Creating a sound, strong foundation is the beginning step to any project, this holds true when establishing your business. Not only has Todd helped create, establish, and advise businesses on sound corporate governance, he has also litigated these issues in courts across the country. Understanding how such matters are attacked and defended in court allows Todd to offer practical small business law advice when drafting the entity formation documents, or when dealing with a dispute among shareholders/business owners.
Likewise, it is equally important to create sound, strong documents when it comes time to end a business relationship. There is nothing more irritating for a business owner than to be confronted with an unexpected bill or tax assessment well after business has closed, simply because the winding-up documents were not properly drafted. As such, the value of well-crafted documents setting forth not only when the business will end, but how the assets and liabilities will be divided cannot be understated. A thought-out, well-crafted dissolution agreement can go a long-way in minimizing any difficulties or conflicts when it comes to winding-down a business.
In addition to having sound corporate governing documents, the value of a well-drafted and practical contract cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, even a “perfect” contract will sometimes possess flaws that fail to address realistic business issues, while overly emphasizing remote legal issues. Such situations often stall or kill a business deal because of “problems” with “the contract.” Todd’s experience in negotiating and drafting contracts for both local businesses, and multi-national corporations allows him to understand what is important to a business, and how to best protect his client; while assisting the business in achieving its goals. All too often, lawyers forget the practical aspects of two parties doing business. Don’t you want someone that understands the unique issues your business faces, and is able to craft practical and effective solutions that address these issues?
Today’s employers find themselves facing an ever expanding complex and confusing array of business laws, regulations, court decisions, and myths when it comes to dealing with employees. The increased use of mobile devices, social media, and plain “old” Google, pose numerous concerns for employers and employees alike. In an effort to protect yourself, you need the assistance of an experienced small business law attorney. Todd’s experience in both private practice and in-house at a company with over one thousand employees, allows him to efficiently analyze the issues that confront you, plan ways to avoid these issues in a practical matter, and offer practical solutions when they do arise.
Classifying Someone as an Independent Contractor as opposed to an Employee
Knowing if someone is an employee or an independent contractor is not easy. Texas and the U.S. Government use different tests that can result in different determinations given the same set of facts and circumstances. The recent economic downturn has seen a rise in claims made against businesses when employees are let go, not only by the employee, but also by the State and Federal governments. A clear and comprehensive plan addressing how workers are classified can provide strong proof when dealing with inquiries from the Texas Workforce Commission or the I.R.S. An attorney with experience handling such matters can help minimize the headaches and potentially devastating impact should the government decide an independent-contractor is actually an employee.
Because Texas is a “right-to-work” state, many people mistakenly believe that they can terminate an employee without a reason, and with no adverse consequences. Terminating an employee without adequate supporting documentation can, and often does, lead to adverse consequences being dropped in the lap of the employer. Whether those consequences involve a change in one’s unemployment insurance rates, a complaint filed with the Texas Commission on Human Rights or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or a lawsuit, the services of an experienced small business law attorney can keep these things from occurring, and if the worst case happens, minimize the impact of these potential consequences. Whether it is developing a progressive employee discipline policy, dealing with a wrongful termination case, or handling a discrimination claim, Todd’s experience ensures that a sound, business-centric approach is crafted and executed so that you can continue achieving your business goals.
Trade Secrets/Non-Compete Agreements
One of the most confusing areas confronting both employees and employers a like, involves the use of Non-Compete Agreements, and Trade Secret clauses. In 2012, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicted that individuals stayed at their current job 4.4 years. Further, the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers found that ninety-one percent of those born between 1977 and 1997 expect to stay at their job for less than three years – meaning that they will have between 15-20 jobs over their working career. This transitory workplace makes it that much more important for businesses and business owners to protect their trade secrets. Compounding the problem of job-hopping employees, is the explosion of employees demanding the right to use their own electronic devices to do work, and to work remotely. Thus, employers are faced with the problem of how to practically protect themselves in this complicated and confusing environment. Todd’s experience advising business in everything from the highly competitive oil-field services industry, engineering industry to the e-waste industry has allowed him to create tried and tested policies and procedures that kept critical information secret.
Litigation, some folks consider it a dirty word, others a cost of doing business. Unfortunately, over 250,000 cases relating to contracts were pending in Texas State District Courts and County Courts at between September 2013, and August 2014. As such, the chances are high that you or your business will be sued. It is in times like this that you need an experienced trial attorney who also understands business to guide you through these treacherous waters.
While law school and private practice provide lawyers with the technical skills to represent clients in court, both do very little to help lawyers truly understand a client’s business and their business goals. The experience gained as in-house counsel managing cases across the country – in essence being the client – provides Todd with the unique experiences that help him fully understand the business side of litigation. Couple that experience with close to two decades of representing clients in court rooms ensures that he can and will zealously represent you in the court room.
Instead of taking a “Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!” approach towards legal matters that ignore the financial realities of today’s marketplace, Todd’s small business law experience allows him to analyze, develop, and execute a plan that is designed to assert and protect your legal rights, while preserving and enhancing your ability to succeed in business. Taking the time to get to know each client individual and what their goals are, ensures that you receive the highest level of legal representation with a business-centric focus.
Litigation is costly, both in terms of money and in terms of time. That is why Todd takes the time to fully understand your goals, both personally and as a business. Understanding the client’s unique situation is key in providing proper guidance. Todd discusses options, hard dollar costs associated with a case, as well as the soft costs, such as a client’s time, stress, and interruption of business operations, that litigation causes before charting a course of action. There is nothing worse than undertaking a lawsuit without fully understanding the long-term consequences. That is why it is important to have an experienced attorney like Todd that takes the time to understand what is important to you so that your business goals are not sidetracked by the legal system.