Bucky’s Blurbs

Each month, I write a short piece on a legal issue which I hope will be of practical interest.

I welcome your comments and questions Click to E-mail.

Litigation Advice from a Non-Litigator – Part I

As noted earlier in this website, I don’t go to Court: any Court, no matter what. Many clients, having experienced indifference from litigators, have literally begged me to go to Small Claims Court for or with them. I used to go to Court as a law student and then as an articling student in Calgary. These experiences intensified my resolve ever since to avoid litigation except as a spectator. However, I’m very often consulted by ongoing business clients for advice on disputes, and I believe that I have a pretty good record in cases where my advice is followed to conclusion. I would like to offer my main tips for being successful as a plaintiff (the party starting the action with a claim against the other party or parties) in litigation.

How to Squeeze More Value from your Lawyer

One of the several advantages I enjoy from my solo practice, as contrasted to my former days as a partner in a large Bay Street law firm, is my freedom to actively shape and mould my practice. Lawyers in big shops are mandated to maximize their total annual billable hours and their hourly rate in furtherance of the firm business plan. Unless a client is a real cost-hawk, there is no incentive to enhance your efficiency. Some lawyers are naturally more efficient than others, but mostly the question is how much in fees will a client bear before squealing or leaving?

The Shotgun and Why It Works

In the last installment of the Blurb, I think I was able to convince you that any corporation with more than one shareholder (‘cept for Ma & Pa situations, maybe) should have a unanimous shareholders’ agreement (“USA”) with a decent buy-sell provision. And now, I will try to convince you that buy-sell mechanism commonly known as the “Shotgun Buy-Sell” (the “Shotgun”) is inherently the best one to use in most cases involving two or three, perhaps four, shareholders.

The Shotgun Buy-Sell

If you own shares in a private corporation, you have likely heard of the “shotgun buy-sell” mechanism. What is it? Why have one? Is it a good thing to have? How does it work?

I’ll give you a brief overview of this important and practical legal provision in this and the next article.

What is it? A “shotgun buy-sell” is a provision in a shareholders’ agreement that sets out a detailed procedure to follow if at least one of the shareholders doesn’t want to carry on business with the other shareholders anymore. The wording has become fairly standardized and is usually about two to four pages long.

Small Business Tips

In the spirit of Small Business Week coming up in October, here’s some tips and traps for small business owner/operators: