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Does Your Client Have Enough Licenses?

June 1st, 2015

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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.

Do You Know What Your Bylaws Say?

March 20th, 2015

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Austin headshotBy 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)

John R. Funk Elected Secretary of the High Sierra Lacrosse Foundation

July 1st, 2014

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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.

Legal Elite 2014: Nevada’s Top Attorneys

June 17th, 2014

Congratulations to Catherine Anne Reichenberg, Esq. for making the 2014 Legal Elite and the publication cover! Read the whole list here.

Legal Elite 2014 II

So Your Client has a Judgment; Now What?

June 4th, 2014

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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.

My New Business: Do I Really Need a Lawyer?

March 27th, 2014

Courtney

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. 

Austin Sweet Joins Solace Tree Board of Directors

March 2nd, 2014

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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.

 

 

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Go Red For Women Day!

February 7th, 2014

Gunderson Law Firm GOES RED

 

Wearing red in support of women’s heart health. Happy Go Red Day!

Gunderson Law Firm Featured in RGJ’s Annual Corporate Giving List For 2013

January 8th, 2014

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To review a complete list of businesses featured in this Corporate Giving list, click here.

Gunderson Law Firm Hosts Donation Drive Benefiting Casa de Vida in Reno

December 4th, 2013

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Gunderson Law Firm is hosting a clothing donation drive benefiting Casa de Vida in Reno. New and/or gently used baby items can be delivered to the Firm’s office during regular business hours. Specifically, the organization is in most need of winter clothing, sizes infant to 5T. Casa de Vida provides a home and support services for pregnant young women in our community. Donation drive ends December 20, 2013.

During donation season small children and infant donations can often be overlooked, and with winter just starting, warm clothing and coats are more important that ever. Join us in helping provide the necessary winter items for infants and small children. Donations can be dropped off Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm:

Gunderson Law Firm

3895 Warren Way

Reno, NV 89509