At Meissner Tierney our attorneys represent a wide range of closely-held businesses, large and small, in a variety of industries. We provide not only top-quality comprehensive legal advice to business owners, but also anticipate future needs by becoming intimately familiar with each client’s industry. In doing so, we strive to forge a long-lasting, strategic relationship with each of our clients.
Our attorneys regularly advise business owners at every stage of the business lifecycle. At the beginning when a client has little more than an idea for a new business, we know how to take the idea and create the legal framework to make it a reality. Our attorneys are experts in helping clients choose an appropriate entity for the client’s purpose, whether it be a limited liability company, corporation, partnership or another entity vehicle. We then consult with the client in addressing the client’s unique needs as the business begins through operational documents and agreements between the business owners in order to provide certainty and stability in the business’s operations.
After the business has started as a going-concern, we are there with our clients each step of the way. We often work with clients to assess legal risks in everyday business issues. As the business grows, our attorneys are well-equipped to help our clients expand through acquisitions and mergers. Finally, when the time comes to sell or transition the business, our attorneys are well-equipped to appropriately structure and handle these transactions so as to maximize the value to the business owners.
We take pride in our ability to stay at the forefront of business and corporate law and issues. Many of our attorneys regularly speak on these topics and have served on committees tasked with drafting legislation to update Wisconsin’s business entity statutes.
Corporate Governance and Shareholder Agreements
During the early stages of a new business, its owners often envision nothing but success and continued good relationships among them. However, it is also at this time that owners, particularly those of closely held businesses, should address the sensitive and important issues of what will happen to the business if it fails or relationships sour. Our attorneys recognize these issues and counsel closely held business owners on how to prepare for these contingencies in advance through the use of Bylaws and Shareholder Agreements (for corporations), Operating Agreements and Member Agreements (for limited liability companies), and Partner Agreements (for partnerships).
Our attorneys also regularly advise closely held business owners on their responsibilities to their businesses, such as the fiduciary duties of officers and directors of public and privately-owned companies and compliance with applicable governmental regulations on reporting and disclosure obligations.
Family Business and Succession Planning
Any time that a significant part of a family’s net worth is tied to the family business, many extremely important and sensitive issues lurk in the background that need to be recognized and handled. Our attorneys are particularly skilled at doing just this. Consistent with our focus on providing comprehensive legal advice to our closely held business clients, we regularly address estate planning issues for these business owners. Our intimate familiarity with our clients’ businesses (and, often times, family dynamics) allows us to assist in the preparation of estate and succession plans, which enable smooth transitions of the businesses and assets to the next generation. This same intimate familiarity also allows us to continue to be a valuable resource during the transition and for the next generation for years to come.
For some entrepreneurs, purchasing a franchise may be a unique way to grow wealth or diversify business holdings. Our attorneys recognize the unique issues and challenges posed by owning a franchise and are experienced in reviewing franchise purchase agreements and pursuing such an endeavor. We also advise clients on the complex issues relating to franchising their own businesses.
Everyone enjoys fine dining, but the restaurant and hospitality industry presents its own distinct legal challenges. Our attorneys are experienced in recognizing and tackling these issues for our restaurant and hospitality clients. We regularly work with these clients on state regulation of hospitality facilities, endorsement deals and licensing and other agreements, among the other unique issues that this industry poses.