Finding an Efficient New York Business Lawyer for your NY Business

We here at IPG obtain numerous emails and calls from potential clients in search of a New York business lawyer to act as part-time general counsel.  The majority of these intakes come from referrals from present clients, referrals from other lawyers and some trickle in via this New York Law Blog and the Korean Law Blog. From our contacts, we believe that many smaller businesses in New York are having serious difficulties in finding attorneys in New York that are NY business savvy, have the ability to efficiently work for the client and/or have an inability to handle the specific issues the client is dealing with. This dismal situation seems to stem, primarily, from the high cost of top-notch legal services in NY and the lack of many top-notch New York lawyers working in the startup and growing business space.  This reality is, only, partially true.  Many great lawyers work

Continue reading

Buying or Selling A Business in New York? Do Your “Due Diligence”

Before buying or selling a New Yorkbusiness, make sure you understand how to perform a “due diligence” for the business. This is essential for all businesses whether you are the buyer or a seller. A good motivated seller of a business will, usually, receive a better deal if pre-due diligence work is performed in order to satisfy the potential requests of a buyer – in a timely fashion. We often see a buyer questioning documents produced when the documents are not produced in a timely manner. Recently, I was approached by a prospective client about selling a small business, and I asked if she knew what performing a “due diligence” was. The blank stare on her face was all the answer I needed. Many small business owners have heard the term, but know nothing about what it means to properly carry out the due diligence process. “Due diligence” is a

Continue reading

Starting A Nonprofit Corporation in New York

Here is a not-so-quick introduction of how to start a nonprofit corporation in New York. A 501(c)(3) organization, which are formed for religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes, is eligible for federal and New York state tax exemption.  But before you can have a tax exempt organization, you need to create a non-profit organization in New York.  Here is what you need to do to create a non-profit organization in New York. Creating a Non-profit Organization in New York Choose Directors Choose 3 initial directors over the age of 18, preferably people who live in New York. Select a Name Choose the name of your non-profit corporation that is distinguishable from the name of any other corporation.  To assist you, New York’s Department of State has a business name search database of New York businesses to determine whether your name is available. Select the Address Determine the address and location

Continue reading

New York Shareholder, Member and Partnership Business Disputes In NY: New York Business Disputes & Litigation Basics

New York Business Disputes We handle numerous shareholder and member disputes.  The main reasons for these disputes are because of the lack of an adequate Shareholder, Operations or Partnership Agreement, the lack of due diligence or nefarious acts by a member, shareholder or controlling directors.  Analyzing whether to file a lawsuit is, often, a matter of economics. A civil law suit at the court of first instance may take over a year.  Your attorney in New York will need to file a complaint to in a NY court, file a reply to the defendant, depose witnesses, file pre-trial requests and make numerous appearances in court and at pre-trial conferences.  The process is cumbersome, time consuming and of course will not be cheap. Thus, we, always, sit down with our clients and do a detailed cost-benefit analyses.  Many New York law firms push to file a lawsuit for obvious reasons, however,

Continue reading

SEC Regulation D – Private Offerings: NY Startup Law

Start-ups in New York looking for investment capital should consider the classification of investors that can and cannot partake in private offerings.  Under the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation D, an organization may issue a private offering of stock to raise funds without officially registering to “go public.” We discussed the nature of Regulation D offerings, which are also called “private placements” in an earlier blog post. Only certain types of investors may participate in a Regulation D offering.  To understand why the SEC encourages certain kinds of investors over others, it is important to understand the different types of investors in the market: Accredited Investor: This is defined as an individual that has earned US$200,000 or more on an annual basis for the past two out of the three years and is likely to make that same amount this year. Alternatively, an accredited investor can fail to meet the income threshold,

Continue reading

Negotiating New York Royalty Agreements

When negotiating the use of your intellectual property, patent or process in exchange for royalties, these three basic tips are key when commencing negotiating New York royalty agreements and royalty agreements throughout most of the world. This week, we discussed some lessons learned from the recent news that the famed Broadway troupe Blue Man Group was sued over a dispute over royalties brought by a composer as an example of how not to handle setting up a royalty agreement. Here, we’ll discuss factors to keep in mind while negotiating a royalty agreements so you can (hopefully) avoid issues. Words Matter – as do Nuanced Agreements Definitions, requirements and terms do not always mean what you think they mean. That is why you should include a section defining material terms in your agreement. These definitions can be crucial, and must be discussed with your attorneys so that the final document is clear and

Continue reading

Private Placement Memos Get Start-Ups Moving

Recently, I wrote about the two tools available to small businesses to stir interest and investment – the business plan and the private placement memorandum.  Let’s focus on the private placement memorandum. A Private Placement Memorandum (or PPM for short) is a legal document that organized businesses provide to prospective private investors who may be interested in buying stock or some other kind of security in your business in some kind of private transaction. The PPM will put all of your cards on the table: 1.  Your company’s basics:  Who you are, what you are looking to accomplish and the nature of your business.  This can also include the description of your company and management structure. 2. Your terms:  First and foremost, you will need to identify the rights, restrictions and class of your securities.  This section includes the capitalization of your company before and after offering the securities or

