Our services for startup companies and people starting a business typically include:
- incorporation for startups
- angel & venture financing transactions
- employment & human resource matters
- copyright and trademarks
- stock option plans
- standard contract preparation
- vendor contract negotiations
- international corporate and transactional matters
The corporate lawyers of Fitzgerald, Franke & Hewes also engage in a general corporate practice and represent a number of corporations and organizations with varying size and in different industries. The firm serves as general counsel to some clients, and also represents startup businesses and joint ventures. FF&H brings experience to companies and their management in business governance matters, handles mergers and acquisitions, and negotiates all types of complex business transactions. In addition, members of the firm have helped clients with human resource matters, and establishing policies and procedures that assist organizations when interfacing with employees and outside consultants. The members of the firm frequently advise clients regarding secured transactions and the Uniform Commercial Code, the perfection of security interests in property, equipment leasing, and in copyright and trademark matters and some general aspects of patent law (we are not licensed patent attorneys).
We realize that choosing a law firm to represent your business is an important decision that is best made after a face-to-face meeting. Therefore, we are happy to meet with prospective clients to discuss their legal needs and our firm’s experience at no charge.
Because of the nature of our practice, we usually represent businesses. We do, on occasion, represent an executive who is leaving his or her current position in the negotiation of an exit package, or an individual investor who is investing in a business.
The clients of our Chicago-based law firm are located in many different states in the U.S. and we have several multi-national clients.
The main benefit of incorporating your business (or forming a Limited Liability Company) is to protect your personal assets from the liabilities of your business. Having a formal entity can give credibility to your business as it shows you have taken formal steps to set it up and have the follow-through to maintain the company. Corporations and LLCs continue to exist even if ownership or management changes. Sole proprietorships (and partnerships, to some extent) end if an owner dies or leaves the business. Both corporations and LLCs may deduct normal business expenses, including salaries, before they allocate income to owners. There are tax consequences which arise from establishing your business as either a corporation or a LLC, but depending on your goals, you may be able to avoid double taxation of profits.
Fitzgerald, Franke & Hewes attorneys are not licensed as patent attorneys and, therefore, we cannot file a patent for your company. We can recommend several highly qualified patent attorneys who we’ve worked with in the past. We would be happy to provide a referral if you contact us.
Notify your current firm that you are switching law firms and would like your files sent to your new firm. They should comply with this request in a reasonable amount of time. Some firms will hold your files until you have settled all outstanding amounts due to the firm. Otherwise, the firm is under an ethical obligation to quickly provide your files to the new firm so that you have adequate legal representation.
We work with our clients to manage disputes before a lawsuit is filed. However, we will not serve as your primary counsel once a lawsuit is filed. We can work with you and your litigation counsel to manage costs and advise on litigation strategy, if required.
For most matters we charge an hourly rate. If requested, we will provide an estimate of our time to complete a matter and, in some cases, we can provide you with a flat rate for the matter. We also will invoice for any out of pocket expenses such as filing and recording fees, notary service, overnight or special delivery service, and international telephone calls. We will notify you of any expenses in advance. No charge will be assessed for either secretarial services or staff overtime.
We invoice clients at the end of each month for services provided during that month plus any out of pocket expenses. Invoices are due in 30 days.