5 Reasons Your Organization May Need to Work With A Business Lawyer

The gulf between deciding to start a business and doing so is broad and twisted. Among such responsibilities as building a website and hiring employees, legal hurdles can derail your efforts. Even the most detailed business plans can’t replace your leadership while you juggle legal obligations. Nevertheless, an experienced business law attorney can help you construct an inviolable business structure, draft iron-clad contracts, and navigate complex regulations.

Businesses of all sizes seeking reliable legal counsel can turn to Compass Law. Our team is licensed to practice in both Maryland and Washington, DC. Our attorneys (well-versed in business law) have a thorough knowledge of helping clients’ companies get off the ground and navigate the legal landscape. Call (240) 560-3030 to learn more about hiring our lawyers for your business.

Below, we outline 5 ways a business attorney can help your young organization:

1. Contract Drafting and Review 

As the backbone of your business dealings, contracts must be straightforward, comprehensive, and airtight to protect your interests. Business lawyers possess the expertise to translate your agreements into detailed legal language. They can anticipate potential issues and include clauses to mitigate risk against you and your assets.

Furthermore, lawyers can identify unfavorable terms presented by other parties, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure outside contracts align with your business goals. Examples of the contracts business lawyers specialize in include:

  • Client contracts
  • Vendor contracts
  • Employment contracts
  • Leases
  • Mergers and acquisitions

2. Employment Law  

Employee and labor laws are a maze of federal, state, and local regulations. Staying compliant with the labyrinth of expectations (in addition to all their other tasks) can feel overwhelming for new business owners. Yet an experienced business attorney can be your guide through these hoops.

They can ensure your hiring practices are fair and non-discriminatory, that your employee handbook is clear, and that you adhere to minimum wage and overtime rules. Proactively ensuring compliance through your lawyer’s expertise can prevent disgruntled employees and costly lawsuits.

3. Business Formation 

Choosing the right business entity for your company is crucial because it comes with tax and liability implications. Based on your specific needs and goals, a lawyer can educate you on the options and guide you toward the best structure. Examples of common business entities include:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation

You can lay the proper groundwork for your organization by involving a business legal professional from the start.

4. Intellectual Property

In today’s economy, your intellectual property (ideas, inventions, creative works, and more) is among your most valuable assets. Partnering with a business lawyer is essential for safeguarding these unique creations. With the assistance of a legal expert, you can register trademarks and copyrights, navigate the patent process, and keep trade secrets protected. Moreover, your lawyer can take legal action to stop them and recover damages if a competitor infringes on your intellectual property.

5. Regulatory Compliance 

For new business owners, navigating regulatory compliance can be daunting. However, in the same way they assist with employment laws, business lawyers can help decipher complex federal, state, and local regulations that apply to your industry. They’ll ensure your licenses and permits are up-to-date and keep you up-to-date on changing standards.

Furthermore, a lawyer can advise you on data protection, environmental regulations, and proper advertising practices to minimize the chances of fines or legal action. Again, you can confidently run your business on the right side of the law by ensuring compliance from the outset.

Even if your organization is small or just beginning operations, consulting a business law attorney is a wise investment. Their expertise can help you avoid legal pitfalls and set your business up for long-term success. Learn more about how our business lawyers can aid your organization by calling (240) 560-3030 today!

Posted in Law

Charting Your Course: Navigating Estate Planning

Just as a seasoned traveler consults a map to chart their course, every person, regardless of age or wealth, should embark on the journey of estate planning. At Compass Law, we understand that estate planning is not a static destination but a dynamic trip that requires reassessment and adjustment. With our experienced legal navigators at your side, you can confidently traverse the changing legal terrain and ensure your legacy is protected and preserved.
Like points on a map, your estate plan should encompass various elements to provide thorough coverage and direction for your future. Here are the key coordinates that Compass Law can help you navigate:

  1. Waypoint Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills: These foundational documents serve as your guiding stars, outlining your wishes regarding asset distribution, healthcare decisions, and appointing trusted individuals to steer the ship in case of incapacity.
  2. Lifetime Irrevocable Isles: Setting sail on the journey of lifetime irrevocable trusts offers opportunities for tax benefits and asset protection while allowing you to maintain a steady hand on the helm of your assets.
  3. Testamentary Territories: Within the boundaries of your will lie the uncharted lands of testamentary trusts, customized to meet the needs of your heirs, and ensure a smooth passage for your estate to its intended destinations.
  4. Charitable Compass Points: For those with a philanthropic compass, integrating charitable planning into your estate map allows you to leave a legacy and navigate the waters of estate taxation with greater ease.
  5. International Estate Explorations: If your estate crosses international waters, our legal cartographers are well-versed in navigating the complex channels of international estate planning to ensure smooth sailing for your assets across borders.
  6. Tax Shelter Shores: Strategically navigating the shoals of estate, gift, and income tax planning can help you minimize tax liabilities and steer your estate toward calmer financial waters.

