Are you getting the best advice? Who is looking out for you and your best interest? If you are involved in a multi-party business deal, the lawyer involved may or may not be looking out for you and your economic interest. Read on to learn more.
In our previous blog series on business divorce (available here), we discussed some of the most common situations that lead to a business break-up, including divorce, disability, death, and disagreement, and what business owners can do to protect their businesses in the event of a business breakup. In other blog series on recent court cases (available here and here), we looked at real life situations involving such events and emphasized the importance of advance planning and well-written “business pre-nups.” The good news is, we see an increasing number of business owners thinking ahead and seeking legal advice on these issues. Life changes too much too fast to keep both (or more) owners in long-term alignment, and the more prepared they are, the better they can protect their businesses. What many business owners do not understand in multi-party situations, though, is the complex relationship between the attorney and the clients. Many lawyers seem to represent all owners/partners, when really, in most situations, each client should be getting independent legal advice from an attorney looking out for them or at least understand the issue.
In this blog series, we will discuss the perils of joint representation, conflict of interest, and the need to obtain independent legal counsel in the context of a multi-owner business partnership.
This posting is intended to be a planning tool to familiarize readers with some of the high-level issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your transaction planners including attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity.
Steps have been taken to verify the contents of this article prior to publication. However, readers should not, and may not, rely on this article. Please consult with counsel to verify all contents and do not rely solely on this article in planning your legal transactions.
About the Author
Shawn McBride – R. Shawn McBride is the Managing Member of The R. Shawn McBride Law Office, P.L.L.C. which helps clients in legal issues related to starting companies, joint ventures, raising capital from and negotiating with investors and outside General Counsel functions. Shawn can be contacted at: (214) 418-0258; firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.mcbrideattorneys.com.