The High-touch Legal Services® Blog…for Startups!

© 2009-2014 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

A DBA is not a Legal Entity

Logo for Avvo, where Dana Shultz answered a question, noting that a DBA is not a legal entityThis post is based on a question that I answered on Avvo. The question illustrates a common misunderstanding concerning DBAs. (DBA is an abbreviation for “doing business as” – i.e., a fictitious business name.) The questioner did not realize that a DBA is not a legal entity!

Q. Can someone sue a DBA for breach of contract by the parent corporation? (more…)

Can I Walk Away from My Suspended LLC?

Photo of people walking, symbolizing walking away from a suspended LLCThis post addresses a question that arises frequently from founders of California limited liability companies that have been suspended: Can I walk away from my suspended LLC?

A suspended LLC is the result of a founder who has neglected to file Statements of Information with the Secretary of State, or file returns with or pay amounts due to the Franchise Tax Board, or both of the foregoing. Please see Why was My Corporation / LLC Suspended or Forfeited? (more…)

What Does Non-binding Mean and Why Should I Care?

Photo of an arm chained to a wall, symbolizing binding vs. non-binding obligationsThis post discusses the meaning of non-binding with respect to a letter of intent (LOI) or a memorandum of understanding (MOU). (Non-binding has a similar meaning in other legal contexts, such as legislation or arbitration, but I will not discuss those contexts here.)

Although I will refer to solely an LOI in the remainder of this post, the following pertains to an MOU, as well.

The purpose of an LOI is to summarize the basic terms of a relationship into which the parties wish to enter. It also specifies that the parties will enter into negotiations to prepare a definitive agreement establishing that relationship. (more…)

Entity Conversion Can Be Easy – If You Know What You Are Doing

Logo for Quora, where Dana Shultz answered a question about entity conversionThis post about entity conversion is an expanded version of an answer that I provided on Quora yesterday. (How do I convert a Delaware LLC to a California LLC?)

In my experience, entity conversion typically occurs for either, or both, of the following reasons.

  1. The need to convert a limited liability company (LLC) to a corporation to accept an investment from an institutional investor, such as a venture capitalist.
  2. The need to move an entity from one state to another. This typically occurs because the founder relocates, or because an investor prefers to invest in a Delaware corporation.

(more…)

How Do We Issue Corporate Shares?

Share certificate, symbolizing how to issue corporate sharesSeveral weeks ago, I wrote about how to issue LLC membership interests. in this post, I am addressing how a small corporation should issue corporate shares.

To start, one must examine the Certificate of Incorporation (Delaware) or Articles of Incorporation (California) to determine the maximum number of shares that may be issued. (To simplify this discussion, I will assume that only one class of common shares has been authorized.) A corporation may not issue more shares than are authorized. (more…)

Meaningful Privacy Policy Statements – the California Perspective

Seal aof the California Attorney General, who published guidelines for a meaningful privacy policyLast month, California’s Attorney General published her latest privacy-protection guidelines.  The title of the publication is Making your Privacy Practices Public – Recommendations on Developing a Meaningful Privacy Policy.

Executive Summary – Meaningful Privacy Policy Statements

Quoting from the beginning of the publication’s Executive Summary [emphasis added]: (more…)

Negotiating Software Licenses – What Really Counts

Photo of shaking hands, which symbolizes negotiating software license agreementsThis post addresses the most important issues that are raised in negotiating software licenses.

I will assume that parties have agreed on pricing. (Otherwise, there is no point negotiating license terms!) In addition, I will ignore the lengthy legal “boilerplate” that appears in most software license agreements.

Four Critical Issues in Negotiating Software Licenses

In my experience, there are four issues that must be examined closely, and often result in much discussion, when negotiating software licenses. (more…)

What Is a Unanimous Written Consent?

FreeBSD Foundation Unanimous Written Consent

The FreeBSD Foundation – Unanimous Written Consent of Directors

This post explains what a Unanimous Written Consent is. (Sometimes it is called an Action by Unanimous Written Consent.)

The term Unanimous Written Consent typically is used in the context of a corporation, which is the focus of this post. However, it can pertain to limited liability companies and other types of legal entities, as well. (more…)

How Do We Issue LLC Membership Interests?

Logo for Quora where Dana Shultz answered a question about LLC membership interestsWhen one forms a limited liability company (LLC) without a lawyer, there is a high likelihood that LLC membership interests will not be issued properly. This post describes how to issue LLC membership interests. It is adapted from a Quora question about LLC membership vesting that I answered.

Properly-Issued LLC Membership Interests

If LLC membership interests are issued properly, one would expect to see several things. (more…)

Vator Splash Oakland – May 6-7 – Special Discounts Available

Logo for Vator Splash OaklandVator Splash Oakland – a two-day startup competition and educational event – will take place May 6-7, 2014 at Jack London Square.

Readers of this blog are entitled to a 35% discount on all tickets except Scrappy Observer and Afterparty, which already are greatly reduced. Use discount code Schulz5. (more…)