The Business Law Group, one of the Firm’s largest groups, focusses on counseling clients regarding the difficult legal decisions challenging all businesses in today’s competitive environment.
We understand the importance of a coordinated effort in order to render responsive and cost-effective services. We work as a team, applying knowledge drawn from our many practices, to best serve our clients’ needs.
Our clients include both business and nonprofit enterprises ranging in size from major institutions to family-owned and operated businesses and closely-held emerging growth companies.
Our team provides a variety of services in areas including:
- Banking & financial institutions regulatory compliance
- Business formation & choice of entity
- Business succession planning
- Commercial lending
- Contract drafting & negotiation
- Corporate financings
- Employment & labor
- General contract negotiation
- Intellectual property
- Licensing & distribution agreements
- Mergers & acquisitions
- Nonprofits & charitable organizations
- Private placements, equity & note financings
- Public finance
- Real estate
- Securities laws compliance
- Shareholder agreements & disputes
- Ranked as a leading firm in the practice of Corporate/Commercial in Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers for Business
- Ranked by Best Lawyers in America as a Best Law Firm in the area of Corporate Law
"The firm has depth and expertise in a lot of different areas. We don't have to wait around."
Client comment -Chambers and Partners USA
- December 9, 2020 - The Small Business Administration (the “SBA”) released Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) Loans FAQ #53, which provides additional information regarding the Loan Necessity Questionnaires (SBA Forms 3509 or 3510) that will be required for all PPP borrowers that, together with their affiliates, received loans of $2 million or more. Read more.
- November 10, 2020 - The Small Business Administration has announced in the Federal Register the release of two proposed questionnaires for recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $2 million or greater. Read more.
- October 2, 2020 - The SBA has issued guidance under a procedural notice providing information concerning the required procedures for changes of ownership of an entity that has received a Payroll Protection Program loan. Click here for details.
- September 21, 2020 - Rhode Island Commerce revised the eligibility criteria for the Restore RI grant program to allow more small businesses to receive aid. Read details here.
- August 4, 2020 - The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) and the Department of the Treasury released long-awaited FAQs providing guidance to both lenders and borrowers on Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan forgiveness. Click here for details.
- July 31, 2020 - Rhode Island Commerce will begin accepting applications for “Restore RI” grants for small businesses on Monday August 3, 2020, Click here to learn more.
- July 21, 2020 - Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, has extended Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020, An Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency, by 60 days through October 17, 2020. Click here to read more.
- July 15, 2020 - The Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo, announced a new small businesses grant program to be administered through Rhode Island Commerce. PS&H attorney, David DiSegna, highlights anticipated eligibility criteria and likely application requirements. Click here to learn more.
- May 6, 2020 - The Rhode Island governor issued an order requiring individuals to wear masks when they cannot maintain 6 feet from others (inside and outside) and while in grocery stores, retain stores, pharmacies and utilizing transportation (including public transportation, taxis and ride sharing). The order is effective on Friday, May 8th and will expire on June 4, 2020.
- May 4, 2020 - Effective May 6th, individuals in Massachusetts are required to wear a face covering while in public if unable to remain 6 feet from others. This specifically applies regardless of social distancing in stores and while using transportation services. The full order is available here.
- April 20, 2020 - The U.S. Chamber Foundation is teaming up with corporate and philanthropic partners to establish the Save Small Business Fund to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as possible. The grant-making initiative is to offer short-term relief for small employers in the U.S. and its territories. To qualify you must employ between 3 and 20 people, be located in an economically vulnerable community and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information visit https://savesmallbusiness.com.
- April 14, 2020 - RI Governor Gina Raimondo orders wearing of face masks. The Governor issued a supplement to Executive Order 20-14, requiring that as of April 18, 2020, all employees of customer-facing businesses, office based businesses, non-profit organizations and any other business category as determined by the DBR wear cloth face coverings, unless the employee can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least six (6) feet of distance from other employees or unless doing so would damage the employee’s health. Businesses are required at their own expense to provide either face coverings or materials for the making of face coverings. Customer-facing businesses must also takes steps to require customers to wear face coverings, including the posting of a notice at the entrance to the business. The complete supplement is available here. On April 15, 2020, the Department of Business Regulation expanded the list of employers that must provide face coverings to employees to include manufacturers, food service employers and construction companies. For more information see the DBR Guidance for Wearing of Cloth Face Coverings At Work.
