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Partnership Agreement for Lawyers (START HERE)

Do you want to establish a legal practice as a partnership?

If so, I can help you with the process. First, read the content below to get a better idea about forming a partnership agreement for lawyers. 

By using this information, you can better communicate with a business lawyer about establishing this type of practice. Send me an email after you have read the information below. I can be reached at sam@mollaeilaw.com

 

What Is a Partnership Agreement Lawyers Contract?

To learn more about establishing a partnership agreement lawyers contract, you first need to define a partnership. A partnership is a specific business entity that has more than one owner. 

If a legal practice has multiple owners and has not filed documents with the state to become incorporated or an LLC, it is called a partnership. 

 

Types of Partnerships

Two basic types of partnerships exist. They are described as follows:

A General Partnership

A general partnership is made up of two or more partners. The partnership does not require a formal agreement, although one is advised.

All the partners share equally in running the practice or share the debts, profits, and liabilities. They are also all held personally liable for the practice’s liabilities and debts.

A Limited Partnership

A limited partnership is like a general partnership with a few key differences. In this set-up, there are one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. A limited partner’s role is to invest capital while a general partner makes management decisions and oversees the daily operations.

The risks of the business or practice are assumed by the managers, or general partners who assume the liabilities and debts.

The limited partner’s only risk is his or her financial investment. Therefore, his or her liability is limited to the financial contributions made to the practice.

 

Who Has Control in a Partnership Agreement for Lawyers?

The control of legal practice is established through a partnership agreement for lawyers for the ownership arrangement, authority, and oversight of the practice. 

Ownership

In a general partnership, a formal agreement establishes the percentage of ownership for each partner, including the profit percentage. If a partnership agreement has not been created, or the written agreement does not contain the ownership interests, each partner owns an equally proportionate share of liabilities and profits.

Law firms are set up as single-tier partnerships (traditional) or two-tier partnership models. Therefore, you need to go over these types of models first when establishing a practice.

I can help you create a partnership model that meets with your firm’s specific current and future requirements. Contact me at sam@mollaeilaw.com for more details.

Some Points to Keep in Mind

Traditionally, a law firm was set up as a “true partnership.” Each partner owned part of the practice and shared in the profits and liabilities.

He or she also had a strong voice in the affairs of the firm. This type of set-up was a general partnership. Once promoted into a partnership, a partner was tenured, and often had little chance that he or she would be asked to leave. 

Today, various organizational structures exist to reduce liability and risk. The structures include corporations, limited liability corporations, or limited liability partnerships.

I can help you with deciphering between the differences, so everyone understands his or her ownership stake. Send me an email at sam@mollaeilaw.com today.

Authority

The authority assigned in the practice is delegated to the general partner(s) while the limited partner(s), as the name suggests, does not have authority over the obligations and agreements of the practice.

Management

A partnership agreement lawyers contract should set out who manages the practice and controls it.

If this has not been written in the agreement or an agreement does not exist, the general partners share equally in the management of the practice.

 

How Does Liability Affect a Partnership Agreement for Lawyers?

Often, liability proves to be a major concern when a firm drafts a partnership agreement for lawyers. While a general partnership can perform legal services as a separate entity, all the general partners are equally and separately held accountable for a practice’s debts and liabilities.

If this type of agreement exists, each partner can be sued and asked to pay a fully for a debt if a practice owes a creditor money. The creditor can seek payment for a debt, as well, from one partner. 

However, the partner who pays the debt may request that the other partners reimburse him or her for their share of the obligation. When you have this type of situation take place, how the matter is handled should be outlined in the partnership agreement.

A limited partner’s liability to a firm is limited. He or she only is liable for any contributions made to the legal partnership.

The best way to avoid the personal liability that is attached to a general partnership is to change the structure of a firm and establish a limited liability partnership, or LLP.

If you would like me to help you with changing your general partnership over to an LLP, send me an email at sam@mollaeilaw.com today.

 

Does a Partnership Agreement for Lawyers Offer Tax Benefits? 

