A business should look for an attorney who has experience in business law. Not all areas of practice are the same and neither a real estate attorney, an estate planning attorney, nor a collection attorney can holistically know and understand the best ways to represent your business. Furthermore, you should look for someone who has received the prestigious distinction as an AV Preeminent Attorney from Martindale-Hubble, which provides impartial peer-reviewed ratings of lawyers and law firms for consumers and professionals. In addition, it is important for your business attorney to have meaningful contacts within the community. Ideally, your attorney should add to the synergy of your business. Finally, as with any attorney, your business attorney should be able to attentively concern herself or himself with the issues that are important to your business and provide you counsel in a timely manner.
Many business owners automatically think they need a large firm to represent their interests. What are the advantages of retaining Gordon Law instead?
Larger law firms have tremendous overhead. Furthermore, because of their size, they generally delegate work to younger, less experienced attorneys. In so doing, the client ultimately has to pay for both the firm’s overhead as well as the learning curve for the younger attorneys. This cost is not always merely financial. As a business owner, it is difficult to justify having your issues delegated to an inexperienced attorney and then reviewed by a more experienced attorney (each at a cost to you) and never knowing who is actually performing the work for you. At Gordon Law, the attorney you retain is the attorney with whom you will work. There will be no surprises as to who is handling your business. Similarly, there will be no duplication of billing for multiple attorneys working your file.
You’ve practiced business law in the Las Vegas area for more than two decades. How does your experience and judgment benefit your clients?
In many ways, Las Vegas is still a small-town. Relationships are important. Having practiced here for more than 20 years, I have had the great privilege of working both within and outside of the legal community. My background and experience have served my clients well: I was appointed to the Nevada Judicial Conduct Commission to address the ethical rules affecting our judges; I served as General Counsel to the State of Nevada Democratic Party; I presently serve as a Director of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce. These relationships assist me in counseling my clients. Furthermore, my relationships with other lawyers and judges within Southern Nevada ensure that my clients’ positions are properly heard and respected.
You recommend taking a proactive approach to business law, dealing with small problems before they become big ones. Can you provide an example of how this can save businesses money, time and headaches?
Any relationship, transaction or event can ultimately lead to litigation. As a business owner, you never want to find yourself in a courtroom. Having an attorney review agreements to ensure your rights and responsibilities are properly set forth can help you avoid a future dispute. Having an attorney involved in the negotiation and execution of all business documents including, but not limited to, operating agreements, shareholder agreements, lease agreements and the like, can keep you out of court.
I have a will. Isn’t that enough to protect my business and my loved ones in the event of my passing?
A will is the minimum you will need. You will almost certainly need a trust as well. A trust is, essentially, a contract that created to hold and disburse assets. In the creation of a trust, you will place your assets in the trust and the trust will then disburse them. There are many benefits to a trust. The primary one is the ability to avoid the time and cost associated with probate. Depending on your particular circumstance, there may be tax benefits associated with a trust as well.
If there is more than one owner in a partnership, corporation or limited liability company (LLC), then you should also have a buy-sell agreement. This enables you to predetermine the purchase price of your interest so that your heirs may be bought out upon your death. If you have an LLC, this can be included in your operating agreement. Also, the purchase price can be funded by insurance so that you can receive tax benefits in that manner as well.
Finally, a succession plan is particularly helpful if you have a family-run business. A succession plan enables the primary owner/operator of the business to create a procedure for the business to be taken over by either another family owner or by a non-family operator. This is ideal to ensure the survival of the business through the transition of the owner’s death.
Although litigation should be seen as a last resort, it sometimes becomes necessary. What are the traits of a good litigator?
Especially in business litigation, you want an attorney who is familiar with the courtroom, in general, and the Eighth Judicial District Court’s Specialized Business Courts in particular. In terms of the traits of a good litigator, you should look for someone who listens more than they speak. A client should look for an attorney who is tenacious, but has the understanding that you must always keep the door open for negotiation. A good litigator is someone who is detail-oriented and can articulate for you how the facts of your particular case fit into existing law. Finally, and most importantly, you should look for a lawyer who will be candid with you about the merits of your position.
You’ve often said that you “negotiatie in the gray areas.” What does that mean?
Similar to issues in your business, legal matters are rarely black or white. It is within this context that an attorney with a strong business background can be most helpful to you. All negotiations, whether they are in a transaction or in the midst of heavily contested litigation, are opportunities to understand the other side’s position and create an avenue that is most beneficial to yours. Recognizing and capitalizing on these opportunities can help achieve the best resolution or forge a new, more advantageous pathway.
Please describe your ideal client.
My ideal client is one who is candid with me. I am much more effective when I have all of the facts unfiltered. Additionally, my ideal client recognizes the value he or she pays for my counsel and follows my recommendations. Ultimately, my ideal client is one who communicates with me freely and enables me to do the same.