Corporate Law, Business Law, and Litigation
What Does This Mean?
Business disputes can be complex and business owners need to get an experienced business law attorney to deal with the dispute. Many times, a good lawyer will tell the business owner the claim is not worth pursuing.
When disputes between businesses in New Orleans cannot be resolved through negotiation, arbitration or other means, business litigation may be the only option remaining. Business disputes may arise from an individual’s dealings with a business, between two or more partners in a business partnership or between a business and its contractors, vendors, suppliers or other business entities. Occasionally, a business will encounter a problem that involves a government agency.
In all those situations, you need an experienced New Orleans business litigation lawyer on your side. The business litigation attorneys at the Smiley Law Firm are experienced in resolving a broad range of complex business disputes. We understand both the business issues our clients face and the industries in which they operate.
We represent businesses of all sizes from diverse industry sectors and can help those with cases involving business formation, insurance claims and much more. Whether you are a small business owner of a Fortune 500 company, you can trust the Smiley Law Firm to provide accurate legal counsel, tough, aggressive representation and level of service only found in a New Orleans business law firm.
What Does A Good Business Law Client Look Like?
A good business law client for Smiley Law Firm is one that wants to get ahead in business and wants to grow. Smiley Law Firm represents small to medium size businesses because we are a small to medium size business.
We also represent Fortune 500 companies along with Inc. 5000 companies. I like to look at these lists each year to see which of my clients are topping the charts.
Good companies who know how to run a solid business have legal counsel on their team to make sure they minimize risk. That is the standard in a well-run business.
Starting A Business
We have a number of tools and resources for the budding entrepreneur who wants to start a new business here in Louisiana, Texas or California. There are a few key elements such as filing with the Secretary of State for the limited liability company (LLC) or any other structure.
Further, there are other requirements such as filing for an EIN or TIN with the Federal Government, Internal Revenue Service (IRS.gov). The EIN, employer identification number, is akin to the social security number (SSN) of an individual. All businesses need an EIN so they can open bank accounts and conduct business both at the state and federal level.
One important next step is to get the proper licensing and insurance for your new startup business.
Licensing can refer to a contractor’s license for a construction company or an alcohol license for a restaurant. There are several permitting and licensing issues that new businesses need to register for both at the local municipality level and the state level in order to conduct business legally in their area and profession.
Insurance is a huge risk mitigation tool for businesses. We all have insurance. Many of us have many types of insurance such as auto, home, and life. However, businesses need insurance such as commercial general liability (CGL) or professional errors and omissions insurance, such as doctors and lawyers for malpractice.
If you can think of a risk for your business then they probably sell insurance to cover that risk. Insurance is a great tool to have because it can protect you and your business from catastrophic loss.
A good attorney can help an entrepreneur or a seasoned veteran navigate the waters of starting a new business so that the business starts off on a strong foundation for future strength.
After you set up your business you will need to market that business. Attorneys are not always the best advisors for markeing so here is a good read by David Taylor Design where they list mistakes small business owners make when branding.
Once your business is up and running or even if your business has been around a long time, contracts are the lifeblood of business. In the law, we always say that the “contract is the law between the parties,” which is true.
What we mean by the law between the parties is that we are all bound by statutes created by our local and national legislatures. These are called laws or statutes. However, these rules are designed to be the outer most limits of what is allowed.
A contract does not speak to the laws on the book nearly as much as it speaks to how the parties agree to live within a smaller or more stringent set of rules. Typically, where a contract is silent, then we turn to the written statutes.
Smart companies always have their contracts drafted and regularly reviewed by construction attorneys. Contracts even get old with time. They need to be updated to align with current policy. The laws and judicial decisions change over time so your contract needs to do the same.
Sadly, there are still many companies who do not use written contracts at all. Or they will just sign off on what the other party presents when the contract is executed.
In many industries, it is common for companies to negotiate contracts before signing. If no pre-execution negotiation happens, then the party who drafted contract has the upper hand. It is always smart to have any contract your company is about to execute reviewed by your attorney to make sure that both companies are on the same page regarding the contents of the contract. This link is a good overview of points to look at when getting your contract reviewed.
