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Mark S Britton

Mark Britton’s Answers

139 total


  • What is the best way to get stock options without causing financial obligations and tax implications

    I am part of a startup corporation as an investor. Out of a group of 12 investors, 5 of us are also working very hard, dedicating personal time to building this company. Likewise we are doing this without pay and are intested in some sort of stock...

    Mark’s Answer

    Your question seems to raise more practical than legal issues. First, on the legal front, companies give options to their employees all the time and, if structured properly, they do not raise any financial or tax obligations. This is employee compensation 101 and any experienced corporate lawyer can help the company grant you options.

    The bigger question is whether the company feels that you *deserve* these options -- and this is where the practical issues arise. Solid companies are communicative companies where all of the early employees know where they stand from a compensation perspective. Do you meet periodically with your manager to discuss your performance? In those meetings do you discuss your compensation? If not, your management model is currently broken and you need to be proactive in discussing these issues with your manager and ultimately the CEO.

    Another issue is whether you received founders’ shares. This is a percentage of the stock when the company was founded. If you did, often you will not receive options until the CEO or board feel that the holding power of those shares is diminishing. This is true even if some of the original investors are working harder than others because different people bring different things to the founding table – for example, some bring deep pockets; some bring programming knowledge; some bring sales/inspirational skills; etc. It all depends on the company, and there is no formula. The key is that everyone within your young company *communicate* regarding these issues or it is going to be short trip for everyone.

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  • WOULD YOU SUGGEST A LAWYER FOR VIOLATION OF PC 148.5

    Accidental discharge of a firearm, only injury to myself at home after which I informed I informed the police it happened at a different location and unknown assailant because I panic'd and was scared.

    Mark’s Answer

    As Isileli suggested, here are Orange County lawyers that can help you.

    http://www.avvo.com/search/lawyer_search?utf8=✓&q=Criminal&loc=Orange+county%2C+CA

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  • Needing dental malpractice lawyer

    Does anyone know of any Dental Malpractice Attorneys in Downey, CA

    Mark’s Answer

    See this list of Orange County lawyers

    http://www.avvo.com/search/lawyer_search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=medical+malpractice&loc=orange+county

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  • I was offered a co-founding position as a designer for a dotcom startup, how much equity and base salary should I receive?

    I am afraid I will look over paperwork and sign the wrong documents.

    Mark’s Answer

    This question has all sorts of variables, but let me offer some general thoughts:

    To start, the fact that you are being *offered* a co-founding position sounds like the business plan is already largely in place and you are coming in to help product management design the product. Those that came up with the “big idea” and those that execute on a macro-level — e.g., product managers, CEO, CTO, etc., are usually going to take a larger equity stake. Here is a great recent article on co-founder splits:

    http://www.geekwire.com/2011/wrong-answer-5050-calculating-cofounder-equity-split

    As far as base salary goes, it depends on so many things, including your experience, reputation and previous “wins”; the company’s cash position; how much you are taking in equity (if you take a large chunk of equity, you should not also be expecting a large salary); how hot the market is for designers in your area; whether you can do Site IA, UI or UE work as well as simple design; how good of a negotiator you are; etc.

    One thing that has really surprised me is how much designer salaries have gone up in the last 10 years. Due to lower start-up costs, more and more companies are being created and needing design help. Talented designers often have their pick of job offers and can even go out on their own — i.e., start a design company — and make a ton of money both in fees and tax deductions. In the Valley, most talented, experienced designers are looking for salaries that are $100K+, whereas a decade ago such salaries were reserved for a select few.

    As far as paperwork and documentation go, you will probably have a founders/shareholders agreement, stock purchase agreement, possibly a technology assignment agreement, and possibly an employment agreement. If the company has counsel and all of the founders are on equal footing, I would be comfortable relying on company counsel to put together all of the docs and give you advice re: your contractual issues vis-í -vis the company and other founders. However, if you are coming in as more of a subordinate founder (which looks a lot like an employee) then you may want to have your own lawyer look over the documentation.

    Good luck!

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  • Where can I get a good cheap lawyer?

    Looking for a reasonable lawyer in Chicago, we are not fighting for anything. He doesn't want anything just joint custody. Only assets we have together is house which I will have and small things like pix that I will give him. Anyone?

    Mark’s Answer

    Have you checked Avvo's directory of chicago divorce lawyers?

    http://www.avvo.com/search/lawyer_search?q=divorce+lawyer&loc=chicago

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  • Which State to create an LLC and mortgage transfer requirements

    My brother and I have a rental property in California. I am a resident of WA and he is a resident of CA. I am in the process of creating an LLC for this property in WA. Is this acceptable if the real property is physically located in CA? Are w...

    Mark’s Answer

    Is this acceptable if the real property is physically located in CA? Yes.

    Are we required to transfer the mortgage on this home to the LLC as it is already in both of our names? If you want the mortgage to be an LLC asset, then you need to transfer it to the LLC in exchange for membership interests in the LLC.

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  • Failed vasectomy

    My wife and I had 2 healthy, beautiful children and we decided we were done shortly after my daughter was born. Due to the ease of recovery, minimal complications, and that our insurance covered 95% of it, I had a vasectomy. We followed the Doc...

    Mark’s Answer

    Here is a simlar question that addresses your questions:

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/vasectomy-came-undone--317.html

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  • Bankruptcy

    who are the best bankruptcy attorneys in gig harbor or tacoma wa

    Mark’s Answer

    Here is a link to the top Avvo-rated lawyers in Tacoma:

    http://www.avvo.com/search/lawyer_search?q=bankruptcy&loc=tacoma%2C+WA

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  • Legal fines

    I have unpaid legal fines in collections from my past. I have been put of trouble since 2001. The sum of these fines is huge! Is there anything I can do to either get the cost reduced or at least get it out of collections and back in the court? At...

    Mark’s Answer

    You can work with these creditors to reduce the amount owed.

    You could also declare bankruptcy; however, you would want to work with a top-notch bankruptcy attorney to ensure that these liabilities are properly discharged in the bankruptcy. There are some exceptions to what court settlements can be discharged.

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