Find a Commercial Law Attorney for Your Business

Good management is essential to keeping any business afloat. So is good legal advice. One person who can help you manage your company’s legal affairs is an experienced commercial law attorney. Commercial law is the term used to refer to the various statutes, regulations, and other legal requirements involved in forming, operating, and dissolving a business. Businesses are considered legal entities that must abide by various laws, including contract laws, environmental laws, employment laws, intellectual property laws, and laws governing commercial transactions, among others. Commercial law is extremely diverse and complex. To ensure that your company is complicit with the various laws affecting your business, you should consult an experienced commercial litigation attorney before start-up.

There are many lawyers to choose from, so it is best to do research to find the right person for the job. One good source of advice is other entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses. They can often refer you to commercial lawyers who helped them achieve their goals. You can also talk to other people who have experience working with lawyers. When you find a lawyer who you believe is a good fit, you should meet with him. Talk to him, ask questions. The following are important criteria to consider when choosing a lawyer for your business:

The lawyer you choose should have experience and expertise in commercial law. He should be able to guide you in choosing what kind of business entity to establish. He should also have experience with taxation. He should be able to create a variety of business contracts for use in all of your business dealings.

- The lawyer should be able to defend you and the business should contract disputes arise.

- A business lawyer should be up to date with changes to business laws and be able to give you sound advice.

A commercial law attorney can help your business in a variety of legal matters, including taxation, employment contracts, intellectual property protection and compliance with various environmental and consumer protection laws at both the state and federal level. In addition, the attorney can represent your business interests in a variety of transactions, including real estate transactions, contract disputes, product liability lawsuits, and much, much more.

Product Liability Law

product liability lawIf your business offers products of any type to consumers, making certain that the products are safe is imperative. The most stringent responsibility, of course falls upon the producer of the product, but they are by no means the only one who assumes a measure of that responsibility. Distribution venues such as wholesalers and shops which carry the product also assume some part of the responsibility to ensure that the product is safe.

What are the Consequences of Failing to Be Responsible

Failure to meet that responsibility can be very serious. The consequences which arise from it may be legal action as well as imprisonment or very hefty fines. Even without those kinds of penalties, the result of a lawsuit could be legal bills from which you and your company might not recover.

You can and sometimes will be sued individually by others who have been injured in some way or been damaged by the use of the product.

What Do Businesses Need to Know About Product Safety?

According to Hall Tanner & Hargett of Florence, AL, many businesses today do not understand the full ramifications of product liability law. They are unprepared for the consequences that might arise if they are entangled in a product liability lawsuit.

The law says that you have certain responsibilities as a purveyor of a given product. Among those responsibilities are:

  • Actively monitoring the safety of any products that you sell to ensure that none have been recalled or found to have safety problems.
  • Providing any information which you have available to you to your customers to help them to understand and to avoid the safety risks that may be inherent in a product.
  • Warning consumers about any possible safety problems that might arise from the use of a given product.
  • Taking immediate action to remove the product from your shelf and notify customers if a safety issue is found which has not been previously noted.

What Does the Law Require?

Every shop and wholesaler is required by law to take an active and proactive approach to the issue of consumer safety. Doing otherwise may make you guilty by reason of negligence and cost you your business or even your freedom.

Where Can Our Business Find Out More About Product Safety?

Extra care should be taken when you are selling toys, food, medication, or high risk goods such as fireworks or other flammable materials. There are very specific regulations which apply to these items, which may be found here on the Trading Standards Institute website.

Business and Ethics

Some may say in jest that organizations are reminiscent of a three-ring circus. Well, within those three rings it is the procurement professionals who are the ethical tightrope walkers.

Right now, there are individuals in every corporation who are treading the ethical fine-line because of expediency, undue pressure or perhaps because they don’t know any better. Fear of potential ramifications to career and reputation can, ironically, keep many from questioning clearly inappropriate behavior from someone they perceive to have more power than they do within the organizational environs.

Why is it so difficult for businesses to consistently maintain high ethical standards? As an independent observer, many would sit on the throne of judgment and consider themselves imbued with a much higher moral standard and wax poetic about the failings of others.

But life isn’t black and white. In fact, right is rarely diametrically opposed to wrong. It is sometimes easier to “turn a blind eye” as opposed to following Hamlet’s path and suffer “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. Many situations are cloaked with uncertainty, incomplete information, multiple points of view, contradictory responsibilities and pressure, external or self-imposed.

Procurement is a hot bed of ethical challenges and too often procurement professionals are left feeling that there is no net to catch them when they take the ethically correct stance. Choices made by those in procurement can affect the entire corporation. The processes within purchasing ensure that fair and objective decisions are made. Yet other areas of the enterprise may have another agenda. Yet if procurement waivers on its ethical foundation, it traverses the tightrope without a balance bar, and discovering in the process that there is no net to catch them below.

The ethics of an organization are determined by the actions of the top leadership on down. Ethics are not bottom-up in the enterprise. Leadership and the corporation as a whole must value ethics. If the bending of the rules results in accolades as a result of increased short term revenue, or other perceived benefit, then many in the business will rightly believe that ethics don’t matter, performance does. In other words, the end justifies the means. That is of course until the issue hits the front page of the newspaper and then the organizational navel-gazing commences.

