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Nicoll Davis & Spinella Supports the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Winter Gala

On December 8, 2018, the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ hosted their second annual Winter Gala at the Legacy Castle in Pompton Plains, NJ. The event kicked off with a beautiful cocktail reception followed by an awards presentation honoring the remarkable contributions made by business, civic and community leaders. The Winter Gala was the culmination of a busy and successful year for the SHCCNJ. Nicoll Davis & Spinella is not only proud to have been an event sponsor, but also to serve as Outside General Counsel for the Chamber this past year.

Important components of an NDA

If you own or manage any critical function of a business in New Jersey, you are likely to be in a situation in which you must disclose sensitive information to a third party in order to properly get business done. Before you do this or before you choose simply to not proceed at all for fear of what might happen to your information, you should know that there is a special type of contract designed to protect businesses in situations just like this. It is called a confidentiality agreement or a nondisclosure agreement.

As explained by Forbes, this type of contract essentially binds a party to hold in confidence specific information shared with it by your company. It can outline a path for you to seek compensation should the terms of the agreement be violated in any way. This path to resolution should be as detailed as possible so that if it is ever needed, there are no ambiguities. You might even want to consider adding stipulations regarding the use of mediation or arbitration. 

What to include in an employment contract

As a New Jersey business owner, chances are, you have a firm understanding of the value of finding and retaining good employees, and the first step in setting yourself up for success while protecting your workers and business involves creating a solid employment contract. At Nicoll Davis & Spinella LLP, we recognize that a carefully crafted employment contract can help you avoid problems and potential legal disputes before they arise, and we have helped many business owners facing similar circumstances take preventative measures to protect their interests.

According to Inc., in most cases, the primary goal of an employment contract is to ensure that the business and the employee have certain protections in the event that the professional relationship comes to an end. So, what types of matters might you want to address in an employment contract?

Creating a plan for internal investigations

Most business owners hope to never conduct an internal investigation. They are a stressful situation that can put your business's future at risk. 

However, they can also considerably benefit your business. They allow you to maintain control of the situation while resolving problems for a better future. Establishing a plan is one of the most important actions business owners can take to manage risk in the event of an investigation. 

What are common reasons for contract disputes?

As a business owner in New Jersey, you're likely going to be dealing with a lot of individual contracts. Having solid contracts is important for many reasons. One of these reasons is that it will allow you to lower your chances of having a contract dispute.

FindLaw shows that contract disputes can happen to anyone, though the possibility of dealing with them decreases if you have a contract that is written in a way that is straightforward and easy to understand.

What constitutes a trade secret?

Your trade secrets are your business's most confidential and valuable assets, as they are what sets your New Jersey business apart from its competitors. While you should take the necessary measures to protect your intellectual property, you cannot always anticipate breaches. The law has protections in place to compensate businesses that are victims of intellectual property breaches. However, for the law to apply, the stolen information must meet the legal definition of a trade secret.

According to the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School, a trade secret, as defined by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, is information that generates concrete or hypothetical independent economic value from the fact that it is not commonly known to or readily available by other persons. "Information" can include a pattern, formula, program, compilation, technique, method or process. A trade secret, under this definition, is also one that is the subject of significant efforts.

Important elements of compliance programs

New Jersey business owners and executives know they must operate their companies ethically and legally. The need for this is fueled in part by the need and desire to avoid costly fines that can be associated with compliance violations. However, a strong corporate compliance program can do more than just help a company stay out of trouble. When properly developed and managed, a compliance program can fuel a business' success.

In today's society, a company's brand reputation and image can be one of its most valuable assets. As explained by Forbes, many compliance violations can wreck havoc with a company's reputation in the public eye. Once this damage has been done, it can take a long time and a lot of money to rebound from that experience. In the meantime, competitors may gain an advantage that only adds to the challenge for the company trying to come back from such an experience.

IR content on corporate website

The websites of New Jersey companies that are publicly traded must feature special areas devoted to investor relations. This is a mandate of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Some of the information that appears on a typical investor relations website might be required but other information may be optional. Understanding the requirements and the pros and cons of including other discretionary information is important.

Equisolve, a company that produces IR websites, points out that the two leading stock exchanges, Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange, have slightly different requirements for some information on investor relations websites. For example, a company trading on Nasdaq must publish quarterly and annual earnings results. A company trading on the NYSE is only required to publish annual earnings results.

Selecting a good business partner

Many residents in New Jersey develop innovative ideas for new businesses but realize they may be best served by having a partner to get their new company off the ground and on the road to success. Finding a good business partner is an art unto itself and can be as much about finding the right partner for a given business and person as anything. What makes someone a good business partner for one entrepreneur can differ for another.

Forbes recommends that trust and respect should be at the heart of every solid business partnership. Going into business together is akin to getting married when considering the legal and financial connections people will share. Part of trusting and respecting each other includes having compatible styles for conflict resolution. No matter what, business partners will not always agree so it is essential they know how to work through those situations positively together.

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