Northern Virginia is home to a growing number of emerging businesses and technology start-up companies. Startup companies face unique challenges when it comes to launching and sustaining their businesses. In addition to choosing the best legal business structure for a new company, start-up companies must also secure financing and continue to develop their new products or services. The survival of a start-up or emerging business depends on the start-up’s organizational structure, financing structure, contractual terms with vendors and financiers, and other critical legal issues.
With the right legal representation on their side, business owners can feel confident in focusing on their growing start-up businesses. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, our business law attorneys have served start-up companies in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., for over four decades. We understand all of the legal requirements to which a start-up company in Northern Virginia must adhere. Our attorneys also know the pitfalls that new start-up owners should avoid. If you are the owner of a start-up business in Northern Virginia, our experienced start-up law attorneys can help.
Legal Needs of Virginia Startup Companies
Start-up business owners have a unique set of legal needs and obligations. Every Virginia start-up company has a unique set of requirements when it comes to legal representation. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, our attorneys assist start-up business owners with all of the following types of legal actions:
- Structuring the start-up company’s ownership
- Choosing and forming a legal structure such as an LLC or a Corporation
- Drafting and negotiating shareholder agreements for Virginia Corporations
- Drafting and negotiating Operating Agreements for Virginia LLC business structures
- Drafting founder agreements
- Drafting private placement and investment agreements
- Drafting independent contractor agreements
- Drafting employment agreements for the hiring of new employees
- Reviewing commercial property lease or purchase agreements
- Assigning copyright, patent, or trademark property from the founders to the business
- Drafting equity for services or “sweat equity” contracts.
- Drafting non-compete contracts for employees
- Reviewing franchise documents
- Drafting ROBS financing agreements for 401k retirement savings accounts
Choosing a Legal Structure for Your Virginia Startup
Selecting a legal structure for your start-up is an essential task for emerging business owners. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, our attorneys have advised many business owners as to the best business structure for their businesses, including:
- Limited Liability Company
Sole proprietorships are the least expensive and simplest Virginia business structure. Operating a sole proprietor start-up does not require setting up a legal entity, making sole proprietorships the most manageable way to start a business. While starting a sole proprietorship is easy, this type of business entity does not offer the owner any personal liability protection. Creditors of the start-up can access the start-up owner’s assets, to include cars, bank accounts, and any other personal assets. For this reason, many start-ups opt to choose another business structure.
Some technology start-ups choose to structure their business as a corporation. Business owners form corporations by creating Articles of Incorporation. Corporations require stockholders, officers, and directors. Start-up companies often structure their new business as corporations when the company could become publicly traded. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, our attorneys can help start-up business owners determine whether a C-corporation or an S-corporation is the best choice for their business’ tax needs.
Establishing a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) is a popular choice among Virginia technology start-up companies. The LLC structure offers more flexibility than the corporate structure but with many of the same benefits to start-up companies. Technology start-up companies often benefit from the liability protection provided by an LLC without the often burdensome requirements of appointing officers or directors and holding annual meetings. Our attorneys advise start-up clients as to the more nuanced differences in tax structures and payments between LLC structures and S-corp structures.
Creating Operating Agreements and Necessary Organizational Documents
Once a start-up owner selects a business structure, the attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC assists clients by drafting necessary contracts and other legal documents. We help clients tailor their Articles of Incorporation and Operating Agreements in a way that protects their assets and best interests. For example, we help businesses attempting to achieve tax-exempt status to do so according to federal regulations. Our attorneys can also help start-up businesses become a certified government contracting business.
Operating agreements and organizational documents are essential when it comes to avoiding personal liability. Even when clients choose to form a corporation, creditors can access the individual assets for corporate debt. Our experienced start-up attorneys know how to draft company documents to preserve the corporate veil in a way that protects personal liability for the payment of business debts.
Avoiding Legal Pitfalls When Hiring New Employees
Numerous state and federal laws regulate the employment process. Startup companies should be careful when hiring new employees to ensure that they do not inadvertently discriminate against employees based on one of several protected classes. Our attorneys assist our start-up clients in drafting thorough employment agreements that include non-compete agreements, when necessary. We also frequently draft independent contractor agreements, review retirement, and health insurance plans on behalf of our clients. Taking time at the start of a business to establish legally competent and effective employment policies can provide long-term benefits for start-up companies.
Contact Our Fairfax Startup Business Law Attorney
Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC attorneys offer legal services that are focused on assisting emerging companies to succeed. We skillfully assist clients in identifying their start-up objectives and goals. From this determination, our attorneys ascertain and assist with our start-up clients’ legal needs. Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial appointment and to learn how our Northern Virginia business law firm can help your start-up company.