If you operate a business in Virginia with one or more employees, then you need to be conscious of the federal and state hour, wage, overtime, and worker safety laws that govern your industry. If you sell a product or service, you should be fully aware of the marketing, advertising, and other consumer protection laws that influence how you do business. Additionally, as a business, you contract with other parties, including employees, independent contractors, customers, suppliers, and vendors. You must be aware of laws regarding contract formation, interpretation, and disputes. Keeping track of the numerous laws, regulations, and rules that impact your business is challenging, and missteps can be costly. However, no matter the size of your business or the products and services you offer, you will benefit from having a knowledgeable business attorney on your side.
At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, our Roanoke lawyers focus on getting to know your business and achieving results in the most effective and cost-efficient way possible. By partnering with an experienced Roanoke business lawyer, you can quickly obtain the information, advice, and resources necessary for your business to succeed and avoid costly mistakes.
An Overview of Business Law in Virginia
Whether you are a small business in Roanoke, Virginia, or a major corporation doing business within the state, there are numerous laws you must be aware of, including but not limited to:
- Virginia Contract Law (Virginia Code Title 11)
- Uniform Commercial Code (Virginia Code Titles 8.1A – 8.10)
- Virginia Consumer Protection Act (Virginia Code §59.1-196 – 207)
- The Virginia Antitrust Act (Virginia Code §59.1-9.1 – 9.17)
- Virginia Partnerships Law (Virginia Code Title 50)
- Virginia Corporation Law (Virginia Code Title 13.1)
- Virginia Employment and Labor Laws (Virginia Code Title 40.1)
- Virginia Landlord and Tenant Laws (Virginia Code §55-217 – 248)
- Virginia Tax Laws (Virginia Code Title 58.1, Virginia Administrative Code Title 23)
Because your business touches on a wide variety of legal issues, it is essential that you do not attempt to do everything on your own. You and your business are best served by obtaining a small business lawyer or corporate counsel, ensuring that a legal professional is explaining the law, your rights, and your options for any given situation.
By having the right business attorney, you improve your legal compliance and mitigate the risk of legal or regulatory issues. If a business dispute or regulatory investigation arises, your attorney will already be familiar with your situation.
If you do not work with a lawyer regularly and a legal or regulatory issue arises, you need to contact a business law attorney from Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico right away.
Trusted Counsel for Business Formation & Incorporation
When you start a business, you do not necessarily need to form a separate legal entity. Many individuals work as sole proprietors, at least at the beginning when they have no employees and little-to-no profit. However, as your business grows and you take on more orders or employees, it becomes important to look into forming a separate legal entity.
Forming a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) can help you keep the business’s finances separate from your own. It also can limit your personal liability for actions related to the business. If you are unsure of whether it is time to form a business entity, speak with a business law attorney about all your options.
At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, we are highly experienced in business formation and incorporation. We are here to learn about your business, discuss your opportunities, and guide you through the process of lawfully creating your business, whether you choose to form a partnership, corporation, or LLC. There are also more specific sub-categories that we can discuss with you, such as a cooperative, a professional corporation or LLC, or a limited liability partnership. Do not hesitate to reach out to us with your questions.
Fund Your Business with Our Help
Developing a business plan and forming a new entity can be a thrilling time in your life, whether this is your first endeavor or you are a serial entrepreneur. However, getting any business off the ground and building it into a successful enterprise takes more than hard work. It requires capital. By securing capital from loans and equity investments, among other types, you will have what’s necessary to purchase more inventory, lease office space, hire employees, market your product or service, and the overall improvement and expansion your operations.
Our Roanoke business attorneys are well versed in business funding options and regulations. If you have questions about obtaining seed funding, including crowdfunding, bank loans, or obtaining investors, contact us right away. We will carefully review your options to help you determine the best way to raise capital for your venture.
We Negotiate, Draft, & Enforce Business Contracts & Agreements
An integral aspect of running a business is forming agreements. For a startup, you may need to draft and sign contracts with co-founders and early employees. These agreements are essential in defining a co-founder or employee’s role and their compensation package. If you are part of a sizeable business, you may have many employment contracts to oversee. Or, you may be the sole member of your company, but will still have agreements with suppliers. This ensures you receive the materials you need to consistently offer your product or service. Many businesses, of all sizes, form contracts with their customers or clients, particularly if there is any risk involved in the provided service or if they are purchasing a custom product from you.
No matter who you need to enter into a contract with, whether it is another business or a consumer, you need to be fully aware of what makes a valid contract, what constitutes a breach of contract, and how a dispute can lead to business litigation. You also should discuss the details of a contract with an experienced business law lawyer, including the pros and cons of boilerplate provisions. By working with a business attorney from Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, you obtain objective guidance and advice regarding your business contracts and agreements, ensuring they are fair, valid, and enforceable.
