Nick Cooper and Kara Sinnard Interviewed on Practice Growth Podcast About Working With Dentists
Attorneys Nick Cooper and Kara Sinnard were interviewed by Shawn Terrell, financial advisor for dentists, on the April 13, 2021 episode of The Practice Growth Podcast. The following summarizes the interview and is edited for clarity. You can listen to the entire episode on Apple Podcast or Spotify Podcast. Learn more about Shawn Terrell at the Terrell Financial website.
Why Dentists Need a Lawyer
Dentists come out of school ready to practice and treat patients, but aren’t necessarily equipped with the knowledge or ability to handle employment matters, business contracts, real estate leases or purchases, and construction contracts. Nick and Kara developed a specialty representing dentists and they have built a team of employment, real estate, and litigation experts. Nick and Kara provide clear and direct counsel to ensure dentists understand the legal consequences before making a decision, to limit risk and help prepare for those unknowns that come up in any business. As a full-service firm, they have attorneys and staff at Whitfield & Eddy Law who can assist in this specific industry. This full-service approach helps dentists in all aspects of their legal service needs including business, family law, estates, wills, and trusts, litigation, labor and employment, and real estate.
When Should A Dentist Work with Whitfield & Eddy Law
Most often, Whitfield & Eddy Law is involved with those pivotal moments when dentists are starting their career and ending their career. Nick and Kara organize the professional corporation or professional limited liability company, they draft and advise on purchase agreements, representing both buyers and sellers, and they handle the real estate issues associated with these transactions. They are also often involved when a new dentist is being employed or buying into the practice, preparing employment or associate agreements and stock and unit purchase agreements. Nick and Kara are prepared to handle the unique aspects of this industry quickly and efficiently.
Things to Consider with Employment Agreements for Dentists
Whitfield & Eddy Law represent owners and employees in associate agreements for dentists. These agreements focus on immediate and long-term consequences which should include key components like non-competes (scope, duration, enforcement), buy-in to the practice (terms), liability, pay and production percentage, and other potential concerns that can lead to future disputes. It is most cost-efficient to address these provisions in the beginning to help ensure all parties are on the same page. Disagreements and litigation are very expensive and crafting agreements in the beginning helps insulate from this significant risk.
How to Purchase a Dental Practice or Entity Formation
It is really important for dentists to realize that an attorney, accountant, and financial advisor can aid all decision-making. These professional service advisors are most important when making big financial decisions and purchases. For example, a letter of intent without attorney oversight can miss key terms relevant and important to the parties. While a letter of intent generally is not binding, it is difficult to add additional terms to the asset purchase agreement.
Also, if you are buying into an established dental practice, it is important to know what you are getting in to. What do the governance documents look like, is it a corporation and what are the by-laws, if it is a limited liability company what does the operating agreement look like? Who does your attorney specifically represent, the corporation, company or dentist? What happens in a stalemate? What happens on death, disability, retirement, or another event? Is there an option for the other dentist to buy the interest of the other? Due diligence is incredibly important. Nick and Kara strongly advise dentists to retain counsel at the outset of any dental transaction.
Whether Dentists Should Lease or Buy Real Estate
Real estate is another area to focus for Kara and Nick, including lease negotiations and real estate purchases. They advise on the creation of a real estate holding companies and ensure that title is clean when acquiring a property.
Limit Blind Spots Related to Your Dental Practice Business
Every transaction has its own unique aspects and often hard to predict those challenges in advance, our history of working with Iowa dentists has built extensive working knowledge in the area. In the decade Nick and Kara have been working with dentists and dental practices, they have seen them grow and become much more sophisticated and successful practices.