January 28th, 2016
Gunderson Law Firm, a Reno-based, full-service law firm providing high quality, professional and personalized legal services, is pleased to announce that Catherine A. Reichenberg, Esq. and Courtney G. Forster, Esq. have officially been named as firm shareholders. Reichenberg and Forster both have extensive experience representing a wide-variety of businesses, real estate professionals, individuals and professionals in numerous fields in Nevada, California and across the Western United States.
“Catherine and Courtney’s diverse skill set and expertise in the many facets of business litigation play a pivotal role in our firm’s ongoing success,” states Mark H. Gunderson, Esq., Founding Shareholder of Gunderson Law Firm. “I look forward to the growth of Gunderson Law Firm and know they will continue to demonstrate their strong commitment to our client’s needs and dedication to excellence that our firm is known for.”
Reichenberg joined the firm in 2006, and her practice encompasses Commercial, Business and Real Estate Litigation and Commercial Transactions, Business Organization and Governance and Licensing. She regularly appears in both state and federal court across the Western United States and her trial experience includes trying several jury and non-jury commercial litigation matters as lead counsel as well as acting as co-counsel in many trials and commercial arbitrations. Throughout her time at Gunderson Law Firm, Reichenberg has earned numerous accolades including Mountain States Rising Star, awarded by Thompson Reuters Super Lawyers and Nevada Legal Elite, awarded by Nevada Business Magazine. She currently serves as a mediator for the Federal District Court of Nevada’s Inmate Litigation Program and was selected as a Nevada National Litigation Lead for the 2012 Presidential Election as well as a member of the Nevada State Bar Association’s Clients’ Security Fund Committee. She served as the 2011 President for Northern Nevada Women Lawyers and is an active member of the American Bar Association, the Nevada Bar Association, the Washoe County Bar Association and The Prospector’s Club. Reichenberg received her Juris Doctorate in 2006 from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in 2001 from University of Oregon.
Forster specializes in Commercial and Business Litigation, Real Estate and Commercial Transactions, Business Formation, Governance, and Licensing Construction Defect Litigation. She joined Gunderson Law Firm in 2007, and is admitted to practice in Nevada and California. She is the author of numerous published articles on topics that affect individuals and businesses alike, including personal liability shields and construction defect reform, and has presented educational seminars to non-lawyer professional organizations. Throughout her time at Gunderson Law Firm, Forster has earned numerous accolades including Mountain States Rising Star, awarded by Thompson Reuters Super Lawyers, Nevada Legal Elite, awarded by Nevada Business Magazine and the 20 Under 40 Award, awarded by Reno Gazette Journal. She has served as two time past president and board member for the Crisis Call Center and is a member of the Washoe County Bar Association and The Prospector’s Club. She earned her Juris Doctorate in 2007 from the University of Notre Dame, and her Bachelor of Arts in 2004 from the University of Oregon.
About Gunderson Law Firm
Established in 1981, Gunderson Law Firm is a boutique, full-service practice providing high quality, personalized legal services. The Firm focuses primarily on commercial and civil litigation, emphasizing on contract, real property and business disputes. The attorneys work in partnership with their clients, almost as in-house counsel, and can handle all legal matters basically from the birth to death of any business. They pride themselves on their aggressiveness in the courtroom, responsiveness to clients, and overall legal expertise. The firm was originally founded by Mark Gunderson, Esq. and has since welcomed two additional shareholders, Catherine Reichenberg, Esq. and Courtney Forster, Esq., and attorneys Austin Sweet, Esq. and John Funk, Esq. Gunderson Law Firm has attorneys licensed to practice in all State and Federal courts in both Nevada and California and their practice areas include: Civil Litigation; General Contracts; Aviation Law; Administrative Law; Commercial Real Estate; Real Estate Development and Construction; Business Association Formation, Support and Litigation; and Insurance Law.
October 1st, 2015
Gunderson Law Firm Attorney, Austin K. Sweet, Esq. has joined the Discovery Museum Board of Directors Governance Committee.
The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum is a hands-on museum dedicated to inspiring lifelong learning in science, technology, engineering, art, math, and the world around us. As northern Nevada continues to grow, the region’s cultural and educational offerings must also expand in order to keep young minds thriving. The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (The Discovery) is designed not just to meet this need, but to raise the bar for fun, family-based learning throughout our community. The museum also aims to provoke new aspirations and collaborations among children, parents and educators. The Discovery is a place of open eyes, open minds and open horizons. A place where tomorrow’s dreams win their wings.
