Business Law

Why Out-of-State Companies Keep Florida Law Firms on Retainer

Most business owners retain legal counsel to manage a variety of issues that arise during the normal course of business. Smart executives also retain counsel in states where they do significant business to assure their legal interests are addressed efficiently and effectively.

Significant Business

business people in a meeting at officeMost medium to large companies conduct business in multiple states, but not all of this business would justify the retention of local counsel. There are several questions you should ask before placing out-of-state attorneys on retainer, including:

  • How much revenue does my business generate there?
  • What amount of raw materials or other product components do I purchase from suppliers in this state?
  • How many retailers or other businesses carry my product in this state?
  • What percentage of my clients is based in this state?
  • Do I have an increased risk of a product liability lawsuit or other claim filed against me in this state?
  • Do I anticipate filing a lawsuit in this state?
  • Do I plan to expand my operations here?
  • Do I anticipate closing or reducing my business activities here?

The answer to whether you should hire local counsel will likely be determined by several of the answers to the above. However, if you conduct significant business in a state, it is practical and proactive to have a law firm on retainer.

Why Select an Out-Of-State Firm Now?

While you could wait until there is a problem to hire a firm in another state, there are significant benefits to doing so now.

  1. You hire smart, not fast. If you wait until there is a pressing legal matter before hiring an attorney, you may take shortcuts in the process to meet a filing deadline or other time-specific constraint. You may be hiring based on a mere suggestion from another attorney or another business associate, or you may simply find someone on the internet. Regardless, you won’t have a chance to fully review their qualifications, meet with them or determine if they have the resources necessary to best represent you.If you hire a firm before there is a problem, you can do so in a thoughtful and calm manner. You can interview the attorneys, check references, and check their standing with the state bar association.
  2. You create a relationship. Having out-of-state counsel on retainer allows you to create a working relationship with them before a crisis hits. The lawyers will come to know you and your business, including your goals and plans, which will allow them to better represent you in any business dealings. They are also able to identify local opportunities that you would not be aware of without local representation.
  3. You acquire state-specific legal expertise. Each state has their own laws, with specific quirks and timelines. While other attorneys could research the state laws, only those who practice there on a daily basis can truly appreciate its requirements and thus best represent you.

In many circumstances, retaining local representation for business matters is a smart choice to protect and expand your interests.

Lieser Skaff Alexander is a Tampa Bay law firm with a national client base ranging from Fortune 500 (S&P 500) companies to sole proprietors. We specialize in business law and business litigation, giving our clients small firm attention while achieving large firm results. Please contact to learn how we can represent your business interest in Florida.

Firm Updates

Jeff Lieser Named Among Florida Super Lawyers “Rising Stars”

Lieser Skaff Alexander is proud to announce that Jeff Lieser was named among the Florida Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” for 2014. This is his second consecutive year to receive this honor, as he was also selected in 2013. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this distinction. “Rising Stars” recognizes lawyers 40 years or younger, or who have practiced 10 years or less.

Super-Lawyers-Rising-Stars-2014Jeff primarily focuses his private practice on complex matters of civil and business litigation and also serves a Circuit Civil Mediator. He has a wide range of clients including clients from private individuals to Fortune 500 Companies.

Business Law

Protect Yourself with a Joint Venture Agreement

two businessmen having discussion in office“You’ve got the brains…I’ve got the connections and money…Let’s make lots of money!”  That’s the spirit of a joint venture–two or more entrepreneurs pooling their expertise and capital to profit from a business opportunity.  And if everyone has agreed to split the profits equally, what else is there to do except get to work?  Just one thing─draft a written joint venture agreement (JVA) with the help of a business lawyer.

An extremely large number of joint ventures end in a legal battle usually because the parties didn’t take the time to anticipate potential problems at the beginning and to account for such issues in a written JVA.

Real Estate

Five Reasons to Bring a Quiet Title Action

A quiet title action is a lawsuit in which the plaintiff asks the court to declare that the plaintiff has sole legal title to a piece of property.  In the lawsuit, the plaintiff should name any person or entity that might possibly have an ownership claim to the property as a defendant. Here are some common reasons for bringing a quiet title action:

1. Tax Deeds and Title Insurance

Florida title insurance companies will not insure title to land that a buyer purchased in a tax sale until the deed to the land has been on record for least four years. To shorten this time frame, however, the buyer can bring a quiet title action to settle all potential claims of ownership to the property. If the defendants are all previous title owners of record and all previous mortgagees of the property, the buyer can purchase title insurance and have marketable title as soon as the court awards judgment in favor of the buyer in the quiet title action.

Transactional Law

Abrogation of Florida’s Economic Loss Rule (ELR) and What It Means


The “Economic Loss Rule” or “ELR” is a judicially created doctrine, which stands for the proposition that if there is a contract between two parties, then absent physical property damage or bodily injury, those parties rights to sue for things related to that contract are, in essence, limited to a lawsuit for breach of contract.  In other words, they cannot to sue for a tort such as unjust enrichment.  Stated differently, the Economic Loss Rule bars a tort claim such as negligence or fraud when the losses or damages are purely economic.

BP Oil Spill

BP Claims Chief: “When in Doubt File a Claim”

Patrick Juneau, the court appointed administrator of the class-action settlement between BP and class claimants in relation to the 2010 oil spill, appeared before the Florida Senate Agriculture Committee this week and testified that, so far, more than 34,000 Florida businesses and individuals have been approved to receive $332 million in claim payments, of which $245 million has already been paid.

Commercial Evictions

Landlord’s Rights and Duties

Most commercial eviction proceedings are the result of the tenant’s failure to pay rent. Before filing suit, the landlord must give the tenant a three-day, hand-delivered, written notice that requires the tenant to pay the rent or leave the premises. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the landlord can start eviction proceedings.

A landlord can evict a tenant for not complying with non-monetary obligations outlined in the lease agreement. Such obligations usually relate to the use of the property, maintenance of the property and modifications to the property. Most commercial leases provide the manner in which notice must be given to the tenant for breaching a non-monetary obligation. However, if there is no notice provision, then the landlord must provide written notice requiring the tenant to remedy the breach or leave the premises. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the landlord may commence eviction proceedings.