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Inside Business Law Los Angeles

Inside Business Law Los Angeles

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What Does A Business Lawyer Do?
Business Lawyers represent businesses in a variety of cases. Whether representing businesses and entrepreneurs in litigating employment law matters including discrimination, harassment, disability issues, wage and hour resolving contract disputes between business partners or contractors, negotiating and drafting of all manners of business-related contracts, managing compliance with state and local licensing and zoning rules and regulations, or properly forming business entities in California, our attorneys have the expertise and understanding of the Los Angeles business and legal climate to help your business meet all of its legal requirements and challenges.

Forming a Business Entity
We are trusted and experienced. Various business entities provide personal asset protection which shields you from being personally liable for business lawsuits or debts. Our business lawyers will form your new business the correct way, helping you choice the type of entity that best suits your needs, saving you time and money by avoiding costly errors. Let us handle your business formation while you focus on growing your business.

Incorporated Documents
A certificate of incorporation is a legal document relating to the formation of a company or corporation.
Articles of incorporation refers to a set of formal documents filed with a government body to legally document the creation of a corporation. We understand the need for filings to be perfect to save you time and money. You need a lawyer to do this for you so that you can free up vital time to run other parts of your business. There are many types of incorporated documents. We can tell which entity will protect you and your business. For example, articles of incorporation must contain pertinent information, regardless of whether you are forming a C corporation or an S corporation, the company formation document is called the Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Incorporation. This document provides the state with necessary information on your business.

Contract Law
At McElfish Law Firm, we have years of experience handling contract matters for individuals and businesses throughout Los Angeles. We can assist you with:
• Contract drafting – when drafting a contract, we will receive input from both parties and strive to
write a contract that meets the needs of our client.
• Contract review – our attorneys can review a contract for inconsistencies and unacceptable clauses
before you accept it.
• Contract negotiation – we can negotiate the terms of a contract to assure your interests are
protected.
• Contract litigation – in addition to negotiation, we litigate breach of contract issues and other
contract dispute matters. A contract case usually comes before a judge because one or both parties
claim that the contract was breached. A breach of contract is a failure, without legal excuse, to
perform any promise that forms all or part of the contract. Breach of contract is a fairly common
occurrence in the world of business, and happens for various reasons.

Breach of Contract
It’s not uncommon for businesses to find that a distributor, supplier, or other business entity does not deliver on what was agreed upon. When honest discussions fail to bring about results, it may be time to speak with a breach of contract attorney to learn your rights and get what’s owed to you. Work with attorneys who have the experience and who will fight for your rights in making sure those contracts are honored.

At McElfish Law Firm, we represent clients in all types of breach of contract cases, including:
• Failure to pay for a product or services
• Failure to deliver a product or services
• Missed deadlines
• Failure to meet the terms of a secondary agreement, such as a lease, mortgage or loan document
• Disputes over terms in the contract
• Disputes between partners or workers

All McElfish Business Practice Areas

• Business Disputes
• Forming New Business
• LLC
• Incorporated Documents
• Contract Law
• Construction Defect
• Employment Contracts
• Landlord Representation
• Real Estate & Lease Litigation
• Wage and Benefit Claims
• Construction Law
• Employment Disputes

How We Can Help You

We have the experience to help you or your business achieve the legal results you need even if you do not see your business matter listed in here. Call us today to learn more 310.659.4900.

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Six Key Ways That Enterpreneurs Are Facing Risks

Six Key Ways That Enterpreneurs Are Facing Risks

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Establishing your own business is an exhilarating prospect but it is also one that comes with an inherent level of risk. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs continue to face risks in their business every single day and without knowledge of an outside professional in the form of a business attorney, they may be exposed to risk on a regular basis. What follows are six common situations that put entrepreneurs at risk even if they do not realize it.

Absorbing All Personal Liability

A business structure should be selected that limits a person’s individual liability. A sole proprietorship may allow for an individual to be held personally liable whereas a limited liability company or a corporation minimizes this.

Not Conducting a Risk Analysis

A regular risk analysis can help to identify problems inside and outside of the company that should be addressed with a strategic plan. A risk analysis is a powerful process that helps to illuminate weak spots in the business. From this point, you can develop a comprehensive risk management plan to determine how to close the gap. Having outside professionals like a lawyer to assist you with this process can be extremely helpful.

Not Having Proper Agreements between Partners

A buy-sell agreement or a partnership agreement helps to establish the terms of the relationship between individuals working at a company. Without these, chaos can ensue if one partner wants to do something and the other does not agree.

Absorbing All Insurance Related Risk

Injuries to suppliers, customers, damage to the facilities or product liability can all present significant problems for a business of any size. Transfer this risk to insurance companies by purchasing affordable policies that give you peace of mind that your business will still be able to operate and recover after a significant incident.

