Category Archives: Business Startups

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How To Tell If A Check Is Fake

As online shopping continues to grow, consumers are relying more than ever on issuing payment for those transactions remotely.  Despite the appeal and convenience, especially during a global pandemic, many transactions continue to be paid for with traditional checks, including  cashier checks.  The appeal of checks is due to the sense of security that the…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo 10/16/2020

Creating Arbitration Agreements with Your Employees

Many employers routinely include mandatory arbitration agreements for resolving employment disputes with their employees. To the surprise of many employers, such clauses are often ruled invalid. To help assure that your agreement requiring arbitration of employment disputes is enforceable, be aware of the following factors: Consider using a separate, stand-alone agreement. Especially in the context of…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons 11/01/2019

Non-Compete And Non-Solicitation Agreements: Employer Beware

A recent case from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland underscored the growing trend by courts across the country to limit the application of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.   These agreements, typically referred to as “restrictive covenants”, are integral to many employment agreements. Restrictive covenants in employment contracts serve as a means of assuring the…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons 04/24/2018

Can I Run An Airbnb® in Montgomery County?

A recent online search revealed approximately 227 available Airbnb®rooms, cottages, and homes for rent in the Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and Silver Spring areas of Montgomery County. In a county known for regulations and restrictions, you might be asking: Are Montgomery County’s residents allowed to operate their residential homes as short-term rentals? As of July 1,…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri 11/24/2017

Own a business? You need a buy-sell agreement!

If you own a business, having a buy-sell agreement is a necessity.  Without it, a closely-held or family-owned business is in jeopardy in the event of the owner’s death, disability, retirement, divorce or bankruptcy, or if a dispute arises among the owners. A buy-sell agreement is a legally-binding contract among the owners addressing the terms…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons 05/31/2017

Do Your Employees Understand Their Duty of Loyalty?

All of your employees are subject to an array of implied common law duties. This includes the “duty of loyalty” which requires an employee to serve his or her employer faithfully and refrain from knowingly or willfully acting to harm the business. It also requires the employee to refrain from conflicts of interest with the…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro 04/26/2017

For Small Business Contracts, Details are a Big Deal

Far too often we see small business owners with a business model that has a critical defect:  the lack of quality contracts.  While Google and other websites can provide basic contract forms that appear useful, these forms have serious downsides.  Typically they fail to include provisions that are specific to your business and may even…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards 03/28/2017

Website 2.0 – The Better Version of a Website for Your Business

Where to Start: Create A Valid Contract and Privacy Policy   Savvy business owners know that a website for their business is a great tool for attracting potential customers or clients. But fewer are familiar with the legal risks of not having privacy policies and terms and conditions tailored to their audiences and business practices….READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards, mminaya 04/11/2016

How Some Simple Recordkeeping Can Keep You Out of Court

Some people are born obsessive organizers.  Some are not.  And while it’s not our job to tell you that your desk needs organizing or your wallet needs thinning out, our litigation department is awash in cases where parties lacked a solid system for pro-active record keeping.  Sure, most of your dealings will conclude uneventfully, never…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards, mminaya, hedwards 04/04/2016

MD Business Owners: April 15th Is Personal Property Tax Day, Too!

A change in Maryland policy in 2016 may put you at risk of missing an important tax deadline. As you know, if you own a business in Maryland (whether it’s an LLC or a corporation) or your business is registered to conduct business in Maryland, you must file Personal Property Tax Returns each year with…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards, mminaya, hedwards, Jeremy Hesselbein 03/17/2016

A Contract Warning: Sometimes $300K Is Just $100K

A family in Maryland recently learned the hard way a lesson about contracts that businesses can never afford to forget. If you sign a contract with terms you don’t understand, that’s no defense if the outcome isn’t what you expected. In this family’s case, it was their auto insurance policy (though we don’t often refer…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards, mminaya, hedwards, Jeremy Hesselbein, jfredrickson 07/06/2015

How to Keep Your Trade Secrets Secret

Does your business rely on information that you wouldn’t show to your competitors? If you don’t have a secure grasp on such trade secrets, you are at risk of losing these valuable assets with no way to recover them. The good news? You can easily protect a trade secret under Maryland and/or D.C. law, if…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards, mminaya, hedwards, Jeremy Hesselbein, jfredrickson, hedwards 05/08/2015

A © Alone is the Wrong Way to Copyright Your Work

You’re an entrepreneur. You’re deal-focused. You’ve got your eye on the prize, and you can’t be bothered with unnecessary details. You are driven by the desire to get things done. So when you establish a relationship with a partner, a supplier, an employee, or a client, it’s easy enough to imagine you can skim over…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards, mminaya, hedwards, Jeremy Hesselbein, jfredrickson, hedwards, admin 04/16/2015

This Deceptive Mailing Is a Good Reminder

Watch out. Some of our business clients are receiving official-looking documents that cite state laws about holding and documenting annual meetings. The pitch is for a service that will manufacture meeting minutes for $125, an unnecessary fee for a product of questionable value. Ignore this misleading mailing, but take it as a timely reminder. Like…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards, mminaya, hedwards, Jeremy Hesselbein, jfredrickson, hedwards, admin, Lawrence S. Jacobs 02/12/2015

Watch Out for This Scam from Your “State Government”

A nationwide scam is now hitting our area. The scammers are accessing publicly-available records to generate fraudulent mailings to businesses and property owners, suggesting that you need to pay fees and submit extra documents in order to complete your transaction. To confuse you, the mailings often use misleading company names, designed to sound like official…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards, mminaya, hedwards, Jeremy Hesselbein, jfredrickson, hedwards, admin, Lawrence S. Jacobs, Lawrence S. Jacobs 12/21/2014

Maryland Home Improvement Contractors: Button Up Your Contracts

So you meet the requirements to be a licensed home improvement contractor in Maryland. You work hard to develop business, satisfy your clients, and build a reputation. But do your written contracts comply with the long list of requirements set forth in the Maryland Home Improvement Act (“MHIA”)? If not, you might find yourself facing…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards, mminaya, hedwards, Jeremy Hesselbein, jfredrickson, hedwards, admin, Lawrence S. Jacobs, Lawrence S. Jacobs, hedwards 12/21/2014

When You Start a Business with Partners, Plan for a Breakup

Starting a new business with one or more partners is exciting. You’re all full of ideas. The adrenaline keeps you awake at night. Of course, you know there are risks, but the negatives pale in the bright light of optimism. The last thing you want to think about – and one of the first things…READ MORE

Author: Jose L. Espejo, A. Howard Metro, Jose L. Espejo, Ronald E. Lyons, Judyann M. Lee, Natasha Nazareth, Ronald E. Lyons, Peter E. Ciferri, Ronald E. Lyons, A. Howard Metro, hedwards, mminaya, hedwards, Jeremy Hesselbein, jfredrickson, hedwards, admin, Lawrence S. Jacobs, Lawrence S. Jacobs, hedwards, hedwards 11/21/2014