September 15th, 2015
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about Gunderson Law Firm and the duties of your position.
Austin Sweet: We do general business law, so we represent a lot of businesses in town for any issue that might come up. Our primary focus is litigation, so we do trial work, contract disputes and things like that. We also help form and dissolve businesses, advise business owners on potential issues that might come up, lease disputes — it’s a pretty wide range of business-type issues. I get the opportunity to handle my own cases, but with bigger cases Mark Gunderson will be more involved and is there to advise and oversee a lot of the bigger decisions. My role includes everything that can be done on a case, which is why I came to this firm. It’s not common starting out of law school that you’ll get that opportunity. I take depositions,argue cases, handle trails and arbitrations by myself, which I really enjoy.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Sweet: I originally wanted to do engineering and in school I was a math and science guy. I wasn’t entirely convinced I wanted to do engineering, so my backup was business, and Washington had a great program for business. I was in the electrical engineering program at UDUB, and it just bored the hell out of me. I took at basic business law class, and at the same time I was taking a logic class. I really saw a big correlation between the thought processes of math and logic and the law. To me, it’s the exact same thought process — instead of taking numbers and plugging them into formulas you are taking facts and plugging them into laws and you need to figure out variables equations to reach a logical conclusion.
NNBW: In your five years of working as an attorney, what’s the most important thing you have learned in that time that helps you succeed?
Sweet: Realizing what I consider an interesting legal problem and what is the best interest of my client. Sometimes you have a fascinating legal dispute, but there’s no reason to charge your client thousands of dollars to go to trial and litigate it. It’s important to keep the focus on what’s in the best interest of your client.
NNBW: What’s been your most challenging case and why?
Sweet: Probably the one I am handling now. We have a major lawsuit that’s spread out over several states, and we are going up against a notorious litigant. It’s really helped me learn the global scope of practicing law and litigation. It’s like a game of chess — you always have to think six or 10 steps ahead and see what they are planning six to 10 steps ahead.
NNBW: What do you like most about your job?
Sweet: The challenging logical work and the variety. Every day is something different and new. There’s always a new challenge and twist to every case and issue and it keeps me on my toes and thinking actively. The second part of it is the people I get to meet. We do a lot of business law, and I get to learn about business, what people do and their passion for it. I really enjoy getting to meet those people and see into their world.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Sweet: My dad was a contractor, so it was working for him. I was doing that when I was five, since I was old enough to know the alphabet and put things in the right order.
NNBW: Tell us about your dream job. Why aren’t you working it?
Sweet: Honestly, I think it’s this. I think if I wanted to do something else I would do it.
NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession?
Sweet: Try it out first. Get your foot in the door at a law firm, even if you are just working as a runner. Experience the profession first. I went to a pretty pricey law school and I knew a handful of people there in about their third year, after they had done their intensive summer internships that realized they didn’t want to be lawyers. But they were $100,000 in the hole and had wasted years getting a degree they didn’t want. It was hard to see that happen. If you are thinking about becoming a lawyer I recommend going to work at a law firm first.
NNBW: What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? How do you spend your time away from work?
Sweet: Outdoors with my family. We play a lot of soccer, go rock climbing, skiing, hiking, backpacking.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
Sweet: Probably a professional athlete, a soccer player or skier.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Sweet: I would work less, definitely. I would travel more and spend time with my family.
NNBW: What’s the last concert or sporting event you attended?
Sweet: I went to an Aces game.
NNBW: Where’s your perfect vacation spot?
Sweet: Going somewhere new with my family.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?
Sweet: I grew up here, and when you leave I don’t think I realized how good Reno is. I got to see Seattle and Boston, and that made me appreciate the culture of Reno and the outdoor activities we have to offer. A lot of my friends work for big firms in Boston, Seattle, Chicago and New York, and they are working 80- to 100-hour weeks. When you come back to Reno, there really aren’t firms like that; I have a good work-life balance that is hard to find other places. I really like the small legal community; you get to know the judges, they get to know you, and it’s a place where you can really build a reputation that can help you with your practice.
See the original story here
June 1st, 2015
View the original article from Nevada Lawyer Magazine here
Like many lawyers, I’m faced with an unfortunate number of clients who call me to help them solve their legal problems rather than to prevent them before they happen. A recurring issue involves entrepreneurs who start new businesses: they know that they need “a business license,” but they often don’t know exactly which licenses they are required to obtain. So they head down to city hall, apply for a business license, pay the fee and leave with the erroneous belief that they are now fully compliant with all licensing requirements. After all, if there was something else they were supposed to do, wouldn’t the person behind the counter have told them? Unfortunately, the answer is “no.”
