In the arena of corporate law, the firm’s practice primarily centers on the three main life cycles of any business: Formation, Growth and Exit. In doing so, ShuffieldLowman’s focus is on providing business advice, not merely legal advice. Essentially, we take a business approach to legal problems, regardless of business lifecycle.
Many clients choose to involve the firm early in the formation of a new business. This allows for proper decisions to be made regarding matters such as choosing the type of business entity, making the appropriate tax elections, establishing the proper governance structure among the directors, officers, managers and owners of the business, securing the ownership of intangible assets, such as the corporate name and trademark, and structuring the relationship of the business with its employees. In addition, the firm helps limit the risks many new businesses face by offering consultation to avoid litigation.
As businesses grow, ShuffieldLowman works with them to provide guidance in areas such as the retention of key employees through qualified and non-qualified executive compensation packages that often include non-competes and non-solicitation covenants and trade secret protection; the creation of holding companies and management companies; and the purchase and/or leasing of necessary real estate. In addition, the firm assists companies in maximizing the value of assets such as intellectual property and goodwill, and regularly counsels clients on the best way to leverage these assets to obtain the additional capital necessary to implement expansion programs. The firm also assists in the preparation of various contracts, including manufacturing and distribution agreements, sales representative agreements and the various services agreements used by businesses, either with clients and/or independent contractors.
Expertise in developing compensation packages including employment and severance agreements, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, supplemental executive pensions, equity participation plans, stock option and performance plans, stock or equity appreciation rights, discounted stock options, and stock bonus plans. Due to extensive experience, ShuffieldLowman is uniquely suited to handle the special needs of family related business issues that often manifest themselves in very emotional ways.
The Exit Strategy
The firm regularly counsels clients on the best means to exit an existing business through vehicles, such as business succession plans, ESOPs, stock options, sale and gift strategies with family members, and mergers and acquisitions — always factoring in the best possible tax advantages on behalf of the client.