Free Legal Resources
Trellis believes in meeting your business where it is at and that includes providing free legal resources like checklists, guides, and more to help you better understand your business's legal needs and determine next steps. Check them out below.
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Sign up for our Trellis Resources List, and you will get a new free legal tool each month such as checklists, outlines, guides, and more sent directly to your inbox. This way you always have the latest free resource the minute it's available! Our archive of resources is available below.
Below are free resources available to help you and your business. Each are available as a downloadable document and include key legal tips and considerations along with links to our related blogs and templates to help you get started.
Legal Health Checklist
The health of your business is just like your own health. So sometimes it’s good to do a check up and make sure everything is in good shape and work on the things that may not be. This checklist is designed to help you do just that!
Legal Worksheet for Farmers
This checklist includes our legal health checklist but customized for farmers and includes additional worksheet activities and next steps!
Client Contracts 101
A client contract is a strong step toward a productive client relationship. A detailed client contract ensures you and a client are on the same page for the services, payment terms, ownership and termination. This resource is designed to give you tips and tricks for key components to a successful client contract!
What's Up with Web Sales
More and more businesses are moving to online sales, or growing their online opportunities to reach more customers, to adapt their business, and to promote their brand. However, there are legal considerations for selling online. This resource outlines important tips for the protection of your online business!
Protections for No Contract
Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)
We know businesses don’t always use a detailed written contract. It’s ok. We get it. But there are still preventative steps you can take to ensure a smoother transaction and give you peace of mind. This resource outlines those steps to help your business.
Businesses and individuals must do all they can to protect their confidential information/work. Here’s where the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) comes in! This resource breaks down what an NDA is, what it can protect, and how to use one.
Taking some time at the end of the year to review where your business is at, determine next steps, and make a to-do list can help your business grow and succeed (or get off the ground if you’re planning a new business!). To help you out we’ve outlined a few key considerations for end of year planning.
Wholesale/Recurring Order Terms
Unlike direct to customer sales where the biggest issues are shipping, returns, and defects, there are additional considerations that come with wholesale/recurring orders that can be crucial to establish in order to help your business be successful, protect you from costs and risks, and build positive relationships with customers. We break a few of them down here.
End of Year Planning
COVID19 is now a known risk and as people want to engage in in-person activities, it is important they acknowledge that despite your business taking reasonable precautions, the risk is always there so long as COVID19 is active. Therefore, this waiver can be helpful for business providing these in-person activities such as catering, volunteer activities, group events, etc.
Dissolving an LLC
When starting a business, you don’t think about the day you might need to close it, but unfortunately sometimes that day comes. So this resource is about the common steps needed to close a Limited Liability Company (a common form of business) in Pennsylvania.
Planning for Partnership
Starting a business is an exciting time. You have a product or service, a plan to get customers, and maybe you have some co-founders. But before you form an entity or officially open for business, it is important to plan appropriately if you have more than one owner. We always say it is better to hash things out before money is involved. So, this resource is all about planning for your business partnership and the important questions to tackle ahead of opening.
Forming a PA LLC
Forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) for your business can be a great option to protect your personal assets, have a structure for growth for your business, and have formal documentation if you want to apply for grants, loans, and other programs. PA LLCs do not have annual filing requirements and have multiple options for how to be taxed, which can allow the owner to choose the best option for them. If you have multiple owners, it is a great way to keep the business separate from each individual owner and provide a clear outline as to how the owners will make decisions and more.
Working with an Attorney
Finding the right location can be essential for any brick-and-mortar business, but a bad commercial lease can end up being costly, frustrating, and can harm the future of the business. Also, commercial leases don’t have a lot of the same protections as residential leases and so what’s in your lease is often what goes. Understanding your lease, negotiating key terms, and spending the time thoroughly examining and discussing the aspects of your space can help avoid these pitfalls and give your business a place to grow.
Hiring Independent Contractors
Independent contractors can be a great way to provide valuable services for your business, but it is important to ensure the contractor is properly classified, your contract addresses important provisions, and you obtain the proper tax information. We break these considerations down in this resource.
Key Terms in Commercial Leases
A lot of people know legal help and documentation are important, and there are a lot of internet resources out there, but what if you’re looking for specific advice or want an attorney to help you navigate everything? This resource is here to clear the air, provide some tips and options, and help you determine the right next steps for your biz!
