Owning a business doesn’t need to be stressful.
You worked hard to build your business and you want to protect it. Having a business lawyer by your side who understands your business and your priorities, will help you make good decisions, avoid mistakes and protect you from risk.
Our lawyers work with businesses to negotiate important deals, manage risk and develop strategies to achieve growth and success. This gives our team a deep perspective on business and how to best approach every transaction you are undertaking, whether you are a start-up, a small business or a medium to large enterprise.
We listen to what is important to you, and understand the many competing pressures involved in managing your business. Our legal knowledge and services are designed to deliver value and results. Investment in good upfront advice can save you time, energy, and money later on.
Our team undertakes consistent professional development programs to keep pace with industry updates, ensuring that we have the latest knowledge to guide your business into the future.
We’ve got your business covered.
Business & Commercial Services
We assess your situation and provide a professional opinion on how Australian laws apply to your circumstances, and advise you on how to improve your situation and manage risks. This could be as simple as explaining a clause in a contract, or something more complex.
Business documentation (terms and conditions)
If you offer your customers standard terms and conditions or payment terms, a quick review of these documents by a business lawyer can guide you and provide you with peace of mind if something goes wrong. If you do not already have these business documents, our commercial lawyers can prepare documentation tailored to your business needs. Our lawyers will help you avoid common mistakes which lead to unfair contract terms which may be investigated by Consumer Affairs or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Are you a partnership, a company or a trust?
Do you know the difference?
Is the structure you have the most appropriate one for your business and stage of growth?
The structure you need depends on the type of business you run, who is involved, the income and assets held in the business and your budget. A structure can change as you grow, however, there can be tax and cost implications. A discussion with us can help you assess the difference and if required, help you to restructure.
Buying a business
We regularly assist clients in the purchase of businesses. You might buy a business once or twice in your lifetime. We guide you through the process, conduct thorough preparation and comprehensive due diligence to ensure the entire business is transferred to you, identify the risks and ensure you are not inheriting the debt of the previous owner.
Due diligence is a vital process and should be undertaken together with your trusted legal advisers.
In addition to drawing up lease documents, our lawyers handle rent reviews, lease renewals, lease transfers when businesses change hands, advice on breaches of lease terms and managing the end of a lease. Where required, our business lawyers will send notices of default on your behalf, recover debt, represent you at the Small Business Commission or initiate proceedings in VCAT and the Magistrates Court.
Whether you are buying into a franchise, currently operating a franchise and having some difficulty, or looking to sell your business, our commercial lawyers can provide you with the advice needed to support a fruitful business relationship with your franchisor. Franchising has its own set of laws, and our business lawyers have experience with these laws and how they apply to franchising agreements. We create water-tight contract agreements that work within Australian contract law for franchises.
Our lawyers can prepare the legal documentation required to record a contract agreement between you and another person, or company, or between business owners. Deterioration in a relationship or poor memory can lead to disputes about what was originally agreed upon. By going through a formal process of recording your agreements, common scenarios that lead to disputes can be discussed and recorded within formal agreements. Our commercial lawyers are often engaged to resolve disputes when agreements have not been documented and can help you avoid these common mistakes in the future.
Robertson Hyetts can help you identify and protect your intellectual property. Should you be using confidentiality agreements? What is a trademark? Someone has breached my copyright, what do I do? Our lawyers have the experience and expertise to point you in the right direction and ensure your intellectual property is protected.
By engaging a business lawyer to assist you in negotiations, you can outsource the stress and rely on the skills that lawyers develop through years of training. Our lawyers are often able to negotiate more advantageous terms to contracts that are provided to our clients or add terms that provide our clients with certainty, flexibility and options if things go wrong.
Selling a business
The process of selling a business should commence years before offering the business for sale, or as soon as possible. This will include an audit of your business assets, securing any assets that are not secure, and increasing profitability. Talk to your financial and legal advisers in advance about your plans. We can prepare all necessary paperwork to sell your business and ensure there are no remaining risks to you, once a settlement is complete.
The law relating to social media may have been slow to develop but there is an evolving set of laws that must be complied with. Traditional advertising laws continue to apply. Additionally, there is a growing set of case law about employees and their use of social media. We can prepare your social media policies and review existing social media policies to identify potential issues.
Our legal team has developed comprehensive checklists to help identify your exposure to risk and provide you with the legal documents you need to begin your business. Your idea might rely on secrets – do you use confidentiality agreements when discussing your idea? You might be looking for investors – do you have an investment agreement and a shareholders agreement so that your investors know what they are buying? Do you know what Australian commercial laws apply to the industry you are getting into? We have helped many businesses launch and can help you strategise and prioritise within your budget.
Succession planning focuses on continued success in times of change. You can be left exposed when the personal circumstances of those involved in the ownership or management of your business change through divorce, illness, death, retirement or otherwise. With regards to Australian commercial law, we approach succession planning as a big picture examination of your assets and responsibilities and identify how they can best be smoothly managed in all types of situations. This can involve putting in place buy-sell agreements, Wills and estate planning.
Customer complaints are a fact of business. Understanding your obligations under Australian consumer law, particularly in relation to advertising, is important and can help you to avoid customer complaints. Our legal team will review your advertisements and your social media accounts to make sure you are compliant with current trade practices law.
Banking and finance
Our banking and finance team can assist you with the preparation and execution of mortgages, securities and project finance documentation. We also provide services for the preparation of default and bankruptcy documentation. Need help understanding your loan or preparing and executing loan documents? We’re ready to help.