Not Using Proper Employee Agreements

Unfortunately, employment disputes are a common cause of litigation these days. Without properly written agreements you may be exposing yourself to unnecessary risk with employees who try to take advantage of your good nature. Having employment agreements in place ensures that everyone kicks off the relationship on the right page and can also assist in the event that an employee needs to be terminated.

Not Engaging in Regular Contract Review

Contracts are the lifeblood of any entrepreneur’s business and these should be properly drafted, negotiated and reviewed on a regular basis by an experienced business attorney.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from McElfish Law Firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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California Business Licenses

California Business Licenses

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What Is a Business License?

A business license or permit is generally recommended, and sometimes required, for individuals or businesses to operate in California. Business licenses exist at the local, state, and federal level. Licenses and permits cover almost every type of business activity, such as building construction, restaurants and nightclubs, retail sales and the ability to work as a licensed professional.

What Determines the Licenses I Need?

The type of licenses or permits you will need depends on several factors, including:
•Your profession or occupation
•Whether you are an employer or an independent contractor
•Your industry and business activities
•Your place(s) of business

Professional Licenses in California

Depending on your profession, you may need to obtain a license to practice in California, even if you have been previously licensed in a different state. The licensing requirements vary by profession, and many are issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs. A few of the professions for which a license is required are:

•Healthcare Practitioners
•Alcohol Sales
•Food Sales
•Aestheticians and Cosmetologists
•Real Estate Brokers and Agents
•Security Guards

Do I Need Any Local Permits?

Local permits are dependent on city and county requirements and ordinances. Local licenses and permits are common for items such as:
•Construction or renovation
•Health permits
•Zoning permits
•Local business licenses

License and permit requirements vary, so to be sure, you should check with your local authorities.

How Can I Find Out If I Need a Professional License?

You should always check with your local authorities in the city or county where you plan to work or operate a business.
Should I Consult a Business Attorney in California?

Applying for business licenses and permits may not require the help of an attorney. However, if you are setting up a new business, an experienced business attorney can help provide guidance on permits, as well as other business organization issues. If you have been charged with criminal or civil penalties for a failure to have a proper permit, an attorney can help defend you.

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Businesses Small & Large Can Encounter These 4 Common Lawsuits

Businesses Small & Large Can Encounter These 4 Common Lawsuits

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From an international corporation headquartered on the world-famous Wall Street of New York to the mom-and-pop shop in West Hollywood, California, no company is immune from legal troubles. When something goes wrong for a business, a lawsuit or business litigation is likely to follow. In order to these common lawsuits as efficiently as possible, it helps to know what to expect and how to react to plaintiff claims.

If you are a business owner, executive, or manager, you should know about these four common lawsuits filed against business big and small:

  1. Employment discrimination: You would be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t have a single employee. Once someone is under your wing as a worker, you need to be aware of and strictly maintain a wide variety of employment laws. Most often, employees create lawsuits based on perceived discrimination in the workplace based on a protected class; employment discrimination lawsuits also include wrongful termination claims.
  2. Wage law violations: Everyone wants to collect each dollar they earn, whether paid by commission, hourly, or salary. Watch your accounts and finances closely to ensure you never short an employee what they have earned, or be prepared to get hit by a serious unpaid wages or overtime violation lawsuit.
  3. Breach of contract claims: No matter the size of your business, you use contracts to define acceptable practices, expectations, vendor relationships, and much more. Contract disputes can arise quickly when one party fails to uphold their end of the contract, does not understand what the contract requires, or attempts to dissolve a contract entirely. If your business uses unique intellectual property, be watchful for non-compete and nondisclosure contract violations that employees or partners may willingly or unwittingly commit.
  4. Partnership disputes: Leaning more towards companies and larger corporations than small businesses, partnership disputes represent one of the most troubling legal issues you can face as a business owner. Relationships with partner organizations might be the backbone of your own company, and losing them over a lawsuit can be absolutely devastating. Light steps and a solid legal foundation are required for any partnership dispute that requires business litigation.

 

Is your business struggling to manage a lawsuit filed against you? Do you need to create a lawsuit of your own after another party has harmed your company’s reputation or finances? McElfish Law Firm business attorneys can provide the legal assistance, guidance, or representation you need. Call (310) 659-4900 today to request your initial consultation.

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6 Reasons You Should Hire a Business Litigation Lawyer

6 Reasons You Should Hire a Business Litigation Lawyer

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There are many reasons to start your own business. It is both an exciting and scary time. While you really want to focus on further developing your products and/or services, and growing your business, you may encounter some legal setbacks along the way. In fact, there are many legal considerations you should be aware of when starting out on your adventure. One of the questions you should ask yourself is: “What happens if you get sued?

If you find that your business is being sued or is in the middle of a dispute, here are some reasons why you should hire a business litigation attorney.

  1. Correct Formation

When you start a business, it must have a legal structure. This means it could be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC, or a corporation. A business litigation lawyer can work with you to ensure that your business is legally operating under the correct formation type and assist in protecting your rights under that particular formation.

