Family Business

LEADERSHIP: Mark S. Blaskey

You’re the founder and the president of the company. After 30 years, you’d like somebody to take over, so that you can move to Florida and fish. Your son, the lawyer, works for a foundation and refers to your world as “Korporate Amerika.” Your daughter, the doctor, knows everything about everything, except business. Your partner’s son has an MBA from Wharton. Your wife says the choice is obvious. So does your partner. Uncle John, who loaned you the money to get started, has 20 percent of the stock. He thinks that your cousin Harry’s creativity is just what the company needs. Coincidentally, Harry is in between jobs...again. 

Business is good. Your heart is bad. You haven’t changed your will since your oldest was 10 and now she’s 40-something. Your managers like working for you. Will they like working for your widow? It would be nice to keep the business in the family, but Uncle Sam isn’t going to take stock instead of cash when you die. Your accountant said you were crazy to turn down the last offer. 

Dad died. You came back from New York to run the business for Mom. You know that if you expand the plant, you can triple revenues, but the sisters and the brothers and the uncles, aunts and cousins want liquidity now. Or your job. Or both. 

Any of these scenarios sound familiar?  To owners of family businesses, they represent just a few of the many complex scenarios that can wreak havoc on your hopes for continued business success.

So, what’s your plan? 

If you own a family business, whether you make suits or sell software, build subdivisions or mine coal, whether you’re one patent away from an IPO or one class action away from disaster, you need a plan. An estate plan. A strategic plan. A management succession plan. An exit plan. (You probably have a 401(k) plan, but if not, we can help with that, too.) 

Pepper Hamilton has been taking care of family businesses and their owners for more than 100 years. The lawyers in our Family Business Group are seasoned professionals experienced in all aspects of family business life. If you have a family business problem, give us a call. Call even if you don’t have a problem. Sometimes that’s the best time to plan for the future. 

Here are some of the things we do. We could make the list longer, but you get the idea. 

Strategic Planning 

  • competitive analysis
  • asset protection planning
  • growth strategies
  • management structure analysis
  • ownership succession issues
  • antitrust matters.


  • corporate and partnership control devices
  • minority shareholder issues
  • management succession planning
  • ownership and management restructurings.

Personal Wealth Management 

  • estate planning, wills, trusts
  • buy-sell agreements
  • tax planning and compliance
  • personal charitable foundations.


  • loans, letters of credit and lease financing
  • securities transactions, including initial public offering, secondary offerings and private offerings
  • venture capital and other private equity transactions, including Small Business Investment Company formation and investments
  • securitizations and other structured finance transactions
  • bankruptcy and creditor issues.

Human Resources 

  • executive hiring, firing and compensation
  • employee benefit plans
  • non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants
  • collective bargaining
  • employment policies and practices
  • employment litigation defense.

Assets and Operations 

  • buying, selling, improving
  • leasing and insuring assets
  • avoiding and defending against environmental claims
  • negotiating and drafting contracts
  • government relations.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Dispositions 

  • expanding through strategic acquisitions
  • selling out
  • spin-offs and spin-outs
  • tax consequences of transactions
  • finding and working with financial advisers.

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