Businesses Need State, County and Municipal Business Licenses In Nevada.
Entrepreneurs typically need a business license from every state, county and municipality in which they plan to conduct business. Although this article only addresses Nevada business licenses, it is important to remind your clients that they may need to register their businesses and obtain even more business licenses in other states where they perform services.
The general rule is that any person who engages in a business or trade for profit in Nevada is required to obtain a business license from the State of Nevada. As always, there are several exceptions, most notably nonprofit entities and religious entities. Most exceptions still require the person to file a request for exemption. If you think your client may be exempt, be sure to consult the statutes to determine whether or not such a request needs to be filed. In addition to the state business license, counties and municipalities may require their own business license. Not all counties and cities have elected to do so, but most cities and municipalities require an additional business license for anyone conducting business in their jurisdictions. Each county and city has discretion to set its own guidelines for business licenses, so the fact that your client is exempt from obtaining a state business license does not necessarily mean he or she is exempt from obtaining a local license. For example, a natural person whose sole business is the rental of four or fewer dwelling units is exempt from obtaining a state business license, but a natural person whose sole business is the rental of three or more residential dwelling units on one parcel of land in Reno is required to obtain a business license from the City of Reno. You should therefore review the rules for each jurisdiction in which your clients are conducting business in order to determine whether they need a business license for that jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction requires licenses from businesses actually conducting business within the jurisdiction. A brick-and-mortar retail store would, therefore, need a business license based only upon the location of the store. However, a business that provides services in various places, such as a landscaper, needs a business license in each jurisdiction in which the business performs services. In areas like Reno, Sparks and Tahoe, a landscaping business might need business licenses from the state of Nevada, Washoe County, Carson City, the City of Reno and the City of Sparks, depending on their clients’ locations. A landscaping business in the south might need business licenses from the state of Nevada, Clark County, the City of Las Vegas, the City of North Las Vegas and the City of Henderson. Entrepreneurs are typically less than thrilled to learn this. Luckily, businesses can obtain multi-jurisdictional business licenses for Reno, Sparks and Washoe County or for Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Clark County.
Check Nevada Licensing Boards
Entrepreneurs may also need additional licenses due to the nature of their businesses. Many such licenses are obvious: you are unlikely to encounter an entrepreneur looking to open a doctor’s office without realizing he needs a license to practice medicine. However, as Uber can attest, the licensing requirements for other professions and businesses can be more ambiguous. Be sure to determine whether or not your client needs any additional licensing based upon the nature of his business, and don’t assume that your client will already know his professional licensing requirements.
A Business License is Not a Business Approval
It is important to ensure that your clients are aware that all these licenses do not constitute broad governmental approval of their businesses. Entrepreneurs sometimes believe the various government agencies that they have paid for business licenses have conducted thorough compliance reviews prior to granting those licenses.This mistake can lead to very costly consequences.
For example, a barber might assume that, since he applied for a business license for a barber shop and listed the intended address of the barber shop on the application, the city, county and/or state must have confirmed that the listed location was actually zoned for a barber shop, and that the barber has all the licenses required. So when the barber receives his business license, he assumes that his barber shop is “government approved” and that there’s nothing else he needs to worry about from a regulatory standpoint. Unfortunately, as we know, his is not the case; the well-intentioned barber could be shut down by the Nevada Barbers’ Health and Sanitation Board for working without a license and charged with a misdemeanor and an administrative fine. This error can easily be avoided by taking the time to explain to your client what a business license is and what it means for their business. When working with entrepreneurs, especially when helping them start their business, always remember to explain to your clients that they might need a number of different licenses, and tell them what those different licenses do, and do not, allow them to do.
March 20th, 2015
By Austin K. Sweet.
If you own a business, you probably have a business entity. Maybe you heard that business entities provide some sort of liability protection, and someone mentioned that you should form an LLC, so you wen online, or better yet, to a lawyer, and formed and LLC. A few weeks later, you got a fancy looking book with your company’s name embossed in gold lettering. You played with the neat little company seal thingy for a few minutes, patted yourself on the back for being a responsible business owner with such an official looking book and seal, and then put to book on a shelf never to be touched again.
That is, of course, until your lawyer asked you to bring that book to his office because its contents will dramatically impact the outcome of the dispute you’ve recently entered into with your partner. Are you sure that book says what you want it to say? Do you even know what it says? How will this impact your business?
