Baltimore Business Lawyer
Owning your own business in Baltimore offers both financial and personal benefits. However, if you are in a business partnership that is now looking at splitting up, need to add new branches to your existing business, looking to hire an employee from a foreign country, or a myriad of other issues, owning a business can be extremely stressful. In either of the scenarios, receiving sound legal counsel from a knowledgeable Baltimore business lawyer is extremely important.
With more than 20 years of complex legal, accounting, and tax experience, Antonoplos & Associates Baltimore business lawyers have the knowledge and expertise required to help you quickly resolve any legal issues you may encounter. Because our firm has helped large and small businesses in almost every type of Baltimore business litigation, we are prepared to help you through any legal issues fast, efficiently, and in a cost-effective manner. Our business attorneys are here to assist you with every legal issue that occurs when you start a business. Furthermore, we can also help companies with employment law, immigration law, sales of consumer goods, contract drafting and negotiations, antitrust, taxes, and bankruptcy.
5 Ways a Business Lawyer Can Help You Start a Business
A knowledgeable and experienced Baltimore business attorney is a critical tool to utilize throughout the life of your business. However, a Baltimore business lawyer is especially useful when you are looking to start a new business. Specifically, a business attorney can assist you with choosing a business model, protecting intellectual property, choosing the right name, and providing operating guidelines.
Choosing a Business Model
Deciding what type of business entity you will create is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your businesses success. However, understanding the business entity that will allow you to maximize your tax structure or partnership agreement is extremely difficult before your business has even begun to operate. Thus, because the business entity will decide how you will own and manage the company, your ability to obtain capital, your own personal liability protection, the ability to take the company public, and how your company will pay taxes, a business lawyer that understands the benefits of each business model is essential. Our experienced Baltimore business lawyers can help you in the creation of any of the following:
- C corporations
- S corporations
- Professional corporations (PC)
- Limited liability companies (LLC)
- Limited liability partnerships (LLP)
- Limited partnerships (LP)
- Family limited partnerships (FLP)
- Joint ventures
- Merger and acquisitions
- Business succession
- Sole proprietorships
If you do not understand the various benefits and consequences of each business entity, you could form a business that results in costly and time-consuming legal problems.
Protecting Intellectual Property
To run a profitable and protected company, businesses need to protect the merchandise or work that makes them unique. Thus, securing intellectual property rights for your products through patents, trademarks, and copyrights should be your first order of business. Intellectual property includes anything from your business name, logo, slogans, product packaging, or the products and services that you are selling. The most straightforward manner of securing these rights is by possessing or applying for possession of a registered trademark through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Though there are existing systems to secure your intellectual property, it is important to hire a lawyer to ensure that you can secure intellectual property and create a strong case to receive these protections.
Choosing the Right Name
Choosing a business name is an extremely important part of creating a successful company. Your business name coupled with your logo is a key factor in allowing new customers to identify your business and returning customers to remember your products or services. However, there are many restrictions that you must follow when creating a business name. For example, in most cases, you cannot use a name or logo that another business currently holds. A business name that copies an existing business that has a registered trademark will commence potentially costly legal conflict. Thus, discussing your business name with a Baltimore business lawyer is necessary as they will be able to seek out any existing names that may bring about conflict and advise you on other rules related to this process.
Providing Operating Guidelines
Based upon the type of business structure you choose to utilize when you set up your business you may have to follow specific operating guidelines. For example, certain business structures may require you to cover important topics such as the nature of shareholder meetings, issuing shares, and key business decisions such as acquiring another business, selling company assets, or initiating a new patent.
Consider Your Company’s Legal Needs
A business lawyer is extremely important to consult before you start your business. However, business lawyers are able to assist companies with a myriad of other issues concerning employment law, immigration law, sales of consumer goods, contract drafting and negotiations, antitrust, taxes, and bankruptcy. A general Baltimore business attorney can normally assist you with each of these issues. Though this is true, there are a few important things you should consider about your business before hiring an attorney. The reason for this is that the legal objectives of a technology, manufacturing, or construction company will all be different even if businesses within these sectors are each facing similar issues.
Furthermore, you may not be facing litigation and instead, you may want to make your business run more effectively or ensure that you are complying with state or federal employment laws. By taking this approach, you can hire a business lawyer that will be able to meet your companies individual needs. To properly define your businesses specific legal needs, you should consider the following questions:
What Legal Guidance Does my Company Need
This question will regard general issues such as contractors, taxes, employees, customer warranties, and government regulations to ensure that you avoid future legal issues.
What are the Short and Long Term Goals of the Business
Considering this question can help you map out the goals of your company. Furthermore, you can receive the legal advice that you need to achieve these goals.
Are There Efficiency or Competency Gaps in the Business’s Daily Operations
Finding these gaps can help you find a Baltimore business attorney with the specific knowledge necessary to improve your business.
Does Your Business Plan on Raising Outside Capital at Some Point
If you do need to or plan to raise capital from outside investors—for any reason—a Baltimore business attorney will help you create the proper documentation to receive the funding you desire.
Do you Need to Restructure the Existing Debt or Capitalization That Your Business Carries
Understanding and inventorying your business stock, long-term debt, and retained earnings is critical to your business’s success. Furthermore, if you need to restructure these obligations, a lawyer, or multiple lawyers, with this specific expertise are necessary to successfully restructure the debt.
