AdobeStock_164602790-300x200Mechanics liens are a complicated legal tool with dramatic financial consequences. It is important for any property owner, business owner, or contractor to understand how this tool applies to you. Call Structure Law Group at (408) 441-7500. Our experienced Silicon Valley business lawyers can help you understand how mechanics liens work, and how you can either prosecute or defend a mechanics lien to protect your financial interests.

What is a Mechanics Lien?

A mechanics lien is a legal tool used to protect contractors’ right to payment. A contractor (and certain other parties) who have not been paid for labor, materials, or services can file a lien against the real property at issue. This lien acts as a “cloud” on the owner’s title. The owner cannot sell the property until the lien has been satisfied. In certain cases, the holder of a mechanics lien might have other ways of enforcing the lien, as well.

for-sale-300x172Everyone has different reasons for starting and ending a business. Some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs start their businesses hoping to be acquired by a larger corporation. Many tech industry business owners build their enterprises with the goal of selling them, while other business owners are simply ready for a change. Whether you’re being acquired, retiring, transferring your business interest to a family member, or simply moving on, the experienced Silicon Valley business lawyers at Structure Law Group, LLP can help. From explaining tax options and consequences to fighting for the best sale price, we’re here for Silicon Valley business owners at every step. To schedule your free business law consultation with one of our experienced Silicon Valley business attorneys, call us today at 408-441-7500 or contact us online.

Step 1: Finding a Buyer & Negotiating a Sale Price

 Most clients looking to sell their businesses have a buyer lined up and a ballpark sale price in mind. However, a sale can fall apart in the details. For example, do you own a patent associated with your business that’s necessary for operation? Do you have financial investors who own a share of your company? Are there any outstanding contracts or liabilities the new owner should be aware of? Always take the following into consideration when negotiating a sale price:

AdobeStock_252648156-300x200Drafting contracts that properly protect your legal interests requires training, a unique skillset, and years of experience as a business attorney.  Contracts that are not drafted by experienced counsel often fail to provide adequate protections to the parties involved.  For example, contracts prepared by business people that are not attorneys often contain key terms that are vague or are missing key legal provisions and fail to offer business owners sufficient legal protection. A well drafted contract can provide a business owner predictability and will save significant time and money by avoiding pitfalls that can be a significant burden on a company.

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Draft Your Own Business Contracts

  1. The Agreement May Not Reflect Your Intentions. Although a form contract purchased online might look enticing, it may very well fail to meet your specific needs.  You might not properly understand its provisions, legalese, or legal terms of art. Lengthy terms in a form contract can be confusing to the untrained reader and can contain terms that are dangerous to include in your specific situation. They can address complex legal theories that are best understood by an experienced attorney.  Ultimately, using a form contract without individualized legal advice can lead to your business being bound to legal provisions that you never intended.

AdobeStock_194813254-300x200In forward-thinking Silicon Valley, many individuals and businesses have made profitable investments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Employers may want to take advantage of healthy appreciation and pay their employees in this increasingly-valuable currency. But employers must use caution. Employment laws still apply to regulate the manner in which a worker must be paid. Wage and hour disputes are more difficult with cryptocurrency, and there is not yet clear case law to define these issues. Employers should consult with an experienced Silicon Valley employment law attorney before making the decision to switch to crypto.

Call (408) 441-7500 to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled San Jose business lawyers. We help California employers find ways to implement new technologies while meeting their legal obligations.

Wage and Hour Law

debt-collecting-300x201Effective business owners know that all assets and liabilities must be properly managed. Debts owed to a business are assets, and if these debts are not repaid, the asset is mismanaged. A business debt collection attorney can help your business realize the full value of your debt assets. Call Structure Law Group at (408) 441-7500. Our experienced Silicon Valley business lawyers can help your business explore all options for collecting debt and execute the strategies that are right for you.

Debt Recovery Strategies

Experian recently released a list of their recommended debt collection strategies. They include:

AdobeStock_258960515-300x200In recent years, it has become more and more common for technology and other startups to attract and compensate their employees through grants of stock and stock options.  In Silicon Valley, stock options have become an expected element of compensation.  For startups competing with more established companies for talent, stock and stock option grants have become an effectively mandatory element of compensation.

The ubiquity of stock options masks their underlying legal complexity.  Employers need to ensure that their equity compensation programs comply with applicable law, including federal and state securities laws, or risk substantial fines and other penalties.  For example, Credit Karma was fined $160,000 by the SEC for failure to comply with the federal securities laws.

Federal and State Securities Laws

AdobeStock_274449599-300x199Launching a startup is an exciting time for entrepreneurs. There are many people involved in many processes that could make or break your business. During this time, your intellectual property (IP) can be exposed to many different people and businesses. It is important to protect it from theft and unlicensed usage. At Structure Law Group, our experienced Silicon Valley startup attorneys know how to protect your legal interests in IP at all stages of business formation. Call 408-441-7500 to schedule your consultation with a lawyer.

The Reasons Entrepreneurs Don’t Protect Their Intellectual Property

Forbes recently reported on some of the most common reasons entrepreneurs fail to protect their property:

AdobeStock_89081213-300x200You had the idea but not the finances, so you approached a venture capitalist. She invested $100,000 in exchange for a 25% equity stake in your new corporation. You were still the majority shareholder, so her equity share never affected day-to-day operations. As your company began to grow, you partnered with like-minded individuals, merged corporations, incorporated new ideas, and continued to sell equity to fund your ventures. Your cap table gets more complex each year, and one day you realize you’re no longer the majority shareholder. In fact, your partners are working with the 25% stakeholder to squeeze you out.

Founder fights commonly occur as companies grow. The more successful your corporation, the more people want a piece of it. Founder breakups are the most common reason start-up companies fail and should be addressed early by an experienced business litigation attorney at Structure Law Group, LLP.

Most Common Reason for Founder Breakups 

AdobeStock_238081258-300x200Employee relations can create complicated legal issues for any California company. Hiring, daily operations, performance reviews, and termination all create situations in which your company or your employee may face impaired legal rights. By clearing stating each party’s rights and responsibilities in a written document that is freely available to all employees, your company can reduce the likelihood of legal disputes. The experienced employment attorneys at Structure Law Group have helped many California companies reduce their employment liability by writing employee handbooks. Call (408) 441-7500 to schedule your consultation today.

Here are three common mistakes employers make when drafting an employee handbook:

  • Not updating it to reflect changes in employment law.

AdobeStock_269304451-300x200As your Silicon Valley startup grows, it’s hard to know whom to trust. You’ve likely gone from a close-knit group of founders invested in the confidentiality of your trade secrets to hiring at-will employees who are less concerned with secrecy. Both federal and state laws reflect the value placed on corporate trade secrets and confidential information. Especially in technology-driven industries where startups are valued for their unique innovations, protecting your trade secrets is a key to success.

Defining Trade Secrets & Confidential Information

While you can contractually bind your employees to keep certain confidences, only qualifying trade secrets are protected by state and federal law. Trade secrets are defined as information that derives economic value by not being generally known or readily ascertainable by competitors and are subject to reasonable efforts to maintain confidence. Trade secrets can consist of: