Law for the Smart Business

business-891339_960_720 - CC0 no attribBusiness Law is like your comments, modules, and coding conventions.

You can work without it for a while, but the longer you do, the more likely it is that everything will go straight to hell.

Businesses face major financial risks ranging from employee discrimination lawsuits to unanticipated founder disputes.  Business Law doesn’t prevent these, but sometimes it helps limit fallout.

For example, for co-founders who don’t form a Company or Corporation, the law automatically puts you into a general partnership.  In that default partnership, if your co-founder signs an agreement, you are personally liable.  A miscalculation on a co-founder’s part can literally cost you your life savings and drive you into bankruptcy.  This can make it much harder to pivot and form your next venture, or to maintain the financial cushion you need to help your family through an emergency.

Limited Liability Companies, C Corporations, and other corporate forms offer some level of protection from this kind of exposure.  The choice of corporate form can also influence your funding rounds and the complexity of your investors’ taxes.  If you are seeking investment, investors and VCs usually want the certainty and simplicity of investing in a C Corporation that they can treat as a capital asset, rather than a pass-through entity that may make them need to file additional tax returns, receive additional tax forms, and make their life unnecessarily complicated.

Many legal issues face businesses, and I will work efficiently to help you through them.

  • Choosing the wrong company name can force you to abandon the reputation you’ve worked to build.
  • NDAs protect your Intellectual Property rights.  Missteps in disclosure can affect your rights to protection and deadlines for seeking it.
  • The failure to scrutinize and formalize your agreements with ICs may mean a competitor can use code you paid to develop or that an investor will back out during due diligence.  If you are an IC, those agreements can protect you and make sure you can re-use your core code across projects.
  • Copyrights can be important to protect your API or other code, or other creative works.
  • Marks, slogans, or names you intend to use may need to be vetted, procured, and defended through Trademark Law.
  • A co-founder or employee may grow frustrated and start a competing business with someone else, stealing customer information and other secrets.
  • Web Site Privacy Policies and Terms of Service need to be drafted to reflect how you use customer data.
  • Employment Agreements, Independent Sales Contracts, and agreements with Independent Contractors all need to be drafted to protect you from risk.
  • User Agreements can make or break a startup.  Nobody is going to want to buy your company if it comes with a host of easily avoidable lawsuits you never bothered to avoid.
  • And sometimes even the most prepared business gets sued or needs to initiate litigation.