In contrast to the (generally) predictable path that litigation between individuals takes, business law litigation matters often vary drastically in the ways they evolve. Businesses routinely handle claims against the other businesses, the government, and even internal claims—sometimes all at the same time. In those cases, sound advice from an experienced lawyer is especially important when facing the complex business disputes that routinely confront businesses in Dallas. While a few business disputes will make national headlines, the overwhelming majority of business litigation events will be handled away from the media and the public. Unlike disputes involving individuals, business leaders more readily understand the generally impersonal nature of business disputes. This has a tendency to provide business leaders with a fuller perspective that helps prevent further damage to the business, its reputation, and its leaders. However, in some situations, a disputed matter must be resolved by a judge’s final order. Fortunately, most cases reach a favorable resolution outside of the courtroom using mediation, or another form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”). ADR refers to several dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration, negotiation and mediation. Such methods are alternatives to formal courtroom litigation. Parties who believe a resolution can be achieved without outside influence generally pursue a Negotiation-based route. Alternatively, if the parties believe that an independent voice may help the negotiation, the advice of a Mediator can be sought. However, those who would rather submit the issue to a disinterested third-party can use Arbitration. No matter the ADR method chosen, the time and cost benefits over formal litigation are often substantial. Having a number of choices on hand is usually preferred by business owners, but too many options can make choosing the “best” one a difficult prospect. Still, an abundance of options is a good problem to have. And with the advice of experienced litigators who possess a thorough knowledge of business law, the selection of an appropriate route can be made with ease.
One of the most important decisions a business leader can make is the selection of an appropriate business structure. Like dispute resolution methods, Texas law provides business leaders with several legal forms. Each type of entity can provide unique benefits, whether in regard to control, lability, or taxes. The selection of a legal structure that best aligns with the business’ goals and values is an important task. Indeed, business disputes can often be avoided entirely through the selection of an appropriate legal structure.
Sole Proprietorship – This is, perhaps, the most common entity form for a number of reasons. First, simplicity: sole proprietorships are businesses individuals operated through themselves. Additionally, Texas law requires no formal formation process for sole proprietorships—simply doing business creates the entity. Except where employment matters come into play, sole proprietorships do not often lead to inter-business disputes.
Partnership – The partnership is one of the oldest legal forms, tracing its roots back centuries to England. Generally, partnerships are owned by one or more persons, with ownership divided among the equity partners according to their proportion of initial investment in the business. Texas law provides several partnerships forms, including:
Corporation – The corporation has become the most common entity form in recent decades—even supplanting the traditional partnership. Legally speaking, a corporation is a “person.” Corporations maintain many of the benefits of traditional partnerships, but with limited liability that can shields the owners (that is, the shareholders) from personal liability. The liability shields shareholders from the acts of the managers (the board and corporate officers). One notable drawback of this corporate form is the increased tax burden (once at the corporate level and again at the shareholder level).
Limited Liability Company – This entity type represents a compromise between the partnership form and the corporate form. It provides some advantages of partnerships, such as pass-through taxation, with the limited liability protection of corporations. The LLC is now the preferred choice for many businesses—big and small—in a number industries.
Time and Cost: Most individuals enter legal disputes, understanding the matter to be a single, discrete event, unattached to the other aspects of their lives. For businesses, however, legal disputes often exist concurrently with current relationships. This added complexity requires careful management as to ensure the business’ operations remain intact while the dispute is resolved. Consequently, cost-minimizing efforts by the legal team can play a significant role in the eventual resolution of the matter. Our Dallas business lawyers have the experience and flexibility need to meet the demands of their resource-constrained clients so that they can get back to running the business.
Bad Press: One of the goals that often accompanies business dispute resolution is the management of public affairs. A business’ perception in the eye of the public can have an outsized impact on the resolution of ongoing matters. And this concern is not unique to only those companies with national brands—rather, local and regional business may find themselves even more susceptible to bad press than national competitors. In fact, sometimes a business’ local character creates an incentive for local journalists to focus on a story that seems to have special significance for local audiences. As a result, working with a legal team that understand the value of a business’ public image can help you focus on more important things—like getting back to business as usual. Experienced lawyers will not only be able to offer advice about legal consequences but can also assist matters relating to the business’ public image.
Below is an abbreviated list of business law matters our Dallas lawyers handle:
If you have questions regarding a pending, or anticipated, business matter, the advice of an experienced business lawyer often proves crucial. Feel free to contact Kirker | Davis LLP to schedule a meeting with an experienced lawyer today and learn why some many business leaders trust the lawyers at Kirker | Davis LLP.
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