Is Your Business Planning on Leasing or Purchasing Commercial Property
A lawyer is critical in this situation. The reason for this is that having a favorable commercial lease or purchase price is an important step to ensuring your business’s success. A lawyer will be able to help with a few key issues regarding commercial property including evaluating the time of the lease or mortgage, research comparable rents or property values, look for hidden costs, ask for favorable clauses, and for leases, check the termination clause.
Are You Considering the Sale of the Company or Taking the Company Public
In either of these scenarios, a lawyer experienced in these situations will be able to negotiate a favorable purchase price or decide if taking the company public is a good strategic move.
Does the Company Need to Acquire or Dispose of any Assets
If your company needs to do either of these actions, a lawyer will be able to draw up title transfers along with purchase or sale terms that will fit your individual needs.
Do You Need to Create Additional Divisions or Subsidiaries
In this case, a Baltimore business attorney can help you draw up the proper business documentation to maximize the profit you receive. Furthermore, this ensures that you do not run into any legal issues concerning your overall business structure.
How a Baltimore Business Lawyer Can Assist Your Company
For any business that has at least one employee, it is critical to stay on top of current employment law. Employment law encompasses many issues. However, the most common issues include whether you have to offer your employee’s health insurance and workers’ compensation. Additionally, you will need to consider whether you are following anti-discrimination laws and sexual harassment. If your company does not have knowledgeable legal representation, you could face significant financial liability, loss of reputation with your customers, and difficulty finding new quality employees.
With businesses competing in a global marketplace, immigration law continues to become a larger part of business law. In most cases, companies will look to hire full-time, part-time, or event-specific employees that have specific skills not found in the home companies’ country. However, you need to be sure that you are following the correct tax structure and other immigration laws. This ensures that an employee can focus on their job and help you for as long as you need.
Sales of Consumer Goods
When dealing with selling products to consumers, every company operating within the United States must follow the Uniform Commercial Code. The Uniform Commercial Code focuses on every commercial action. This includes contracts to leases to cracking down on fraud and creating secure transactions. Because of all the information within this code, legal help is necessary. Furthermore, you cannot hire a general business lawyer. Instead, you must hire a lawyer with specific knowledge of this code. This ensures that you are following the proper state and federal legal guidelines. Furthermore, applying the rules in actual business situations is even more difficult and requires much more skill.
Contract Drafting and Negotiations
Unless your business has someone with extensive knowledge of legal language, your company will also benefit from a lawyer that can create customized business contacts and agreements. This is extremely important as certain parties will try to take advantage of your business. They do this by inserting clauses that are not in the best interest of your business. Furthermore, the forms you find online are not tailored to your company. Additionally, they do not contain the terms, conditions, and restrictions required for a valid contract or agreement.
Antitrust laws work to ensure that different businesses within a specific marketplace operate on a fair playing field. The way antitrust laws attempt to achieve this goal is to ensure that companies do not use deceptive or unfair practices in order to capture a larger market share. A business lawyer that has experience with antitrust laws will be able to help your business avoid costly litigation. They do this by helping you operate ethically while at the same time bring your competitors unfair practices to light.
There are many different types of taxes that businesses pay. However, the most common taxes that businesses need to be aware of are Income taxes, sales tax, property tax, self-employment tax, employment and payroll tax, dividend taxes, and excise taxes.
- Incomes taxes come from the profits of a company. Furthermore, these taxes can be paid as personal income taxes for sole proprietorships, single-person LLCs, or through a partnership business tax return.
- Sales taxes are different in every state and refer to taxes paid on merchandise and services sold.
- Property taxes come from any real estate your business owners. Furthermore, if you sell business property, you may have to pay capital gains on this property.
- Self-employment taxes ensure that if you run your own business, you will still pay into Social Security and Medicare.
- Employment and payroll taxes come from employees’ paychecks for FICA taxes for Social Security and Medicare.
- Dividend taxes come from corporate shareholders and comes from profits from the business.
- Finally, excise taxes apply to certain products that businesses use like oil or gas.
Furthermore, Peter Antonoplos, founder and managing partner of Antonoplos & Associates has an LLM in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center. With this knowledge, Peter can help you maximize tax benefits in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Bankruptcy, while an unfortunate occurrence, can help businesses out of a bad situation. However, this process is especially complicated as there are multiple options with different requirements and filings for each option. Thus, a knowledgeable business lawyer is vital to find the best bankruptcy solution and see this option through.
Our team of experienced attorneys is ideally suited to handle the most complex business litigation issues, including:
- Breach of contract
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Misappropriation of funds
- Trademark infringement
- Divorce valuation issues
- Partnership splits
- Misappropriation of trade secrets
- Violation of confidentiality
- Misappropriation of funds
- Violation of noncompete clauses
With our comprehensive knowledge of business litigation coupled with our highly trained support staff, we can cover the entirety of your claims and put you in the best position to win your lawsuit.
Business law is complex. This is so no matter the type of business you run, what type of legal issues you encounter, and whether you are just creating a business or currently running an existing business. As such, it is extremely important to have legal representation that can help you establish your business and deal with any legal issues that occur after this point. The Antonoplos & Associates DC business lawyers have over 20 years of experience helping clients in Baltimore with business law. With this knowledge and experience, we can help with any legal issues that occur from owning your own business.
Contact our Law Office for More Information
For more information on our group of Baltimore business lawyers, contact Antonoplos & Associates at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Additionally, for general information regarding business law, check out our blog.