When asked by a foreign client for assistance in establishing business operations in the USA, a lawyer’s task is more complex than it would otherwise be for a domestic client. There are numerous issues that must be resolved for both domestic and foreign clients such as: (i) form of business structure (corporation, limited liability company, partnership, etc.), (ii) intellectual property protection (trademark, etc.), (iii) special licensing or permits, (iv) registration with taxing entities (IRS, state and local), (v) employment issues, (vi) location, (vii) insurance, and the like. However, beyond the foregoing, foreign clients are faced with various additional issues with which the lawyer must be aware and stand ready to assist, such as: (x) language obstacles, (y) cultural issues that impact the understanding of the legal landscape of the USA versus the client’s native land, and (z) taxation issues (particularly repatriation of income).
Sometimes, understanding the cultural issues of clients and negotiation partners can be crucial to the successful conclusion of a deal. Critical issues that often are not the same internationally include sensitivity to time. Americans often view time as money, but other cultures may see the importance of relationship-building as more significant ultimately than signing an agreement. Certain cultures have a more or less formal business milieu, including dress, terms of address and general communication. There is also disparity among international companies as to how decisions are made, from authoritarian companies to those that rely on consensus-building.
The team at Dawda Mann has assisted numerous clients in establishing and maintaining operations in the USA. We speak the language of business.
by Alfredo Casab, Member, Dawda, Mann, Mulcahy & Sadler, PLC