Embark on your estate planning voyage with Compass Law as your trusted navigator. Our seasoned crew is dedicated to charting a course that reflects your unique goals and aspirations, ensuring smooth sailing for generations to come.

Don’t let your estate plan drift aimlessly – set sail with Compass Law and navigate toward a secure and prosperous future!


Read More Here: https://mailchi.mp/compassadvocacy/compass-law-navigator-may-2024-9659127

Posted in Law

Tax Legislation & How It Could Affect Businesses in Maryland

In our April newsletter, we caught up all the latest updates on tax legislation that’s stirring debate across Maryland. This month, all eyes are on HB1515, a bill proposing some major changes to the state’s sales and use tax. Let’s dive in and unravel what’s brewing!

So what’s in the Pot? HB1515: Sales and Use Tax – Rate Reduction and Services
HB1515 isn’t just your average tax bill; it’s a hot pot of proposals aiming to shake up Maryland’s tax landscape. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s on the menu:Purposeful Alterations: The bill suggests altering the definitions of “taxable price” and “taxable service” to cover various new services. This means that services like accounting, legal, real estate, pet grooming, funerals and more could be fair game for taxation. Additionally, it aims to tweak the rate of the sales and use tax, along with adjusting the percentage of gross receipts from vending machine sales and dyed diesel fuel subject to tax. Oh, and let’s not forget about the rate of tax applied to charges linked with sales of alcoholic beverages. Phew, that’s a mouthful!Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

 Proponents’ Pour: Sponsor David Moon (D-20) argues that HB1515 is more than just a tax tweak – it’s a “modernization of the economy”! The bill proposes lowering the state sales tax rate from 6% à 5% but also opens previously untaxed services to said taxation. Supporters claim that while this may result in a net loss of $1 billion in sales tax revenue, it could rake in a whopping $4 billion from taxing services, leaving us with a sweet $3 billion surplus. Some say it’s the much needed fix our tax system needs especially given current budget shortfalls.

 Opponents’ Brew: On the flip side, opponents are brewing up a storm. Del. Bob Long (R-06) had some fiery words in disapproval, claiming it’s just another way to empty his pockets, even in the afterlife (given the bill introduces the potential for funeral taxes)! The Maryland Republican Party didn’t hold back either, labeling it as an “everything tax” and predicting it to be the largest single tax increase in the state’s history. Indicating the bill’s controversial nature, Senate President Ferguson (D-46) also stood firm, claiming the bill won’t make it past the Senate gates.

So Sip or Spill? The Debate Continues

While proponents and opponents go head-to-head, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce is making its stance clear: they’re not raising a toast to HB1515. They argue that while lowering the state sales tax rate sounds delightful, expanding it to a wider range of services could leave a bitter taste in everyone’s mouths. From mom-and-pop shops to emerging companies, everyone could feel the pinch. They fear it could lead to an exodus of businesses and burden low-income Marylanders.


Compass Law is here to help your business navigate changes like this – even if this specific bill does not pass, there may be others like it, and we are here to help your business through it!
Posted in Law

Legislation Updates: Potential Impacts to Your Business Operations in 2024

As we dive into 2024, the legislative landscape surrounding employment and business in the Mid-Atlantic region is undergoing significant changes, with a plethora of bills introduced in both the Maryland General Assembly and the Delaware Legislature. With over 2,700 bills proposed in Maryland alone and hundreds in Delaware, the business community is poised for potential shifts that could affect operations and workforce management.
Maryland Bills:
Navigating the intricacies of these legislative changes can be daunting for businesses, but proactive measures can help mitigate risks and ensure compliance. Seeking guidance from legal experts at Compass Law, can provide invaluable support in understanding the implications of these legislative developments. We can help implement strategies to adapt to the evolving regulatory environment.Don’t wait until it’s too late—contact us now to schedule a consultation with Compass Law and safeguard your business against potential legal challenges.

