Atlanta Small Business Attorney
Whether you are starting a new business, growing an existing one, transferring your company to the next generation, or selling or dissolving your business to retire or move on to the next big thing, having solid advice and representation from an experienced business lawyer is critical to your success. At The Forsythe Law Firm, we help family-owned businesses, closely-held businesses, franchisees, and other small business owners throughout Atlanta and surrounding areas. With the right planning and strategy, you can accomplish all your business goals and dreams. The Forsythe Law Firm can help. Learn about our small business legal services below, and contact our office to discuss your needs with a skilled and knowledgeable Atlanta small business attorney.
Outside General Counsel Services
Larger companies have their own in-house legal counsel as full-time employees of the company. Some even have entire legal departments staffed with attorneys, paralegals and legal assistants to handle the company’s legal needs. As a small business owner, you can’t afford to hire in-house legal counsel, much less a dedicated legal department. But small businesses face all of the same legal issues and responsibilities as larger companies, including:
- Employment contracts, management and disputes
- Real property purchase and lease
- Equipment purchasing and leasing
- Vendor and supplier contracts
- Tax matters
- Compliance with environmental regulations and other government mandates
The Forsythe Law Firm offers its services as an outside general counsel to your company. We are here as you need us to negotiate, draft or review agreements; advise on civil liability, risk and exposure; ensure legal compliance, and assist with any legal matters or questions that arise. Having The Forsythe Law Firm as your outside general counsel gives you peace of mind and access to high-quality legal services as you need them, at an affordable cost that recognizes your budgetary constraints as a small business owner.
Business Entity Formation
If you are just starting out in business or forming a new entity, the structure you choose to organize and operate your business is a critical step. The type of entity you form will have consequences on major aspects of your business, including personal liability for debts or actions of the business, how the business and its owners are taxed, who has authority to make major business decisions and manage day-to-day operations, transfer of ownership to other parties or future generations, and more. Christine Forsythe is an experienced Atlanta business lawyer who can advise you of your options and perform all necessary steps to organize your business under the corporate structure that best meets your needs and goals.
Business entities recognized by the State of Georgia include the following, among others:
A corporation is a distinct legal entity. It can buy and sell property, conduct business in its name, and sue and be sued in state and federal courts. Owners of the corporation, known as shareholders, are shielded from personal liability for the debts, torts or wrongful acts of the corporation. One disadvantage of corporations is that they suffer from double taxation; the corporation must pay taxes on corporate income, and shareholders again pay taxes on the dividends they receive. However, some corporations can register as S-corporations and avoid this double taxation.
It doesn’t take much to form a partnership, just an agreement between two or more individuals to go into business together. In a general partnership, all the partners are liable for the debts of the company. A more formal arrangement is a Limited Partnership, under which limited partners can invest capital into the company and are not liable for acts or debts of the company as general partners are; limited partners risk only their investment. Although partnerships don’t offer the same extent of liability protection as corporations, partners are only taxed on profits they take and not on company income or net worth, avoiding the double taxation problem of corporations.
Limited Liability Companies
LLCs are a hybrid form of business structure that offer the liability protection of a corporation with the favorable tax treatment of a partnership. An LLC is created and operated under an LLC operating agreement subscribed to by the owners of the LLC, known as members. The agreement establishes the different rights, responsibilities, and management or ownership levels of members.
A sole proprietorship is the alter ego of the owner, and there is little difference between the two when it comes to Georgia corporate law. Forming a sole proprietorship doesn’t require registering with the Secretary of State or going through any other formalities. It is simpler to run as a business, and the owners are only taxed through their personal income tax. The sole proprietorship offers no protection from liability and is riskier if the owner has assets to protect.
Every business encounters conflicts eventually, and some require formal legal intervention to resolve them. Christine Forsythe is an experienced litigator who has tried numerous cases to verdict in Georgia and Florida courts. The Forsythe Law Firm works with you to avoid litigation wherever possible, formulate pre-suit strategies to put you in the best position for success, and represent you when you need to file or respond to a lawsuit in the courts. We handle employment-related litigation and the full range of business legal issues that arise.
Contact The Forsythe Law Firm Today
For help with business entity formation or business litigation, or if you are looking for a smart, efficient law firm to serve as your outside general counsel and meet all your business legal needs, contact The Forsythe Law Firm to discuss your goals with an experienced and successful Atlanta small business lawyer.