On Monday, November 11, 2013, Burton Law initiated creation of a “legal lab” within The Entrepreneurs Center, the Dayton region’s business incubator. The lab will allow Burton Law to continually hone technology as its competitive edge, serve as a training facility for a fleet of new lawyers, and provide a proving ground in the firm’s continuing mission to evolve the legal profession.
Burton Law was founded to take the traditional law firm model and turn it on its head. The firm’s technology platform allows lawyers to practice remotely from anywhere in the country, which greatly reduces overhead and inefficiencies. Burton Law has grown steadily since its inception. It is now on the cusp of a nationwide expansion, which will rely on the infrastructure and training facilities being established in The Entrepreneurs Center.
“The goal is to have a place to continue cultivating new ways of delivering legal services from a technical and personal perspective,” says Burton Law’s founding attorney, Chad Burton. “The lab incubates and implements new ways of doing legal services while training new people that join the firm as we expand.”
At the lab, Burton Law will educate new lawyers in the technologies and practices that make the firm successful. According to Burton, this increases training efficiency and, more importantly, helps new members adopt the vision and culture of this uniquely modern law firm.
“It creates a center to foster innovation and keeps the mindset there,” says Burton. “It puts their work in the context of an evolving profession.”
Barbara Hayde, President of The Entrepreneurs Center, said the decision to partner Burton Law moved quickly once it materialized.
“I think it is pretty exciting that we are going to have such an innovative approach to the practice of law here,” says Hayde.
The Entrepreneurs Center was incorporated as an incubator in 1998 with “the intention to provide proper care and nurturing of individuals willing to take the risk to foster economic development and invest in the region by starting up technology enterprises.”
Hayde believes this new partnership is aligned with that vision.
“They’re creating a huge paradigm shift in the legal profession to get people to think differently about how they run their businesses,” says Hayde. “They’re plowing new ground here, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”
Patagonia’s Mission is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” This is a prime example of the mission of a benefit corporation. Benefit corporations are for-profit businesses that formally and legally commit to act for public and environmental benefit. The District of Columbia and 12 other states have recognized benefit corporations as a new type of corporate entity that businesses and entrepreneurs must consider when forming a business. By becoming a benefit corporation, Patagonia can remain the mission driven company that it is.
- Protecting directors and officers from liability for making decisions that further the public good but not necessarily the bottom line.
- Accepting accountability in the event the company abandons its commitment to the public good.
- Having a duty to consider both the shareholders and the stakeholders, ie. the employees, the customers, the community and the environment.
A few days ago, a majority of the Supreme Court of Ohio, in an opinion written by Justice Lanzinger, held that a pardon by the governor does not entitle the pardoned to an automatic expungement of the record of the crime, thus resolving a split between the Ninth District Court of Appeals and the First District Court of Appeals.
The facts are simple. Montoya Boykin was convicted of six different offenses over a period of twenty years. In January 2007, Ms. Boykin requested a pardon for three theft offenses and one receiving stolen property offense. The parole board unanimously voted to recommend clemency and former Governor Strickland issued a warrant of pardon in November 2009. Ms. Boykin argued that because she was pardoned, she was entitled to an expungement of the four pardoned offenses automatically.
Ms. Boykin applied to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas and the Akron Municipal Court to have the four offenses expunged. Instead of automatically expunging the offenses, both Courts refused to expunge the offenses after applying a balancing test set forth in Pepper Pike v. Doe, 66 Ohio St.2d 374 (1981). The Ninth District Court of Appeals affirmed this approach and affirmed the Court of Common Pleas’ decision.
The Supreme Court of Ohio, in a 6-1 Decision, affirmed the Ninth District’s decision.
The Court heavily relied on its own decision in Pepper Pike, stating that the basis for expungement is the constitutional right to privacy, BUT there is no absolute right to expungement even for individuals not convicted of the charged crimes. Interestingly, a pardon was not at issue in that case.
Next, the Court turned to the expungement statutes, R.C. 2953.32 and 2953.52, finding that they do not automatically entitle a recipient to have their records sealed. In fact, the statutes do not even mention pardons.