Get your contract drafted from scratch or have your old contract reviewed by a Smiley Law Firm attorney today. You will be glad you did when a dispute arises. There is a good chance that you will have fewer disputes due to the tightened contract language.
Avoiding Business Disputes and Business Litigation
Disputes are inevitable in many lines of work. Payment disputes, scope of work disputes, damages for delays, and third-party errors and omissions are common types of disputes that we see on a regular basis.
Often there are ways that the dispute could have been avoided in the beginning. Other times the dispute must happen but then there are strategies to employing damage control that will save a company or business both time and money.
The best strategy for any business lawyer to help the client company the most is to keep the client out of litigation. Unless you are a law firm, you have no business being in litigation. Litigation is messy and rarely ends in a good result for either party.
Good business attorneys keep their clients out of the mess of litigation and in the field of work for the company. But when the time comes to dig in your heels and fight for what you are legally entitled you need a solid business lawyer to get into the trenches and fight it out for the long haul.
One of the most important aspects of owning a business or running your business is getting paid. Without sales that later turned into payment no business would survive. Actually, statistics show that most businesses fail.
So getting paid is an essential part of running a successful business that will grow and thrive into the future. The business payment lawyers at Smiley Law Firm know how to get businesses paid for the hard work they perform.
Whether it starts with a contract review to make sure payment terms are solid and fair. Or sending out demand letters or filing liens to secure payment after work has been rendered or performed. The Smiley Law Firm team is excellent at helping business owners get paid.
If we cannot get a business owner paid before the need for filing a lawsuit, then we are prepared to litigate until judgment and then collect from the debtor business owner until final payment is rendered. What is the use of a judgment if you cannot collect payment from the adversary? It’s useless.
How To Hire A Good Business Law Attorney
Good business litigation attorneys and corporate lawyers are hard to find. They usually live in huge law firms and work for massive clients. Well, that is not where most businesses need to be and that is not the only place to find good business attorneys.
Businesses need attorneys who understand what they are going through and how to get the business out of the dispute as fast and efficient as possible.
In addition to looking at the website and online reviews of the lawyer you are going to hire, here are some good starter questions to ask the business attorney when you are conducting the initial interview:
- Do you, the attorney, have any real-world business experience? Many attorneys are great at writing briefs and court arguments but they don’t relate or understand real-world business issues.
- Do you try to resolve matters before filing a lawsuit? Many lawyers love to file suit because they want to drag out the dispute. There is no shame in a pre-suit settlement. Once you get the courts involved you lose control over time and money.
- How many of your cases go to trial? If they act like many or most of their cases go to trial, then run for the hills. Sure, the trial experience is great and an asset. However, if the attorney is unwilling to compromise, then that only will cost the client more money in the long run.
- It is common for prospective clients to inquire regarding hourly rates. However, you may not be comparing apples to apples when asking this question. Many big firms are set up to bill insurance companies. Therefore, the hourly rate may be lower, however, the team of people charging that hourly rate per day may be much greater. Always ask for alternative billing options, like flat fees or subscription services.
- Make sure to ask how often you will be billed for time and expenses. Out of pocket expense can add up so make sure you are clear on how the law firm handles those issues.
- Finally, this is not a question but more of a stylistic inquiry. Make sure you like the attorney as a person. It is possible that you can be using this lawyer to make serious life decisions. You want an attorney who shares your values in life and business. Otherwise, if you have an attorney who is the opposite of you and your business, then it may not make for a good fit.
Hiring a good business litigation attorney does not have to be hard. Just like anything in business you need to be smart, do your research and then be prepared to make a change if the relationship is not working as you were told or envisioned.
Contact a New Orleans Business Litigation Lawyer at the Smiley Law Firm Today!
Business litigation cases should never be taken lightly, they can be complex and are subject to time sensitivity, where deadlines are always running. Contact the Louisiana based business litigation attorneys at the Smiley Law Firm for a consultation today by calling 504-894-9653, by filling out the contact form on this page or simply leaving a comment below.