Read the full article featured in Northern Nevada Business Weekly Business Law Guide Here (page 7)
July 1st, 2014
Gunderson Law Firm Attorney, John Funk, Esq. has been selected to serve as secretary of the High Sierra Lacrosse Foundation.
The High Sierra Lacrosse Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2007 to develop the sport of lacrosse for all student-athletes in Northern Nevada, Truckee, and the Tahoe Basin. The Foundation is guided by a Board of Directors (BOD) who believe that participation in the sport of lacrosse provides a powerful vehicle for a participant’s personal growth and development. The Foundation believes that the team sport of lacrosse teaches the values of respect, fairness, teamwork, communication, responsibility, truthfulness, non-discrimination, honesty, and integrity. These attributes help develop skill sets in student-athletes that are valuable to our local communities.
June 17th, 2014
Congratulations to Catherine Anne Reichenberg, Esq. for making the 2014 Legal Elite and the publication cover! Read the whole list here.
June 4th, 2014
Compensation for your client does not end with a judgment; it only ends when your client has successfully executed on that judgment by realizing a monetary return. Many attorneys consider a successful jury verdict, or the granting of a motion for summary judgment, to be the victory for their client. However, most clients have a sense of lasting victory only after they are actually paid what they are owed. Thus, the question becomes: so your client has a judgment; now what?
Read the full article at Nevada Lawyer Magazine.
March 27th, 2014
Starting a new business can be daunting. You already have a great idea, but now you’re making that idea a reality. You’re meeting with financial backers, signing a lease, hiring employees – and everywhere you turn, you’re spending more money. With so many expenses to juggle, many new entrepreneurs ask themselves: Do I really need a lawyer?
Although many people dread hiring a lawyer, investing a small amount of time with a lawyer at the beginning can help save you a huge amount of money and difficulty later on. There are several ways a lawyer can help your new business succeed:
Forming Your Business Entity
Corporation, partnership, LLC – what do they all mean, and how do I go about setting one up? A lawyer can help you navigate the intricacies of Nevada business formation and make sure that you are protecting yourself from personal liability. Do you have partners or investors? A lawyer will make sure your corporate documents clearly reflect exactly what your agreement with those partners or investors is so there’s no question about who is responsible for what. Even better, a lawyer can also help you anticipate the problems you never considered – so if those problems arise down the road, you’re already covered. Hiring a lawyer to form your company generally costs about the same as getting the documents from an online source, but with a lawyer you’ll know that you are getting a customized business entity designed just for you.
Negotiating and Reviewing Contracts:
Starting a new business involves a huge amount of paperwork. Everyone wants you to sign a contract, from your investors to your vendors and your new landlord. Are these terms normal, or are they asking you to sign something totally over-the-top? Which terms are negotiable, and what does all this legalese really mean? A lawyer can help make sense of these contracts and can step in to negotiate on your behalf if you’d prefer to stay out of it. Need a release for your customers to sign? How about a non-compete agreement with your new employees? Your lawyer can draw up these contracts for you to make sure they say exactly what you need them to say – and that they comply with Nevada law.
Everyday Business Needs
Can I ask my employees to wear a specific uniform? What kind of work can I have an intern perform? Should I trademark my company name? Once your business is up and running, there are plenty of small questions that will pop up from time to time. Trying to research these questions on your own can be tricky, but hiring a new lawyer just to ask a small question can seem like overkill. This is where having a relationship with a lawyer can be a huge asset. Since she already helped set up your business, your lawyer knows you and your business’s needs. With only a quick call or email, your lawyer will be able to answer any questions that may come up. This will let you focus on running your business without having to worry about these minor legal issues.
For additional information and to learn more about Gunderson Law Firm www.gundersonlaw.com or call (775) 829-1222
Article published in the Reno Tahoe YPN newsletter.
March 2nd, 2014
Austin Sweet has joined theSolace Tree Board of Directors. Sweet is an attorney with Gunderson Law Firm, who has represented a wide variety of clients from across Nevada, California and the nation. His primary clientele includes individuals and businesses on a local, regional, and national level, as well as a variety of public agencies.
“We’re excited to have Austin join us as we celebrate our tenth anniversary this year,” said Solace Tree Board Chair Dave Wertzberger. “His skills and enthusiasm will be a great addition in our mission to help evenmore families find hope and healing after losing a family member.”
A 501c (3) non-profit organization based in Reno, Nevada, the Solace Tree is celebrating its tenth year of providing peer support, information and education to schools and the community to promote healing and recovery for grieving children, teens and their families who are affected by loss. For more information, visit www.solacetree.org.