Solving Today's Business Problem...
Chances are, if you are reading this, something has gone wrong with a business relationship or transaction that you were not anticipating. Whether it is a dispute between shareholders in a closely held corporation, a problem that has developed with a business contract, a claim of unfair competition, suspected or actual misappropriation of trade secrets, an employment problem or a dispute over a non compete agreement, our business lawyers can help you evaluate your potential claims, assess your risk, and advocate for your interests.
Our lawyers have handled a wide variety of business law problems, including employment law claims, breach of contract claims, shareholder disputes, claims arising from non compete agreements, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, and interference with contract. Our combined experience includes decades of practice both at large Boston law firms and at slnlaw representing businesses of all sizes in Massachusetts and federal courts, including the Business Litigation Section of the Massachusetts Superior Court. Learn more about what to do if your business has been sued.
We understand that whatever issue you are facing was probably not part of your business plan. We understand how disruptive litigation can be to your business. We also understand how important it is that your business lawyer takes the time to learn about what you do in your business and your objectives and priorities, and to keep those priorities front and center in developing a litigation and/or settlement strategy. We bring that understanding, our collective legal experience and knowledge, and a commitment to creativity, common sense and problem solving to each of our business law matters.
Our relationship with your business does not have to end with the successful resolution of a lawsuit. In fact, it does not have to begin with a lawsuit at all. From years of litigating disputes between businesses, or between shareholders or partners, or between businesses and employees, we have built a wealth of knowledge about the kinds of things that can go wrong and how to avoid them. We know a small business does not have the luxury of an in-house legal department to review its contracts, provide guidance on employment policies or handling a problem employee, advise your company about how to handle disagreements with vendors or other businesses, or any number of other business law issues that come up from time to time and have legal, as well as business, implications.
We also know that many times a small business owner may have a legal question that seems relatively minor, and not worth the time to research, find, and negotiate an engagement with a lawyer. But we have seen, time after time, examples of issues that could have been quickly resolved if the business owner had ready access to a lawyer to ask the small question, but instead mushroomed into costly litigation.
It's easier than you think to get your questions answered- just give us a call. We will not charge you for that first phone call, and if it looks like you need further assistance, we will work with you on a fee arrangement that is appropriate for your situation. You can contact us for a free, no obligation consultation; you also explore some of the benefits of our slnlaw Business Membership Program which may be the right fit for your business if you have a need for ongoing or periodic legal advice.
Some Examples of Problems We Have Solved
Leo Tolstoy once said "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." It can sometimes feel that way in a business dispute- once the wheels come off the bus in a business relationship and you are at a point where you are talking through lawyers, or even in the courts, it can feel like you have invented a special and unique kind of terrible place that nobody else ever has occupied.
But that's not actually true. Whatever you are experiencing, chances are we have seen something very much like it, and we can help get you through. Below are just a few examples of business disputes we have helped resolve.
Ownership dispute in a family-held business: in the third generation of ownership of a medium sized family business, things fell apart between the brother who believed their father had sold him the whole business before his death and his sisters who disputed that claim and wanted a say in how things were run. Decades of informal, family-based operations made putting the paper trial together a challenge for all parties, and emotions had been running high for almost that long. We were able to help the parties reach a resolution that clarified the ownership and operation of the business and allowed all parties to share in some way in their father's legacy.
Merchant processing dispute: a small business focused on selling credit card processing services to merchants became embroiled in a dispute with the processing company who served those accounts, leading to the small business' termination as a representative and substantial amounts of money owed to that business as a result of the larger company's method of calculating payments. What could have been a straightforward factual dispute about payment calculation was complicated by intense antagonistic feelings on both sides. After bringing the case to the eve of trial, we were able to achieve a resolution that made the small business whole.
Enforcement of a non compete against a fledgling business: when a handful of employees of a company decided to start their own business, their former employer threatened to stop that venture before it even got off the ground by insisting on enforcement of a wildly overbroad non compete. Working with the entrepreneurs, we were able to resolve that dispute on terms that not only allowed them to start and grow their own business, but secured compensation for amounts they had not been paid by their former employer.
Unfair Competition: when a husband and wife team who both shared in running their small business got divorced, they also found themselves in the middle of a business divorce, with one ex-spouse forming a competing company, and years of litigation following relating to claims of unfair competition. Ultimately, we were able to help resolve this dispute short of trial, in a way that allowed both businesses to move forward.
Those are some of the more dramatic stories, but we have also helped countless other small business owners resolve disputes without ever filing a document in court. Examples include a business partnership that was beginning to fall apart, where we were able to negotiate an amicable buyout of one partner before the relationship completely soured, disputes over commissions due to real estate brokers from development projects, conflicting interpretations of the meaning of words in a business contract, and many more.
Ready to Get Started?
We are ready to help. Our process starts with an initial consultation, which is absolutely free, at which a member of our team will find out a little more about your business and the issues you need help with. If what you need is something we can provide, we will discuss an appropriate fee arrangement and get you assigned to the appropriate attorney in our office. If what you need is outside our areas of expertise, we will do our best to connect you with a trusted referral who can help. You can use the button below to schedule your consultation, or simply give us a call at 781-784-2322, or fill out our web form.
A Message from Owner Emily Smith-Lee
"One of the reasons I love working with our small business clients is that I feel we have so much in common. Every one of the things I counsel clients on is something I have experienced in some way as a small business owner myself- tough choices about employees, navigating business relationships and partnerships, managing the sometimes unexpected consequences of growth, choosing and working with vendors, figuring out marketing and how to make the phone ring, doing battle with technology, and all of the other very important things that operate largely in the background of a small business. I think one of our most constant challenges as small business owners is knowing what is the forest and what are the trees, and I believe that one of the things we can do for your business as counselors is to help you deal with the trees so that you can keep your eye on the forest, the bigger picture, and keep moving your business in the direction you want it to go."
Emily has been practicing law for 22 years, and running the practice that became slnlaw since 2009. She has published a book on employment law called "Rules of the Road- What You Need to Know About Employment Laws in Massachusetts." She has been named to the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list every year since 2013, and was recognized as one of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly's 2018 Lawyers of the Year. Emily lives in Sharon, Massachusetts and is an active member of her community, having served for 8 years as an elected member of the Sharon School Committee, and currently serving as a member of the Sharon Board of Selectmen.
"Slnlaw did a fantastic job helping me set up my small business. Their attorneys were very friendly and knowledgeable, and I never felt pressured to purchase any service. I would definitely recommend them!" Michael S.
"It was a pleasure working with Emily Smith-Lee on a business matter. She willingly shares her expertise and always listens to her clients' concerns. Emily's caring demeanor puts people at ease immediately. The outcome of my experience with slnlaw was quite favorable. I would highly recommend them." Camille B.
"As a small business owner, I've had the best experience I could have hoped for. They've offered smart advice, like simplifying legal issues so that its clear what actions I can take. I've really appreciated the clarity I've gotten from them, and I always leave the office feeling completely capable and confident about what I need to do next. I also can't say enough about how much their firm puts my business first. They really care about making sure I do what's in my best interest and at the right time and they don't seem worried about anything else but making sure I'm doing the right thing for my company. I have a lot of confidence in recommending this group, both for their great advice and because I feel like it comes from a really good place." Ben L.
"Emily helped our LLC in crafting an international sales agency agreement. She took the time to listen and learn about our business as well as ask about our short and long terms goals. She has a deep understanding of business contract law and was able to explain things to us clearly without being overly legalese. We would recommend SLN Law without hesitation!" Michael M.
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