The Court then turned to the Ohio Constitution’s grant of the power to pardon, finding that the Ohio Constitution places certain requirements and limits on the pardon power. The Court concluded that “a pardon grants the recipient relief from any ongoing punishment for the offense and prevents any future legal disability based on that offense.” The Court, however, held that “it does not erase the past conduct.” Put another, more harsh, way by the Court, “what’s done is done.”
In line with the theme that the past cannot be erased, the Court relied on cases in which it held that a pardon did not entitle the recipient to act as though the conviction never occurred. For example, the Court noted that, in past cases, it has recognized the potential relevance of the underlying conduct of a pardoned offense for employment considerations, and it denied an attorney’s motion for termination of an indefinite license suspension based on the pardon of the underlying felony conviction.
What is the take home message? Under the current state of the law, a pardon does not protect the recipient from the multitude of collateral consequences, even future consequences. The problem with this position is that a recipient of a pardon can never be relieved of “all disabilities” arising from the pardoned conviction. Now we will look to the legislature to clarify the meaning of a pardon.
Technology and social media do great things for business like increasing exposure, allowing the business to exploit subject matter expertise and providing the public with minute by minute access to information about the business. Technology and social media has also prompted the creation of crowdfunding as a method of building capital. This post will introduce and discuss, donation based and investment based crowdfunding. It will also briefly talk about the JOBS Act. Future posts will expand on these topics and the law that a growing company must consider when raising capital.
Crowdfunding is a method of raising capital for a business, project or cause where a group of people put their money towards the business or product in exchange for some sort of good. Starting with websites like Kickstarter, Rockethub, and Indegogo which allow people to fund projects in exchange for some non-equity based product, crowdfunding has expanded to sites like Crowdfunder which allows people to fund projects in exchange for equity in the business.
With donation based crowdfunding, people give money in support of a project or product in exchange for something else, whether it’s a copy of the video game you are creating, an early version of the product or some sort of recognition when the project is complete. The crowd of people supporting your project do not get equity in your business. Donation based crowdfunding is the popular method of crowdfunding and has been around the longest.
- A well thought out business plan
- A fundraising goal, and
- A project
The appropriate crowdfunding service to choose depends on business strategy, product or service and strategic goals. Also, the type of business entity will effect fundraising and future growth. Is the business for-profit or non-profit? Is the business looking to fund a single project? Multiple projects? A cause instead of a project? How is the business organized? Is it an LLC? A C-Corp? A S-Corp? What sort of investor does the business want to attract? How much of a stake in the business are the owners willing to share? An attorney can provide the advice and assistance in order to protect the business and facilitate long term growth by working with the fundraiser, particularly with investment based crowdfunding that requires compliance with federal SEC regulations.
In today’s podcast, Chad Burton speaks with Burton Law attorney and Dayton native Bob Guehl.
Bob is a graduate of Chaminade High School and Ohio State University (BA and JD degrees). He is admitted to practice law in the State of Ohio and various federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Bob received advanced legal training at George Washington University National Law Center (Master of Law degree, LL.M.) in connection with a Fellowship in Forensic Medicine at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
Bob’s law practice has emphasis on “Baby Boomer” issues, and focuses on complex civil litigation, condominium law, employment law, organizational advice (for-profit and non-profit), and injury claims.
Listen and learn from Burton attorney Bob Guehl in today’s episode of Good Counsel: The Burton Law Podcast.
In today’s podcast, Chad Cooper speaks with Burton Law attorney Tony Alexander.
Tony focuses on the areas of business law and litigation. Advising companies of all sizes and maturity, Tony acts as outside general counsel to a variety of types of companies, in particular – business start-ups and multi-owner companies. Tony is also experienced in assisting companies in work-out situations.
Listen to Tony’s advice now on today’s episode of Good Counsel: The Burton Law Podcast.
In today’s podcast, Chad Burton speaks with Burton business litigation attorney Christine Cooper.
