Articles Posted in business law

Boston business attorneys and First Amendment free speech advocates alike are closely watching the developments in the case of Dietz Development v. Perez, unfolding in the Virginia Supreme Court.
At the center of the controversy is a business relationship gone sour, followed by a scathing review on a popular online platform.

The plaintiff business in this case is seeking $750,000 in damages for a bad review that a former customer gave him regarding his contracting work inside her home.
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With the amount of commitment required for employers to bring on full-time workers, almost one in five small business owners are opting instead to hire independent contractors.

That’s according to a recent survey from, which sought to quantify the changing tide of how many small business owners are choosing to operate.
Our Boston small business lawyers know that there are a number of benefits companies can realize from both contractors and full-time employees. Most tend to see independent contractors as significantly less hassle. However, there are legal considerations that companies need to make in order to avoid contract disputes and litigation.

Investing in the services of an experienced business attorney prior to hiring a contractor can help you avoid some of the most common and serious problems that can arise.
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The Wall Street Journal recently reported there has been a 60 percent spike in the number of non-compete clause litigation actions filed against departing employees in the last 10 years.
Our Boston business lawyers know that while some view these actions as a way to insulate companies from theft of trade secrets or the heist of business relationships or customer data, others see it as stifling entrepreneurship and healthy corporate competition.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, and varies on a case-by-case basis.
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A recent survey conducted by consultancy firm Ernst & Young found that many companies around the world remain reticent to become involved in business acquisition, though many say they are becoming increasingly more confident in terms of the global economy.
Our Boston business lawyers know that business acquisition in Massachusetts is always a matter requiring careful thought, detailed analysis and experienced legal guidance.

This is not a decision you make flippantly, and we understand a certain amount of reluctance as we emerge from a battered economy. Yet, those who take the risks now are the ones who will likely end up with the future reward.

The Ernst & Young bi-annual assessment of big company intentions found that increasing confidence in the economy hasn’t yet translated into more acquisitions and investments. The survey questioned more than 1,500 senior executives working for companies in 50 different countries, the majority of which raked in annual profits of more than $500 million.

Encouragingly, more than half of the executives believe the global economy is improving, which is more than double what we saw in an attitude survey at the end of the third quarter of 2012.

Historically, we would see improved sentiment illustrated in a growing number of acquisitions and mergers. Right now, about 30 percent of companies are planning some kind of acquisition deal in the next year. That’s lower than one might expect to see, given the confidence level, but it’s several notches up from where we were just a few years ago.

It does appear that some companies are being more cautious about the mergers and acquisitions they do make, despite a few headline-grabbing instances recently (Dish Network Corp.’s $26 billion bid to purchase Sprint Nextel Corp., for example). Overall the value of corporate deals are still lower than what we saw at the onset of the financial dive back in 2007 and 2008.

The most likely industries to see deal activity are technology, consumer products, oil and gas, life sciences and automotive. Mining and utilities were among the least likely.

For smaller business owners, there may be even more reticence. Still, a merger or acquisition can be a smart move.

Some of the questions you’ll want to ask yourself include:

  • Ask whether your business is ready. Usually, that involves questioning whether your company will be able to reach your growth targets internally. If not, it may be time to consider an acquisition.
  • When screening companies, whittle down your selections by matching up the needs of your company to those that have the potential to lower your costs, improve your competencies, increase your revenue or expand your market share.
  • Form a team of experienced advisers that will include accountants, investment bankers and skilled legal representatives. No matter how business savvy you are, there will inevitably be angles or elements you may miss. Having this extra insight will only serve to ensure the strong foundation of your new business venture.

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