Articles Posted in Bellas and Wachowski Law Firm

Bellas & Wachowski - Chicago Business Lawyers

2023 Business Outlook

2022 started out with the hope of a recovery from the pandemic but ended with a recession.  With the advent of 2023 we are left to ponder on what is ahead for businesses in 2023.

It’s the Recession, Stupid:   The war in Ukraine has affected the world economy which was struggling with recovery after the pandemic.  Interest rates have increased which has adversely affected the real estate market and businesses which are facing higher operating costs and higher costs for loans.  We may see more businesses shut down because of the increased costs or an inability to pay off their loans.   It is doubtful that we will seen interest rates rise to the levels we saw in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.   I recall thinking I was fortunate to get a mortgage rate of 13.5% on my first home purchase in 1979!   Businesses will need to carefully monitor their cash flow and receivables.

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Buyer of Nontraditional Legal Services, Beware

All kinds of business forms are offered online, and many of them for free.  Stand-alone paralegal services are offering various sorts of assistance to small businesses for significantly less than lawyers generally charge.  Accounting and bookkeeping services that organize businesses are increasingly positioning themselves as trusted enterprise advisers in ways that potentially can spill over into law-related issues.  And the cost of litigation continues to grow.

It’s thus understandable at some level that small business owners, who operate on modest margins in many cases, would ponder how much they need to continue to rely on their traditional partners in the legal world for the same level of services they typically have in the past and look to the web find alternatives to the services of a lawyer.

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Wills Can Be Signed Electronically

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, wills needed to be signed in person and witnesses (including notaries) needed to be on hand to see the will creator’s actually sign the will.

When the pandemic got underway, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed an Emergency Order declaring that for health and safety related reasons, wills could be signed electronically and that notaries public and other witnesses could view the signing from afar, provided they had a dependable audio and video connection.

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Attorneys Misty Cygan and Geo Bellas can help your get business off to a good start.

We’ve run a series of posts recently about the steps involved in launching a business.  These have covered issues like deciding what type of business you want to start and what your business model will be; putting together a business plan and identifying sources of capital investment; and naming and registering your business.

This final post will flesh out how forging a beneficial relationship with a law firm that delivers services in a punctual, professional and affordable manner is key to the endgame of getting started with your new venture.

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Cyber Security Insurance

UPDATED AUGUST 23, 2020 –  A federal judge in Kansas has ruled that three Missouri restaurants can proceed with their claims against Cincinnati Insurance Company alleging that the policies also covered “physical loss,” which the insurers failed to define in the policies.  The insurance company’s argument is that the policies provide coverage “only for income losses tied to physical damages to property, not to economic loss caused by governmental or other efforts to protect the public from disease.” In other words, they cover direct physical damages or losses from events like storms or fires.  This argument was rejected by the federal district court judge.

August 10, 2020 –  The sudden expansion of remote work arrangements in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis has created a buffet of opportunities for would-be cyber criminals. And the newly reconfigured, decentralized satellite workplaces in people’s homes look to be with us for some time.   In addition to protecting themselves from the network vulnerabilities created by these off-site offices, businesses need to undertake a thorough review of their cyber insurance policies to ensure that if a malicious actor causes them harm, they are protected on the fiscal front.

As Chicago area business litigation lawyers this is a question we frequently are asked.

E-Signatures in Illinois

Electronic Signatures are Enforceable under Illinois Laws. 

E-Signatures are permissible and valid in Illinois under the Illinois Electronic Commerce Security Act (the ECSA).

Force Majeure Clauses

SBA Loans to Small Businesses affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

THERE IS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS.

Practically every small business is feeling the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world.   The restaurant and hospitality industries have been hit the hardest, but every business has seen the adverse effects.

Did someone say force majeure?

Force Majeure Clauses

COVID-19 Pandemic and Force Majeure clauses

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, force majeure is defined as “An event or effect that can be neither anticipated nor controlled.”   It is generally viewed as an unexpected event that prevents someone from doing or completing something that he or she had agreed to do.  The term is usually applied to acts of God (such as floods and hurricanes), riots, strikes and wars.  It is unclear, however, if the term includes an epidemic, such as COVID-19.   That legal term for unforeseen circumstances resulting in non-fulfillment of a contract is likely to be invoked widely this spring and summer as businesses are unable to make good on commitments due to the corona virus crisis.

As Harvey Weinstein rape trial moves forward, has your Chicago area business kept up with the increased awareness of sexual harassment and moved forward with adequate policy and cultural safeguards to ensure that you’re not the next target of the #MeToo movement?

George Bellas Business Attorney

#MeToo Movement is changing business environment protections.  

A survey conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, in conjunction with the software company SAP, found that one-third of U.S. workers and 38% of supervisors say they have changed their office behavior as a result of #MeToo.

We all get them … and we get them all the time … and we are all tired of them … and we all cuss them out!

Many of those calls are illegal.   Some of the robocalls you may have agreed to receive when you signed up for certain services – like those reminders that your prescription needs to be refilled – and those are legal.  But the automated, unsolicited calls coming from other countries are finally getting some attention from the federal government.

TRACED-Act-300x167The dead heads in the House and Senate have finally agreed on something and adopted the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (“TRACED Act”) at the end of 2019 and it was signed into law at the end of 2019.  The TRACED Act’s stated purpose is to limit the increasing number of illegal robocalls and other violations of the telemarketing laws.  The Act also gives the FCC more powers to punish violators under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) and to seek out violators in foreign countries.