Official Blog

The official business law blog from LawTrades Legal Services.

List of Post Incorporation Documents and What They Mean

It is imperative to complete all the necessary steps after incorporation of a company before you start doing business. Not doing so could result in unnecessary and avoidable tax liability, civil liability for your company, and even personal liability for you. Let us guide you through a list of the most important post formation documents […]

Guide to the E2 Visa Requirements and Application

The E2 visa permits individuals, as well as their dependents, to live and work in the United States. The visa is granted by the USCIS based on the applicant’s substantial investment in a US business. This comprehensive guide provides everything you need to know about the E2 requirements and application process.   E2 Visa Requirements […]

Factors to consider before launching an ICO

2018 promises to be a record-breaking year for launching an ICO. It seems as if this novel new fundraising mechanism is here to stay, raising more than $350 million per month in the second half of 2017. The amounts raised through ICOs are steadily beginning to rival those raised by series A funding. At a […]

How to Respond to a Trademark Office Action

Trademark protection is where the rubber of the often abstract intellectual property law hits the road of commercial reality, so to speak.   Ensuring proper and enforceable protection for your business’s brand is an important first step towards establishing brand recognition and goodwill. It is also a key step towards the effective protection and, as […]

Security Token vs. Utility Token: Understanding Blockchain Assets

The complexity of cryptocurrency is undeniable. The current climate is incredibly volatile with unpredictable changes in the market and with cryptocurrency law racing to keep pace. Not to mention, there are also scams popping up that make it even more difficult for investors who are interested in venturing into this world of digital currency. Before […]

GDPR and The Future of Personal Data Protection

More than half of Americans feel that their data is less secure today than it was 5 years ago. Given the exponential growth of personal data online, this is an especially discouraging statistic. Consumers have long lamented the lack of personal data security, and demanded increased data protection.   At the same time, businesses have […]

Are Non-Compete Clauses Enforceable?

Non-compete contracts (or agreements) serve an essential function in commercial life – since the middle-ages they’ve been used to regulate the actions of workers after they’ve left their jobs. Yet these contracts have always been controversial: one of the most cited cases in which a court declared a non-compete agreement void and unenforceable takes us […]

How GDPR Regulation Will Affect Your Business

When you consider the sheer amount of personal information that you’ve put out on the web, the feeling can be a bit overwhelming.  The questions about our information – especially now – are virtually endless, and governments and businesses are racing to catch up.  Just this week, the European Union (EU) created a new privacy […]

Web Design Contract Essentials

Contracts aren’t often taught alongside design courses, but as a freelance web designer, you have to focus not only the quality of your work, but also the quality of your business.  Managing relationships with and expectations from clients is essential to the success of any freelance designer, and a quality web design contract is one […]

Simple Agreement for Future Tokens Explained

Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) is security that blockchain developers offer investors to raise capital. Regarding investment contracts, SAFT is very similar to the Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) agreement, allowing investors to contribute to an early stage company, but instead of gaining equity when a company becomes more mature, they are given […]

Supreme Court Ruling on Immigration Softens Deportation Laws

The Trump Administration has undoubtedly emphasized tightening immigration laws and increasing deportation for certain situations. However, there appears to be a silver lining as far as what the Supreme Court deems as constitutional deportation laws. This week, a Supreme Court ruling on immigration invalidated a federal law that indicated that deportation should occur for “crimes […]

Can Portable Benefit Legislation Create Stable Health Insurance for Freelancers?

Healthcare is an ongoing conversation in the US. Unfortunately, until very recently those conversations have centered largely on how to connect traditional employees with quality healthcare through their employers, keeping these benefits tethered to specific types of work. But what about health insurance for freelancers who regularly move between jobs?  Currently, they’re solely responsible for […]

How to Trademark a Slogan

A trademark is designated for sayings or symbols that distinguish one company, product or service from another. Essentially, a trademark protects that saying or symbol from being used by others in the market. Establishing a trademark slogan offers a layer of protection and also helps clearly define a brand for consumers.  Understanding how to trademark […]

What is a Convertible Note?

