Community Business Law for Everyone in the Community
 
 

 Resources

a selection of helpful information
to promote inclusivity and access

 
 
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Be a Better Business

As a certified Oregon Benefit Company, we champion the Triple Bottom Line of people, planet, and profit, and we strive to demonstrate empathy, transparency, and honesty in everything we do.

Whether you decide to go the nonprofit or for-profit route, we believe that there are plenty of great ways to be a better business and encourage others to join this progressive movement!

 

STEPS YOU CAN TAKE

  • Develop community and social programming, like educational seminars, skills workshops, or social events – or collaborate with folks who are already doing this work.

  • Partner with impactful nonprofit organizations in the community to support their efforts and bring awareness to their mission.

  • Donate to or become a sponsor of a nonprofit organization that provides meaningful community programming.

  • Invest in a socially conscious for-profit company that is solving problems creatively, using intelligence, intentionality, and collaboration.

  • Instead of creating a new nonprofit, seek out an existing nonprofit that aligns with your services and mission, then develop a fiscal-sponsorship relationship, plan, and agreement with them.

  • Create a work-sponsored volunteering program to promote a culture of giving back and empathizing with others.

  • Become a certified Benefit Company as an Oregon-based LLC or corporation, or a B Corp, as a U.S.-based corporation.

  • Do it all by establishing both a nonprofit and a for-profit branch of your company.

 

are you ready to be a better business?
Take the BCFG “Sniff TesT”

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Frequently Asked Questions

Not seeing the answer you need? Try a search or drop us a line.

 

Your headquarters are in Oregon and you’re licensed to practice in Oregon, but my business and i are in another state – Can I still hire you?

Yes! Regardless of the state, we can help you with business law. We simply need to have a conversation about where you and your business are located, where you are or will be doing business, and any other particulars that may affect the work.

While business formation may require forms to be filed in your state or your desired state of incorporation, business attorneys can generally maintain clients throughout the United States.

  • We’re extra careful about the language in your written contracts, and include key clauses like "This agreement is governed by the State of [your state]."

  • For intellectual-property purposes, if you’re filing a state-specific trademark, we can file it in that state.

  • Copyrights and federal trademark applications are both governed by federal law, so we’ll file them with federal agencies. 

That said, we wouldn’t be able to support on matters involving criminal, family, or probate law, as these are extremely state-specific areas of practice.


Should I hire a law firm like Rational Unicorn Legal Services LLC, or should I do everything myself? 

Hire an attorney. There are some things we can do for ourselves, and some things that are too important not to seek help for. For example, we don't fill our own cavities; we call a dentist.

Given the high stakes of legal matters, it’s sensible to work with a trustworthy expert who knows how to navigate the law. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind that things have been done correctly.


I came across a service that offers quick-pay, auto-generated legal forms, and it seems convenient – should i use it?

You’re welcome to and, for some people, these sites are an ideal solution. However, the main issue with these services is the lack of personal correspondence: You’re only able to ask limited questions; you may not be able to meet with the attorney; and you may submit your documentation yet have no idea where it went or when you’ll hear back about the process.

There’s also an assumption that you’re ready to submit your items, so they assume that it’s right and process whatever you submitted. What if you’re missing something and the person helping at the service doesn't know that? For example, it would be frustrating (to say the least!) if a trademark got filed but it wasn’t actually what you wanted due to a miscommunication or misunderstanding.

For circumstances requiring a more-personalized approach, we recommend working with an attorney.


Why should I hire Rational Unicorn Legal Services LLC instead of a huge law firm?

As a certified Oregon Benefit Company, we care about your business goals and want to see your dreams come to fruition.

In addition to offering a free 30-minute initial consult for new clients, if you pay for any services, you can absolutely contact us about your projects by email or phone. Other firms don’t often allow this (yes, allow). Please note that this doesn’t apply to Hourly Consulting, which must be paid for separately from other said services.

You’ll never receive a bill for unreasonable charges – unlike at the large firms, where 10 simple email replies might be billed out in 15- or 20-minute increments, adding another $400 to your already-enormous invoice.

Cost-wise, we’ll always be at or below market rate for all firm services offered. We’re transparent: you know what services you’re paying for and why you’re paying for them. We’re great at communicating both with potential clients during the consult process and with current clients throughout the project. We’re local, community-focused, and, contrary to popular beliefs about law firms, not in the industry of blood-sucking. We work hard, but still find ways to have fun and make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.


I've heard the word corporation thrown around A LOT – what EXACTLY IS a corporation?  

It's an entity that’s different from its owner, who is an individual. For example, if you aren’t a corporation and you run your business as a sole proprietor, any expenses and liabilities go directly to you as an individual. However, if you have a corporation, you as the owner are, in most situations, shielded from personal liability.

Applying to form a corporation and maintaining corporate status require filing fees and specific paperwork. Additionally, having a corporation comes with certain formalities, such as holding the required annual meetings, electing directors, recording meeting minutes, and so forth.


AS A SMALL-BUSINESS OWner, Do I need permits and/or licenses?

You may need a license to participate in the business you’re pursuing. For example, lawyers need a state bar license and hair stylists need a cosmetology license. This will vary based on the type of business and the area where your business will be located.

You may also need permits, such as food-handler permits or city coding permits related to building use. We can sit down with you and assess what your business will be selling, where, and to whom. We can then look into the necessary permits and licenses needed and help you apply for them accordingly.


Should I be concerned about zoning? 

Yes! You may be looking at a great commercial space that’s zoned for commercial and residential use, but then discover it’s only open to certain trades. Or you may want to open a liquor store; perhaps the zoning says there can be only four of them within a mile in that area, and your store would’ve become the fifth, disallowed one.

We can pull any necessary zoning documents and ordinance codes to make sure you’re in compliance. If necessary, we can ask for a variance, or an exception to the zoning requirement that will still allow you to have a business in that area.

Permits, licenses, regulations, and zoning are all important!


I'm the owner of an EXISTING business – SINCE it's not new, Do I still need your services?

While we do plenty of new-business formation and contract services, we also help lots of businesses at other stages.

  • Are you lacking formal contracts and agreements and want to formalize them?

  • Have you been working with someone and perhaps need a Partnership Agreement with them?

  • Do you have a great logo and company name, and now want to trademark them?

  • Have you taken care of all the above items, but it’s been years since your contracts were reviewed or edited?

  • Have you been working from a home office but would love to have a lawyer now help you negotiate or review a commercial lease that a property owner asked you to sign?

We’re happy to help wherever you are in the business process and would love to grow along with you. 


Can I have BRING AN attorney with me TO small-claims court? 

No. Attorneys aren't allowed at small-claims court as your representative. Instead, you must represent yourself in front of the small-claims court judge.

However, we do offer a Small-Claims Court Preparation service! We can help you assess your claims, prepare your documents, and help you feel ready for your court date.


 

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