- March 31, 2020 - On Tuesday, March 31st, the Small Business Administration posted a press release announcing that the SBA and U.S. Treasury Department are mobilizing banks and other lending institutions to provide small businesses with the capital they need. Read how the new loan program will help small businesses with their operating expenses. https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/349-billion-emergency-small-business-capital-cleared-sba-and-treasury-begin-unprecedented-public
- March 31, 2020 - The U.S. Department of the Treasury has posted a comprehensive resource page detailing the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, lenders and borrowers. https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses
- March 28, 2020 - Rhode Island issued a combination shelter/closure order on March 28,2020. The shelter part of the order has an exception for work that cannot be performed from home. The closure piece applies to non-essential retail effective and is effective March 30, 2020 (exemptions listed in the order). There is also a quarantine requirement for those coming to Rhode Island from out-of-state for non-work purposes.
- March 23, 2020 - On March 23, 2020, Governor Baker of Massachusetts issued a new stay-at-home advisory and ordered all non-essential businesses closed beginning on Tuesday, March 24 at noon. The Commonwealth has also issued new assemblage guidelines limiting gatherings to no greater than 10 people. Click to view The Order and The Assemblage Guidance. To view a list of essential services, as defined in Massachusetts, click here.
- March 20, 2020 - We are fielding a lot of inquiries from business owners, large and small, asking if their business interruption coverage will respond to losses caused by COVID-19 shutdowns. PS&H Managing Partner, Howard Merten, provides practical advice for businesses in need of guidance now: Will Business Interruption Insurance Be Available To Respond To COVID-19 Losses? PS&H Client Alert published March 20, 2020.
- March 20, 2020 - The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced an emergency low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program for qualifying small businesses and private nonprofits in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut (and a number of other states) that have suffered substantial economic hardship as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and that are unable to obtain credit elsewhere. The program allows borrowing of up to $2 million per eligible small business, and may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of COVID-19 impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. Click here for more information and the SBA's online application. Click here for additional SBA disaster assistance information.
- March 19, 2020 - While businesses may not be able to easily change existing agreements, they should take steps to ensure that they are protected going forward. This advisory addresses some common pitfalls and highlights issues to consider when negotiating agreements in light of the current state of affairs. Addressing the Novel Coronavirus in Your Contracts PS&H Client Alert published 3/19/20
- March 19, 2020 - The MGCC Small Business Recovery Loan fund has already stopped accepting applications, but the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Fund is accepting applications from Massachusetts businesses. If you applied for (or considered applying for) a MGCC loan, you may want to consider applying for an EIDL loan. https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/small-business-administrations-economic-injury-disaster-loan-eidl-program
- March 19, 2020 - Force majeure provisions are included in contracts to excuse a party’s failure to perform due to unforeseeable events outside the party’s control. Not all force majeure provisions are created equal, and the coronavirus may trigger some, but not others. PS&H attorneys Patrick Niebauer, Brian Reilly and David Wittmann explain: Interpreting the Force Majeure Clause in Your Contract PS&H Article published March 19, 2020
- March 18, 2020 - On March 18, 2020, Governor Baker announced that for certain eligible small businesses, Massachusetts would postpone the deadlines for payment of sales tax and meals tax for the months of March, April, and May. This does not cancel the obligation to pay these taxes but postpones the deadline to pay until June 20, 2020. In order to be eligible for the postponement, a business must have owed less than $150,000 in regular sales and meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020. We expect that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue will provide more formal guidance and regulations on this postponement, and we will report any additional information as it becomes available. https://boston.eater.com/2020/3/18/21185823/massachusetts-restaurants-small-businesses-meals-tax-delay
- March 10, 2020 - Business leaders should be thinking about common-sense approaches to reduce the impact of the coronavirus on their organizations. PS&H attorneys Patrick Niebauer, Brian Reilly, Lawrence Sheh and David Wittmann explain some basic preventative steps that businesses can take to limit business disruption, contract liability and financial losses from the coronavirus: What Businesses Can Do To Prepare For Coronavirus PS&H Client Alert published March 10, 2020
Representative Speaking Engagements
Eugene G. Bernardo II
Colin A. Coleman
Michael A. Gamboli
David M. Gilden
Amy T. M. Oakley
John E. Ottaviani
Jay R. Peabody
Alexandra W. Pezzello
Alicia J. Samolis
Lawrence J. Sheh
Randall T. Weeks, Jr.
John J. Partridge