Preparing for Your New Business Legal Consultation
What to prepare
Listed below is some information that will be helpful to have available during your consultation. None of this information is mandatory for your consultation – we expect you won’t have it all available when we chat, and we expect you will have have questions during your consultation that may affect your answers. Click on any item for some additional context.
The name(s) you plan to use for the business
- Your business must have a legal name that appears on government filings
- The legal name must contain a corporate identifier, e.g. “LLC” if the business will be formed as a limited liability company, “Inc.” or “Corp.” if the company will be formed as a corpoation, etc.
- The business’s legal name must be distinguishable from the names of other entity’s that are listed in the state’s business entity database and which are in good standing
- The business’s legal name may be changed by filing a form and paying a small fee to the state government
- In addition to the business’s legal name, your organization may operate under one or more other names called trade names
- Every trade name must be registered with the state
- Neither trade names nor legal names necessarily create trademark rights or otherwise prevent others from using a name that is similar to your business’s name
The name of each person who will have an ownership interest in the business
- Owners are persons who own an interest in the company’s assets and its income
- Owners may or may not have a right to manage the business
- The list of people who have an ownership interest in your company may change depending on your plans, e.g. you may be the only owner now but have plans to raise money by selling equity in your company to investors in the future – once you sell equity to your investors, you will have multiple owners
The name of each person who will have a management position in the business
The business may be managed by its owner(s), by one or more non-owner employees, or by a combination of the two
The business model
A brief, elevator-pitch style description of the business and its profit model will help understand any legal needs particular to an industry
How the organization's activities will advance its mission or purpose
- The activities of a nonprofit organization must relate to its mission or purpose
- Unrelated business activities may be permitted provided they are not the organization’s primary activity
How the organization will fund its activities
Possible methods of funding include:
- Event fees
- Sales of goods or services
Whether the organization will have any assets when it is initially formed
Initial assets may include things like cash, real estate, equipment, or inventory. Many nonprofits start without assets.
What to expect during your consultation
Your consultation will primarily involve working through a series of questions designed to determine whether a nonprofit organization is the right choice for your plans and, if so, whether we can offer assistance in starting the organization. We will also begin to collect some of the basic information we will need to form your nonprofit if you decide to work with us.
Unfortunately, we cannot provide legal advice during your consultation. To the extent you have questions that can be answered without providing legal advice, we are generally happy to do so to the extent time permits.
And after your consultation
If we are able to offer our assistance and you are interested in moving forward, we will provide our advice and recommendation accompanied by a quote for any offered services and a list of next steps.
Please note that a small fee of $20.00 is required to access the recommendation, which will generally contain legal advice. If you move forward with our services, this fee will be applied towards the invoice for those services.