A convertible note is a loan given to an early-stage company that will be paid back as equity once the company becomes more mature. This is an attractive option when it’s too early in development to put a valuation on a startup, and convertible notes have become a reliable source of Seed Funding for founders. […]

Your Guide to L1 Visa Requirements

The L1 visa allows employees that hold a managerial-level position to temporarily move and work in the US, commonly known as an intracompany transfer. The position must be with a sister company, branch, or some other affiliate of the company that the applicant currently works for. Children under the age of 21 and spouses may […]

Documents Needed to Rent Commercial Office Space

Many businesses opt to rent office space instead of purchase. There are many advantages to renting because it reduces the business owner’s liability on the property. However, in order to reap the benefits of being a renter instead of an owner, you should definitely have certain agreements in place. This will ensure that you have […]

Shareholder Agreements Explained

A shareholder agreement formalizes the relationships, rights and responsibilities of shareholders in a company, as well as the value and ownership of these shares and protections given to each member.  Even if you have a great relationship with your partners and investors early on, a simple shareholder agreement can be vital in heading off disagreements […]

LLC or Sole Proprietorship: Choosing the Right Independent Business Formation

It’s an exciting time when freelancing transforms from a side gig into a full-time career. However, with that adjustment comes the need for some decisions about business formation. Typically, your choice will be between the most common classifications, either an LLC or a Sole Proprietorship. While either can be a useful formation for an independent […]

Advantages of Forming a Benefit Company

You’ve heard of traditional businesses and non-profits, but a benefit company is somewhat the best of both worlds. A benefit company allows a business to consider how their motives and goals will benefit the public while still earning a profit. For companies looking to make a measurable, positive social impact, this is an ideal business […]

The Ins and Outs of Family Immigration

Immigration law can certainly be complex especially when it comes to understanding the legality of family immigration. For many, the only option for a successful immigration process is one in which their family can be included. In an effort to keep the family unit together, it’s important to understand exactly what is permitted. While there […]

Startup Fundraising Without VC’s

When it comes to startup fundraising, the options may seem overwhelming.  VC funding is highly competitive, making it even harder to turn down if an offer is made. A healthy check can be secure your startups future, but it comes at a hefty price—a percentage of the company and influence over that future. However, you […]

How to get a J1 Student Visa

The J1 Student Visa is an exciting opportunity for qualified applicants to study, train or teach in the US. The program is designed for individuals who can’t receive the same type of training in their home country and wish to come to the US to participate in a work-and-study visitor program.  Applicants for the J1 […]

What is EULA: User Agreements Explained

At its most basic definition, an End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) is a formal contract between the software application author or publisher and the user. You may also hear an EULA referred to as a software license. Essentially, the agreement indicates that the user will comply with all the privileges and restrictions outlined in the […]

What is a Smart Contract?

With so much hype around crypto and blockchain, many clients might be wondering “what is a smart contract?”  Smart contracts are digital contracts that preserve essential elements of an agreement in blockchain protocols. Because these protocols automate different functions of the agreement – executing, payment, etc. – they allow businesses to bypass middlemen and other […]

Utility Patent vs. Design Patent: Which is Right for Your Product?

Creating a new product is an exciting time for an inventor. You’ve put in the dedication, long hours, and it’s finally time to move forward with protecting your product from the competition. However, there are still important choices to be made when determining how to patent your product, most commonly: utility patent vs. design patent. […]

How to Set up a 501(c)3

Being such a vital step for every nonprofit, it’s crucial to understand how set up a 501(c)3 and register your organization for three primary reasons: protection for members, directors and other individuals, proper tax filing and security, and the ability to begin legal fundraising. All of this is essential for a nonprofit to function properly […]

The Benefits of Filing a Provisional Patent

Since a change in 2011, the United States has awarded patents based on a first to file philosophy.  This means that your invention isn’t yours until you file your patent. Filing a provisional patent, though, allows you to document an idea’s conception, giving you up to one year to secure a non-provisional patent while using […]

How to Spot an ICO Scam

Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) is best understood as a type of fundraising within the world of cryptocurrency. Of course, as with any kind of fundraising effort, the intent is to attract investors. However, because cryptocurrency laws are evolving and it’s still considered a new form of investment, there are many questions surrounding what makes an […]

A Step-By-Step Guide to Artist Visas

An artist visa, also known as the O1B visa is a classified as a non-immigrant visa for individuals who have exceptional ability in the arts. However, this particular visa is also available for individuals who have showcased special achievements in motion picture or the television industry.  Extraordinary ability is defined as achieving national and/or international […]