Procurement professionals need to embrace a standard that is above reproach, even when they believe that the rest of the organization is acting like the ethics circus clowns. In some cases it may mean that a job or position needs to be risked. It is important to remember that the perception of reputation is the reality. As Lady Macbeth discovered the taint can’t be washed away when it is perceived that one’s “hands are dirty”. If a job is lost because of an ethical stance, at least neither your reputation is lost, nor are your career options in the procurement field.

Although a myriad of ethical issues await procurement on a daily basis, there are three key ones which provide the basis for many a sleepless night because of the inane pressure to “get with the program” or “turn a blind eye”. These are reciprocal business awards, conflicts of interest and maverick spending.

IN THE FIRST RING… RECIPROCAL BUSINESS

Mention reciprocal business to most procurement professionals and an audible groan can be heard. At its simplest, reciprocal business is any arrangement under which a seller of one product or service buys another product or service from one of his or her customers. It is a basic quid pro quo. However, as many in purchasing can attest, there is often more “quid” than “quo”. Continue reading

Buying a Used Car for Business-Some Tips

Many businesses buy used cars simply for economic reasons. When you buy new, you’re usually looking at ongoing payments and considerable interest. A car that is only a few years old may sell for fifty percent less than the current year’s model. During the first year, a new car will lose at least twenty percent of its value, so buy smart.

According to Landers McLarty Dodge Chrysler of Huntsville Al, the biggest fear in buying a used car is that it has hidden or unknown problems. Most dealerships are now responding to this by offering Certified Used Vehicles. When you buy a used car from a good dealership, you can trust that it has been through comprehensive physical and mechanical inspections. When you buy a certified used car that is only a few years old, you can usually expect it to be nearly on par with a brand new car.

Buying directly from a dealership has become far less challenging as dealerships have responded to a higher demand in consumer standards. Of course, you should perform due diligence in any large purchase – and a car is likely to be one of your biggest purchases. No matter how good a car looks, or how good the salesman makes it sound, it’s still smart to arm yourself with plenty of information before handing over the check. Here’s how:

1. Be Prepared-Do Your Homework

With a purchase this big, you can’t afford to shop unprepared. Set your budget and know what you’re looking for. You don’t necessarily have to settle on a specific year, make and model, but knowing what style and approximate condition you’re looking for can help you to narrow your search.

In fact, if you do have a specific car in mind, it’s smart to broaden your horizons a bit to consider similar vehicles. There are some big names on the market, and with these big names come big price tags. If you’re willing to widen your parameters a little, you may find something just as good at a far lower price. For example, you may be in the market for a Toyota Matrix; however, you might be just as happy with a Pontiac Vibe – a less-known vehicle, but one made in collaboration with Toyota, and with many of the same parts as the Matrix.

2. Research

Don’t base your whole decision on looks or reputation. Some cars look and seem wonderful when they’re new on the lot, but a little research might reveal some glaring flaws that show up a few years down the line. Take time to read consumer reviews on any car that you’re interested in purchasing. No car is perfect, but some simple research can prevent you from ending up with a lemon.

Additionally, make sure that you know the approximate value of the vehicle you’re interested in. By checking out your car on Edmunds.com or KBB.com, you can get a good idea of an appropriate price range for your desired vehicle. If a car is listed considerably higher or lower than its market value, don’t be afraid to walk away.

3. Be Cautious

While you can find some great deals on cars by dealing with private individuals, this is an area where you must exercise extreme caution. An individual isn’t operating under any regulations, so privately listed vehicles are rarely at the same level as those you would find at a dealership. That’s not to say that you should avoid private sales altogether; you just need to pay greater attention to any possible problems or flaws.

4. Check

There’s no such thing as “too careful” when you’re buying a car – whether it’s used or new. Take as much time as you want to check out the car. Take it for a test drive and put it through its paces. See how it performs at low and high speeds, on sharp turns and quick stops. Make sure that it doesn’t pull to one side or the other, and that there are no strange clicks, rattles or whines while it’s running. Remember that there are plenty of cars out there, so don’t settle for one that seems questionable.

If a car checks out after your initial test drive and inspection, ask if the dealership can provide a VIN history check through CarfFax or a similar service. Make sure that you get the vehicle’s complete history. If the dealership (or individual) is unable to provide it, it’s worth the small investment to purchase the VIN check online for yourself. This will alert you to any possible red flags, accidents or potential problems.

Before agreeing to the purchase, make sure to have the car inspected by a mechanic that you trust. Point out any problems you may have noticed, and ask questions about anything that seems problematic. Your mechanic should be able to either lay those fears to rest or alert you to potential problems. Again, this is a small investment compared to the price you’re paying to purchase a car, so don’t skip this step.

5. Negotiate

A few dealerships have a “one price” policy, but most are very open to negotiation – in fact, it’s expected. Many used car dealerships have about a $2000 margin for profit when they set their original prices. What that means for you is that you have $2000 worth of bargaining power. Don’t be afraid to use it.