B.C.’s oldest law firm provides peace of mind for business transactions during turbulent times

Despite the global economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19, mergers and acquisitions continue on. But one aspect the pandemic has highlighted is the need for excellent legal counsel for business transactions.

The law firm of Richards Buell Sutton LLP (RBS), with offices in Vancouver and Surrey, has provided strategic, cost-effective advice for a wide range of transactions, including acquisitions and sales of businesses, since 1871.

"There is a lot of uncertainty out there right now," says David Harvey, RBS senior associate lawyer. 

"Transactions are still going on during the pandemic, but there have been changes in the way they've been carried out and with certain aspects of the transactions, considering the strange times we're in."

RBS has the legal expertise to help its clients navigate uncharted territory. 

"There are a lot of things that we can do to account for the uncertainty we're now facing when negotiating transactions. One particular area of concern is business valuations, especially for businesses in industries that have been hit hard by the pandemic. But we can account for that through, for example, pricing mechanisms and earn-outs.," Harvey says. 

According to Harvey, another common question RBS has been receiving lately is how to get out of an agreement. 

"There are a lot of thingsnumerous ways that buyers can do to protect themselves going into a transaction, such as through carrying out enhanced due diligence, or in negotiatingdrafting safeguards into the purchase agreement," Harvey says.  

"But there are also things sellers can do, whether they have concerns with the buyer's ability to complete a transaction, or if the buyer is taking a more aggressive stance because of the impact the pandemic has had on the seller's business." 

RBS can help businesses and individuals navigate the potential pitfalls of a new venture or transition. 

"A lot of it comes down to risk. In any business transaction, there's there are a lotall sorts of risks that need to be assumed by one party or the other," Harvey says. 

This coming New Year, RBS will be celebrating 150 years of practising law. The mid-size firm has more than 70 areas of specialty, including business services and business transactions. It's clients have worked with them for decades, including an institutional client that has remained with the firm for more than a century. 

Its lawyers appear on behalf of clients at all court levels in B.C., conduct mediations, navigate arbitrations and negotiate settlements. RBS represents organizations that range from start-ups to multinational corporations. 

"RBS strikes that nice balance of being a larger full-service firm with a small firm family feel. Everyone is extremely collegiate and collaborative, always helping each other out," Harvey says.

"We have a strong and diverse mergers and acquisitions group, with a number of very capable lawyers." 

For business services, the firm provides its clients with legal advice on a wide range of operational and transactional matters, including leasing, employment contracts, financings, corporate reorganizations and structuring transactions to maximize tax efficiencies. The lawyers at RBS take great care to advise their clients of any legal risks involved in a transaction and how to manage those risks appropriately. They work closely with their clients throughout the entire transaction process, from the initial stages of preparing an offer and continuing to close the transaction, ensuring their clients receive the best advice possible every step along the way.  

David Harvey will be a featured panellist in our upcoming Business Excellence Series podcast on buying and selling a business, premiering at the end of this month.