Business Law

The Law Offices of Cathy Cowin - Representing local businesses since 1991.

Running a business can be challenging. We find that many business owners don't seek legal representation soon enough - when the attorney could save you money or keep you out of court. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone you could call with the tough questions? Someone that would come alongside to look after your best interests and save you from undue liability? We're here to help.

What's exciting about representing small-to-medium size businesses.

I love working with small business owners. In the transactional side of my practice, I enjoy helping them set up various entities (partnerships, LLCs, and corporations), analyze contracts/leases, avoid liability, and set up good business practices. On the litigation side, I've represented numerous clients dealing with business frauds and business relationships that have gone bad. I've also handled a number of business sales/purchases either in the form of stock purchases, LLC membership transfers, or asset purchases.

Part of the fun of representing business and agri-business clients is learning about their particular industry segments. I've gotten to know a bit about gas station representation, trucking companies, hotshot trucking, load brokering, auto dealer flooring, fuel transportation, commercial/residential solar, genetic seed manipulation, and beauty spas, just to name a few!

Expect to be asked, "What's your goal?"

If you come to my office for an appointment, expect to be asked, "What is your goal?" It's incredibly important that the attorney and client are on the same page and have a clear understanding of the desired outcome, particularly concerning business disputes. This equally applies to the economics associated with legal representation.

Avoiding unnecessary business disputes & Relationship Insurance.

Business conflicts can come from the outside or from the inside (usually the first significant money earned or lost). It's important to have a good roadmap for disputes before they happen. For outside disputes, that may be a well-written contract. For internal disputes, that may mean a good plan to address what happens when there's a disagreement. Two individuals came to me once saying they were best friends and so they wanted a cheap, short partnership that would be no more than two pages long. Of course, that's not a good partnership agreement, but they were serious! I told them "Sure, but would you also like some additional pages that I refer to as Relationship Insurance?" It took them a minute before they took in my point. Having a good roadmap for when things don't go as planned can be what keeps you best friends.

Ways that conflicts get resolved.

If you do end up in a serious dispute, there are only four ways that people resolve disputes: (1) negotiation (i.e. talk it out and come to an agreement), (2) take your beef out to the alley and the last one standing is the winner (i.e. the strongest wins...and in protracted litigation, this could mean the one with the biggest war chest), (3) court or binding arbitration (i.e. you give a third party the power to decide for you), and (4) mediation (i.e. a third party helps you mutually resolve the conflict). Sometimes, court is the right answer, but mediation is often an excellent option (even after a case has been filed) because it is faster and less expensive than court. While it only works if both sides are willing to enter into the process (and both parties retain the right to walk away at any time), statistics show an 80% satisfaction rate regarding a mediated outcome. If mediation is unsuccessful, then there's a clear signal that litigation must be more aggressive.