Business Law & Growth

If you're the kind of entrepreneur who wants to make a real difference while you're in business and leave behind a body of work that continues to do good for your family, your customers, and the world after you're gone, you've come to the right place.

Business formation is a pivotal time in your new company's lifecycle. Your choice of entity impacts ownership, liability, taxes, profit sharing, ongoing management, eventual sale, and much, much more. Sky Unlimited can help you make the ideal choice.  

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We help our clients leverage their IP, establish a competitive position for the future, and achieve important milestones for growth.  Our chief goal is to identify key areas in which IP protection is the most critical for achieving the company's business objectives, determine the most effective methods of protection, and create strategies to avoid issues with third-party patents.  

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The traditional law business model is flawed. It incentivizes lawyers to spend more time on matters (since they are billing for every hour in six-minute increments), increase conflict (the more conflict there is, the longer the engagement), and constantly focus on the next new client (one off transactions are the norm in most legal practices). Plus, the world has shifted and quite a lot of legal work has become commoditized into online legal drafting software, documents on demand and do-it-yourself lawyering. 

 

Lawyers, not being entrepreneurs, tried to compete and became mere shadows themselves - document drafters, doing one-off transactions for clients, such as incorporating business, and then went on the hunt for the next new client.

 

Not us! We build lifetime relationships with our clients. Because a legal relationship not built upon a lifetime foundation is worthless. Really. If you want a transaction, go online and find a document drafting service. If you want someone great that will help you move your awesome idea into a revenue generating business, take your existing business to the next level of excellence, and prepare you and your business to leave behind a legacy of significance, you've come to the right place.

 

Sky Unlimited Legal Advisory will work with you to grow your business from day one. We support startups and small businesses through their exciting lifecycle, from business formation to sale - and every challenge and opportunity in between.


Entrepreneur Weekly

Articles from the Chief Counsel's desk.  Sign up for our newsletter to receive these in your email!

How to Legally Terminate an Employee

Almost all business owners eventually must make the difficult decision to terminate an employee.

Whether that decision arises from failure on the employee’s part or economic turbulence, one thing is clear: How a business handles this delicate situation can either increase or decrease the risk of negative consequences like lawsuits and unfavorable public attention. Here are the best practices to keep in mind if you are considering terminating an employee.

 

1. Involve your Human Resources department from the beginning. The Human Resources (HR) department of your company can be especially helpful during the termination of an employee for a number of reasons. First, HR is likely familiar with (or has access to records regarding) the employee’s hiring process. Second, HR staff are likely trained to understand the implementation of applicable laws and to handle delicate situations with personnel. Third, HR can ensure that the final payments and health benefits issued to the terminated employee comply with legal requirements. Finally, your HR team can provide at least one witness to any termination meetings or communications that occur. With this training and experience, they are uniquely equipped to advise you regarding the proper steps to take.

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Four Things Business Owners Should Know about Trademark Infringement

Against the backdrop of globalization and the expansion of online business activity, trademark infringement is on the rise.

Most elements of business branding—name, logo, design—are readily available online, making it easier for people to knowingly or unknowingly use the intellectual property of others. As a business owner, you must prioritize both protecting your own trademarks and avoiding infringement of others’ marks. The following are important concepts to understand as you develop your business’s trademark strategy.

 

1. What is a trademark? A trademark identifies a business or individual as the source of a good or service. It can take the form of words, phrases, symbols, designs, colors, or a combination of elements. Marks that identify the source of a service are called service marks; however, in practice, the term trademark is broadly used to identify both service marks and trademarks. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is the federal agency responsible for reviewing and registering trademarks in the United States.

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Insurance Coverage You Might Not Know You Need

When you are just starting your business, it’s easy to lose sight of just how many potential risks your company faces.

Yet a single catastrophic event, accident, or lawsuit can wipe out your company before it even has the chance to get off the ground.

 

What’s more, as we’ve seen with the events of 2020, there are a number of threats and worst-case scenarios that even the most successful companies can fail to consider in advance.  Although you can’t protect your business 100% from every single threat, you can greatly improve your chances of surviving any potential liability by having the proper insurance coverage in place.

 

That said, there are many types of business insurance available, some of which are a must-have for nearly every entrepreneur, and others you might not need. Given this, before you sit down with an insurance agent, it’s vital to know the specific risks your company faces and what types of coverage will best cover those risks.

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4 Tips For Achieving Sustainable Revenue in an Unpredictable Economy

The year 2020 has been extremely challenging for most entrepreneurs.

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn have seriously disrupted some businesses and completely shuttered others. And at this point, it doesn’t appear like things are going to go back to normal anytime soon.

 

In light of this ongoing uncertainty and turmoil, you may need to rethink your revenue strategy in order to maintain your company’s long-term financial health. Here are 4 tips to help you with this process, which have been adapted from a Forbes.com article featuring my mentor, Ali Katz.

 

1. Don’t focus on passive revenue

Focusing on generating passive revenue in your business so you don’t have to work can disrupt your long-term goals. Instead, focus on creating a sustainable revenue model that supports the work you are most passionate about—and allows you to work in the way that you want—for the long term. When done right, creating an income model based on doing what you truly enjoy, you may find that you don’t want to stop working in your business for a long time, if ever.

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EEOC Says Employers Can’t Require Employees to Take COVID-19 Antibody Tests

As businesses across the country continue to grapple with how to safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently advised employers that requiring mandatory antibody tests for employees before returning to work violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The EEOC issued its new guidance on antibody tests on June 17, 2020 as part of an update to the agency’s technical assistance document that answers employer questions about workplace issues related to COVID-19. Although a previous EEOC update in April expressly authorized employers to conduct viral tests and temperature checks for the COVID-19 virus as a precondition for employees returning to work, that update did not address antibody tests.

