Affinity Law Firm

3947 Boulevard Center Drive, Suite 101

Jacksonville, Florida 32207
(904) 398-9510


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Legal Facts and Myths  

I can incorporate in “some state” online for $99 - why would I pay a lawyer to do this for me?

You can incorporate online for less than an attorney will charge, however, you must remember that there are only two reasons to incorporate or form an LLC.   One reason is for the savings provided in the tax structure and the other is to limit your liability.  A company that is not properly formed may not be considered by courts to be a “legal entity” (a term used by attorneys for companies such as LLC’s, corporations, etc) which may lead to personal liability.   

 In order for the company to be a “legal entity,” it must follow guidelines that allow it to operate legally.  You must properly form or incorporate, keep accurate records, obtain employee identification numbers, pay taxes, file quarterly returns, keep minutes, issue stock or units, sign documents correctly, and conduct business properly. 

You may also need professional licenses, occupational licenses, bonds, insurance(s) and other permits depending on your business.  If not, you may believe you have a corporation or LLC, but a judge may decide otherwise.  This is known as piercing the corporate veil.  It is the legal equivalent of believing you have a bullet proof vest but only having on a thick sweater.  This false belief can cause a person to take on more risks by believing they are protected when no protection exists.

 Often clients come in after they have been served by the sheriff and say, “How can they sue me as an individual?  I have corporate protection!”  Often, the business has not followed many of the requirements, and the law suit is the first notification that they may have an issue.  As a side note, most businesses are not sued when they are new.  The owners are often successfully operating, but have never spoken to an attorney regarding if the business was formed properly and operates as a true “legal entity.”

At the Affinity Law Firm, we are very competitive with our rates and our work is performed by staff that understands the need to be legally protected.  It is your choice on whether to hire an attorney to form your corporation.  But, if you choose not to use an attorney, at least buy a good book on corporations.

“I am educated and can understand the contract …why should an attorney review it?”

This is a very common mistake of many entrepreneurs.  Even if you are diligent, read all the fine print, and lookup and the definitions of “legal” words, this is often a costly mistake for several reasons:

  • Contracts often have words that have a legal meaning which is different than the common usage of the words.  Common words like property, owner, assignment, infant, capacity, consideration, and many other words, have slightly different meanings which can change a contract. 
  • The American system of government has a constitution, as well as federal laws, state laws, and local laws.  These rules don’t always appear to make sense, but they may give or take away rights even if you “contract away” or “waive” your rights.  For example, you cannot work for less than minimum wage even if you agree to, as it would be illegal.
  • Contracts often have legal challenges for what they don’t say or should have included.  A person might find an excellent binding contract online and have another person sign the contract, but find themselves with no recourse.  Often times, these online forms do not contain necessary provisions for reasonable enforcement of the contract, and the only option for the person who found the contract online is to file suit. 
  • Last, but not least, sometimes there is a better way of doing the same deal.  People often write contracts for situations that could be better taken care of by a different action.   Examples of this are often found in real estate transactions.  For example: a person might spend several hours to draft a no-lien provision into a real estate contract.  This is generally performed by the title company prior to closing as all liens must be satisfied if title insurance is to be issued. 

“I’m young and don’t have much, why would I need a will or trust?”

Young people often feel that they are not likely to die despite the fact that almost every young person knows a peer that died.  If you don’t have many assets why would you need a will or a trust?  Just ask yourself, why do most young people die?  Accidents are usually the reason – often car accidents.  Just assuming that the odds are even whether it was your fault or theirs, 50% of the time, the circumstances surrounding the accident could produce a large payout from the other person’s insurance.  Settlement offers vary but are usually a minimum of  $25,000 and may be as much as a $1,000,000.  Most people would rather have a say of who should benefit from their money if they die instead of state rules that were developed many years ago.  A simple will can prevent the state from deciding where your money is distributed.

“I’ve dealt with attorneys in the past, why do they always end up as deal-breakers?”

The Affinity Law Firm has often heard entrepreneurs complain that the “attorneys killed the deal.”  It is possible that the reason for this was that the deal was illegal, likely to produce major law suits, or that the deal was not properly understood by all the parties.

At the Affinity Law Firm each of our attorneys wants to put together every deal.  It is not our policy to add unnecessary protection clauses into contracts which may cause the other party to back down.  And, if a deal is currently structured and is legally unsound, we will do our very best to change the structure to fix possible illegalities or exposure to law suits so that all parties are in agreement.  The attorneys at the Affinity Law Firm have very diverse backgrounds and understand the desires of entrepreneurs to see their plan to completion.  The Affinity Law Firm prides itself on the ability to work with business owners to “get it done.” 

One of the services the Affinity Law Firm offers is a business consulting package which includes both business and legal consultations.  All of our attorneys have multiple disciplines of study such as MBA’s, extensive real estate experience, and ownership of many businesses prior to their legal career.  This multidiscipline approach helps us to understand the needs of your business and offer options that an entrepreneur may not know exists.

“I’ll just wait until I see if I need an attorney…”

Affinity Law Firm receives calls and consultations where the client has already waited too long to see an attorney.  In law there are many deadlines.  The purpose of these deadlines is to bring the issue to a quick resolution.   Many times a law suit is filed, and time constraints limit what can be argued in court.  Many defenses and counterclaims must be initiated on the first response or they are waived / lost.

Although some lawsuits settle very quickly, many will go to trial or settle very shortly before trial.  It is not uncommon for someone to see us until after it is too late.  Failure to consult an attorney early in the law suit may prevent you from having the opportunity to present items of evidence in a case.  This could quickly turn a wining case into a losing case.

Do not ignore legal items such as summons, subpoenas.  If you are unsure, a quick consultation can give you the information that you need to make an informed decision.


“I can’t afford an attorney!”

Many people have no idea what attorneys charge but all have heard about the “enormous fees” that some people have paid.  This generally is not true.  Obviously legal fees vary by the amount of work required, court fees, filing fees and the nature of the legal action, however, many business related tasks like reviewing a contract are often under a $100.    People often sign contracts for very expensive items and depend on the other person to form the contract and then sign it without even reading it.  Often this can lead to major costs later that you may not be aware of that could have easily been avoided. 

At the Affinity Law Firm, we have options for businesses and individuals that make the cost of having an “attorney on retainer” very affordable.  This service was developed after realizing that most small business owners don’t use attorneys as often as they would like because of the unknown costs.  We have a simple program that almost any business can afford which offers them access to legal advice when they need it.  Contact us for details.


“I don’t have a written contract so I can’t do anything!”

This is simply not true.  People often have the possibility of enforcing or recovering damages even though they don’t have a written contract.  Attorneys usually prefer to have a written contract but many times they are able to enforce an oral / verbal contract.  Also, many people believe that if they haven’t signed an agreement they do not have any liability – this is also not true.


The information provided in this website does not constitute legal advice nor does it constitute an attorney client agreement.  You will not be considered a client until we have accepted your matter and an agreement is signed. For more information, read our disclaimer.

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