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An easement is a legal tool that gives someone else the right to use part of your land. Generally speaking, an easement does not give a party full ownership of that part of the property and instead, will include restrictions on how the party can use the land. Additionally, the property owner retains the right to use their land as they choose, as long as the use does not interfere with the easement holder’s rights.

One type of easement does restrict the property owner’s right to use the land – sometimes, they cannot use that part of their property at all once an easement is in place. These are called exclusive easements and, while they are rare, it is important to understand all implications of this type of easement before you ever grant one.

How an Exclusive Easement is Acquired

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Despite the fact that everyone is entitled to their day in the court, the reality is that most cases are resolved out of court.  Many clients will approach their lawyers with the hope that they will be able to quickly get in front of a judge and explain their story—a vision of American justice that is reinforced in popular media and Court TV.  However, getting to trial is a long process and most cases never make it to trial.  In most situations, the cases take earlier exit ramps, such as informal out-of-court settlement, mediation, arbitration, or is resolved by a ruling before trial.  Even if a case is set for trial, it is very common for the parties to settle on the eve of trial.

Often, the cheapest and most efficient way for a dispute to get resolved is for the attorneys to work on an out-of-court settlement.  This can occur at any point either before or after a lawsuit has been filed.  Under this track, attorneys informally negotiate a resolution.  If the parties agree to it, the attorneys will memorialize the resolution in a settlement agreement.  This is often the quickest way to resolve a case, as it does not require any third-party intervention—it only requires the parties to work together to settle their differences and capable counsel to guide the parties through the process.

In addition to out-of-court settlements, cases often get resolved with the help of a neutral third-party.  For instance, cases often go to non-binding mediation before they move on to trial.  Indeed, more and more courts are making mediation a mandatory step before allowing the case to move to trial.  During mediation, the parties present their case to a neutral third party whose job is to facilitate a settlement agreement by working with the parties and their attorneys as a go-between. Sometimes, cases may end up in front of a neutral third-party who has the authority to make a binding decision.  For instance, if the parties signed an agreement for binding arbitration, a private judge will make the final decision and the parties must live with the decision whether or not they are happy with it.  Arbitration is usually less costly and more efficient than going to trial.

Options When Faced with a Legal Dispute

When faced with a legal dispute, it is important to know what your options are. A San Jose business owner typically juggles multiple commercial relationships on a regular basis – vendors, clients, employees, contractors, and business partners. Given the nature of running a business, it is likely that a legal dispute will come up at some point. When this happens, it is very important to educate yourself on what your options are. Litigation can subject a business to unnecessary stress, be huge time sink, and cost you significant legal fees and expenses. Alternative dispute resolutions like mediation and arbitration are processes that may allow you and the other side to reach a solution that you both can live with without the substantial causalities that litigation typically entails.

The experienced San Jose corporate attorneys at Structure Law Group have extensive experience in litigation, mediation, and arbitration. They can discuss the pros and cons of each option with you and help you pick the best course of action for your business.

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Mergers in the tech world are quite common. In a merger, one or more companies combine to form a new company (i.e., legal entity). Mergers can be complex and have many moving parts. The transaction can often include legal documents, valuation, key deliverables, operational logistics, regulatory matters, and financing and payments. A Silicon Valley M&A attorney can assist with your merger M&A transaction and handle multiple facets of the transaction.

Structuring the M&A Transaction

A merger and/or acquisition is a term that can be used to represent several types of transactions. Some M&A transactions might include:

Fotolia_172702870_Subscription_Monthly_M-1-300x187Successful merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions often rely on how well the parties involved communicate and how efficiently they can complete negotiations and due diligence. There are many steps that have to occur from initial interest in an M&A to full signature, payment, and completion of the transaction. Both parties, the buyer(s) and the seller(s), need to make sure the transaction is mutually beneficial. The Letter of Intent is one important step in this process.