 

It’s important to note that an antibody test is different from a viral test. A viral test determines whether a person has an active COVID-19 infection, while an antibody test assesses whether a person previously been infected and developed antibodies to the virus.

 

Antibody testing lacking

In its updated guidance, the EEOC cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which state that COVID-19 antibody tests “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.” The CDC’s decision is based on a current lack of scientific data on COVID-19 antibody testing and the level of immunity antibodies may provide.

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What you need to know about the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Pandemic

COVID 19 has complicated most things that have to do with business, and that includes the rules about granting sick leave to employees.

You may already know about the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but what you may not have heard is that on April 1st of this year, the federal government enacted another temporary rule just for COVID-19: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

 

While there are many similarities, there are differences that adapt it to the situation we currently find ourselves in. Both the FMLA and FFCRA could be applicable to your workplace at the same time. While it’s nothing to tear your hair out over, it’s also important that you, as a business owner, know what your responsibilities are under both laws.

 

For the FMLA, the first thing to find out is whether you are a covered employer. Covered business owners have 50 or more employees that work 20 or more weeks within the current or previous year. That goes for joint employers as well as the successor to a previous employer, so if you recently acquired another company and haven’t changed anything substantial about the business, you would be covered.

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Time To Change Your Practices If You Are An Independent Contractor In California, Or If You Employ Anyone In California As An Independent Contractor

If you are an Independent Contractor in California, or you have any team members in California that you have hired as an Independent Contractor, you must contact us immediately to discuss your options.

You can read the summary of AB5 on Wikipedia, including legal challenges to the law. And, you can read the FAQ from the California Labor Department website here.

 

But, in practical terms, what should you do? Contact us so we can discuss the specific impact on your business, the risks to you of continuing to operate as an independent contractor in California or work with independent contractors in California, and let’s see how we can get creative about your options.

 

The simplest, most straightforward path is to convert all independent contractors you work with in California to employees. This can be a costly solution because it means you will take on the cost of payroll taxes, worker’s compensation insurance, and more to the tune of a 30-40% increase in costs over what you pay independent contractors right now.

 

If it is not currently financially possible for you to switch your independent contractors in California to employees, it may be time to look at some workarounds. Unfortunately, no workaround is going to be cost-free. But, together we can look at possibilities short of firing all of your California independent contractors, to minimize the risk that you are violating any of the California Wage and Labor laws.

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Asset Protection for Entrepreneurs

Going into business for yourself is a risky endeavor. From investing in goods and services and hiring employees to simply carrying out the daily tasks related to your business, each step is fraught with risks.

This is especially true given the litigious nature of our society. As a result, many entrepreneurs employ asset protection strategies. Asset protection is a form of strategic planning aimed at minimizing risk and protecting assets from creditors’ claims and litigation.

 

Careful asset protection can help you retain and sustain the value of the property and accounts you own. As an entrepreneur, here are a few strategies you can use to protect your assets:

1. Separate your personal assets from your business assets by establishing a limited liability business entity. The default structure for an individual starting a business is the sole proprietorship; the default structure for multiple people starting a business together is a partnership. These entities, though simple to create, do not legally protect the business owners’ personal assets. However, business structures like the limited partnership, limited liability company, and the corporation provide limited liability. This means that the owners of the business are not personally liable for the company’s debts or other liabilities—for example, if a judgment is obtained in a lawsuit against the business. A properly established and maintained limited liability business structure restricts liability to assets belonging only to the business. Creating a separate legal entity is one of the first steps every entrepreneur should take to protect personal assets. Subsequent practices like opening a separate business account, complying with legal requirements such as paying state filing fees, and not commingling personal funds with business funds further establish the legal separation between personal assets and business assets.

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Recordkeeping Requirements for Business Owners during COVID-19

Contracts are an essential component of effective business management and development.

As state leaders attempt to develop guidelines for reopening safely, you may have questions about the requirements for maintaining a safe environment for your business. Specifically, you may be wondering how to document the steps you have taken if someone in your workforce is exposed to COVID-19 and tests positive for the virus.

 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for establishing and enforcing safe working environments for employees through the use of training, outreach, education, and assistance. On May 19, 2020, OSHA released a revised memorandum on recordkeeping in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

OSHA generally requires business owners with more than ten employees to keep records of and report all serious work-related illnesses. OSHA recognizes COVID-19 as a recordable illness. As a result, even smaller businesses may need to report certain work-related COVID-19 illnesses if a work-related COVID-19 illness causes an injury requiring in-patient hospitalization, amputation, loss of sight, or a fatality. This means that businesses should create and maintain records at the worksite for at least five years in compliance with OSHA standards.

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The Dangers of DIY Contracts

Contracts are an essential component of effective business management and development.

Savvy business owners recognize the value of contracts but often explore ways to reduce the cost of obtaining them. In some instances, business owners attempt to create their own contracts by using templates available online.

 

However, creating your own contract is fraught with risks. What you do not know can, in fact, hurt you. The following are examples of the potential risks you face when you choose the do-it-yourself (DIY) route.

 

1. The Contract May Leave Out Key Provisions. Creating your own contract in an attempt to save money can run the risk of unintentionally leaving out key legal terms and clauses that protect your interests as a business owner. Contracts created with online templates are often overly broad or vague, resulting in agreements that, when analyzed, fail to provide the specific protections that make the contract valuable. Attorneys have the experience and resources to craft contracts that include the most important provisions to protect your business.

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