Business and Corporate

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.

Hospitality Industry

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.

Litigation – Antitrust


Litigation – Appellate

Litigation – Bankruptcy

Litigation – Business

Litigation – Construction

Litigation – Employment

Litigation – Environmental

Litigation – Extra

Litigation – Insurance

Litigation – Product Liability

Litigation – Professional Liability Defense

Transactional – Banking

Transactional – Business

Transactional – Construction

Transactional – Employment

Transactional – Environmental

Transactional – Estate

Transactional – Healthcare

Transactional – IP

Transactional – Mergers

Transactional – Real Estate

Transactional – Securities

Transactional – Tax

Wisconsin Pass-Through Entity Tax-Saving Opportunity Now Available to Partnerships

Thomas J. Nichols, CPA, JD, and James W. DeCleene, JD 2017 Wisconsin Act 368, a bill sponsored and championed by...
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Attorneys Tom Nichols and James DeCleene Co-author Article “Investing in Qualified Wisconsin Businesses: A Closer Look” for the State Bar of Wisconsin

President and shareholder Tom Nichols and attorney James DeCleene recently co-authored an article for the State Bar of Wisconsin's Inside Track...
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Attorney James DeCleene’s Authors Article “Round Three: Another Crack at Benefit Corporations” for the State Bar of Wisconsin

Attorney James DeCleene, a member of Meissner Tierney's transactional practice group, authored an article for the State Bar of Wisconsin's Inside...
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The New Prohibition on Federal Contracting with “Corporations” Having Unpaid Tax Liabilities: When “Gloss” on the Regulations Just Makes Them Blurry

Choice of Entity Corner Journal of Passthrough Entities (March-April 2017) Adam J. Tutaj Introduction The U.S. federal government is the...
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Attorney Randy Brotherhood’s Article, “The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016: A New Federal Civil Cause of Action for Trade Secret Theft,” Published by The State Bar of Wisconsin

The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Business Law Blog recently published an article authored by Meissner Tierney shareholder Randy Brotherhood entitled “The Defend Trade Secrets Act...
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Going Into Business With A Partner

Thomas J. Nichols So you're thinking of going into business with somebody else? Maybe a friend or a family member....
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Spouse Asserts Rights to IRA under Community Property Law – Decedent’s Son Gets Hit with Tax

Thomas J. Nichols Christopher R. Little Earlier this summer, the IRS released a Private Letter Ruling taking the position that...
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Why Businesses Choose S Corporation Status?

Thomas J. Nichols A question we are often asked is "What type of entity should my business choose for income...
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Tom Nichols co-authors Wall Street Journal article: “Tax Reform Should Go Right Down Main Street”

Thomas J. Nichols Wall Street Journal The Op-Ed piece, weighing in on the important dialogue regarding Tax Reform going on...
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Protecting Your Identity: Structuring Techniques for Preserving an Entity’s Existing Employer Identification Number in Cross-Species Mergers and Conversions

Journal of Passthrough Entities (July-August 2014) Adam J. Tutaj Introduction Choice-of-entity literature is replete with commentary on the differences between...
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New Employer Mandate Requires Clients to Take Steps Now

Thomas J. Nichols We all know that the critical provisions under the Affordable Care Act go into effect next year....
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