What does the logo of the Law Office of David Steinfeld mean?

Often times I am asked what the trademarked logo for the Law Office of David Steinfeld signifies.  It has two simple components; a courthouse and a large lowercase “e” with computer code for “electronic”.  The courthouse is obvious.  The “e” represents that fact that my practice is all digital and heavily involved with new and emerging issues in business litigation, like electronic discovery.

As a business lawyer that counsels and represents businesses and their owners, I recognize that it is critical to move at the speed of these businesses and to not slow them down.  Most businesses now almost exclusively use e-mail and store their records digitally.  Most law firms do not and are not set up to work with businesses so as not to significantly disrupt their operations.  I cannot image telling a business client nowadays to print thousands of e-mails so I can manually review them in a lawsuit.  The time to do that and the cost of the paper and ink is totally unnecessary when they can easily and securely upload data to an e-discovery vendor and have me log in remotely to use the sophisticated e-discovery software to cull and review those.  Business litigation is all about costs.  If the businesses’ lawyer can reduce those costs, then the process can be more efficient and affordable.

Discovery is the process by which parties to a civil lawsuit obtain and exchange information before trial.  E-Discovery is the term given to doing this process electronically using sophisticated software.  In addition to performing e-discovery regularly, I also teach lawyers and even Judges how to properly and ethically do e-discovery.  Because there are a multitude of vendors that provide e-discovery software, the question that often arises from lawyers is how to choose the right one.  For that, I have created a “consumer reports” type website to assist lawyers nationwide in choosing the right software for their cases called e-discoverysoftwarereviews.com.  Through understanding this new e-discovery process and staying current on its trends and developments, the Law Office of David Steinfeld can provide the best and most efficient representation to its clients.

But what business wants to be involved in an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit if they can avoid it?  That is where the planning and counseling aspect of my practice comes in.  For those business people who recognize the importance of avoiding problems before they occur, I advise them on and draft important business documents, such as contracts, operating and shareholder agreements, non-competes, non-disclosures, and the purchase and sale of a business or its assets. I have also created and placed a significant number of free videos and articles on my Firm’s website, http://www.thepalmbeachbusinesslawyer.com, that explain these legal issues that businesses commonly face and provide basic background information on them.

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The Law Office of David Steinfeld’s videos and articles are designed to help the business owner to understand the parts of a lawsuits and what documents they should have for their business.  This also saves the client time and money in that I don’t always have to explain these issues in such great detail because the client already has an understanding of the legal vocabulary and concepts from watching those videos or reading the brief articles.  I have even crafted a series of articles about key areas commonly encountered in business lawsuits, such as what are interrogatories and what happens at mediation, which clients can read to save the time and cost of me explaining it.  Any way that I can save my business clients money makes the process more efficient and affordable for them.

My practice also uses a large amount of technology to service clients, so business people do not even have to leave their office to work with me.  Simple technologies like video chat and screen sharing allow my Firm to service clients virtually any time and worldwide.  For example, while teaching American law in South Korea, I was able to design and craft all the business documents for a growing South Florida personal injury law firm that allowed it to efficiently expand Statewide.

Although my Firm is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, I regularly counsel and represent businesses and individual clients all over Palm Beach County from Jupiter to Boca Raton, across the State of Florida and all over the United States, Europe and Asia when they have business dealings in the State of Florida.  I am licensed to practice before all Courts in Florida from trial Courts up to the Florida Supreme Court, and all Federal Courts in Florida, including Bankruptcy Courts, the Federal Appeals Court that covers Florida, and even the United States Supreme Court.  Even though I may not regularly practice in all of these Courts, I maintain these licenses because a business client in Palm Beach County and I may sue in the local State Court and the other side may remove the case to Federal Court and change the venue to the Northern District of Florida, which may then later be appealed to the Federal Appellate Court in Atlanta or even the US Supreme Court.  I would do a disservice if I was unable to counsel and represent my client through that entire process, which to me is what a business should expect of its business lawyer.

About the Author

Board Certified expert in business litigation by the Florida Bar, David Steinfeld, Esq. is the owner of the Law Office of David Steinfeld in Palm Beach Gardens.  He is AV-Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell, 10.0-Superb rated by AVVO, named one of Florida’s Legal Elite for 2012 and 2013, highlighted as “One to Watch” for 2014 by Attorney-at-Law Magazine, selected for inclusion in the list of Florida Super Lawyers for 2014, and recognized as one of the top business lawyers in Florida for 2013 and 2014 by The Legal Network.

Mr. Steinfeld sits on the Florida Bar Board Certification Committee for business litigation and is the current Chair of the Palm Beach County Bar’s Business Litigation CLE Committee.  He was also appointed by the Florida Supreme Court to its Committee on Business and Contract Jury Instructions and is a member of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists.  He is an invited Fellow in the national trial lawyer honor society, the Litigation Counsel of America, and is a full Professor of Law at Dankook University Law School in South, Korea.  Informative videos and articles are available for free at davidsteinfeld.com.

The Law Office of David Steinfeld – E-mail: info@davidsteinfeld.com

Tel: (561) 316-7905.