  1. Review Agreements

While it might be a great idea to partner or team up with another individual to run and operate your business, remember that there are a number of legal implications and considerations that go along with this decision. A business litigation attorney can help you draft those agreements and put them into motion to ensure that both your interests are protected in the event of a dispute or breach of contract.

  1. Control Contracts

As a business owner, you know you need a contract for pretty much anyone you do business with, from partners, other organizations, vendors and suppliers, service agreements, and even employees. A business litigation attorney can help businesses with legal disputes surrounding contracts. In fact, the Court will often require that legally binding contracts between entities be drafted by an attorney.

  1. Free from Fraud

We hear about fraud on a daily basis. From healthcare fraud to insurance fraud to consumer identity theft, fraud is all around us. And businesses are at risk too. A business litigation Lawyer can help your business fight against fraudulent disputes that arise.

  1. Regulate Responsibilities

Sometimes in partnerships and in other agreements the break down of roles and responsibilities can get confusing and even lost in translation. A business litigation attorney can help iron out fiduciary duties.

  1. Execute Employment

One of the biggest problem areas for businesses is employment. From workers’ compensation claims to employment contracts to employee lawsuits, if an employee files a lawsuit against you, regardless of the reason or cause, a business litigation attorney can help serve and represent you and protect your entity.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from McElfish Law Firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

 

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Limit the Liability of Your Company Holiday Party: 10 Ways to Protect Your Business

Limit the Liability of Your Company Holiday Party: 10 Ways to Protect Your Business

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It is the holiday season, a time for office parties and charity events. While gatherings can provide opportunities for professionals to mingle casually with their co-workers and clients, they can also prove to be a liability for businesses that serve alcohol. The United States Department of Labor states that holding an office holiday party with improper use of alcohol can make employers vulnerable to liability under tort, workers’ compensation, or other laws. That is why businesses should take reasonable precautions to prevent any risks and financially protect themselves by making sure they have the proper insurance.

Liquor liability laws were intended originally to apply to bars and other establishments selling and serving alcohol. However, the liability laws have expanded over time to include “social hosts” (such as those holding a holiday party in their home or business) in some states giving them some exposure to the risk of liability for serving alcohol.

When business owners host a holiday party and serve alcohol as part of the festivities, liquor liability can be covered by their commercial general liability (CGL) policy. However, it is always best to check with your insurance agent or broker first.

In addition to a CGL policy, businesses should also consider purchasing an Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy. An EPLI policy will protect a business from discrimination, sexual harassment, emotional distress, and other workplace-related issues. When you buy the coverage, make sure it includes “third-party” coverage. Third-party coverage refers to claims made by non-employees, usually clients or customers, who allege that an employee engaged in wrongful conduct such as sexual harassment or discrimination. This can be important coverage, for example, if someone in management has had too much to drink and makes an inappropriate overture to a client or customer. Without a specific policy endorsement for third-party claims, EPLI policy forms do not cover these types of exposures. In addition to overtly inappropriate behavior, if someone puts a video clip or picture on YouTube or Facebook that could result in reputational harm, it is also covered under an EPL policy.

How to Protect Your Business

How do you ensure that you don’t get hit with a workplace lawsuit after an office holiday party? The following tips may help to prevent a lawsuit:

1. Advise employees to be responsible. Include a statement on the party invitation and/or circulate a written reminder to all concerned on the responsibilities to drink only in moderation and to avoid driving after drinking.

2. Emphasize to management that they must lead by example.

3. Hold the party at an offsite location. If problems do arise, it is better that they occur away from the business premises. Depending on the state, the liability will generally be on the restaurant instead of the company. However, it is not unusual for an employer to be named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit if an intoxicated employee leaves any company-sponsored event and injures himself or herself or another person as a result.

4. Do not pay for alcoholic drinks. Guest will drink less if they have to pay for the drinks themselves.

5. If you feel you must furnish alcoholic beverages, consider a drink voucher system to limit the number of drinks served. Or, serve alcohol for only a short period.

6. Consider hiring a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and will limit consumption by partygoers.

7. Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. It is proven that food can help counter the effects of alcohol.

8. Make attendance at the event optional. This allows employees who are clean and sober, or who simply don’t like drinking, to stay home if they wish. It also gives your company an argument that an overindulging employee’s actions were not in the course and scope of employment, as it was not a required work event.

9. Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening and switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.

10. Arrange alternative transportation. Anticipate the need for alternative transportation for all employees and guests and make special transportation arrangements in advance of the party. Encourage all employees and guests to make use of the alternative transportation if they consume any alcohol.

Business owners should talk with their insurance advisor about their liability insurance coverage and any exclusions, conditions, or limitations to their policies for this kind of risk. Appropriate liability insurance coverage is necessary. In some cases special event coverage may be available that will cover both liquor liability and other liability exposures specific to the event.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from McElfish Law Firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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