Common Business Disputes We See in Roanoke Valley
If you run or manage a business, you are bound to encounter disputes. It is nearly impossible to operate a business for a long period and not find someone who disagrees with you. At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, we handle all types of business disputes, including those that arise in-house and those with outside parties, such as with suppliers, vendors, and consumers.
Our business litigation lawyers often handle:
- Partnership Disputes: When you run a business with one or more partners, there may come a time when you disagree on something vital to the business, such as funding, debt management, compensation, operations, breach of fiduciary duties, or exiting the business. Our business law attorneys can represent you during this time, advise you, or negotiate on your behalf. We focus on reaching your goals, whether that is the continuation of your business partnership or for one or more partners to exit the organization with minimal disruption.
- Violation of Non-Compete or Non-Disclosure Agreements: If you have contracts with your employees or independent contractors, those agreements most likely contain non-compete agreements, non-disclosure provisions, or both. You may find yourself part of a dispute if you believe the worker violated the terms of the agreement or if the worker now contends the provisions were too expansive and not enforceable. Whenever a disagreement with a current or previous worker arises, it is best to contact an employment attorney.
- Breach of Contract: Your business may have been harmed when another party breached an agreement, or another business or individual may claim you violated a contract. In either situation, it is best to speak with a business attorney about how to move forward. Breach of contract issues may be negotiable with the other party or may require litigation to resolve.
- Business-to-Business Disputes: No one’s business exists in a vacuum, and your ventures likely have agreements with many other businesses. If you believe the other business has not held up its end of the bargain, or your business is being accused of breach of contract, call a business litigation attorney as soon as you can. Our experienced and skilled Roanoke business lawyers can advise you on how to best avoid litigation, and if necessary, represent you in court.
We Represent Business During Commercial Litigation
As a business owner or manager, you may wish to avoid litigation as much as possible. Our business attorneys at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico are highly experienced in working with businesses and other parties to prevent litigation. We can represent you in negotiations to resolve disputes. We also represent individuals and businesses through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation and arbitration. Unfortunately, we see situations all the time in which litigation cannot be avoided. Either the other party refuses to negotiate a resolution or going to court is the best way to protect your business’s interests. If litigation is necessary, we are ready to represent you in court and fight for an outcome in your favor.
A business litigation lawyer can represent you during all types of matters, including:
- Contract disputes
- Real estate disputes, including purchase, sale, and landlord-tenant disagreements
- Breach of warranty allegations
- Torts allegations
- Business torts, including contractual interference
- Breach of fiduciary duties
- Unfair competition allegations
- Fraud, conversion, embezzlement
- Insurance coverage issues
If you are part of a legal dispute, whether you believe your business has been wronged or another party is accusing you of wrongdoing, it is best to work with a commercial litigation lawyer as soon as possible. We understand how costly litigation can be to your business, regarding its finances and its reputation. We strive to guide businesses through disputes as smoothly as possible, always focusing on obtaining the business’s preferred outcome while mitigating the potential collateral consequence of litigation.
How a Roanoke Business Lawyer Can Help You
At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, we often meet with business owners, executives, and managers across Virginia who do not have a company lawyer. You may not have an in-house corporate counsel or small business attorney on retainer. However, it is very hard for a business to move forward without consistent legal advice. This makes working with a single, trusted business attorney or firm invaluable. You build a relationship with an attorney who comes to know the ins and outs of your business and industry. When a question or dispute arises, the person you go to for help already has the background and context they need to offer relevant and thorough advice. If your business does not yet have a business law lawyer, give us a call.
Whether you contact us when it is time to form the business or after your company is established, we are here to ensure you create, implement, and maintain an appropriate record-keeping strategy. This includes:
- Maintaining in-depth records of your business agreements, decisions, and finances;
- Ensuring these records are secured and private; and
- Ensuring these records are readily available during a dispute or litigation.
Our business lawyers can advise you on the various federal and Virginia laws that may impact your business, from basic employment to complex antitrust regulations. We get to know your business and your industry to ensure you have all of the information you need to comply with the law. Ensuring legal compliance is one of the strongest ways to avoid regulatory investigations and issues in the future.
We are also here to review all of your contracts, whether we draft the original version or the other party. We draft, review, and negotiate contracts to ensure your business is protected and does not get the short end of the stick. By having a trained eye work on your contracts before you sign on the dotted line, you reduce the risk of misunderstandings and disputes down the road. While we cannot prevent another party from breaching a contract, we can represent you in enforcing your agreement or obtaining damages for a breach.
Contact Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico Today
Whether you are forming a business in Virginia or are an experienced business professional facing a legal dispute, our business attorneys are here to help. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico through our online form or by calling (540) 655-1854. Our Roanoke business attorneys are happy to schedule an appointment with you to discuss the matter and how we can be of assistance.