At Watkins Law Firm, our business and corporate experience help business owners and management find creative answers quickly. Our clients rely upon us as legal advisors who help them manage their businesses and professional assets, and a resource for facilitating transactions. In our Business & Corporate Law practice we represent businesses from sole operators to Fortune 100 corporations.
The services our business and corporate attorneys offer are customized to the needs of the individual business, and range from transactional work to complex litigation matters. Our lawyers take a pragmatic approach to solving problems and helping our clients plan ahead. They are able to provide practical advice because they have experience forged insight that goes beyond their traditional legal training.
In meeting our clients' needs in operating their business, we provide a full range of legal services from entity formation, organization and structure, preparing operating or shareholder agreements, succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and partnership transactions. We also provide services related to employment issues such as preparation of employment agreements, confidentiality agreements, restrictive covenants, preparation of employment and policy manuals.
General Business Counsel
Watkins Law Firm provides businesses with the ability to have top-notch legal counsel at their disposal on an "as-needed" basis. Our clients contact us to help them to structure their new ventures and to help them to address any legal concerns along the way. We act proactively, to ensure that our clients are protected from unnecessary risks. We manage our clients' legal problems so that they can focus on building their businesses.
Counsel Mergers & Acquisitions
Our Business & Corporate Law practice assists clients in accomplishing a wide range of business transactions, including:
Licensing & Contracts
Our Business & Corporate Law Group provides our clients with assistance in negotiating, drafting and reviewing business contracts and licenses, including:
Our Business & Corporate Law practice has experience representing franchisors, and providing valuable assistance that includes:
- The formation, expansion through acquisitions and joint ventures, and divestiture of franchise systems;
- Guidance on marketing and distribution agreements;
- Franchise sales law compliance and monitoring of legislative and judicial developments;
- Dispute resolution (including mediation, arbitration, litigation and bankruptcy);
- Representation in regulatory actions;
- Enforcement of franchisee contract requirements, including maintenance of quality standards, reporting duties, and restrictive covenants;
- Protection and licensing of trademarks, service marks, and trade secrets.
We also help franchisees to achieve workable approaches in their relationships with franchisors.
We help clients who are established business owners to develop a marketable concept to make the leap from local owners to nation-wide franchisors. This may involve an "A to Z" review of their business and legal status in order to structure the most beneficial transition for their future.
Company Formation, Startup and Growth
Our Business & Corporate Law practice has formed and helped plan hundreds of companies for our clients. We consult with our clients and their accountants regarding entity alternatives and coordinate all of the necessary filings. We have expertise in Intellectual Property to work with our clients to address trademark issues in connection with company formation. We advise our clients as to the proper corporate maintenance and structure of companies to minimize individual and parent company liability exposure.
When requested, we will engage specific project based startup consulting and advisory services, including:
- Business model design and development
- Financial forecasting and startup COO/CFO engagements
- Go-to-market strategy and marketing plan development
- Advisory board recruiting and / or participation
Client Types we Serve
Clients who receive our business and corporate services represent almost all industries and range in size from closely-held businesses to Fortune 100 companies:
Acquisitions, Sales, and Exchanges
We assist clients in the negotiation and closing of real estate acquisitions and sales, including the preparation of purchase agreements, conveyancing documents, financing documents, tax-deferred and multiple-party exchange agreements, escrow instructions and other related documents.
The firm has a varied and sophisticated leasing practice in all of the regions in which it is located. Our lawyers represent both landlords and tenants and have significant experience in leasing transactions, including retail leases, ground leases, build-to-suit leases, office leases, industrial leases and subleases.
Real Estate Development
Our lawyers assist clients in all types of real estate development, including shopping center, industrial, residential, hotel and downtown developments. We have extensive experience in the creation and operation of residential, commercial and mixed-use condominiums and planned unit developments.
We represent clients seeking financing and also actively represent many regional and national lending institutions. Our lawyers advise clients on current methods and alternatives in real estate financing and assist in the structuring and documentation of real estate mortgages, deeds of trust, contracts of sale and other financing transactions, such as sale-and-leasebacks.
Partnership, Joint Venture, and Real Estate Investment
We regularly are involved in structuring and documenting limited liability companies, real estate partnerships and joint ventures, and our lawyers advise regarding the structuring of real estate investments.
In consultation with our lawyers and foreign counsel, we assist clients with real property issues and projects abroad, including acquisitions, leases, secured transactions and lending.
Land Use Regulations
We have broad experience in land use regulation and in project permitting before local government entities, state agencies, and appeals boards. Our practice includes the preparation and processing of all local, state, and federal permit applications relating to land use and environmental regulation of development projects, also including advice on financing options for public and private infrastructure required as a condition of permit approval.
The estate planning attorneys at Watkins Law Firm have substantial experience in providing the full breadth of estate planning, estate administration, conservatorship & guardianship, elder law planning, and trust and estate litigation services for clients throughout Alabama.
Wills, Trusts, and Estates
Our attorneys understand that every client's situation is unique, and we take a personalized approach to estate planning, investing the time necessary to understand our client's family dynamics, finances, and estate planning objectives. We carefully craft estate plans that accomplish our client's goals while seeking to minimize or eliminate any transfer tax consequences and eliminate the necessity for probate administration. We take into consideration various contingencies, including the possibility of subsequent incapacity or disability. We prepare:
- Financial Powers of Attorney
- Advance Directives for Health Care
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Supplemental Needs Trusts
- Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs)
Our attorneys also have extensive experience in probate administration and trust administration, including the administration of large, complex estates involving federal estate tax and generation-skipping transfer tax issues.
Conservatorships & Guardianships
In the event a person becomes incapacitated, and does not have estate planning documents in place designating who will manage their financial affairs or make decisions regarding their care, we can assist in obtaining the appointment of a guardian of the person and/or conservator of the estate, and can advise the guardian/conservator of their fiduciary duties and obligations.
Elder Law Planning
Our attorneys have significant experience in the area of elder law. In addition to preparing estate planning documents which provide a plan in the event of future incapacity, we also focus on planning involving Medicare and Medicaid.
Trust & Estate Litigation
We represent trustees, executors, administrators, conservators, beneficiaries and other parties in all manners of trust and estate disputes, including but not limited to:
- Challenges to the validity or construction of a will (will contests), trust or other estate planning document
- Allegations of fraud, coercion, undue influence or elder abuse
- Allegations of a breach of fiduciary duty
- Disputes concerning property rights
- Creditors' claims
- Trust or estate accounting issues
- Intra-family conflicts