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Business Law

Ellicott City, Maryland Business Attorneys

Formation • Contracts • Litigation • Mechanic's Liens • Collections

Next to your family, your business is the most important thing in the world to you. It is your livelihood, and you and your family depend on it. Every business, large or small, needs competent legal representation throughout its life.

Serving Howard County and surrounding Maryland since 1975, Willis Law Firm, P.A. has many years of experience representing small and mid-sized companies in virtually every matter that affects a business:

Our Maryland business attorneys are admitted to practice in all Maryland State and Federal Courts, and are admitted to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. As a small firm, we can offer prompt response and swift action. As experienced business lawyers, we have the knowledge and skills to resolve your legal issue and prevent future conflicts.

Business Formation

The attorneys at Willis Law Firm, P.A. are experienced at forming corporations, limited liability companies, and other business entities. In addition to advising on the most advantageous entity to start a business, we draft the associated operating agreements (LLC) and shareholder agreements or buy-sell agreements (corporations).

Most circumstances will require either a limited liability company (LLC) or an "S" corporation. For the most part there is very little difference between the two, and tax treatment is similar for both. The most obvious difference is that an S corporation cannot get a substantial portion of its revenue from passive income (such as rental income). Thus most clients use an LLC if they intend to rent out real estate. Otherwise, an S corporation is generally adequate.

When we form your corporation or LLC, we make sure the proper documents are filed, that you get a federal tax ID number if you need it, that requirements are met for a "subchapter S" corporation status, and that all the documents and stock certificates are in place.

Contracts and Agreements

Willis Law Firm, P.A. can prepare and review all contracts required to do business:

  • Drafting of standard contracts
  • Specific contracts with vendors or between merchants
  • Employment contracts (non-compete agreements and other employee agreements)
  • Construction contractor agreements
  • Lease agreements (commercial or residential tenants)

We draft contracts in clear and precise language to minimize disputes, and can identify loopholes or ambiguities in contracts presented to your company that could lead to potential conflicts.

Commercial Collections

Frequently the person for whom you have done work is slow to pay, or simply refuses to pay. The longer a receivable sits without being collected, the smaller the chance of collecting it. You need to take concrete action soon after the debt is past due.

The lawyers at Willis Law Firm, P.A. have experience collecting unpaid bills for businesses, and will take the matter to court if necessary. Once we obtain a judgment, we aggressively pursue collection of it by garnishment and through seizure of assets. Our skilled advisors can make sure you do not run afoul of the Fair Debt Collections Act while maximizing your recovery.

If your circumstances allow, you may be able to obtain a mechanic's lien (discussed below).

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Whether you are being sued, or need to sue someone else, our attorneys can help. We handle all types of breach of contract disputes, whether it with a customer, a vendor, a contractor, or another business.

There are times when your business needs competent legal representation to defend a lawsuit. If you or your business is sued, you need to seek representation immediately. There are tight deadlines for responding, particularly in the District Courts. If you miss a deadline, you may end up with a default judgment. You also need to know your rights and your obligations, and have an understanding of what the likely outcome of the lawsuit is.

If you need to bring a lawsuit, there is usually a statute of limitations associated with the action. If you do not bring the suit quick enough, you may be barred from doing so. Our lawyers will evaluate your case and help you analyze the cost of litigation compared to the probable recovery. If it makes economic sense, we will prosecute the case for you.

We have pursued such cases in Howard County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County.

Many contract disputes can be resolved short of litigation. Our attorneys have resolved many issues for clients through mediation or arbitration.

Mechanic's Liens

Mechanic's liens are powerful tools for collecting your fee when you have acted as a contractor or a subcontractor for work on or about real property. With a mechanic's lien on a piece of property, you can sell the property through what is essentially a foreclosure. The most typical scenario for obtaining a mechanic's lien is a tradesman doing work on a remodel or new construction.

The problem as a subcontractor is that you cannot sue the person with whom the contractor has his contract if you are not being paid. The original purpose of a mechanic's lien was to allow subcontractors to attach the property on which he had done work in spite of not having a contact with the owner of the property. In Maryland, a contractor or subcontractor can obtain a mechanic's lien.

There are, however, stringent time requirements and notice requirements for obtaining a mechanic's lien. You should act as soon as it becomes apparent that you are not going to get paid when you should. Often the threat of a mechanic's lien will get you paid, particularly when the contractor does not own the property.

Representative Business Clients:

  • The Miller Land Co.
  • The Insiders' Guides, Inc.
  • Electronics, Inc.
  • Mid-Atlantic Steel Contractors, Inc.
  • Security Development Group

We hope you will join the list of companies receiving quality legal representation from Willis Law Firm, P.A. Contact us to arrange an initial consultation to discuss your start-up goals or legal problem.