Entering into a business partnership is a weighty decision that should not be taken lightly, nor executed without guidance for your protection. Much like choosing roommates, it can be risky to mix friendships or even family with a business arrangement – particularly if you don’t have the benefit of a knowledgeable professional to help you navigate the partnership agreement.
We’d like to ensure that all dental and medical professionals who come to us are enabled to make the best decisions for themselves, their businesses, and their futures. We offer this cautionary tale from the experience of one of our clients.
A dentist without a written, signed legal partnership, but who was partnered and working with another dentist was placed in a tricky situation, when his “partner” decided they wanted to sell their practice to a third party – which our client didn’t agree with or desire. In this instance, we were able to protect our client by assisting in removing him from the “partnership” situation in which he did not have equal input in the business decisions, and he is now a sole practitioner and successful practice owner. He is in control of his business and his future, whereas before he was at the mercy of a partner who may not have had his best interests in mind, and trapped in a partnership with someone who didn’t have any legal obligation to take his needs or opinions into account when making decisions that would affect not only the practice, but our client’s future. We want to prevent our clients from being similarly trapped in negative contracts before those contracts can be signed.
One negative example should not dissuade you from a partnership, as partnerships can be very beneficial to all involved, provided that you know and are able to negotiate acceptable terms of a partnership with the guidance of professionals at your side. Exiting a partnership can be difficult depending on how the partnership was formed and documented, should it fail to meet your expectations or needs. It is therefore vital that you protect your present plans, your assets, and your future by knowing what you are signing on for, as well as full understanding of any legal jargon that permeates partnership agreement documents. In the same way that our dental attorneys wouldn’t practice dentistry on their own teeth (they lack that knowledge or skill set!) it isn’t reasonable to expect a doctor of dentistry to also have the legal background and intricate knowledge of dental law to be their own protector in legally binding agreements. Seeking out an attorney with that knowledge is one of the best investments a dentist can make for their futures.
There are many hazards when creating a dental partnership that can be easily navigated with the help of an experienced dental attorney. Ensuring your best interests in everything from having equal say in business decisions, to potentially bringing in future partners or interested parties to your partnership, to every other aspect of minutia can be navigated to your benefit by a team of legal professionals dedicated to your best interests. While it is possible to create a partnership without legal counsel, it is inadvisable and has the potential to leave you in a similar situation to our client, whose subsequent successful business was achieved in part due to help from legal counsel after their partnership proved disadvantageous. We strive to provide all our clients with the same level of service and knowledge, to facilitate their growth in the dental industry, and protect them from any pitfalls along the way to professional and financial success.
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