Posted in Law

Is Estate Planning Missing from Your Vacation Preparations?

As the arrival of Spring slowly approaches, numerous families are busy finalizing their vacation plans. Amidst the excitement of planning the perfect getaway, there’s often one crucial aspect missing from the typical “To Do” list – estate planning. When traveling with your family, it’s essential to have your affairs in order in case of unforeseen events. Whether facing the unfortunate circumstances of death or disability, having a comprehensive estate plan ensures that your heirs have the necessary information to carry out your wishes. Without such a plan, you might find yourself (and family) subject to State law and, potentially, reliant on a judge who knows nothing about your unique situation.
   The foundational documents in an effective estate plan are:
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Financial Power of Attorney
  • Advance Medical Directive.

Despite the perception that creating an estate plan is a daunting task, the experienced attorneys at Compass Law Partners are here to guide you through the process. Our expertise ensures that your estate plan is not only completed, but also done in a timely manner.

As you gear up for your family vacation, take the time to consider the broader picture of your financial and medical well-being. A well-crafted estate plan is not just a legal formality but a crucial tool that safeguards your interests and ensures your loved ones are equipped to handle any unexpected twists that life may throw your way. Our dedicated team at Compass Law Partners are ready to assist you in this process, making sure your estate plan is not overlooked in the excitement of planning your dream vacation.

Click Here to complete your Advance Medical Directive!

New Year, New Goals: Advance Medical Directive

Compass Law has an easy check off your New Years’ Resolutions List:
Advance Medical Directives

January 1st rolls around and a new year’s resolution seems like a great idea. New Year, New You, right? But what happens when the winter drones on in March and you just want to nestle back into the couch with some cookies and cocoa. New You isn’t so exciting anymore…
But what if you could set a new year’s resolution that is an attainable goal from the beginning!?
The Resolution: Complete Your Advance Medical Directive.

Compass Law now has an EASY way to help you check this new year’s resolution box!

But first, what is it?
An Advance Medical Directive (AMD) is a legal document that allows you to designate a Medical Agent to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself. An AMD also allows you to express some medical treatment and end of life care preferences in the event you become unable to make or communicate those decisions yourself. This document is an important part of healthcare planning and is vital to have in place in preparation for situations where a person is incapacitated due to illness, injury, or cognitive decline.

Who is my Medical Agent?
Your Medical Agent, sometimes referred to as Healthcare Proxy, is the Primary Person(s) or Alternative Person(s) you designate to handle your medical decisions if you are unable to yourself. The alternative person(s) you designate steps into the role if your primary agent is unable or unwilling to act. A second alternative is preferred, but optional. It is important that you communicate your desires to your Medical Agent and Alternative Person(s).

How it works
Click the link below to fill out the Advance Medical Directive Form. This secure form will then be sent to our team at Compass Law via DocuSign. Once our team conducts a brief conflict check, an invoice will be sent and a consultation scheduled with our team of estate planning attorneys.

Our AMD service is billed as a flat rate!
Click here to get started!

Get Your Annual Business Physical Now to Ensure Good Corporate Health

Just like your personal health, your business requires regular checkups to ensure it’s operating in optimal condition and facing minimal risks.

Consider the following essential questions:

  • Have you held the required annual corporate meeting or prepared an annual resolution?
  • Have you updated your Employee Handbook?
    • Certain provisions can mitigate business liability.
  • Do you have an operating or stockholder agreement?
    • Has it been reviewed/updated for recent changes in law?
  • Does your business use Employee Agreements?
    • When were they last reviewed?
    • There have been federal/state law changes concerning non-competes & other restrictive covenants.
  • When was the last time your client contracts were reviewed?

Schedule your annual business physical today by reaching out to your local business law attorney, Rob Garagiola at RGaragiola@Compass-Law.com.


Ensure the Longevity of Your Business –Read More

Estate Planning: The Brady Bunch Edition

(To the tune of the Brady Bunch theme song)
Here’s the story, of two single parents
Who were bringing up their children separately
‘Til the one day when they met each other
And they formed a blended family

We all know the story of the Brady Bunch. What you didn’t see on the show, that happened behind the scenes, was how Carol and Mike planned for their blended family. Allow us to take some artistic license to explain to you how we think it went.