JANUARY 1, 2015 IS COMING – IS YOUR LLC READY?

On January 1, 2015, Florida’s Revised Limited Liability Company Act will apply to ALL LLCs incorporated in and doing business in Florida and it will be the new rule.  The changes from the old LLC Act are dramatic and substantial.  Is your LLC ready?

The old LLC Act was missing a lot of default provisions that previously had to be addressed by operating agreements, if the business had one.  The new Act fills in those gaps and, taken together, operate as a fallback operating agreement for businesses that don’t have one.  But, do you even know what those new provisions are and really want what the Legislature has chosen for your business?

If your company has no operating agreement, the new Act provides that it is deemed member-managed from January 1, 2015.  That may not be the way your company is set up, but it will be on January 1 unless you make a new operating agreement.  Also, members will have certain rights that they previously did not and that you might not want to give them, such as appraisal rights.  Most notably, the new Act sets the value of membership interest as “fair value”, which is a somewhat nebulous concept and requires expensive expert evaluation and testimony to establish.  Maybe your business is better served by a set amount or a formula such as three times EBITA.  Without an operating agreement, you will be stuck with fair value from January 1, 2015.

Your updated or new operating agreement can depart from these new statutory defaults and apply a different set of rules and standards that serve the unique needs of your business.  The cost? Far less to make an operating agreement before January 1, 2015, than to litigate these issues later.  Of course, you can also wait until after January 1, 2015, and hope for the best if you are the gambling type and like to take risks with the business that you built.

The prudent and proper way to approach this situation is to sit down with a qualified expert in business litigation who understands how these issues are litigated and how to structure them to avoid litigation or at least maximize the opportunities for success in future disputes.  Your business is one of the most important elements of your life and livelihood.  If you had a water leak in your house or a problem with your car’s engine, would you just leave it and hope for the best?  Of course not.  So, the optimum time to “repair” your LLC is before the changeover on January 1, 2015.

To schedule an evaluation of your LLC and the preparation of a new operating agreement or other important documents, such as contracts, liability waivers, non-competes, and non-disclosures, to name a few, contact the Law Office of David Steinfeld at (561) 316-7905 or through http://www.thepalmbeachbusinesslawyer.com or http://davidsteinfeld.com

2014 – New Revised Limited Liability Company Act

Midnight December 31, 2013, the ball dropped, fireworks went off, and people rejoiced.  Why were they so happy? Because that moment in time marked the end of Florida’s Limited Liability Company Act and sounded the opening bell for the Revised LLC Act for companies formed after January 1, 2014.

If you own or manage an LLC that existed before January 1, 2014, you can breathe a sigh of relief because you aren’t affected, but you will be.  January 1, 2015 is when the new law applies to you, whether you like it or not.

So, you just formed an LLC in Florida and have a great business idea that is going to make a lot of profit in 2014.  What are some of the big changes that will impact your new LLC and what are you supposed to do?  Probably the biggest one that affects you is the management; the Revised Act serves as a default or fallback in the event you don’t have an operating agreement.  So let’s assume you haven’t gotten with me yet to prepare that document and you have a partner or a few investors.  Under the new Act, they will now be deemed more than just silent investors, they are members with many, many rights that you might not have intended they have.  These members can also sell and transfer their interest under the new Act, meaning you may have new “partners” that you didn’t intend and don’t want as partners.  What can you do about it if you don’t have a proper operating agreement prepared by a skilled and qualified business lawyer . . . nothing.  The new default is member managed.  If you want to have the business run by a manager or managers, that has to be in your operating agreement.  No operating agreement, no controlling manager.

Also, the business has to keep certain records and the members have rights to see them.  Thus, by saving money not getting an operating agreement, you cost the company more in responding to records requests or even lawsuits for records that you didn’t think the “silent investors” should get, not realizing they are full-fledged members because you have no operating agreement.

Arguably, not having proper documents, like an operating agreement or contracts, may even be a breach of a manager’s fiduciary responsibilities to the company.  The cost of having the Law Office of David Steinfeld prepare these documents, for example, is negligible as compared to the cost of lawsuits by members for mismanagement for not having them.  Which also highlights a “safe harbor” in the new law that allows business owners to protect and insulate themselves from liability in most cases by obtaining opinion letters from professionals, such as lawyers and CPAs.  What’s the cost of these letters – much less than not getting them, that is for certain.

Business owners put a lot of time, energy, and money into their business to build and grow it.  It only makes sense to protect it with proper internal documents, like operating agreements, and documents for external use, such as contracts, non-disclosure agreement, and non-compete agreements.  Failing to invest in protecting your business can literally bring down the whole house of cards.

If you are a single-member LLC, if someone gets a judgment against you, the owner, they can literally take away your ownership and they own the company and all its assets.  Does that make you a more attractive target?  How can your business afford to defend an expensive lawsuit, even if you did nothing wrong?  All good questions to ask yourself when looking forward to 2014 and realizing now is the time to have the Law Office of David Steinfeld or any other Board Certified expert in business litigation law sit down with you, review your documents, and advise you on your options for doing things the right way under Florida’s Revised Limited Liability Company Act.

For more information please visit http://davidsteinfeld.com