A legal partnership does not pay taxes on the income generated by the firm when a partnership agreement for lawyers is set up.

Therefore, this type of entity is referred to as a pass-through entity by the IRS. 

Individual partners pay taxes on their business income. The income passes through the firm to each partner, and partners report their shares of revenues and losses on individual income tax returns.

Partners are required to remit self-employment tax on partnership income.

If you have questions about setting up your legal firm as a partnership for tax purposes, contact me for all the details. Send me an email today at sam@mollaeilaw.com to arrange a consultation.

 

What Advantages Does a Partnership Agreement for Lawyers Provide?

When a partnership agreement for lawyers is drawn up, the partners must uphold the following obligations:

  • All the partners are personally liable for financial obligations if the partnership is established as a general partnership.
  • The partners owe fiduciary duties to one another.
  • The taxes must be paid through the partners’ individual and personal tax returns.

Advantages of setting up a partnership include the following:

  • Low costs for formation.
  • Profits that flow through to each partner.
  • No payment of business taxes – the taxes pass through to the partners.

 

What Disadvantages are Associated with Creating a Partnership Agreement for Lawyers?

The disadvantages of creating a partnership agreement for lawyers include the following:

  • Joint and several liabilities
  • Possible disputes between partners over certain practices
  • Profit-sharing

If one of the partners commits malpractice or does not meet his or her contractual obligation, the other partner(s) can be held liable. To prevent this from happening, you should create a limited liability partnership. 

 

Establishing a Partnership Agreement for Lawyers: What to Keep in Mind

You can ask me about how to set up a partnership agreement for lawyers for your legal practice or establishing an LLC. Review both types of entities. Send me an email at sam@mollaeilaw.com for more details.

Supporting the Partnership

To enjoy the most success as a partnership, you need to write down legal and financial goals. Support your partnership with the following activities:

  • Document your legal needs and financial strategy, which aligns your short-term budget with your firm’s long-term financial and partnership goals.
  • Make sure you can access sufficient capital to fund your firm now and shortly.
  • Follow written budget forecasts and regularly track your reports and key performance indicators.
  • Set up invoicing and collections to meet client payment preferences. This will promote timely bill payments.
  • Pay each partner a market-rate income, separate from distributions and bonuses. Make sure a proper amount of what you earn is directed toward savings.

Hiring and Staffing

Besides the financial aspect, you also have to think about staffing. Therefore, you need to focus on the following:

  • Set up an organizational chart that shows each person in the firm and his or her reporting structure.
  • Hire people, based on the firm’s values, mission, and organizational role. 
  • Set up the partnership so each partner understands his or her role in the firm.
  • Establish a partnership that ensures the staff and partners understand the firm’s values and receive compensation and benefits that are rational and fair.

How to Manage the Firm

To succeed in managing a general partnership, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Rely on your instincts.
  • Ask for advice and do your research.
  • Work on building relationships.
  • Know how to prepare for those times when you are not making money.
  • Know who to ask if you don’t know how to handle a specific situation.
  • Spend money on training, technology, and tools.
  • Avoid being frivolous or wasteful.
  • Prevent burnout.
  • Always be honest.

With the above tips in mind, you will find it easier to plan a sound strategy so you can launch your partnership and a law firm with increased confidence.

 

What To Do Next

When creating a partnership agreement for lawyers, all the partners in the practice should be agreeable with the arrangement.

If you feel there may be future conflicts, you may need to consider another type of formation, such as an LLC.

To learn what will benefit your situation now and in the future, send me an email and arrange a consultation. I can be reached at sam@mallaei.law.com

Sam Mollaei, Esq.

In 2013, I took the leap to start an online law firm so I could help entrepreneurs start their business and so that I could work online from anywhere in the world at the same time (...best decision I've EVER made).Since then, I’ve assisted more than 3,000 entrepreneurs start their U.S. business with more than 1,200+ 5.0 Star Google Reviews from clients who love my quick and streamlined online service.If you're interested in starting your business, take the first step by booking a call with my team below:

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