for their clients. Having a lawyer assist you in drafting or reviewing contracts such as purchase agreements, nondisclosure agreements, employment contracts, non-compete agreements, and commercial property leases can ensure that you uncover and address any issues that could present problems for your business in the future. Your attorney will ensure that these contracts are accurate, free of ambiguity or errors, and accomplish the task intended. A poorly written business contract can result in breach of contract claims, employment disputes, and a host of other legal issues.

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Long Island Sound commercial and business law attorney

If you are considering purchasing a small business, you may understandably be experiencing a mix of excitement and apprehension. Being a small business owner can have tremendous personal and financial rewards, but the decision to purchase a business is not one to take lightly. It is very important to take your time and not rush this major endeavor. Thoroughly research your options and speak with a qualified business law attorney to ensure that your purchase goes as smoothly as possible. As you start the business purchase process, make sure to avoid the following common mistakes.

Not Asking Why the Business Is for Sale

The prospect of being a business owner, especially a first-time business owner, is an exhilarating idea for most entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm can sometimes cause potential business owners to make hasty mistakes. One of the most common errors people make with regard to business purchases is not understanding why the business is for sale in the first place. Make sure you have a detailed conversation with the business owner about his or her incentives for selling the business. Business owners may not always be 100 percent honest about their reasons for putting the business up for sale, so you may also need to look for subtle clues that reveal the real motivation for the sale.  

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Darien business acquisition attorney

Similar to any purchase in life, the acquisition of a commercial business is a major process that requires every detail to be examined. Due to the nature of a commercial business purchase, both the buyer and seller should seek legal representation to ensure that their rights and interests are protected. In some cases, an ill-advised contract may place one party in a compromised position. Throughout the purchasing process, the individual who is looking to obtain a business should carefully review every aspect of the contract. The acquisition of a commercial enterprise can be a relatively simple process if the arrangement is fair and by the books. 

Financial Risks

To ensure that your financial interests are protected throughout the purchase of a commercial business, it is critical that every detail be considered and reviewed. For example, understanding the positives and negatives linked to the business is a good indicator of where the price should be set. Factors such as location, gross profits, operational concerns, the possibility of growth, liability issues, economic downturns, and leasing agreements need to be considered. In addition, the amount of time and effort that will need to be allocated toward the business should also be included in the evaluation process. A business that is struggling to make a profit should be appraised differently from a company that has a positive cash flow.    

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Long Island Sound commercial financing attorney

In order for any business to be successful, it must be able to grow and develop. While there are many ways to foster the expansion of a business, these techniques may require significant financial resources. Whether your company needs an increase in capital to hire additional staff members or to lease or purchase new machinery, a commercial loan could be the answer. As one of the most common approaches to funding a new business endeavor, a commercial loan can provide several advantages to a growing company. A knowledgeable business law attorney can help you secure the finances that are needed to grow and expand your operations.   

What Is a Commercial Loan?

Simply put, a commercial loan is a long-term, capital-heavy loan that typically has low interest rates and somewhat flexible payment options. In most cases, the approval process for this type of loan can be burdensome, which is why it is recommended to have a financing attorney help structure and apply for the loan. For business owners who are looking to foster the growth and development of their company, it is important to be aware of the benefits of obtaining a commercial loan. 

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Stamford, CT business attorney noncompete agreement

A noncompete agreement is a type of contract that prohibits an employee from entering into competition against his or her employer. Workers often have access to sensitive information about clients, customers, business operations, practices, strategies, and marketing plans, all of which can be used against an employer. If you are a business owner, you may wish to use a noncompete agreement, also called a noncompete covenant or covenant not to compete, to prevent your employees from using skills and information gained during employment to compete with you in any way. It is important for business owners to obtain legal counsel regarding noncompete agreements, as these documents must meet certain criteria in order for them to be enforceable.

Noncompete Agreements in Connecticut

A Connecticut noncompete agreement is a legal contract that prevents an employee from entering into direct competition with an employer during his or her employment or after his or her employment ends. A noncompete agreement can also prohibit an employee from disclosing business secrets and proprietary information to other parties during and after his or her employment. Noncompete agreements must be limited in their scope and duration in order to be enforceable by the court. Many noncompete agreements include a one- or two-year restriction period, but the amount of time the employee is prohibited from entering into competition can vary based on a range of factors. To be legally binding, a noncompete agreement can only prevent an employee from working in certain geographic areas. Blanket noncompete agreements that do not specify a reasonable time period and location stipulations will typically not be upheld by the court.

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Greenwich commercial and business law attorney

If you are a business owner, you know the vital importance of setting clear expectations for your employees. When a business is in its infancy and only has a small number of employees, you may be able to get away with verbally expressing rules and expectations to your workers. If you are heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of your business, it is easy to keep a watchful eye on employees to ensure that they are not exposing you to any liabilities. However, as your business grows and develops, the need for a written set of guidelines and expectations becomes critical. Creating an employee handbook that states employment policies, company rules, and how workers are expected to behave at work will help prevent employee-related disputes in the future.

Why You Need An Employee Manual or Handbook

An employee handbook contains a company’s practices, policies, and the legal rights and obligations of employees and their employer. Not only can this type of handbook protect you as a business owner legally, but it can also significantly improve the work environment. Many of us have had jobs where we were unsure of our role in the company or what was expected of us. It can be confusing and disheartening to be an employee and not feel like part of the team if other employees are not on the same page as you. An employee handbook can go a long way in establishing a culture of teamwork and professionalism at your company.

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Darien non-disclosure agreement attorneyBusiness dealings often involve the exchange of highly confidential information. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is an effective way for business owners and entrepreneurs to protect sensitive information from being shared or misused. An NDA is a legally enforceable contract that establishes a private relationship between two or more parties. The involved parties agree not to share or profit from confidential information to which they are made privy. NDAs, also called confidentiality agreements, are a valuable tool for businesses.

Non-Disclosure Agreements For Business Negotiations

Non-disclosure agreements can be used to protect sensitive information that is shared during business transactions, such as the buying or selling of a company. For example, if a business owner is interested in selling his or her company, he or she will almost certainly meet with potential buyers to discuss the business in detail. A potential buyer may have access to proprietary information, product designs, marketing strategies, trade secrets, business practices, and other information that could be used as leverage in other business dealings. Asking a potential buyer to sign an NDA prevents the buyer from misusing sensitive business information or sharing that information with others. If a party signs a confidentiality agreement and then violates the terms of that contract, the injured party has the right to seek financial compensation for breach of contract.

The two most common types of NDAs are unilateral NDAs and mutual NDAs. A unilateral NDA is a contract where only one party agrees not to disclose sensitive information. In a mutual NDA, all of the parties involved agree not to share certain confidential information.

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Fairfield County business injury liability attorney

As a business owner, you likely have contractors, employees, clients, customers, and other individuals visiting your property regularly. It is your obligation to ensure that your property remains a safe environment to conduct business and sell goods or services. Unfortunately, work accidents can happen anywhere, and many of these accidents involve injuries. A personal injury lawsuit can absolutely devastate a business, so it is important to reduce your potential personal injury liability as much as possible.

Focus on Preventing Accidents Rather Than Responding to Accidents

You probably take a great deal of pride in your business and want your property to be a safe, secure, and comfortable environment for everyone who visits it. It is crucial for business owners to take preventative measures to avoid customer or employee injuries. However, potential injury-causing hazards are not always easy to spot. You should walk through your property and identify any defects or conditions that could present a danger. Look out for the following conditions:

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