FADE IN: The scene starts with Carol meeting with her estate planning attorney, Mr. Wills, in his office furnished with mahogany furniture and decorated with orange and black large pill shape wallpaper.

Carol explains to Mr. Wills that she and Mike would like to get married but want to make sure their separate children are protected. Mr. Wills then explains that he can help her by preparing a prenuptial agreement. He also explains that Carol and Mike should consider keeping their finances separated and should execute an estate plan after their wedding. Concerned, Carol says that she loves Mike and doesn’t want to start their marriage off with arguments about finances. Mr. Wills explains that by putting a plan in place now, arguments can be avoided since important decisions are being made at a time when Carol and Mike are happy and rational, not when they are angry and irrational. Carol looks at the camera and says, “You’re right, Mr. Wills. My number one priority is protecting my daughters, and I am going to Mike tonight about the need for a prenuptial agreement and an estate plan.”


CUT TO: The kitchen in Mike’s house at 11222 Dilling Street, Studio City, CA
As Alice prepares dinner, Carol, looking concerned, tells Mike that she has something important to tell him. Mike then tells Carol that he has something important to tell her. They decide that they will say it at the same time. Both Mike and Carol then say together, “We need a prenup!”

CLOSE UP OF ALICE: Alice responds with, “Anyone offering a trip to Europe for the right answer?”

Carol says to Mike, “I just want to make sure my daughters are taken care of and I know we can work something out that we both agree to.” Mike agrees and holds Carol’s hand, “maybe we should keep our finances separate. We can create a joint account for family expenses, but we will maintain our assets separately.” Carol responds by saying, “That’s exactly what Mr. Wills told me! And we can then create an estate plan where we leave our own assets to our kids.” Mike cuts in, “I want to take care of you first, so I am going to have a trust created that will name you as the primary beneficiary with my sons as contingent beneficiaries.”

In the end, Carol and Mike created a loving environment for their blended family by discussing the difficult topics up front. Addressing your estate planning concerns prior to marriage with an experienced estate planning attorney expresses how much you love your spouse and respect that he/she has children of his/her own.

If you need an estate planning lawyer the attorneys at Compass Law Partners can help you in starting your blended family off right!

Maryland 529 Plan

Any parent or family member of a child probably knows that 529 plans can be powerful tax-advantaged tools for saving for educational expenses, especially those incurred in college. However, they can achieve some potentially helpful estate planning goals as well.

  1. Special rules allow for gifting into 529s up to five times the annual gift exclusion amount (this year, the yearly maximum is $17,000/person), so they can be particularly useful for people wanting to make larger gifts to loved ones who may have current or future educational expenses.
  2. Since owners of accounts can change beneficiaries among certain extended family members, they can develop pools of funds available for future generations of college students as well.
  3. Finally, as of 2024, new rules allow for up to $30,000 per beneficiary to be rolled over into Roth IRA for accounts that have been open for more than 15 years. Though we’re all waiting to see exactly how the new laws are applied, this adds flexibility for beneficiaries down the road.

Questions about how these accounts can help you achieve multiple goals for your family at once? Reach out to Compass Law and we’ll be happy to help.



Time To Revisit Employee Handbooks, Policies, & Agreements

There has recently been a slew of changes and new trends in Maryland employment law that require all businesses to revisit their employee handbooks, policies, and agreements. Below, we discuss recent labor law developments and how Compass Advocacy’s employment attorneys can help. 

  • Paid Family Medical Leave is coming to Maryland: The state is expected to announce employer/employee contribution rates to the system this October and contributions will be required 1-year later with benefits set to begin on January 1, 2026.
  • The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: A federal law, this act took effect less than 2 months ago and requires certain businesses to provide “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
  • Federal and State Governments are Moving to Ban Non-Competes: The Federal Trade Commission has proposed regulations curtailing non-competes and the National Labor Relations Board published a memo taking the position that non-compete agreements violate federal law in certain circumstances. In addition, many states, including Maryland and DC, have taken recent actions limiting non-compete agreements.

With these and other changes in employment law, and to limit potential liability, now is the time to revise your policies. Compass Law Partners’ Rob Garagiola (RGaragiola@Compass-Law.com) specializes in employment law and can help you navigate these policy changes and update your employee handbooks and agreements. Contact our employment and labor lawyers today. 


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