New Year, New View: Getting Ready for 2020
As 2019 draws to a close, and 2020 enters the picture, the flipping of the page on the calendar is a good reminder that there may be some legal issues that merit your attention in the new year. Those things you may have lacked the time to review in the rush of the day-to-day are still out there, and the new year is a great time to check in on them, and if necessary, make some decisions. Here are a few:
Corporate: Any business of any size is a complex matrix of agreements and commitments, and it might make sense to review yours. These include things like your corporate form, your contracts with employees (particularly key ones), your leases and purchase agreements, and your standard forms, such as nondisclosures. They may be up-to-date and complete, but if they’re not, this is the ideal time to update everything. If your business includes options, profit-sharing, or other similar agreements, they should be reviewed also. For more information and ideas regarding the current legal status of your business, please see John Rosen’s The Corporate Check-in.
Tax: Along with reviewing your corporate items, it also makes sense to take a look at your current tax filings, status, and plans to see if anything needs updating. Your tax counsel can also talk to you about any anticipated changes to the tax laws that may affect you.
Personal: Also consider reviewing personal matters like trusts, wills, deeds, powers of attorney, and healthcare proxies.
Labor and Employment: Depending on the kind of business you’re operating, it may make sense to review any employment agreements you have in place with your employees, as well as policy manuals, HR procedures, and the like. This particularly applies to freelance or part-time employees who, depending on where they’re located, may need to be reclassified.
Data Privacy and Security: In 2019, both the state of California and the European Union enacted major new data privacy regulations, which may affect you and your customers even if you’re physically located elsewhere. It’s a good idea to have an attorney review your privacy statement, terms of service, and other materials to see if you’re in compliance. For more information regarding cybersecurity and related liability, check out this piece from Bijan Ghom.
This is not, of course, the full scope of legal issues that may require your attention. However, it’s a great place to start. Simply by checking in and ensuring that everything is up to date, on strategy and with whatever compliance may be required, you can help get off on the right foot in 2020. We wish you a Happy New Year!