Howard County Business Planning Attorney Providing Sound Advice and Effective Assistance
Small businesses don’t have the financial resources to hire in-house legal counsel or maintain a legal department to deal with legal matters. Yet they face all the same legal issues that major corporations deal with everyday. At McDonald Law Firm, we provide the legal assistance business owners need to address all of their business legal needs, including entity formation, exit & succession planning, business operational matters, and much more. McDonald Law Firm business planning practice provides practical advice and effective assistance in all of the following areas:
Articles of Incorporation – This document serves as the charter which establishes the existence of the corporation as a legal entity in the State of Maryland or other States where the business is incorporated. The articles must be prepared and filed in accordance with state legal requirements to be effective.
Articles of Organization – This document is similar to the articles of incorporation for a corporation, but is specific to the organization of a limited liability company (LLC) under state law. Complete and proper articles of organization are necessary to create an LLC in Maryland.
Bylaws – Whereas the articles of incorporation constitute the legal charter of a corporation, its bylaws are used internally and govern the operation and management of the corporation, covering issues such as the election of officers and directors, board meetings, and other aspects of corporate governance. Bylaws should be comprehensive, practical and professionally prepared. Although they do not need to be filed with the state, bylaws should be submitted to the corporation’s governing body for formal adoption or amendment as needs change.
Operating Agreements – Operating agreements are similar to bylaws but are used for the management of LLCs. Members of LLCs may have different levels of management responsibility, and the operating agreement can help spell out those roles to avoid conflicts, disputes or misunderstandings, and help ensure smooth operation of the business.
Partnership Agreements – Unlike a corporation or an LLC, a partnership does not come with management roles built in for specific individuals or positions. How responsibility will be shared or divided in a partnership should be outlined in a partnership agreement. A detailed and clearly-written partnership agreement can help avoid disputes among partners, and the agreement can also spell out how disputes will be resolved in the event disagreements do arise. McDonald Law Firm counsel and assist clients in drafting comprehensive partnership agreements that meet the needs of partners and comply with Maryland laws.
Buy-Sell Agreements – Business partners and co-owners may go into business together with the best of intentions, but it is only prudent to recognize the fact that a co-owner may die or choose to leave the business, or even be forced out due to a difference of opinion. A co-owner’s divorce could even place the ownership and management of a company in jeopardy. A buy-sell agreement or buyout is one way business owners can plan for such an event and ensure that the remaining business owners have a say in what happens to the departing owner’s business interest, whether it will be bought by the remaining owners, how much will be paid, etc.
Purchase Agreement – McDonald Law Firm helps businesses negotiate, draft or review purchase agreements for the purchase or sale of real estate or other assets.
Lease Agreements – Business real estate represents a major investment for most companies, and getting into a bad lease can be harmful and stunt a business’ growth over the term of the lease, which may be 10, 20 or 30 years or more. McDonald Law Firm understands Maryland lease law and real estate law and will negotiate, draft or review a lease that meets your immediate and long-term business needs.
Employee Agreements – Generally speaking, employees in Maryland are at-will employees and can be fired or quit at any time for any reason (with notable exceptions). When an employment agreement or contract is executed, the way that contract is worded may either reinforce the concept of at-will employment, or it may transform the employee from at-will to contractual. McDonald Law Firm can draft employee agreements or review existing agreements to ensure they meet your needs while protecting the company’s managerial rights.
Non-Disclosure/Non-Compete Agreements – It is reasonable for a company to want to protect its trade secrets and business contacts when an employee leaves, but whether a covenant not to compete will be enforced by the courts depends on a number of factors. McDonald Law Firm can help you understand the limits of such agreements and draft clauses and provisions that meet your needs and can be upheld in court. See our FAQs page for a question related to the enforceability of non-compete agreements.
Employee Handbooks – Employee handbooks can be helpful guidelines on acceptable and expected employee behavior, but they can also wind up giving away important rights if they are not carefully drafted. At McDonald Law Firm, we take the time to sit down with you and determine your needs, and then create or revise employee handbooks accordingly.
Compensation Agreement – Compensation agreements can have many important uses, including recruitment and retention of high-salaried executives. McDonald Law Firm negotiates, drafts and reviews compensation agreements that clearly set out company expectations for performance and include specific compensation packages as desired, including stock options, bonuses, golden parachutes and severance packages.
Independent Contractor Agreements – Hiring independent contractors can be a cost-effective means to get specialized work done or specific projects completed. Independent contractors are treated differently than employees in many respects, including payroll taxes, workers’ compensation, overtime, and many aspects of the labor-management relationship. Courts and government agencies use many complicated tests to determine whether a worker is being properly classified, and significant penalties can be imposed for misclassification. McDonald Law firm can help draft independent contractor agreements for general use or on an as-needed basis.
Call today for immediate assistance with your Maryland business planning needs
For advice and assistance with business entity formation, exit & succession planning, business operational matters, or any business legal needs, call McDonald Law Firm in Howard County at 443-741-1088.