Continue reading

Registering Your New York Nonprofit For Fundraising Purpopses

If your New York nonprofit is fundraising in New York, then you may likely need to register with the New York Attorney General’s office. Before soliciting contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations or government agencies within New York, a New York nonprofit must register with the NY Attorney General’s General Charities Bureau, unless it falls within one of the many exceptions: Exceptions to the New York Nonprofit Filing Requirements Religious organizations or other organizations with a religious purpose (i.e., a religious school); Educational institutions that solicit contributions only from alumni, the student body, faculty, trustees and their families, and other educational organizations that report to or are chartered by the Board of Regents of the State University of New York are exempt; PTAs (Parent-Teacher Associations); Fraternal, patriotic, social or alumni membership organizations that limit their solicitations to its membership; Law enforcement support groups, veterans organizations, and volunteer firefighter/volunteer ambulance service organizations; Any

Continue reading

Terminating A Franchise Agreement In New York: NY Franchise Law Basics

The termination or cancellation of a New York franchise relationship requires planning, a thorough understanding of your particular New York franchise agreement and procedural formalities.  Typically, it is advisable to consult with your franchise lawyer. New York Franchise Terminations (Franchisee Considerations) For example, preparation should begin before signing a franchise agreement by a New York franchisee.  Before signing, a would-be franchisee should consider the written terms outlining the right to terminate the franchise agreement.  Other clauses, of course, should be reviewed.  This post, only, addresses one issue of many that a franchisee should consider. Typically, a franchisor shall lay out several conditions it would consider to be breaches of the franchise agreement that trigger termination.  These conditions will not afford an opportunity for either party to cure or correct the specific condition.  These incurable breaches are, typically, material breaches of franchise agreement and, often, New York law.  In some cases, a

Continue reading

Starting a New York Restaurant? New York Restaurant Law

Starting a restaurant in New York involves significant consideration of New York state and local health and safety regulations.  Because restaurants and eateries are all about serving food, New York subjects restaurants to significant regulations regarding food health and safety. The New York State Department of Health has many regulations for food service establishments, including coverage of: employee cleanliness issues; employee hand washing and food handling; employee health issues, such as prohibition from working if they have certain illnesses; washing of fruits and vegetables; reheating and thawing food; cleaning and sanitizing utensils; and garbage storage and disposal. The NYS Department of Health has a guide and other resources that can help you ensure you are meeting regulatory requirements. In addition, if your restaurant is in New York City, there are additional handbooks containing local guidelines that you must follow, including how to obtain a New York City Food Handler’s License.  New

Continue reading

Factors to Consider When Forming a Corporation in New York

New York businesses are not bound to incorporate within the state to operate within New York State. In fact, start-up businesses in New York should consider incorporating outside of New York based on several factors for consideration. Some choose to keep things simple by incorporating or forming an LLC in New York, while others opt for more “business friendly” states and incorporate in Delaware, Nevada or Wyoming. In some cases, even if you wish to establish a business in New York, it is advisable to form a company outside New York and enter New York as a foreign business – one of the many reasons is the New York may impose liability on company shareholders.  Here are some of the more important factors to consider when choosing a state for incorporation: Setup & Recurring Fees While a minor consideration in the grand scheme of establishing and operating a business, you

Continue reading

Successor Liability Pitfalls in New York

When buying or selling a New York business or any of a business’s assets under NY law, potential successor liability of the buyer is of primary concern.  New York Successor Liability Law is complex and the following is, only, intended as a brief overview of the matter. Successor liability in New York is liability that the buyer of a New York company’s assets may have for the liabilities of the seller of those assets performed prior to the purchase.  Essentially, a buyer would be compelled to pay off debt that the seller accumulated prior to completion of the transaction. The general rule in New York is that the buyer of company assets does not assume and is not liable for the seller’s liabilities unless otherwise expressly stated in the asset purchase agreement.  However, exceptions exist. New York Successor Liability Exception to General Rule Express or Implied Assumption by Buyer. This exception

Continue reading

U.S. Patents for New York businesses

The common types of U.S. patents that are available to innovative New York entrepreneurs seeking to protect their  intellectual property falls into three common categories based on the type of invention in question: design, utility and plant patents. Utility patents are chiefly concerned with how an invention functions.  A utility patent may be applied to a wide range of unique and innovative new products or processes. It prevents others from manufacturing, selling, using or distributing your invention.  Utility patents last for 20 years running from the date that the patent application was filed.  In addition to the initial patent filing fees, inventors must submit maintenance fees throughout the life of the patent in order to keep the patent’s protection. Design patents are any enhancement or adornment applied to an existing item or the design for a new product. It protects the aesthetic appearance and can be issued for the appearance, design,

