Pete Reinhardt to Speak at Employment Law Clinic

Pete Reinhardt will be presenting at the Wisconsin Employment Law Clinic on September 14, 2011, at Ready Randy’s in New Richmond, WI. His topic is “High Level Hiring and Firing”. The Clinic is presented by the St. Croix Valley Employers Association. For more information or to register, click here. Note that early-bird registration has been extended through September 2.

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Free Legal Clinic Serves Polk County Residents

On August 15, 2011, the inaugural session of the Polk County Free Legal Clinic was held at the Polk County Justice Center in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. The clinic, modeled after successful efforts in St. Croix and Pierce Counties, provides local residents with free access to local attorneys, who volunteer their time to answer questions about common legal issues. The clinic will be held the third Monday of each month, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Polk County Community Room. Click here for more information.

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Regional Caregiver Conference

Bridget Finke will be speaking at the Regional Caregiver Conference on Friday, September 16, 2011, at WITC in New Richmond. Bridget’s presentation, titled “Estate Planning Basics”, starts at 1:15 p.m. The conference is co-sponsored by the Aging and Disability Resource Centers of Dunn, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties, as well as a committee of caregivers. Other topics range from “Preventing Falls” to “Taking the Journey with Dementia”. Registration is $20 and includes lunch; pre-registration is encouraged. Click here to get registration information and learn more.

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Banking Issues of Doing Business in China

Breakfast with Bakke NormanJohn Novak, Bremer Bank, discussed the challenges and risks of the transfer of money, exchange rates and other banking-related issues of doing business in China. Novak spoke as part of the Breakfast with Bakke Norman seminar on August 4, 2011.

Doing Business in China was the topic of the inaugural “Breakfast with Bakke Norman”, a quarterly seminar series offered by Bakke Norman Law Office, on Thursday, August 4, 2011, at WITC in New Richmond. Panelists were:

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Morgan Nelson on Doing Business in China

Breakfast with Bakke NormanMorgan Nelson, Bishop Fixtures, shared his experiences doing business in China at the August 4, 2011 Breakfast with Bakke Norman seminar.

Doing Business in China was the topic of the inaugural “Breakfast with Bakke Norman”, a quarterly seminar series offered by Bakke Norman Law Office, on Thursday, August 4, 2011, at WITC in New Richmond. Panelists were:

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How to Get Started Doing Business in China

Breakfast with Bakke NormanWalt Maurer with Lind Shoe explained the process to get started doing business in China, including choosing an agent. Maurer spoke as part of the Breakfast with Bakke Norman seminar series on August 4, 2011.

Doing Business in China was the topic of the inaugural “Breakfast with Bakke Norman”, a quarterly seminar series offered by Bakke Norman Law Office, on Thursday, August 4, 2011, at WITC in New Richmond. Panelists were:

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Doing Business in China – August 4, 2011

Breakfast with Bakke NormanDoing Business in China was the topic of the inaugural “Breakfast with Bakke Norman”, a quarterly seminar series offered by Bakke Norman Law Office, on Thursday, August 4, 2011, at WITC in New Richmond. Panelists were:

The panelists shared their experiences conducting or assisting with business transactions in China. The panelists also answered various questions from the attendees. Issues discussed included the importance of a reliable agent, navigating government agencies and regulations, mitigating against currency changes, coordinating payment, and emerging trends, such as the increase in skilled labor and the narrowing wage gap.

Tom Schumacher greeted the guests and introduced the speakers.

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For more information or to register for the next Breakfast with Bakke Norman, please email info@bakkenorman.com. To view other Breakfast with Bakke Norman installments, visit our You Tube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/bakkenorman.

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A Penny Saved? Why Business Organizational Documents Are Important

Business Notes, August 2011

Choosing the correct form of business organization is important. It can have far reaching consequences, some that are not anticipated at the time a new business is organized. There are income tax options available when a business is organized. The business can report and pay tax on its profits (typically a C Corporation) or the owner(s) can individually report the income and pay the tax for a pass-through entity (typically a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, LLP, Subchapter S corporation or similar entity).

However, taxes should not be the only consideration when forming a business. Business organizational documents create important differences for day-to-day management, dispute resolution, death or withdrawal of an owner, and dissolution. A recent Wisconsin Supreme Court case involved Press Enter, a business which provided computer and internet services and was organized as a limited liability partnership. The court’s ultimate decision was controlled by the absence of important organizational documents. Press Enter did not have buy-sell or dissolution provisions in its organizational documents.

Except for a sole proprietorship, Wisconsin statutes provide detailed rules that govern the organization, operation and dissolution of business entities. Within those rules, organizers of a business are given considerable latitude regarding the organization and operation of the business. Selecting the appropriate options is an important process. But, selecting the right business entity and making informed decisions about the available options is only the first step. The most important step, and the one that most frequently causes problems, is to wrap up all the details. With the hope, anticipation and excitement of a new business, many do not pay attention to the documents that can anticipate and resolve potential future problems.

In any business with multiple owners, the key documents are those that deal with the four Ds: Death, Disability, Divorce and Disagreement. Many, if not most, closely-held businesses do not have documents that address these issues. Sometimes the omission is the result of a lack of information about the importance of those documents. In other cases, the owners do not want to incur the expense of negotiating and drafting the documents. If there is never an auto accident, seat belts and air bags are unimportant. Similarly, if a business never experiences one of the four Ds, the owners need not worry about the lack of documentation. But, accidents happen and businesses experience unanticipated problems.

That was the Press Enter situation. The partners never got around to drafting a buy-sell or dissolution agreement. In the absence of an agreement and failed settlement proposals, the courtroom and lawyers were the only option. We can only guess at the time, effort and expense involved in a trial, an appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and then an appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Not only that, but, in the absence of an agreement, the law imposed a result that most of us, including the Supreme Court, view as inequitable.

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Starting a Business Seminar

Adam Jarchow will be a speaker at the “Starting a Business” seminar on Wednesday, August 24, 2011, from 6-7:30 p.m. at Associated Bank in Hammond. Adam will be speaking about business entity choices and contracts. Other speakers include Sandra Hazer from Associated Bank and Jonas K. Gonstead from First Data Merchant Services. The cost is $10.00. Register by contacting Pat Millfelt at pmillfelt@comcast.net.

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