Our firm understands that, despite facing an array of legal challenges, most small businesses cannot afford to hire a full-time lawyer as their general counsel. In fact, the average small business in America may be one law suit away from bankruptcy. Without proper planning, the only solution a small business may have is to hire a lawyer at a very high hourly rate when faced with a serious legal issue.
The Gowen Group realizes this is a major problem for many small businesses in the Gateway Arts District and throughout the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. That’s why we developed a program called the “Virtual General Counsel.” The Virtual General Counsel allows you the opportunity to have a lawyer dedicated to your company’s legal issues at your disposal. You are covered for contracts, leases, employment disputes or any other basic legal issue. Our flat fees range from $500 to $2500 per month, depending on the size of your business. We believe that utilizing the Virtual General Counsel will dramatically reduce the risk of litigation on the front end and protect your bottom line.
The fundamental problem with business legal services in this country is that lawyers and small businesses usually have opposing interests. A small business is concerned with reducing both risk and overhead as well as avoiding an expensive lawsuit. An attorney, on the other hand, works on an hourly rate and is benefited by lengthy and costly litigation. This is not true for the Gowen Group and our Virtual General Counsel program. As small business owners, our attorneys have business backgrounds and understand your needs and your bottom line. We will be happy to sit down with you and your directors to learn all we can about your business, overhead, risks, marketing, seasonal trends, employees, and customer base, so we can provide the best service possible.
Listed below are the types of services covered by our Virtual General Counsel Agreement:
Organizing & Getting Started
- Incorporation – (1) Review of incorporation options, the pros and cons of each, including, but not limited to, tax implications and yearly costs, (2) Preparation and filing of forms, (3) Yearly review of business status.
- Operating Agreements – (1) Draft and/or edit your company’s operating agreement, (2) Review firm polices and employment manuals.
- Vendor agreements – Review of:
- (1) benefit plans and options,
- (2) payroll plans and options,
- (3) website hosting agreements, and
- (4) phones, faxes and emails
- Dissolution Plan – Developing a thorough dissolution plan at the start of business is extremely important. Too many small businesses start up without ever thinking about how their company will operate if a partner/director leaves, divorces, gets ill, or passes away. It is critical to plan for these types of occurrences before they happen by creating a dissolution plan as early as possible.
- Review of existing contracts: Our attorney’s will review all existing contracts, regardless of when we are hired
- Drafting and negotiating contracts, including :
- (1) Employee contracts: We will explain the different options you, as a small business owner, have to pay your employees, and we will provide recommendations based on your budget, taxes, and philosophy;
- (2) Vendor contracts: Our attorneys will prepare and/or review all vendor contracts to protect your business from liability and to ensure the terms of the contract are favorable to you; and
- (3) Real estate contracts: We will review leases or agreements to purchase real property.
- Handle of legal employment issues: (1) Hiring and firing; (2) Defense for wrongful termination, discrimination and other lawsuits filed by former or current employees.
- Collection matters. We will help you handle and develop systems that prevent accounts from going into collection.
- Drafting and editing of all Disclaimers for (1) website; (2) contracts; (3) advertising; and (4) anywhere else a disclaimer is needed.
- Draft demand letters for any potential law suit with the hope of avoiding litigation and settling the matter out of court.
- Navigate your local zoning rules. Many small businesses can be hindered by zoning restrictions. Our firm will help you understand and, when necessary, challenge zoning laws.
- A public notary on staff at the Gowen Group makes the processing of your matter quicker and more efficient.
- Avoid litigation or select one of these three options: (1) Pay for a plan that includes litigation services; (2) Pay a flat fee for a lawsuit; or (3) Pay a locked-in, rate of no more than $150 per hour.
Fill out the form below and someone from the Gowen Group will be in touch with you shortly to discuss your company’s specific needs and offer a quote.