March 2020

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Month: March 2020

How to Start a Business

(This post is part of a series on starting a business. This page will continue to add links as we I add more content.)

COVID-19 is hitting businesses hard and wreaking havoc on the economy. As businesses and their employees are enduring mass layoffs, many are uncertain about what the economy's status will be after this is all over and how long a recession will last. That said, some of the most successful businesses started during or out of a recession. That makes sense as many people see their layoffs as an opportunity to start a new business. Recessions are also a good time for innovation as society has to adapt to new norms.

If you are one of those people, the details and legalities of starting a business may seem daunting. Or you would rather just focus on the business side and let someone else handle the legal details. Regardless, this a primer on the basics of starting a business.

Before You Start: Why Create a Formal Business Entity?

The top reason that you want a corporate entity is to protect yourself from personal liability. The second reason is for tax benefits. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and Corporations are not just for big, fancy businesses. They are for everyone (as an aside: don't they say you should 'dress' for the part you want to be?). Instead of being personally liable for your lease, to vendors, or for other expenses and ...
Covid-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 virus have not only wreaked havoc on people's health, but also on businesses. One common question during this difficult time is whether contracts are still enforceable, especially in light of travel restrictions and social distancing measures. Additionally, because many businesses are losing revenue, they are unable to otherwise honor contracts. So can parties break contracts during this time or in other difficult situations?

The first thing for parties to understand is that contracts are still enforceable, even during difficult times. Even if a paying party is no longer able to pay for its service, the party is still bound by the contract (unless they seek bankruptcy protections, which is a different issue). Courts will not look at whether it is difficult for a party to fulfill their obligations, but whether it is practically impossible. Parties must further understand that getting out of a contract is a defense to a breach and not an active reason to claim to leave the contract, unless the contract states otherwise. In other words, the breaching party needs to make the case that the situation meets the criteria of a practical impossibility.

There are two ways that a party can break or breach a contract. The first thing one can do is see if there is an 'Act of God'/'Superior Force' or 'Force Majeure' clause. If no Force Majeure clause exists, there may be other contract principles that can be used as defenses should a party find itself on the defending end of a ...

Dear family, friends, colleagues, and anyone who reads this. I need your help.

The Covid-19 Crisis is a difficult time for all of us. We are either concerned about the health of our loved ones, our livelihood, our children's education, or all of the above. That all said, we should still be vigilant about how our government is going to use its powers to potentially strip the rights of some of our most vulnerable populations. It has happened in the past such as after 9/11 and can happen again.

Although I don't practice special education law, the topic is nevertheless near and dear to me for personal reasons. As a mother to a special needs child, any curbs on rights of our special needs children will impact my own child as well as many others' who I know personally. Further, it's not uncommon for governments to start stripping the rights of our most vulnerable then slowly moving on to other groups.

This is happening now with the proposed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that directs Secretary DeVos to provide a report on needed waivers under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. While every industry is making moves to adjust to these difficult times, our government is proposing, instead, to suspend the rights of one of our most vulnerable populations. Rather, advocates, parents, and school districts can use this as an opportunity, like the rest of the world, to ...