Startup Exit Strategy: What to know Before an Acquisition

Startups are often built on a collection of short-term goals that focus on growth and milestones for success. However, just as important is considering the bigger picture and prepare for the long term by creating a startup exit strategy. Acquisition – a smaller business selling their company to a competing corporation – is commonplace, but […]

How to Prepare for an Effective Negotiation

Negotiating a contract can be a pretty intense process for most people. After all, it’s making sure that everybody involved has ample protection. While some people feel confident at the onset of contract negotiations, it’s important to realize that the process can be incredibly fluid. Even if you’ve crafted your contracts in the past, each […]

How to Protect Yourself from Unpaid Invoices

The worst day for a freelancer is the day that their client refuses to pay them for completed services. While most freelancer-client relationships are trustworthy and professional, there is the occasional client who makes the process difficult and unacceptable. In order to protect yourself from unpaid invoices, you have to be willing to put in […]

What You Need to Report Copyright Infringement

Once you’ve gone through the process of filing copyright on your material, you know you have legal backing should litigation occur. If you suspect that another company using your copyrighted material, you are absolutely empowered to report copyright infringement to protect your brand. While the process may feel daunting, a seasoned copyright attorney can help […]

Much Ado About Dreamers: The Latest on DACA

  With so many polarizing topics sweeping the nation, much has yet to be determined about the lives of the 700,000 Dreamers whose future hangs in the balance. Since his inauguration, President Trump has repeatedly expressed his intention of ending the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program that protected the children of immigrants who […]

What You Need to Qualify for an E-2 Investor Visa

An E-2 investor visa is an exciting opportunity for foreign investors to contribute money to a US business. This is a beneficial agreement because it allows individuals to come to the US to pursue their ambitions while simultaneously helping the US economy grow.   While this is an exceptional opportunity, there are certain guidelines to […]

Employment Documents to Include in Your New Hire Packet

Hiring employees is often a sign of growth for startups. However, it’s also a time that you have to be thorough. Not only should the employment documents included in your new hire packet protect the interest of the company, but the new team member as well. To ensure that you have met all the basic […]

Equity Resources to Help Start Your Funding Round

At some point, every startup will have to start thinking about how to raise capital and distribute equity. There are a variety of agreements and documents that protect the interest of the business as well as the funding team. The potential list for equity documents can be incredibly lengthy and vary based on the type […]

American Immigration Policy Following Trump’s State of the Union Address 2018

President Donald Trump focused heavily on reforming American immigration policy during the 2018 State of the Union Address. While it’s always been clear that the president plans to totally overhaul the current system, the State of the Union address continued to underscore his determination. As it stands, the key areas of immigration reform center on: […]

How LawTrades Online Legal Services Can Save You Money

When you think of lawyers, the last thing you assume is that it they can be affordable. LawTrades set out to change that. We realized that there was a gap between quality and affordability and that just wasn’t a realistic combination, especially for startups. We sought to solve this problem by creating a platform that […]

Understanding the Basics of Trademarks and Copyrights

As you develop your business, don’t let your intellectual property get moved to the back burner. You should do whatever you can to protect the symbols, designs, works, and processes that set your business apart from the rest. Properly registered trademarks and copyrights can help you avoid infringement issues and other costly litigation. However, it’s […]

Cryptocurrency Laws Every Investor Should Know

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are all the rage right now in the world of investment. For those of you who don’t know, cryptocurrency refers to digital money that cuts out the need for a middle-man in transactions. Cryptography is used to control the creation of the currency and also verify the transfer from one person […]

Freelancer Agreements Every Specialist Should Have on Hand

Freelancers are often so busy servicing their clients – and getting new ones – that they don’t realize the benefits of preparing a few freelancer agreements and other documents before starting a new project.  Having these on hand can not only provide protection in the event of litigation, but also help them avoid unnecessary stress […]

Everything You Should Know About the H1B Visa Application

An H1B visa is categorized as a temporary or non-immigrant visa that allows individuals to work in the US in specialty positions.  Like others, the H1B visa application requires a specific education and employment history and has an annual cap on approved applicants. It’s important to understand and follow the mandatory guidelines to set yourself […]

LLC or Corporation: Which Company Structure is Right for You?

