Business Law Practice Areas
Pittsburgh business lawyers serve businesses and companies in a variety of areas. Consequently, working with a lawyer who not only knows the law but also understands the influences of the city further enhances their partnership with your business. Therefore, if your business needs aid or information on any of the following areas, give us a call.
- Business Advice and Counsel
- Commercial Leases
- Employee Issues
- Litigation Defense
- General Counsel
- Severance Agreements
- Shareholder Disputes
- Start-up and Incorporation
- Tax Treatment
Business Advice and Counsel
A multitude of legal problems and matters attack small businesses. While some business owners may know what they’re up against, many don’t. A business lawyer focuses on offering advice on dealing with troublesome employees, responding to demand letters, and complying to the business law.
Business lawyers assist in…
- Business Checkups, ensuring that your business is up to date on legal compliance and not susceptible to any future legal issues.
- Employment Practices, providing litigation for if and when an employee claims discrimination, harassment, FMLA or FLSA violation.
- Customer or Client Issues, protecting your business from the loss of profits and reputation when a disgruntled customer attacks your business.
- Claim Evaluation, advising you and your business how to manage any type of claim brought by a customer, supplier, or an employee.
- Business Advice, generating counsel in a number of areas including financial issues, tax treatment, business strategy, and marketing strategies.
Most often, choosing to lease a property offers the smartest choice for small businesses. Consequently, commercial leases last for three to five years and sometimes longer. Since tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars invest into this lease, consulting with a lawyer about a commercial lease prevents future legal problems.
Factors to Consider
Commercial Offices Lease. Renting office space comes with a number of important factors to consider, including maintenance, housekeeping, ice and snow removal, parking, security, and signage.
- Commercial Retail and Restaurant Leases. When discussing a lease with a landlord, consider issues such as rent increases over lease term, responsibility for maintenance, construction restrictions, and competing businesses as a nearby tenant.
- Single Net, Double Net, and Triple Net Leases. Each of these terms represent different financial burdens for small businesses, starting with paying rent and property taxes to adding the cost of building insurance and then maintenance fees.
- Lease-Related Documents. After the lease agreement, some companies and landlords require new legal documents, focusing on amendments, assignments, terminations, and subleases.
Therefore, partnering with an experience business lawyer saves you the trouble of making rookie or even seasoned mistakes that could impact the viability of your business. Call a lawyer now.
A core aspect of running businesses falls to the hard-working contract. These legally-binding documents connect business with customers or with suppliers, ensuring that expectations are laid out clearly and then met. Moreover, every contract reflects the businesses and people that it works for, meaning that each contract is unique.
Our business attorneys specialize in many contract types.
- Purchase Orders
- Service Contracts
- Employment Agreements
- Independent Contractor Agreements
- Licensing Agreements
- Franchise Agreements
- Confidentiality Agreements
- Non-Competition Agreements
- Non-Solitication Agreements
- Non-Disclosure Agreements
- Management Agreements
Lawsuits over employment practices causes the greatest concern for small and mid-sized companies due to the possibility of bankruptcy. Many employment issues arise from claims of FMLA violations, wage violations, harassment, or discrimination. Beyond that, a business faces other issues, including negative employment actions that frustrate employees such as suspension, pay reduction, termination, or demotion. Furthermore, a business lawyer recognizes how to handle each of these situations, preventing possible bankruptcy-inducing lawsuits.
Protect your business with the following ways.
- Employee Handbook
- Training for managers and HR employees to recognize legal issues
- Official Reporting Systems for employees to report possible legal violations
- Records of violations and responses to violations
Although a small business may not need to employ a full legal staff like a large business does, a small business needs the ability to be in contact with an attorney in the event of a legal issue. This often means retaining an attorney as outside general counsel, ensuring a lawyer is available to you and your business if needed. Also, retaining a lawyer means that your lawyer learns over time how your business works because this impacts future legal solutions.
Regardless of the size of your business, considering incorporation in a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC) saves your business and you from certain liability issues. Since incorporation separates the business into its own legal entity from the business owners, the incorporated business functions with the ability to own property and make contracts. A business that does not go through incorporation remains a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, meaning that the business owners’ assets are vulnerable in liability cases.