Understanding Privacy Policies
Privacy policies and cookie labels have become commonplace but it’s important for businesses to know if they need one, what it should include, and what laws they may need to consider. So, whether you’re a business with an intake form or sell products online it’s important to know the basic legal considerations for privacy policies. Luckily, we’re here to break them down for you!
Steps After a Contract is Signed
The client contract solidifies the foundation in developing a productive client relationship by identifying the exchange of expectation between parties concerning scope of services to be provided and the terms in which to perform the scope of services. But after the contract is signed, it’s important to just file and forget it. So, this resource is about unpacking some basic next steps to consider after signing a client contract beyond the scope of services to be performed.
Adding an LLC Member
As your business grows and develops, you may have considered adding new members (owners) to your limited liability company (LLC). This can be an exciting next step but has some important legal implications. The purpose of this resource is to provide you with some considerations that may arise as you add a new member to your LLC and key legal steps.
Operating a Strong Non-Profit
Forming a nonprofit and applying for tax-exempt status can be a long process, full of anticipation. Receiving 501(c)(3) status for your nonprofit can be an exciting time, but with it comes a few things to think about and important next steps. This guide outlines a few things you should consider and refer back to as you operate a non-profit whether you just got your 501(c)(3) status or have been operating for several years.
Operating Your LLC Correctly to Protect Liability
You may have heard the phrase “piercing the corporate veil.” This expression refers to when someone is able to show that you haven’t operated your business as something separate from yourself and because of that they can come after your personal assets in addition to suing your business. Keeping your business operations, assets, and liabilities separate from yourself can help protect you personally from your role as a member of an LLC. This resource breaks down how to do just that!
Having a Legally Legit
Home Improvement Contract
Pennsylvania passed the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) to protect people who pay others to do work on their homes, but these rules also help contractors and other home improvement workers (which includes more types of work than you think!), who want to be able to have a clear understanding around the work their doing, how and how much they’ll be paid for it, and what is expected between the homeowner and the contractor. This resource breaks down the key requirements needed for an enforceable home improvement contract.
Allegheny County Paid Sick
Allegheny County’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (Ordinance No. 15-21) is now in effect. It requires certain employers to provide paid time off to their employees when they are sick or need to take care of family members who are sick. The following is a general overview of the Ordinance and who it applies to. For more information, check out the county's website or its frequently asked questions page
Plain & Simple Legal Dictionary
We get questions all the time about what specific provisions mean in contracts or other legal language a person is hearing that they just don’t understand. All those weird words in contracts and business law do not have to be so complicated. Plain and simple is our little legalese dictionary where we break down complex legal terms into an understandable, digestible way.
Unlike other resources, this is a living document so come back often and see new terms added.
CSA Terms and Conditions
One of the most important legal protections you can build for your CSA is its terms and conditions. You can use these terms as a printed contract or on your website when folks sign up for your farm’s CSA. In this resource, we outline four key provisions to have in your CSA terms and a link to our CSA terms template we have available!
Resources for Small Businesses
From accounting to zoning, there are so many resources out there – people, software, organizations, and more – created just for helping small businesses get started and succeed. We’ve put together a list of potential resources created to help you begin, run, advertise, and grow your business, and thrive.
Legal Tips for a Farmer's Market Stand
If you have or are thinking of setting up a stand at a farmer's market it’s important to make sure you’re protecting your business, your products, and your people from potential liability and penalties for not operating legally. This resource breaks down some of the key legal considerations for your farmer's market stand so you can focus on your business and not liability!
Business Advertising 101
This resource covers important legal considerations when it comes to advertising your business, organization, fundraiser, or anything where you’re asking people to buy into the goods, services, and opportunities you offer. It's important to consider things like copyright, truth of advertising, and more!
Intellectual Property Toolbox
Intellectual property (IP) protects things we create. It’s an area of property law because there are ownership rights associated with all of them. Someone taking them – especially when they do it to make money – is a kind of theft. Whether you make art, build things, or run a consulting business, chances are you have some level of IP worth protecting. This resource outlines various tools you can employ to protect – and potentially enforce – your own intellectual property.
Intro Guide to On-Boarding Employees
You’ve made it to a point in your business that you’re ready to hire some help. This can be simultaneously exciting and a bit nerve-wracking! This checklist contains a few things you’ll want to understand before casting that hiring net. Each of these considerations is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hiring staff and only meant to provide some key points.