Over 40 Years Experience

Dedicated to Your Success

Business Formation & Corporate Governance Attorney
in Denver, Colorado

Starting a business is a big decision and an exciting endeavor. However, before opening your business, there are several important decisions and steps to take. One of the first items to consider is choosing a business structure, which can have a significant impact on your business's legal and tax implications. You’ll also need to draft all necessary contracts.

As a business law attorney at William H. O'Rourke, P.C., I help clients throughout Colorado with all aspects of business formation and corporate governance. If you are interested in starting your own business, reach out to my office in Denver to get the legal guidance and advocacy you need. I can get your company up and running within the shortest possible time. I also serve clients in Aurora, Glendale, and the surrounding areas. 

Choosing a Business Structure

When starting a business, there are four primary types of business structures to choose from, and each has its unique advantages and disadvantages:

  • Sole proprietorship. This is the simplest business structure with no legal requirements and low start-up costs. However, the sole proprietor has unlimited liability, meaning your personal assets may be at risk if the business fails. 
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC). This structure offers liability protection for its members’ personal assets and is easier to set up than a corporation. Plus, it does not require as many formalities. However, LLC members must pay self-employment taxes and must comply with the specific state laws regarding LLC formation. Oftentimes, for tax purposes, my LLC clients elect to be taxed as an "S Corporation rather than a partnership. In such cases, the documentation requirements to establish and maintain such "S Corporation" status are significantly different than that of a Colorado limited liability company established under the default "tax and accounting" designation as a partnership. I work closely with CPA's and tax counsel to ensure that all of the documents generated to create the new entity are consistent with applicable Internal Revenue Service requirements.
  • Partnership. This structure involves two or more people sharing ownership of a business and sharing profits. However, each partner is personally liable for the company’s debts and actions. 
  • Corporation. This structure offers liability protection for its shareholders, a clear division of ownership and control, and can attract investors. A corporation, however, has complex tax, legal, and administrative requirements. 

Please contract me at your earliest convenience if you are seeking a skilled business formation attorney to assist you with choosing the right business structure and ensure your company’s legal and financial protection.

Establishing the Necessary Contracts for Your Business

Contracts are a fundamental part of starting and running any kind of business. A contract can create and encourage strong business relationships and shield your company from liability and financial risks. Some of the essential contracts your business may need to have in place include but are not limited to:

  • Partnership agreement. This agreement outlines the roles, responsibilities, and percentage of profits for all partners involved in the business. 
  • Non-disclosure agreement. This agreement is crucial in protecting your company’s confidential or proprietary information from employees, vendors, and partners. 
  • Independent contractor agreement. This agreement outlines the terms for hiring contract workers, such as project scope, payment terms, and intellectual property rights. 
  • Client Agreement. This agreement outlines the scope of work, payment terms, and deliverables for any client projects. 
  • Employee handbook. This handbook outlines the policies, procedures, and expectations for all employees of your business. 

These are just a few examples of contracts your business may need. Having these essential contracts in place is critical for protecting your business’s legal and financial interests. Contracts establish clear expectations between parties, prevent misunderstandings or disputes, and protect your intellectual property. Additionally, having proper legal documentation ensures compliance and can help you avoid legal issues or penalties down the road.

Other Important Steps

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1. Obtaining Federal and State Tax ID Numbers

When you start a business, you will need to obtain a federal tax ID number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In addition to a federal tax ID number, you may also need to obtain a state tax ID number.

2. Obtaining Licenses and Permits 

Depending on your industry and location, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits in order to operate your business. For example, if you plan on opening a restaurant, you may need to obtain a health permit and a liquor license (if you plan to serve alcohol).

3. Getting Business Insurance 

Before you open your doors, it is important to make sure that you have the right insurance coverage in place to protect your business and yourself. Business insurance can help protect your assets in the event of a lawsuit, property damage or theft, and other unforeseen circumstances.

Corporate Governance

Corporate governance involves managing a company in an efficient, transparent, and ethical manner. It includes establishing policies and procedures that align with a company’s goals while balancing the interests of all stakeholders, such as shareholders, management, employees, customers, and the local community.

  • Compensation plans. Corporate governance includes ensuring executive compensation plans are fair and reasonable. Compensation plans should be transparent, and disclosure should be consistent with regulatory requirements. 
  • Fiduciary duties of directors and officers. Corporate governance requires that directors and officers of a company act in the best interests of the company. They owe a fiduciary duty to the shareholders, which implies that they must act in good faith, with prudence, and with undivided loyalty to the company.  
  • Director elections. Corporate governance standards require that director elections are transparent and fair. Directors must be elected by a majority of votes cast by shareholders. They should not serve for extended periods without re-election. 
  • Shareholder meetings and proposals. Corporate governance includes providing shareholders with an opportunity to exercise their ownership rights. Regular shareholder meetings should be held, where shareholders can elect directors, ask questions, and vote on key business decisions. 
  • Regulatory law. Corporate governance regulations exist at the national and international levels. Business owners must ensure they comply with these regulations and that their corporate governance framework is in line with these standards. 

A well-designed governance structure helps a company achieve its objectives while avoiding legal, financial, and reputational risks. Effective corporate governance fosters accountability, responsibility, and integrity at all levels of the organization.

business people looking at documents and laptop
Business Formation and Corporate Governance Attorney in Denver, Colorado

Starting a business from scratch can be overwhelming and daunting, as there are many legal considerations to keep in mind. As a business formation and corporate government attorney in Denver, Colorado, I can help guide you through the process of starting your business and can help ensure that you are fully compliant with all the necessary regulations. Reach out to William H. O'Rourke, P.C., to set up a free, 30-minute consultation.

Reach out To Schedule A Consultation

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  • Monday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
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  • Wednesday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
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  • Saturday: Closed