Business Strategy

Because of the phenomenon of anchoring, exposure to an initial number can have enduring effects on later decisions. Learn how this aspect of cognition can help or hinder your work as a lawyer.

This piece was first published in the Wisconsin Lawyer magazine.
Who would imagine that sentencing decisions could be affected by rolling dice? Who knew that a judge’s compensatory-damages award might be reduced if the defendant makes a nonserious motion to dismiss? Is the conventional wisdom that
Continue Reading Understanding Anchoring

In our last article, we reviewed why creating a buy-sell agreement can protect the owners of a company and help guide the process of a business succession plan. In this post, we will review how to create an exit strategy and minimize conflict when it comes time to begin to transfer the business.

PART 2 – SETTING IN PLACE AN EXIT STRATEGY WHEN THE TIME COMES AND MINIMIZING THE POTENTIAL FOR CONFLICT

Whether it’s in personal relationships or business,
Continue Reading Transferring a Business: Exit Strategy and Minimizing Conflict

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives gain in popularity every day and can be driven by boards of directors, investors, shareholders, employees and communities. Couple ESG initiatives with the increasing trend of environmental sustainability generally, and now we see that many companies desire to be viewed as leaders in environmental compliance among their peers. With these two popular trends in mind, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) offers a voluntary program for Wisconsin companies seeking to improve business
Continue Reading Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ “Green Tier” Environmental Program

This is Part 4 of a four-part series. Click here for Part 1, here for Part 2, or here for Part 3. To get future updates delivered to your inbox, please subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this post. Thank you.
 16. Don’t Anchor in Your Closing Argument.
 

 A common belief among defense counsel is you undercut the strength of your no-liability argument if you suggest any dollar amount as a fair measure
Continue Reading 20 Great Ways to Lose a Trial – Part 4

Studying how the human brain works has helped scientists learn more about decision-making. Here are some findings and related tips that are especially relevant for lawyers.This article was first published in the Wisconsin Lawyer on January 7th, 2022.Most of us learned the classic, reason-or-emotion concept of decision-making. As described long ago by Plato, human thinking is understood as akin to a chariot driver trying to control two horses, one guided by rational impulse and the other driven
Continue Reading Use Brain Science to Make Better Decisions

This piece was first published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.The Waukesha Christmas Parade murders remind us of the continuous judgments made by district attorneys, court commissioners, and judges as they decide whether and on what terms to release those accused of crimes. As a follow-on to Craig Johnson’s important commentary (“Darrell Brooks Jr. case was a tragic mistake but the county’s risk assessment worked,” Dec. 5), it is worth taking account of the insights from decision-making science as
Continue Reading Waukesha Parade attack highlights a need to improve bail decisions. Do it in a thoughtful, bipartisan way that relies on science.

This is Part 3 of a four-part series. Click here for Part 1, or here for Part 2. To get future updates delivered to your inbox, please subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this post. Thank you.
 11. Assume the jury is not watching you.
 

 During trial it is easy to think you’re not being watched. So you quickly check your phone for texts and emails, you laugh and joke with opposing counsel during
Continue Reading 20 Great Ways to Lose a Trial – Part 3

People forming a new business and selecting between the different entity types may be unaware of the impact the formation choice can have on future lawsuits. In particular, the citizenship of the business can be critical to determining whether a case belongs in state court or federal court when a dispute involves over $75,000. With the many considerations business owners have to weigh when forming a new entity, the effect on hypothetical litigation is unlikely to be of primary
Continue Reading Determining the Citizenship of Businesses

This is Part 2 of a four-part series. Click here for Part 1, and click here for Part 3. To get future updates delivered to your inbox, please subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this post. Thank you.In part one of the Series, we discussed five common trial errors: (1) don’t learn about your jurors in voir dire; (2) tell the jury not to pay attention to your Opening; (3) organize your Opening like
Continue Reading 20 Great Ways to Lose a Trial – Part 2

This is Part 1 of a four-part series. To get future updates delivered to your inbox, please subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this post. You can find Part 2 here. Thank you for reading.During decades of trying cases, teaching Trial Advocacy, observing mock juries, interviewing jurors, and now serving as a trial advisor, arbitrator, and mediator, I’ve learned some things about what doesn’t work at trial.  By highlighting mistakes instead of a more traditional focus
Continue Reading 20 Great Ways to Lose a Trial – Part 1

Non-compete agreements are common between employers and employees (“employment covenants”), and between buyers and sellers of businesses (“transaction covenants”). Section 103.465 of the Wisconsin Statutes governs employment covenants and requires employers only require restrictions that are reasonably necessary for the protection of the employer. To quote from the statute, “Any covenant . . . , imposing an unreasonable restraint is illegal, void and unenforceable even as to any part of the covenant or performance that would be a reasonable
Continue Reading Covenants Not to Compete in Employment Versus Business Transactions

As we approach the end of 2021, there are important questions business owners should consider before the year is over. One such question is whether now is the time to transfer business ownership by gift, sale, or a combination of both.

Due to recent changes in our country’s political landscape, there has been a lot of buzz about potential upcoming changes to the tax code. For example, there could be increases for income taxes, gift taxes, and estate taxes
Continue Reading Is Now the Time to Sell or Gift a Business?

At SB Law, clients regularly contact us stating that they want to hire an “independent contractor” to assist them in their business thinking that is the safest and most efficient relationship to have with their new hire.  When considering whether a person will qualify as an independent contractor or will be deemed an employee, it is crucial to understand that such determination is solely based upon the facts and circumstances of each particular situation, and a person is not
Continue Reading Business Owners Beware:  Is Your New Hire an Independent Contractor or Employee?

This KEW Tip was originally published in the Spring of 2017, and has been updated as of August 2021 due to changes in the law.

 
Mixing Bowl Drama 
On April 25, 2017, the Mixing Bowl Bakery, in Sauk City, Wisconsin was under fire for accusations of violations of child labor laws. The bakery was owned by Curtis and Vickie Eberle, a couple with nine children, many of whom worked with them at the Mixing Bowl. At the time
Continue Reading Can my Minor Child Work at my Business?

I called the customer service line for my utility provider the other day and had a moment of confusion when I was addressed as “Samuel J. Kavalier.” The name I heard was not “Sam,” the name by which friends and family have known me for as long as I can remember, and the name I use when I introduce myself. I recognized after the moment passed that the name I heard was my legal name, and customer service was
Continue Reading Legal Names vs. Trade Names or “Samuel J. Kavalier DBA Sam”

Time flies when you’re having fun. In November & December 2018, I wrote a series of posts about ownership dilution in the context of startup fundraising – it seems like it was yesterday – but apparently it was more than two years ago! If you’re interested in checking out those posts, they’re available here and here.

In the intervening time, dilution has continued to regularly come up as a point of confusion among new founders and entrepreneurs. In
Continue Reading Revisiting Dilution