Continue reading

Foreign Nationals Can Work for Their Businesses in New York

If you are a foreign national living in New York, it is not impossible for you to start a business. Starting a business, in New York, does not, in most case, even require residing in New York or even having the legal ability to reside in New York. If you are looking to start a business in New York as a foreign national or resident alien, it may be advisable, however, to be aware of the immigration requirements before you get started, since you may wish to live, work and reside in New York in order to conduct your business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, aside from U.S. citizens or naturalized citizens, if you are an individual with the following immigration status, then you can work for your business in New York: Green Card Holders – Also known as “permanent residents,” green card holders can work, live and study

Continue reading

New York Non-Compete & Confidentiality Agreements

Business in New York can be highly competitive, and relies, in part, upon a business’s ability to protect valuable information disclosed to current and past employees. Many NY companies feel that implementing non-compete agreements and other contractual obligations will encourage employee retention overall and protect information should an employee leave. It is important for New York businesses to understand, however, that there are restrictions to when and how non-compete agreements can be enforced. Traditionally, non-compete agreements in New York are used in companies and industries involving sensitive proprietary information and/or trade secrets. Non-compete agreements are commonly found across many industries regardless of size or products or services offered. They can take many forms depending on the information to be protected, including confidentiality agreements (prohibiting use or revealing information) and non-solicitation agreements (prohibiting approaching customers, poaching employees or contacting vendors). New York Courts consider the enforcement of a specific non-compete agreement

Continue reading

Buying a Business in New York

When buying a business in New York, we recommend a more nuanced approach that contemplates matters beyond a mere cost benefit analysis.  Small businesses are the engine of the American economy.  According to a 2012 Small Business Administration report, small businesses “produced 46 percent of the private non-farm GDP in 2008 (the most recent year for which the source is available), compared with 48 percent in 2002.”  New York is one of the best places to establish a business in many industries, because of its educated labor force, high net worth and business infrastructure. Here are a few of the important steps to consider when buying a New York business. What is the Deal Structure? When buying a NY small business, consider the reason for the purchase. The reasons shall, often, dictate the structure of the purchase and the risks associated with the anticipated deal. What is the primary reason for the

Continue reading

New York Reverse Mergers Basics

If you are looking to take your New York private business public, consider the benefits and drawbacks of a New York reverse merger.  Often executives and owners of successful New York businesses may wish to capitalize on that success by making shares of the business’s stock available to the public. Having a public company provides additional benefits to businesses, including expansion of business dealings and attracting highly talented hires with offers of stock options.  However, of course risks abound. In a reverse merger in New York, investors of a privately-held company acquire a majority of the shares of a publicly-held “shell company,” which is then merged with the privately-held company.  To consummate the deal, the private company trades shares with a public shell in exchange for the shell company’s stock, transforming the acquiring private company into a public company. An advantage of undertaking a reverse merger is the comparative ease

Continue reading

Starting a Home-Based Food Business in New York

If you are looking to create a home-based food business in New York, then you should become familiar with what you can and cannot make, as well as other rules and regulations that exist. Before you even think about launching your home-based food business, check with your city or town to see if you will be able to comply with local zoning laws that govern where you can run a business and,thus, if you can run a business from your home. In many cases, there are limitations on the percentage of your square footage within your home that you may dedicate for a home business. There may even be a complete restriction on running certain businesses in your neighborhood. Obviously, this can only be addressed on a case-by-case basis, so consult with an NY attorney before taking any further steps. Also, before you can operate a home-based food business in

Continue reading

New York Commercial Lease Basics: Negotiate a Good Guy Clause For Your New York Start-Up

New York start-up businesses can negotiate a Good Guy Clause into their NY commercial leases to gain flexibility in terminating leases should things go upside down. A New York Good Guy Clause is commonly used in New York City as a personal guaranty within a commercial lease.  In exchange for a guarantee from the tenant or an affiliate of the tenant to fulfill all obligations under the lease, the commercial NY landlord agrees to allow the New York tenant to terminate the lease early so long as all rent has been paid in full and the tenant gives sufficient notice.  The premises must be delivered “broom-clean” with all possessions and trash removed. Good Guy Clauses in New York may protect both the commercial landlord and tenant.  These clauses protect commercial landlords in New York City because these clauses avoid landlord-tenant litigation and, if there is a party other than the

Continue reading

The Most Common Ways NY Small Businesses Land In Court & Ways To Avoid The Court Room

Everyday, New York small businesses are served with lawsuits that could have been avoided had they implemented some simple practices that help avoid the court room. On average, a business with revenues of $1 million per year will spend about 2%, or about $20,000, per year in legal fees. That means many small businesses pay more, and some spend a lot more, than the average. Since every business needs to keep expenses down to survive, business owners need to recognize the most common legal pitfalls that result in litigation: Sued By An Employee: Employment disputes are some of the most common lawsuits that small businesses face because they come in many forms, including employment discrimination claims, wage claims, claims of unsafe work conditions and EEOC actions.  Putting in place an employment compliance system and understanding some basics of employment law, normally, leads to a less of an opportunity to being sued

Continue reading