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Articles by Ronald E. Lyons

Succession Planning for Professional Practices

Doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals face particular challenges in their succession planning. Unplanned exits are at high risk for losing clients, revenue, and good will.  Client replacement costs and other continuity challenges abound for the remaining partners and staff. On the other hand, an action plan to maximize profit in the sale of a practice typically takes 18-24 months. In our multidisciplinary practice, we know from experience that the most effective succession planning integrates legal planning techniques, personal financial and retirement planning, and in some instances, finding a business broker.

Students Heading To College Need Health Care Powers Of Attorney

For those of you with children that have attained their 18th birthday and, especially, for those with children that may be heading off to college in the future, it is important that they have a health care power of attorney (HCPOA) in place.  Young adults are highly susceptible to injuries, illnesses and accidents for which important medical decisions need to be made.  This can be even more challenging when those children are residing far away. 

How To Talk To Your Lawyer About “Force Majeure” In Your Contracts

Of all the questions which we are receiving from clients these days, “force majeure” is the one that can be hardest for clients to grasp and lawyers to give definitive answers on.  Although little known and seldom used, this legal concept can be tremendously helpful to prevent a costly contract dispute when a party cannot perform as expected. It’s the equivalent of a “get out of jail free” card in a Monopoly game. 

D.C. Ban On Non-Compete Agreements

On December 15 2020, the D.C Council joined a growing number of other jurisdictions that have enacted legislation limiting the use of non-compete agreements.  The new law, known as the “Ban on Non-Compete Agreements Amendment Act of 2020 (the “Act”), effectively prohibits employers from entering into, or enforcing, non-compete agreements.  The Act will still require Congressional approval before it officially goes into effect. 

New Laws In Maryland For Estates And Trusts

There are two new laws in Maryland impacting estate planning and administration.  The first deals with what is known as the “spousal election”. Under Maryland law, a surviving spouse has the right to make an election to take a one-third share of their deceased spouse’s estate in lieu of what they were to receive under the testamentary will.  Although the spousal election has been in place for generations, its implementation was problematic since it was limited to a share of the “probate” assets of the deceased spouse. Essentially, probate assets are those that are titled solely in the name of the deceased spouse and which do not automatically pass by operation of law to a named beneficiary.

Telecommuting As An Accommodation

Consider the situation faced by an employer that does not, typically, allow employees to work remotely.  Then consider what happens when an employee with pregnancy related complications is instructed by her physician to go on bedrest for the remaining three months of her pregnancy.  Moreover, the employee lacks sufficient PTO to cover the anticipated leave. She now requests permission to work from home, claiming that the request is a reasonable accommodation for her disability.  

Non-Compete And Non-Solicitation Agreements: Employer Beware

A recent case from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland underscored the growing trend by courts across the country to limit the application of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.   These agreements, typically referred to as “restrictive covenants”, are integral to many employment agreements. Restrictive covenants in employment contracts serve as a means of assuring the employer that its employee will not use his/her familiarity with the customers of the employer to take those customers and clients to a new employer.  Even though they constitute a restraint against trade, most courts will enforce them provided that the limitations are reasonable, both in terms of the length of the prohibition as well as the geographic scope of the limitation.