In the past few decades, the business of selling vehicles and their components has grown increasingly more competitive and complex. On the dealer side, many small businesses have transformed into sophisticated ownership structures. Family-owned businesses are now managed by second and third generations. Other dealerships are owned by private investors or have issued publicly traded stock. Consolidation is prevalent, and the number and financial wherewithal of large dealership groups has increased dramatically. Manufacturers are responding to these trends by revising their dealer agreements, altering their sales and distribution strategies, and seeking ways to improve performance within the confines of applicable laws and regulations. Rising costs, changing labor needs and increasing government regulatory demands all make each year more challenging than the last.
This complex business landscape calls for legal counsel that is both intimately familiar with the issues of vehicle distribution networks and that has the ability to provide attorneys from a wide variety of disciplines to meet the increasingly detailed and varied legal needs of vehicle manufacturers and dealers.
Members of Duane Morris' Vehicle Dealer Network Services Group have invested years in learning the intricacies and nuances of state and federal dealership law and have represented vehicle manufacturer and dealer clients in all areas that affect their respective bottom lines.
Whether drafting or revising a distribution agreement, counseling a manufacturer on its rights and obligations under state dealer laws and regulations, facilitating an acquisition or sale of a vehicle dealership, advising on employee relations, defending consumer claims or litigating a termination dispute, we assist our vehicle industry clients in reaching their business goals by providing thoughtful, commercial, creative legal guidance.
Range of Services
Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration
Attorneys from Duane Morris' Vehicle Dealer Network Services Group have handled some of the most significant dealership law cases in the United States over the past two decades. Duane Morris attorneys have experience in all types of complex commercial litigation, including class actions, from inception through trial and appeal. In addition to representing our vehicle industry clients in court proceedings, we also provide counsel on settling disputes without conventional litigation by using alternative dispute resolution options and advise on methods to anticipate and avoid litigation.
Corporate Issues and Mergers & Acquisitions
Duane Morris corporate attorneys advise businesses large and small on a wide variety of corporate matters, including drafting and negotiating dealership agreements and other contracts. The firm represents clients in all aspects of mergers and acquisitions, and is equally experienced representing buyers and sellers. Duane Morris attorneys regularly work with our entrepreneurial clients in developing and implementing creative strategies to accomplish their corporate finance and acquisition objectives. Our lawyers regularly assist closely held companies with strategic planning, equity incentives and succession planning. We represent public companies on securities law compliance, ongoing reporting obligations and corporate governance issues.
Labor Law & Employment Disputes
Members of Duane Morris' Vehicle Dealer Network Services Group routinely counsel their vehicle industry clients regarding labor and employment law compliance issues. Our attorneys have advised dealers and other industry participants on individual employee discipline and discharge issues, overtime and commission pay plan issues, sexual and racial harassment complaints, and responses to union activity. Services range from creating and implementing employment policies to managing nationwide employment discrimination litigation efforts. Our lawyers emphasize policies to prevent employment problems through our problem prevention programs and services, including seminars and workshops, customized training programs and employment practice audits.
Our environmental lawyers offer dealers a full range of legal services, including counsel on government regulations and representation in federal and state enforcement proceedings. The firm's knowledge of our clients' businesses helps our attorneys provide on-point advice regarding their rights and obligations under federal statutes, including Superfund, the Clean Air Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as well as under similar state and local laws. Our attorneys are experienced in evaluating the environmental implications of business transactions and contractual negotiations involving dealerships and dealership networks.
Succession and Estate Planning
Duane Morris attorneys represent a broad range of closely held business owners with respect to their personal and professional planning. Duane Morris provides estates, trusts, asset planning and related litigation services, and has significant experience in the settlement of decedent's estates, fiduciary income tax matters, administration of trusts and counseling on family matters. Throughout each relationship with our clients, we work to minimize tax exposure and implement creative strategies to preserve capital and transfer resources within the client's family and to next generations.
Business Reorganization and Financial Restructuring
The firm's lawyers who focus on Business Reorganization and Financial Restructuring work in tandem with each client to determine appropriate strategies for deriving maximum value from a troubled business entity while simultaneously remaining mindful of each client's goals. Clients draw on the firm's extensive reorganization experience gained during its involvement in many of the largest restructurings of the past three decades and the capabilities of a national team of dozens of bankruptcy lawyers in jurisdictions across the United States.
Our tax attorneys are an integral part of the firm's transactional practice and work closely with our corporate lawyers to structure and effectuate complex transactions from a tax perspective. We represent a wide range of business enterprises, advising on acquisitions and reorganizations, as well as providing federal, state and local tax counsel.