Purpose of an LOI

The first step in formalizing any M&A transaction is usually a Letter of Intent (LOI). This document can sometimes also be called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The LOI is a written document that outlines the buyer’s initial intentions and may include pertinent information and conditions related to the transaction. The delivery of an LOI to another party presents the seller’s intentions and begins potential negotiations. If you are the party issuing an LOI, you will want to make sure your letter is professional, clearly communicates your intentions, and sets forth realistic expectations. An experienced M&A attorney can assist in the drafting of your LOI.

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How Can a Founder be Removed as an Employee?

You may expect the founder of a company to remain in charge of the enterprise until it the founder either retires or the company closes up shop. After all, the company would not exist without the founder, so they should retain control over their own business, right? However, there are situations where founders and CEOs are removed from their positions in an organization.

It may not seem fair that a founder starts a business from scratch, work long hours every day to build the business, find investors, and then have the investors decide that someone else should lead the company in further growth. When money is on the line, however, investors will make sure to do what is best for the company. Ousting founders seems particularly common in the tech industry, and the following are only some examples of removed founders:

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Technology is an integral part of our business in this fast-paced world. This is true no matter the size of your organization, especially in the Bay Area. Managing contracts efficiently and effectively can be a burdensome task, but a critical one. Contracts form the basis for almost every deal we do. They are inherently important. Nowadays, there is software for virtually almost any application, including contract management. Considering a system to manage your Bay Area contracts can help to streamline your business.

What is a Contract Management System?

Contract management can mean different things to different businesses. In the general sense, contract management is the process a company uses to create, negotiate, execute, and track contracts. A contract management system is an automated system that helps streamline various components of contract management. There are many Bay Area and national companies that offer various software to manage contracts. At the heart of these systems is the ability to use it as a repository for legacy and new contracts, increase the operational process of contract drafting, and automate as much of the process as possible.

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For decades, the traditional 40-hour per week work schedule has involved working five eight-hour days per week, often Monday through Friday. However, in recent years, many companies have realized the benefits of offering alternative work schedules for employees. Such benefits include improved job satisfaction, employee morale, additional opportunities for public service, reduced time off work for medical appointments and child-related obligations, and more.

Employees have many reasons for preferring an alternative schedule to the traditional nine-to-five. A popular schedule is working four 10-hour days in a week and having a consistent three-day weekend. However, California overtime laws traditionally required employers to pay overtime rates – time-and-a-half regular hourly pay – for any hours worked over eight in a day. In recent years, the legislature adapted California law to address new employment trends to allow and even encourage employers to offer alternative workweek schedules (AWWS) to employees without paying overtime rates.

Employers should be careful to comply with all relevant laws when offering an AWWS to employees in order to prevent liability. If you are considering offering an AWWS, it is always wise to first consult with an experienced employment and business attorney.

Fotolia_69411638_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x200Contracts are essential to any business deal. No matter how close the parties and no matter how clearly the terms are spelled out, there is always a possibility of the other party breaching the contract. Whether a contract is with a vendor, another business, an employee, or any other party, a breach can cause financial harm to your company.

Fortunately, a contract should also dictate your rights and options to seek legal remedies in the event of a breach. Our experienced business and contract attorneys can help you through each step of this process to ensure the matter is resolved as efficiently and favorably as possible.

  1. Talk to the other party. Sometimes, a party to a contract may not even realize they are in breach of the agreement. If the breach involves non-payment, there may be ways to agree on a payment plan or another arrangement to fulfill the contract without taking legal action. It is always a good idea to speak with a party – or have your lawyer do so – to explore options to resolve the issue.

Fotolia_171059478_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x200A right of first refusal is an important legal right in business law. It gives a certain party the opportunity to engage in a transaction before another party can do so. The right of first refusal can be used in many different contexts and can be extremely important for many companies. If a right of first refusal is granted and not subsequently honored, it can lead to a legal dispute.

If you are including a right of first refusal provision in a contract, you should always have a skilled business lawyer review the contract to ensure the provision properly protects your rights. We can also ensure the contract allows you the appropriate remedies should another party breach the contract provision.

Situations Involving a Right of First Refusal