Businesses and Entrepreneurs
A fundamental way that SMS assists with business development is in advising its clients on the right type of entity to form, then implementing that formation. The firm regularly advises individuals, partnerships, companies and corporations in a wide variety of industries and a broad range of business transactions. SMS represents entrepreneurs and established companies alike, whether they are developers and home builders, government contractors, or main street retail.
Not surprisingly, for a more traditional, local business, advice on choice of entity also requires an ability to advise on estate planning, succession management and wealth preservation. Similarly, for SMS technology clients, advice on choice of entity requires an ability to advise on intellectual property and technology transfer.
Of course, most businesses eventually have more than one owner. In those circumstances, sophisticated yet practical business advice can guide the process. SMS can help the client structure the relationships between owners through:
- Limited Liability Company Operating Agreements;
- Cross Purchase Agreements;
- Employment Agreements;
- Stock Incentive or Option Agreements; and
- Shareholders Agreements.
Even after the idea for the business entity is set in motion and corporate governance is settled, SMS maintains its relationship as a trusted advisor for the business, encouraging its marketing, capitalization and integration in the larger business community.
At SMS, we also remain dedicated to supporting those civic and charitable organizations that support our larger community. To that end, we regularly provide advice and assistance on the establishment and maintenance of non-profit and charitable business entities. As with our traditional business clients, we then dedicate ourselves to helping those entities thrive.
Mergers & Acquisitions
The attorneys at SMS are highly skilled advisors on all of the transactional needs of a successful and growing business. Our lawyers help structure a variety of business arrangements to allow companies to come together, including:
- Joint Ventures;
- Distribution Agreements;
- Asset Purchase Agreements;
- Stock Purchase Agreements;
- Franchise Agreements; and
- Other Strategically Collaborative Arrangements.
SMS recognizes that strategic arrangements – whether they are traditional “mergers and acquisitions” or otherwise, are part of corporate strategy, company finance, and even management. They can help a company add new assets and talent, grow a new sector, or even add a new location or enter a new region.
SMS strives to be general counsel for its business clients, offering a full range of legal support and business counseling. We help make your choice on your next business step easier because we remain along side as a trusted advisor. Planning in your business should be no less important than planning in your personal life, and the quality of the advice you receive should be no less exceptional.
Government & Agency Relationships
Our attorneys have more than 30 years of combined experience in helping to develop and define laws shaping the local economy. We serve clients at all levels of state, county and municipal government and even federal agencies. For our clients, the ability to influence a result at those levels is the intersection of law, business and government.
An effective government affairs practice requires not only strategic planning skills, but also tactical implementation skills. SMS assists its clients and the organizations that it supports to determine what outcomes would best serve their interests. Our attorneys then build and implement a plan to achieve those outcomes.
As leaders of public policy advocacy, SMS attorneys apply an in-depth knowledge of the mechanics of government and its interplay with modern business. We strive to facilitate our clients’ interests and to expedite any regulatory or creative solutions relating to those interests. We strive to keep our clients strategically ahead of critical events and issues.
Sometimes, government and agency representation requires that our attorneys formally serve as lobbyists. In those circumstances, we not only practice law, but help draft it. In this capacity, our clients benefit from the firm’s knowledge of the nuances of legislative and administrative politics and procedures.
However, maintaining an ongoing compliance relationship with a regulatory agency is often just as important as obtaining an initial approval. For example, SMS lawyers have advised and assisted local business owners and restaurants on matters related to the issuance and maintenance of liquor licenses. SMS can assist your business to obtain a license, transfer a license when a business is being purchased or sold, or even convert a license from one class to another. However, SMS can also educate and advise such clients on sustaining a rapport with the licensing agency and, thereby, the community. The same holds true of our land use and development clients. Maintaining an ongoing rapport with the governments and agencies in charge of approving and permitting a project is crucial to the success of that project.
Employment Agreements & Policies
As part of its comprehensive legal services for businesses, our firm covers the full spectrum of employment law matters for companies of all sizes. We work with clients to complement their in-house Human Resources staff, or act as the direct resource for advice and assistance on HR matters for newer or smaller companies.
We prepare Employee Handbooks and provide Policy Compliance advice. SMS routinely assists businesses with employment Document Analysis, and advice on the drafting of:
- Employment Agreements;
- Independent Contractor and Consulting Agreements;
- Restrictive Covenants;
- Separation Agreements;
- Non-Disclosure Agreements; and
- Employee assignments of intellectual property.
Our employment practices services include providing advice with regard to Federal and State Fair Employment Practices Laws including:
- Title VII;
- The Americans With Disabilities Act;
- The Equal Pay Act; and
- The Age Discriminating in Employment Act.
We provide advice with regard to Federal and State Wage Payment Laws including:
- The Fair Labor Standards Act;
- The Maryland Wage and Hour Law; and
- The Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Act.
We also counsel clients with regard to Federal and State Laws governing Employee Leave, including:
- The Family Medical Leave Act;
- The Maryland Flexible Leave Act; and
- The Maryland Sick and Safe Leave Act.
In all cases, our goal is to reduce or prevent the risk of employment-related liabilities. ]However, when claims do occur, our firm can provide aggressive representation. We defend clients before the administrative agencies that handle such claims and in the Federal and State courts where employment litigation occurs. Our attorneys have acted as counsel for and successfully defended management in all types of employment disputes, including claims of wrongful discharge, employment discrimination, wage payment disputes, overtime violations, and sexual harassment.
Our firm can also assist your business in its response to claims for unemployment, and can advise and assist in its response to any wage and hour audits imposed by State and Federal agencies.