Corporate Lawyers in Reading, Pennsylvania
In the fast-paced world of business, you need corporate lawyers who are equipped with the business sense and legal knowledge necessary to help your business thrive. From corporate setup and LLC formation to restructuring and deal-making, our corporate attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help you accomplish your goals. Whether you’re here in Reading, Berks County, or anywhere in Pennsylvania, Maryland or New Jersey, Cornerstone Law Firm is here to help your business grow.
Cornerstone’s lawyers have experience with disputes over the ownership and succession of closely-held corporations. We can fight for your shareholders and prevent hostile takeovers. We can keep you up to speed on sales and tax law and internet privacy regulations. We can draft employment agreements, non-compete covenants, and more for your business.
We know it means to invest in something deeply personal and to work every day to make it thrive. If you’re starting a business, or if your business is becoming a growing concern, call Cornerstone Law Firm. We’d be happy to discuss how we can help your business.
Incorporating a business legally establishes that business as a separate entity from its founders and shareholders. Corporations can sign contracts, open bank accounts, own property, and even file lawsuits. Most business owners who decide to incorporate do so to minimize risk to their personal assets.
If your business is incorporated, the ownership is divided into shares. These can be transferred and sold. Corporations exist as entities beyond the life of the founder, so they are not tied to one specific person. This structure is often beneficial for nonprofit organizations and for companies looking to work with outside investors.
If, after consulting with an experienced corporate attorney, you decide to incorporate your business, you will need to file articles of incorporation with your state. In Pennsylvania, you must include information like:
- The corporation’s name and address
- Whether or not your corporation will share stocks
- The name(s) of the incorporator(s)
While incorporating can provide protections for the shareholders, it’s important to note that incorporating is not the best solution for every business. Small businesses often benefit from becoming an LLC. Before making any decisions about how to form your business, contact the attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm. We can discuss your business and help you decide which option will serve you best.
Limited Liability Companies
Limited Liability Companies or LLCs are another way to form your business and protect your personal assets from legal action. LLCs are becoming more popular than corporations, especially for small businesses, because they are easier to set up and offer all of the same benefits (and more). In fact, for the overwhelming majority of businesses, an LLC is the right entity to form.
An LLC can allow you to take risks with your business and even allow the business to go bankrupt without affecting your personal assets. It can allow you to seek outside investors and sell the company. It can also allow for complex forms of ownership between you and any business partners you may have.
Before making any decisions on how you should form your business, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced attorney. The business attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm have helped businesses of all sizes to start up, re-structure, merge, and more. Contact us for a consultation about your business needs.
Similar to LLCs and corporations, businesses that have trusts established can operate as separate legal entities. Trusts offer businesses a greater amount of privacy, a smaller amount of compliance requirements, and a good structure for future estate plans.
Business trusts are sometimes referred to as common law trusts. They operate similarly to individual and family trusts in that they must have a grantor, a trustee, property, and at least one beneficiary. Business trusts can help to determine the control of assets, the division of stakes (or percentage of ownership), and the management of the business itself.
Different types of business trusts exist to help safeguard different types of businesses. Some examples include:
- Grantor trust—A grantor trust gives full control to the grantor, or creator, of the trust. This allows the grantor to pay taxes, reclaim assets, and modify the trust.
- Simple trust—A simple trust must follow the requirements set by the IRS and must pay any beneficiaries of the trust on a yearly basis. It does not allow for income to accumulate in the trust.
- Complex trust—A complex trust differs from a simple trust in that it allows income to accumulate, and it offers more flexibility in distributing funds to the beneficiaries. There may be more complex provisions included in a complex trust, thus making it more complex than a simple trust.
If you’re looking to set up a trust for your business, contact Cornerstone Law Firm. We can review your business with you and help you determine which type of trust will best suit your needs.
If you’re looking for help with setting up and structuring your business, call Cornerstone Law Firm. Our attorneys have helped businesses of all sizes to get up and running smoothly.
Fictitious names, or “Doing Business As” (DBA) names, are helpful for businesses that want to brand themselves under a different name than the name of their LLC or corporation. Pennsylvania allows you to file a fictitious name with the Department of State before you begin using it. (Although some businesses use fictitious names before filing, it can lead to complications if another business decides to use the same name or something similar.)
For more on filing fictitious names, check out our article: Fictitious names and DBAs: How to File in Pennsylvania
One important aspect of business law that affects almost everyone is the contract. Contracts are vital for ensuring that all parties agree and that any exchange of goods or services are conducted properly.
While verbal contracts are technically enforceable, written contracts are much easier to defend. Written contracts provide clarity for any misunderstandings. They also allow parties to plan what should happen in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
Contracts should include information about the products or services being rendered, terms of payment, and other similar logistics. They should also include instructions on where to file suit should a conflict arise, and what state’s laws will apply. Contracts also need to explain remedies that can be taken if one party breaches the terms of the contract.
Writing Operating Agreements
Operating agreements, like contracts, explain important procedures and policies to protect a business’s owners and provide for dispute resolution. Operating agreements should include information about who the owners are, how much of the business they own, and what happens if one or more owners starts to feel as if their interests are not being represented. Operating agreements should also include provisions for lawsuits and buyouts.
Protecting Intellectual Property
Intellectual property (or IP) refers to any created, intangible asset including inventions, processes, logos, books, music, software, artwork, and trade secrets. IP can help your business stand out from competitors and thrive, but only when it’s protected.
When you hire new employees, it’s a good idea to have them sign an employee agreement that includes protections for intellectual property. This may look like a:
- Confidential information clause—A clause that prohibits employees from sharing confidential information (trade secrets, secret processes, etc.)
- Work for hire clause—A clause that states anything invented by an employee belongs to the employer during the scope of employment.
- Trade secrets clause—A clause that details the trade secret or secrets and clarifies that employees are prohibited from sharing that information with others outside of the company.
Because of the intangible nature of IP, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what can and cannot be protected. If your business has intangible assets you’re looking to cover, contact an attorney from Cornerstone Law Firm for help.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Merging your business with another’s or acquiring a business that’s for sale can both be exciting ways to grow your business. And while exciting, mergers and acquisitions can also be quite complex. The business attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm can help.
If you’re looking to buy, sell, merge, or plan an integration, give us a call. We can help you make sure you’re meeting compliance requirements, that your transactions are structured well, and that your stock and asset purchases are set up properly. Don’t let complicated processes stop your business from growing. Call us today for a consultation on your merger or acquisition.
Looking for more?
We have lots of resources available for business owners. Check out the articles and videos linked below for more information to help your business thrive.