Partnering With Your Lawyer From Cradle to Grave

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Recently Kevin Price, Host of the nationally syndicated Price of Business Show, interviewed Daniel A. Cotter, Attorney, and Counselor.

The Daniel Cotter Commentaries

Today, we are going to discuss business owners and the needs from cradle to grave. Every businessperson has her idea and works on getting that product or service to the public.  The focus is on that product or service. Many do not think of the proactive elements of including legal and tax and accounting help every step of the way. But from the conception to the exit, a trusted legal advisor can help with navigating the stuff other than the idea itself.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Many business owners have very limited funs available upfront to spend on legal or compliance issues.  However, the adage on an ounce or prevention remains true.

At the outset, issues of the type of entity to be used come into play. Should it be a limited liability company, or LLC, or a corporation? Should the businessperson seek S Corporation status?  What state is best to incorporate? If the businessperson is doing business in a particular state, do they need to register as a foreign entity in the state where doing business? All of these issues can be addressed by a trusted, experience legal advisor.  A small investment upfront can avoid issues down the line.

Once the company is organized formally, then a whole host of other issues come to the forefront. These include employment matters and ownership interests questions, such as 83b elections for tax purposes.  Again, working with an advisor that you trust and including that advisor in your strategic plans and visions will help to ensure that things are documented correctly and the entity is protected.

One area where we see a lot of issues that arise from business owners not using legal advisors is in contracts.  Often, lawyers are brought in after an agreement has been executed and a dispute arises.  Again, a trusted legal advisor will efficiently provide contractual protections to lessen exposure to the business.

Many businesses also have the potential to protect their intellectual property through copyright, patent and/or trademark protections.  Having the trusted relationship will help in this arena as well, with the advisor providing the business with advise and ways to best protect the intellectual property.

When the business is ready to seek an exit, the trusted advisor will work with you to help you achieve your exit goals.

For the trusted advisor, it is a partnership role and working with the business owner’s goals is primary on our minds.

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As a lawyer who started out of college as an accountant, and passed the CPA exam, Daniel Cotter tries to use that knowledge and business acumen to truly partner with his legal clients. He also spent more than 16 years of his 27 years as a lawyer in house. Clients want to have pragmatic, digestible, understandable information and advice, and someone who acts as a partner and trusted advisor.

He graduated with honors in accounting from Monmouth College and a law degree with honors from the John Marshall Law School.


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