Business and Corporate Law
Owning your own business can be a rewarding experience, but it comes with risks and liabilities that are generally absent from a typical employment situation. If you own your own business, it is prudent to meet with a knowledgeable attorney to discuss the implications of certain decisions and the steps that you can take to protect your company and you from liability. At Hagenbrok & Hagenbrok PLLC, our Savannah business lawyers are proficient in handling a variety of business and corporate matters, including forming or dissolving a business and drafting restrictive covenants. We are mindful that many small businesses have limited financial resources, and we offer reasonable fees for our services. Our attorneys are licensed in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.Forming a Corporation
If you own a business, it may be in your best interest to form a corporation to insulate you from liability. The business form that is most appropriate depends on multiple factors, including the size of your business and your goals moving forward. A limited liability company (LLC) may be used for smaller companies with a limited number of owners. LLCs allow the owners of a company to avoid liability for the company’s debt. Additionally, while the owners must pay taxes on their share of the company’s profits, the LLC itself does not pay federal income taxes.
Conversely, a C corporation (the standard type of corporation) must pay federal taxes, and profits do not pass through to the company owners, but it offers the owners greater protection from personal liability. An S corporation allows business owners to avoid personal liability and allows for the pass-through of profits to the company's owners, but a company must meet certain eligibility requirements to form an S corporation. A business attorney at our Savannah firm can advise you on the benefits of each business form and help you choose the form that best suits your specific needs.Restrictive Covenants
In many cases in which a business or corporation has valuable trade secrets or relies heavily on its client base to produce income, it is advisable for the business to ask its employees to enter into restrictive covenants. Covenants not to compete and non-disclosure agreements are two common restrictive covenants that businesses may employ to protect their information and assets. Covenants not to compete may restrict a former employee from working in a certain geographic area for a specified period of time or communicating with the employer's established clients. A non-disclosure agreement prohibits an employee from revealing information on which a business relies in earning its revenue, which is not easily discoverable by individuals outside the business.
Whether a restrictive covenant is valid under Tennessee law depends on whether the covenant protects a legitimate business interest. Our Savannah business attorneys can help you draft covenants that are likely to be valid or advise you on whether an existing covenant is valid. Additionally, a restrictive covenant will not be enforced unless it is reasonable in light of the circumstances. In determining whether a covenant is reasonable, the court will assess the geographical and temporal limits of the covenant, the potential danger to the employer in the absence of the covenant, and whether the covenant imposes an economic hardship on the employee or harms a public interest. Furthermore, the courts will not enforce a restrictive covenant unless the employer can prove that special factors beyond ordinary competition require the agreement to be enforced, such as access to trade secrets or confidential client information. If your business relies on confidential information, it is prudent to meet with a skilled business attorney to discuss whether restrictive covenants would be beneficial for the protection of your company.Seek Guidance on Legal Matters Affecting Your Business Operations
If you own a business, you should take steps to protect your company and you. The attorneys at Hagenbrok & Hagenbrok PLLC are adept at handling the legal matters that arise in the formation and operation of businesses and can advise you on your available options. From our Savannah office, our business lawyers provide services to clients in Savannah, Crump, Adamsville, Milledgeville, Saltillo, Olivet, Walnut Grove, Shiloh, and other areas of Hardin County. You can contact us at (731) 438-8071 or via our online form to set up a meeting.