Why Every New Small Business Should Meet with a Lawyer First

A new business owner, excited to get going, opens their new location without scrutinizing their lease agreement. An established businessman merges with a new partner based on a handshake, a romantic if legally tenuous decision. These missteps and there are infinite examples, could have easily been avoided if these businesspeople had taken a proactive approach and sought legal opinion before moving forward. Unfortunately, small businesses too often don’t seek legal assistance until after a situation has threatened their commercial livelihood.

Armando Llorens of Negocios Law sees this scenario play out again and again, a business owner who misses critical potential mishaps due to a focus divided in too many directions and an understandable naivete when it comes to the fine print. Fluent in Spanish with a Columbia law degree, Armando is an expert in business and corporate law.

With three offices in the New York Metropolitan area and a fourth in West Palm Beach, Armando and his colleagues handle cases across the corporate law spectrum including intellectual property, acquisitions, sales, franchising, leasing, employment, transactions, contracts, and commercial litigation.

Armando has seen every form of case in his over 20 years practicing law, observing a small business owner who becomes mired in unanticipated lease commitments, a partnership that goes horribly, or an employee payment model that results in a lengthy and potentially crippling tax audit. Armando calls upon this breadth of knowledge frequently, establishing long-term relationships with clients as a lawyer and advisor. In the ever-changing business landscape, especially for small enterprises, having an experienced lawyer can make the difference between commercial success and a short-lived operation.

Changing employee pay models has become a regular practice as a commercial entity grows and adapts to the numerous changes in the tax code. A client of Armando’s recently switched from a 1099 independent contractor model to a W-2 employee model for her therapy practice. Armando had recommended this change because, in his experience, he had seen multiple business owners who used the 1099 model under investigation by the State of New York as well as several lawsuits brought by New York and Federal agencies for violating wage laws and employment laws.

“I was able to save my client’s potential legal expenses, fines, and damages,” Armando says. “Moreover, once advice was sought I was able to provide guidance on a range of management issues such as New York requirements on sexual harassment training, mandatory paid sick leave, ERISA notice requirements, and other related labor law issues. Small businesses are not always aware of these expenses.”

Armando’s invaluable advice comes from his belief that every small business owner deserves to utilize every resource at her disposal. Though he was hired to convert an employee payment model, he discussed every facet of his client’s business, providing key unforeseen suggestions to further protect his client’s business interests and assure future success.

As Armando will readily tell you, many business law cases are far more nuanced than converting a 1099 to a W-2 employee model. One client recently entered a franchise agreement with a handshake. Not long afterward the deal fell apart, resulting in an acrimonious split. The client sought Armando’s legal advice to remedy the situation, but he could have avoided the pitfalls and identified other perilous issues altogether if he’d taken a proactive approach with Armando’s legal counsel.

“After looking over the case I could see the client should have waited for a better opportunity to arise,” says Armando. “Instead the client is involved in time-consuming and costly litigation. Seeking legal advice at the outset of a business startup or deal is cost-effective and best protects your legal rights.”

When you meet with Armando before launching into your new business venture, you add an experienced set of eyes and acute legal mind to your startup team, whether you’re launching a new app, forming a commercial partnership, or, as in the case of one recent client, acquiring a liquor license. Having scrutinized each facet of his client’s proposed license, Armando learned the enterprise was directly connected to the buildout of a restaurant and bar that intended to provide live entertainment.

“Thus, the client was informed of his employment law issues,” Armando says. “I was able to negotiate a commercial lease, garner the liquor license and necessary permits for operation of a restaurant as well as advise on the New York wage tip law applicable to his business.”

Moreover, Armando provided all of this advice at a negotiated flat fee, as well as coverage of legal issues the business would likely encounter in the future. Such legal security and cost-effectiveness establish the foundation for a new business.

Working with an experienced legal team is often the difference between business success and failure, a failure that can cause financial hardship well beyond the life of the operation.  As a business and corporate lawyer with over three decades of experience, Armando Llorens takes great pride in providing stellar legal advice for businesses, especially those businesspersons who are entering a new venture or ownership for the first time. Visit Armando’s website to learn more, or contact him directly for a consultation to see why hiring an experienced lawyer is the first step toward business success.

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