There comes the point with all startups that you must decide which company structure is right for your business. It’s important to understand what sets each business formation apart from the rest so you can make the best choice moving forward. While it is essential to have a basic understanding of each type of business, […]

How a Startup Attorney can Help with Seed Fundraising

Creating a startup comes with a lot of initial costs. You may need to purchase supplies and equipment, pay for a variety of services, and even fund employment costs. This poses an interesting problem because the business has to keep growing even before it starts earning money.  This is why fundraising from early stage investors […]

A Step-By-Step Guide to the American Visa Lottery

The American visa lottery offers the opportunity for individuals from qualifying countries to obtain a green card that grants all of the benefits of being a US resident.  While this route is more straightforward than other visa options, the reality is that only a very small percentage of applicants are chosen. Because there are only […]

A Partnership That Makes Sense for Startups and Small Businesses

  As you know, starting and growing a business is no simple task. From the very beginning, you are being pulled in what seems like a thousand different directions. The goal is to focus on what you’re good at and if you are starting a business it’s unlikely that your specialty is human resources, yet […]

How to Register International Intellectual Property

In the United States, intellectual property law has its roots in our Constitution. Countries around the world have been protecting intellectual property since long before the American Constitution, yet there’s been little effort to consolidate the various individual application requirements and processes. So, what does that mean? That international intellectual property can get messy. Generally, […]

Top Immigrant Founders in the Startup World

Immigration is deeply intertwined with American startups as many highly successful companies were founded by immigrants. A 2016 study by the National Foundation for American Policy reported that over 50% (44 of 87) of American startups valued at over $1 billion were founded by immigrants. We wanted to touch on a few of the 44 […]

The Legal Basics of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, a new form of online financing, now allows individuals to harness the Internet’s potential while funding their startups.   Indeed, this novel financing method has already been used for many years by authors, individual borrowers, and philanthropists through portals such as Kickstarter, IndieGogo, and GoFundMe. Andrea Doshi, for instance, has fascinated thousands of young […]

Top Startup Accelerators to Apply for in 2017

Top startup accelerators have grown in recent years not only in number but also in relevance. Analysts define accelerators as “a fixed-term, cohort-based program including mentorship and educational components, that culminates in a public pitch event or demo day.” In short, an accelerator is a program that brings in multiple companies, puts them through basically a […]

What It’s Actually Like To Be On ABC’s Shark Tank: PupBox CEO Explains

We interviewed Ben Zvaifler, CEO at PupBox. On Season 8 of Shark Tank, Ben accepted a $250,000 offer from Robert Herjavec. PupBox is a startup that changes the way people raise puppies by delivering toys, treats, accessories and training information to new puppy parents every month. Talked about: How entrepreneurs can get on the show, what the sharks are […]

What Trump Means For Startups

Written By : Stephen Schlett   We can’t really be sure how everything will shake out as a new leader takes charge but here let’s focus on one important question — what Trump means for startups in America?   Immigration Drives the American Startup Culture One big area of concern that has been brought up frequently is immigration […]

How to Start a Business & Earn a Visa at the Same Time

Ah the American Dream – to open up a business. Foreign-based entrepreneurs have a few options here. Let’s go over them: If you have experience running businesses successfully, you may qualify for an O-1 visa. The 0-1 visa is for “individuals with extraordinary ability.” These are usually used by athletes (think Rory McIlroy) or performers […]

A Conversation with Elizabeth Yin of 500 Startups

We asked Elizabeth a few questions about raising venture capital in the Valley.   Elizabeth is a Partner at 500 Startups, investor in seed-stage companies & in charge of the Mountain View Accelerator. She’s a former CEO / Co-Founder at LaunchBit (acq ’14) and marketer at Google. She has a BSEE from Stanford and MBA from MIT […]

A Conversation with Jason Lemkin of SaaStr

Jason Lemkin The founder of two successful startups, Jason is now a Venture Capitalist and just raised a fund of $70 million based on his famous SaaStr brand. Jason Lemkin is a rock star in the startup world. Dubbed as the Godfather of SaaS, Jason has co-founded two super successful startups, and both acquired for […]

How to Negotiate Your Salary as an Employee

There’s no doubt about it – employers control the American workplace. From deciding when you have to arrive at work, what you have to wear, and when you must permanently leave, employers dictate most things. That’s why it’s important for employees to take advantage of the few things they have a say in. Negotiating your […]

5 Ways to Save on Legal Costs as a Startup

All startups have something in common: they’re always trying to save money. As a result, it’s understandable that startups are reluctant in hiring an attorney. Startups are constantly under pressure to succeed without losing money, and this makes it essential to utilize lawyers that are beneficial to your startup and worth the price you pay […]

