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My Realtor is Acting as a Dual Agent – What Does That Mean and Why Should I Care?

If you are in the hunt for a house, or likewise selling your own, the topic of dual agency will (or should) come up for discussion with your agent.  Most people give consent for their agent to act as a dual agent if the opportunity arises, but do you really know what that consent means?

Under New Jersey law a disclosed dual agent works for both the Buyer and Seller. To work as a dual agent, a brokerage firm must first obtain the informed written consent of their client. It is not necessary that the agent representing both Buyer and Seller be the same person, rather dual agency runs to the brokerage firm. This means if your agent is with one of the handful of large brokerage firms in the area, it is more likely that your transaction will be one in which dual agency applies.

The agent affiliated with a brokerage working as a disclosed dual agent must carefully explain to each party that, in addition to working as their agent, the brokerage firm will also work as the agent for the other party. The agent must also explain what effect working as a disclosed dual agent will have on the fiduciary duties their brokerage firm owes to both the Buyer and Seller.

Dual agency gets tricky in a transaction when the agent is aware of confidential information that would benefit one party and negatively impact the other. A brokerage firm must have the express written permission prior to disclosing confidential information of one client, to the other.

Examples of confidential information includes the highest price a Buyer can afford to pay and the lowest price a Seller will accept. It also includes either party’s motivation to buy or sell. Remember, a brokerage firm acting as a disclosed dual agent will not be able to place one party’s interests ahead of those of the other party and cannot advise or counsel either party on how to gain an advantage at the expense of the other party because of such confidential information.

So why should you care? Well, it’s not likely you’ll be able to avoid a dual agency relationship, and you should not necessarily try to do so. If your agent is a dual agent, it means perhaps it was internal advertising that brought a Buyer to you for your home; but, it does mean you should strongly consider being represented by an attorney in a dual agency transaction. It is the only way to ensure you have an advocate protecting your interests up to and at the time of settlement.

Questions? Feel free to give us a call.

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Why Do I Need a Lawyer To Start a Business – I Have The Internet?

September 13, 2017

Starting a business can be an exciting and overwhelming endeavor and Google seems reasonably equipped to answer all your questions – right? Maybe, but as you embark on your new venture, Google may not adequately solve your concerns in a way that protects you. Consider the following reasons to work with a knowledgeable business lawyer, rather than your favorite search engine:

  • First things first – the right structure is key. One of the most basic tasks in forming a new business is to choose an entity structure. This decision is critical as different entities expose you to much different levels of liability. Choosing the wrong entity could leave your business (and you individually) exposed to intolerable levels of liability against lawsuits. Conversely you may inadvertently overly complicate your structure when you are in an industry with very little need to worry about liability.
  • Business attorneys should work hand in hand with your accountant. Structure and other set up decisions are best made both between your attorney and your accountant. Do not be surprised with an improper structure for both you or your industry once tax season arrives. Set it up correctly from the start.
  • Protect your ideas and property. Protect your product ideas, production secrets, customer information, potential competition from your employees and anything else unique to your business. Doing so allows you to maintain a competitive advantage and shield yourself from others both externally and internally who could use your unique information for their own profit.
  • Employment lawsuits can stop a business in its tracks. Starting a business means you must comply with all federal and state employment laws, including legal procedures regarding employee pay, hours, overtime, sexual harassment, and discrimination. Failing to consult with a business attorney exposes your business to a variety of employment lawsuits and even one lawsuit can be the death of a small business. Do not take simple tasks like drafting job descriptions or interviewing procedures for granted. Consult with a business attorney and do it right.
  • Running a Business Can be a full-time job. Creating a new business involves a lot of paperwork and legal formalities confusing to even the savviest entrepreneurs. Drafting bylaws or operating agreements, complying with tax requirements and licensing concerns are most effectively handled with the assistance of a business lawyer.

Handing off the set up and operational structure issues to the right business lawyer allows you to get back into the business of running your business.  Bergmann Law can walk you through the process of starting a business and set you on a path ensuring smooth operations and dispute avoidance.  With years of dedicated legal experience, your business will be in excellent hands. Call our office and schedule an initial consultation.

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Welcome to Bergmann Law LLC

Bergmann Law, formerly Bergmann Good, announced today that Renee Bergmann is taking the helm and resuming the Business & Real Estate Practice in the Firm’s Westmont, New Jersey office.  Bergmann takes control of the firm following 17 years of practice at various firms ranging from small, 14 lawyer firms, to an International firm of more than 800 lawyers and resident in offices from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to New York, New York as well as right here in Camden County, New Jersey.

“It feels like I’ve come full circle and will begin practicing law while maintaining control of all cases as well as management of the Firm.  As technology continues to change at a lightening pace, it changes the way businesses operate and Bergmann Law will not only counsel clients on the protection of their – information – it will have the most up-to-date case management and back office systems that lead to both efficient and high quality work product. The Firm will help clients meet the rapidly changing business environment by leading the way with cutting edge technology of its own.”

Bergmann Law also offers a robust and expansive real estate practice. Working collaboratively with both you and your Realtor through the residential or commercial sale process leads to smoother transactions with better results.  The Firm also regularly works with real estate investors regarding all aspects of the business.  Renee Bergmann stands uniquely qualified to represent you in your real estate transaction, as both a licensed New Jersey Realtor, active real estate instructor and investor, she understands both the legal and practical aspects of negotiating and closing a deal.

Bergmann Law will continue to serve its business clients as “inside counsel from the outside,” offering advice and support to small and mid-size companies – companies without the budget for in-house counsel, but sophisticated enough to know good advice and support are necessary for business stability and growth.

The Firm culture is one of technology integration with efficient and high quality results.  Danielle Bergmann, a graduate of St Andrews University in Scotland acts as both legal support and office management.  Her research background and experience on the tech side lends just the right balance to the Firm.

Renee Bergmann has previously served in leadership roles in both the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the National Association of Women Lawyers and the Philadelphia Bar Association.  She was an adjunct faculty member at Arcadia University, has spoken at Rutgers-Camden School of Law, the American Bar Association and most recently continuing education classes at the Real Estate School.  Ms. Bergmann has extensive Real Estate and Business experience from transactional to high stakes litigation.  She earned a J.D. from Rutgers-Camden School of Law, and her B.S.H.S. from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, where, at the time of commencement, she had earned her degree faster than any graduate in the university’s history.

Bergmann Law strives to take complicated issues and offer simplified results.  Call us and see what we can do for you.