The success or failure of a business often depends on sound legal advice. A Norfolk business lawyer can help guide new businesses in the right direction and aid established companies engaged in complex corporate transactions.

Without such advice, businesses may fall prey to issues that could have been avoided with proper counsel. The help of a skilled business lawyer is essential for your business to thrive.

Business Formation and Tax Structure

Each business is unique. The consequences of a business’s tax structure is always a major consideration. Business lawyers in Norfolk advise clients on the right type of business formation for their particular enterprise and needs. Types of business structures include:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Incorporations
  • LLCs

Depending on the entity and tax structure, a business will need the following:

  • Operating agreements
  • Partnership agreements
  • Shareholder agreements

Essential Business Formation Issues

New businesses often need to raise money from investors, find commercial rental space, and satisfy insurance requirements and other needs. Norfolk business lawyers can provide sound guidance and advice on those matters.

Business Disputes

Disputes come with the territory in business. Common business disputes may involve:

  • Trademark violations
  • Contract disputes
  • Non-compete agreements
  • Licensing
  • Trade secrets
  • Title problems

A less common, but significant cause of action to every business owner is tortious interference, or “intentional interference with contractual relations.” There is a fine line between actual business competition and tortious behavior. Virginia law requires that a plaintiff alleging tortious interference with a contract show:

  • Existence of a valid contractual relationship
  • The interfering entity’s knowledge of such contract
  • Intentional interference causing a relationship to terminate
  • Damage to the plaintiff as a result.

Disputes may negatively impact businesses quite rapidly. Whether the matter is resolved between counsel, through an alternative form of resolution or in court, good legal representation is the key to a successful solution.

Contract Negotiation

Well-drafted contracts prevent many disputes from occurring. Having a Norfolk business attorney draw up and review all contracts provides businesses with an important layer of protection.

Buying or Selling a Business

Parties buying or selling a business, or purchasing a franchise should never do so without legal representation. Even in situations appearing straightforward, there is always something that could cause problems down the road.

One example is environmental issues.  If a businessperson purchases a business at an existing property and later finds out that there are severe environmental issues on the land, the business, even if it is simply a tenant, can be held liable for the previous tenant’s or previous owner’s environmental liability. Such a dire turn of events may have been avoided with an attorney ensuring the client was protected.

Business Succession

Good business succession planning is especially crucial for family business owners. Without adequate planning, the fruits of a lifetime’s work may wither through issues with heirs and/or management.

The successful transition of a business or it value to the next generation does not happen by accident. Business succession planning may include:

  • Trust creation
  • Family member transfers
  • Business valuation
  • Sale to management, employees or third parties
  • Business asset liquidation

How a Norfolk Business Lawyer Can Help

No matter the nature of their business needs, skilled attorneys can provide strong counsel for their clients. If you require legal advice or services for any aspect of your business, contact a Norfolk business lawyer today.