When a Business Should Switch Lawyers

Finding the right attorney for your business isn’t always an easy task. For years, it’s been an annoying task. What starts out as a glowing recommendation from friends and family can turn into an utter nightmare. Also, a simple search for a lawyer on Google can turn into hours of researching and playing phone tag. […]

Planting the Seed: What to Expect in the First Round of Funding

Preparing for and getting through your first round of startup funding is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Fortunately, there’s plenty of advice for making sure you come to the table prepared – and that you receive the funds you need to get things moving. Lots of Questions Firms and individuals who provide […]

How to Attract Top Talent to Your Company

Whether you’ve just started a brand new company or you’re looking to grow, hiring the right people to help you succeed is very important. Here, you can learn some valuable tips for attracting and retaining the best of the best right from the very start. #1 – Create an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) An EVP […]

Can a Foreign Citizen Start a Business in the United States?

One of the questions that many people ask about business ownership and startup companies is whether a foreign citizen can start a US-based business. The answer is yes, and the procedure for doing so is exactly the same as the procedure for an American citizen in many situations. Why Do Foreign Citizens Start US-Based Businesses? […]

What Startups Should Look for in an Attorney

Hiring a lawyer for any reason can be a confusing and often frustrating task, but hiring an attorney to represent and protect your startup is even tougher. Here are some things you should look for when hiring an attorney to make things simpler and ensure that your lawyer is the right fit. A Good Fit […]

What You Need to Know About Trademarking Your Company Name

Trademarking your company name protects your business’s right to use that name both now and in the future. As such, trademarking a company name is a very important step in building a successful business. Here is what you need to know about making sure you do it correctly – and at the right time. What […]

How to Guard Your Idea Against Patent Infringement

If you have a great idea for any kind of invention, you might ask yourself questions like, “how to protect my idea?” or “what can I do to prevent patent infringement?” The good news is that there are several steps you can take to make sure that your idea remains in safe hands. Understanding Intellectual […]

Business Immigration Compliance – What You Need to Know

When it comes to hiring employees for your business, you certainly have a lot on your plate. However, understanding the country’s business immigration laws can still save you a lot of time, money, and headaches. Here is everything that any business owner should know about business immigration laws. What You Are Not Allowed to Do […]

5 Reasons Why Delaware Is the Best State to Incorporate Your Business

There are many benefits associated with incorporating your business, but deciding where S corporation formation will give you the most benefits can be a daunting task. Delaware is one of the best options for S corp forming for a variety of reasons. #1 – The Laws Are Flexible S corporation formation requires some knowledge of […]

Four Lessons I’ve Learned Working With An Elite Startup Accelerator

There’s no shortage of discussion in the startup world about accelerators—why to work with one, how to get in, life after demo day, whether they’re sort of a scam, and so on, ad nauseum. But the bottom line—from my experience and in the opinions of many entrepreneurs—remains that if a good one lets you in, you […]

A Workaholic’s Guide to Happiness and Balance

A few months ago, I raised funding for my startup. After months of bootstrapping the business and burning through my savings, I finally got what I needed to push LawTrades into the stratosphere. My friends/family heard about the news and wanted to celebrate, but I just stayed in bed all day and ignored their calls […]

How To Create A Billion Dollar Monopoly According To Peter Thiel

A few days ago, Y Combinator’s How to Start a Startup course invited billionaire investor Peter Thiel to lecture Stanford students about business strategy and monopoly theory. Thiel is most notorious for investing $500,000 in Facebook in 2004, which turned into $500 million when the company went public in 2012. He is also a Founder of […]

How to Avoid Being Fired from Your Own Company

If you are both an employee and an owner, then the general answer is that – whether you’re a founder or not –  you can be terminated from the company as an employee, but you would remain a majority shareholder. As a majority shareholder, you’re entitled to BOD representation. The reality is often more complicated […]

How to Eliminate 90% of Your Regret and Anxiety by Thinking Like a Roman Emperor

Do you know what Steve Jobs, John D. Rockefeller, Amelia Earhart, and Ulysses S. Grant have in common? They each possessed the talent of turning obstacles into opportunities drawn from the Stoic ideologies of Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. While living our lives, it’s very likely that you will run into some pretty distressing events, and at […]