Christine has practiced for more than seven years, serving small, mid-size and large corporations and individuals. Her practice encompasses a variety of matters, such as commercial litigation, business torts, construction law, intellectual property disputes, alternative dispute resolution, landlord and tenant law, and commercial and residential real estate disputes.
Christine is experienced in all facets of e-discovery, including collection and processing documents for review, managing large scale document reviews, and preparing document retention policies.
Christine Cooper shares her insights on today’s episode of Good Counsel: The Burton Law Podcast.
In today’s podcast, Chad Burton speaks with one of the newer members of the Burton Law team, Chad Cooper.
Chad Cooper works mainly on business litigation matters and alternative dispute resolution. He has close to twenty years practicing law, including twelve years at a “BigLaw” firm. Chad spent his first four years of practice as a Philadelphia lawyer before returning to southwest Ohio, where he grew up. He believes that most business disputes may be resolved without filing a lawsuit, but real life in business does not always work out so well.
Listen and learn with Chad Cooper on today’s episode of Good Counsel: The Burton Law Podcast.
Constant evolution and learning. These are two necessary elements to become better and avoid complacency.
That is why we are excited to welcome Tom Kendo to our team, effective August 1. Tom has a very successful real estate and estate planning law practice in Dayton. He’s a great fit for our team because Tom provides excellent client service, knows his stuff when it comes to the law and actually enjoys being a lawyer. He brings 20+ of legal experience to the table.
Now, Tom has functioned in a very different manner than the Burton “virtual” law firm model. He has operated a traditional brick-and-mortar practice and, depending upon your perspective, has used a whole lot of paper and, let’s say, old technology at the core of his operation.
Does this mean that we are abandoning our model and reverting back to old practices? No way.
The merger of Tom’s practice into Burton Law demonstrates how change is important in the practice of law to further serve our clients. Tom gets it. We get it. We plan to do just that — continue to evolve client service for the better.
Your tenant stops paying or refuses to comply with a term of the lease it executed and you want nothing more than to get them out of the property – quickly. You do not want to go through the eviction process in the court. You believe it will take too long, be too expensive, and is just not worth the trouble. You have heard about other landlords changing locks and exercising their right of self-help. Should you follow in their footsteps? Before you decide to change the locks, here are some reasons why you might want to reconsider.
First, what is self-help? Self-help is when a landlord, without bringing a lawsuit, takes action to repossess the property leased by the tenant. A common example is when a landlord changes the locks when the property is unoccupied. A landlord has the right to self-help if ALL of the following apply: (1) it is a commercial lease (i.e. lease for business purposes); (2) the tenant remains in the property after the term of the lease expires (what is known as a holdover tenant) or the tenant materially violates a term of the lease; (3) the landlord gives all required notices under the lease (such as a termination notice or right to cure notice); (4) the lease specifically allows the landlord to use self-help measures; and (5) the self-help is conducted without a breach of the peace. If any of these conditions is not met, then self-help is not an option.
Following those rules seems easy, right? Here are the risks.
If any one of the conditions above is not met (and sometimes even if they are), then you are likely to be the subject of a lawsuit by the tenant. There are several claims that typically arise out of a landlord attempting to repossess through self-help measures. A tenant could assert wrongful termination of the lease and wrongful eviction, conversion of property (withholding of property from the person entitled to possession), and trespass. The tenant can seek damages arising out of these claims, including actual damages (the amount of money lost as a result of the landlord’s actions) and lost profits arising out of the tenant’s inability to run its business. A tenant can also seek punitive damages (which are intended to punish and deter the landlord from doing the same thing again) and attorneys fees. There is no way to guess at the specific amount of punitive damages that may be awarded to the tenant.
Even if you are successful in fighting off these claims, you will have lost time and money. You will spend a significant amount of time defending the lawsuit and you will likely incur significant legal expenses in defending such an action if you choose to hire an attorney.
While it may take a bit longer than changing the locks and while it may have an upfront cost, following the statutory process for eviction can give the landlord peace of mind. Court backed and aided by the sheriff or other law enforcement officer, the eviction process is the safest option.