Benefits of Incorporation
- legal protection of owner’s assets
- ownership customization
- equity rights
- tax treatment
- professional image creation
While large businesses operate with a readiness for lawsuits, small businesses lose much more in legal battles, sometimes even their actual business. Due to lack of resources, a lawsuit for a small or mid-sized business often spells certain disaster. A number of issues cause potential lawsuits for business.
- Breach of Contract
- Employment Lawsuits
- Claim Evaluation
Pittsburgh business attorneys offer experience in litigation defense for every area of business law. Call us today because we want to guide you through the legal process and fight for your business rights.
Business restructure impacts the ownership down to the newest employee because the amount of shifting which occurs in the overall structure. Due to the negotiation required in restructuring, a business attorney represents either the business at a whole, staying neutral towards owners, or represents an individual owner. No matter who the business attorney represents, the lawyer strives to protect the interests of the client.
Moreover, most cases of restructuring includes issues such as stock purchase agreements, stock redemption, shareholder/stockholder agreements, and bylaw amendments. However, restructuring occurs in two primary ways within a business: an alteration of the company’s ownership or the company’s entity. Since the nature of a business restructure alters the very fabric of a business, a lawyer assists to smooth the process and prevents future legal problems.
While severance agreements are not required by law, businesses often escape potential claims by offering a severance package to a terminated or laid off employee. Moreover, businesses and employees mutually benefit from the severance package agreement. Since the loss of an employee hurts the business, the severance agreement usually includes a transition period, allowing the employee to pass essential knowledge on, along with the employee’s release of all legal claims and a non-compete clause. Meanwhile, every severance agreement demands detailed understanding of the business’s objectives, reducing the chance of employment claims.
Disputes plague companies, regardless of size. Usually these disagreements pop up between owners or shareholders, especially in smaller businesses. Since small businesses require more involvement, conflict can be detrimental to the business as a whole.
While some disagreements dissipate, others only intensify until reaching deadlock. When an even split occurs in the decision making authority, this is deadlock. Consequently, deadlock hampers the business from proactively acting. A couple of simple solutions to this includes maintaining an odd number of decision makers and establishing tie-breaking procedures in the company bylaws.
Finally, the size of the stakes cause problems between shareholders. Since a minority shareholder may not carry as much authority as a majority shareholder in a company, the best interests of a company may not be met. However, Pennsylvania’s law obligates closely-held corporations, majority shareholders, and directors not to manipulate or oppress minority shareholders. Furthermore, if management or directors fail certain responsibilities, minority shareholders are tasked with filling a lawsuit on behalf of the business.
Understanding the best business structure for your company from the viewpoint of taxes stresses the most seasoned business owner. After all, too heavy of a tax cripples your business and it’s options. Choosing the right business structure and strategy benefits your company by saving thousands of dollars per year due to proper tax planning. Four types of business structures dominate the playing field: C-Corporations, S-Corporations, LLCs, and multi-member LLCs. Of course, each structure comes with its own sets of positives and negatives. Naturally, a business layer can advise you to the best structure for your business.
Small businesses operate often on the foundation of a trademark or other intellectual property. Therefore, the value of this intellectual property heightens the very worth of the company. While registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office seems like a nuisance, the registration protects your brand from the possibility of losing it to a competitor. Moreover, if your business receives a “cease and desist” letter hinging on your intellectual property, contact a lawyer because a lawyer will evaluate the situation and create a plan of legal action.
Of course, transactions, especially legal transactions, support the regular business operation. Although most transactions are small, some transactions involve significant purchases of company assets. Most of the time, these smaller transactions only require form contracts while larger contracts involve unique agreements. A business attorney ensures the protection of your assets as well as prevention of future legal issues.
Business lawyers can help you with the following.
- Assets purchases
- Asset sales
- Real property transactions
Pittsburgh business lawyers focus on you and your business, offering sound advice and legal knowledge that will ensure your company meets all legal regulations. Furthermore, if you are dealing with employee issues or business disputes, contact us because we want to help you settle problems so you can get back to business.