Even when I was in school, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. During high school and college, I learned that I was also interested in, and had a great skill set for being a lawyer. I decided to go to law school – specifically to study business law. After law school, I of course went to work at a premiere boutique business law firm in Houston. I had a great experience. I learned so much and built great relationships with the other lawyers and our clients. I took to heart everything it means to be a great lawyer, great communicator, and a great advocate for a client.
But like every aspiring entrepreneur…. I felt something was missing. If you are an entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur, I’m sure you have felt it too. Or maybe you are feeling it right now.
So… I was feeling that unhappy feeling that entrepreneurs get when they are working hard at someone else’s business instead of their own. My feeling was something like, “I love working here, but I want to be my own boss, control my own destiny, and build something great for myself.”
I know others feel the same way. Maybe you do/did too. Or maybe you are or were feeling what many others feel, “I hate this job. I can do it so much better on my own. I’m out of here…”
So with that feeling, I decided to start my own law firm. In the 11 years since I have not regretted my decision. As all entrepreneurs know, there are good times and bad, times when things are running smoothly, and times when it feels like everything is against you. I have seen it all, and I have achieved great personal satisfaction in helping all of my clients along the way.
From Dustin C. Lee, Founder of Ascend Legal Solutions:
I am the President and managing attorney at Law Office of Dustin C. Lee, PC d/b/a Ascend Legal Solutions. When I founded Ascend Legal Solutions, I set out with a specific mission in mind.
I believe that EVERY law firm should be responsive and client-focused.
I believe that EVERY law firm should provide quality legal advice and practical solutions to their clients.
In fact, I believe that those things are the MINIMUM STANDARD for a law firm.
I believe that you deserve more. I believe that you deserve a lawyer that will really get to know you and your business. You deserve a lawyer that you genuinely like talking to… someone that you could see yourself hanging out with on the weekend. You deserve a lawyer that has a genuine connection with you and your business.
That’s what I want to be for you. Seriously… and I want all of those things because I believe that with that type of relationship, I can provide you with a higher level of service than some nameless, faceless paper-pusher in a tall building somewhere.
I hope that you choose to take the next step in building a relationship between us as individuals and between our businesses.
I also hope that you take part in building this firm’s legacy, which won’t live within the four walls of our office, but yours.
For transactional matters like commercial transactions and business formations, we have a very simple process designed to quickly and professionally complete your transactional matters.
First, you will attend a Business Solutions Meeting to determine your needs and ensure that we are a good fit for each other. You will complete a secure online questionnaire prior to the meeting so that we can make the best use of our time together. At this meeting, you will learn about our services, your options, and our fees. At the conclusion of the meeting, if you are ready to move forward, you will sign an engagement agreement and pay the initial invoice (both of which can be handled online).
Next, we have a design meeting regarding your specific matter, such as an LLC Design Meeting or Contract Design Meeting. This is where we really dive in to learn all about you, your business, and the plan and/or documents we will be designing so that we can carefully craft everything to meet your needs. After the meeting, we will carry out the design and draft the documents. You will receive a copy of the documents for your review along with a video walkthrough (if you elect that option when you engage us). We will then answer any questions that you may have and make any necessary changes or updates.
If there is no third party involved, like in the case of a business formation, we will then schedule a meeting to execute your documents if one is needed. For example, with an entity formation, we will schedule your Organizational Meeting.
If there is a third party involved, like in a commercial transaction, we will then follow the course of action you have selected after our Business Solutions Meeting. Sometimes we are engaged only to review documents “behind the scenes” and provide advice, but most of the time we are engaged to negotiate the transaction on your behalf and work up the finalized documents. We can continue working on document revisions so long as negotiations are ongoing, and we can assist with closing the transaction if a formal closing is required.
If you need assistance after the contract is signed, we will monitor key deadlines and performance requirements to keep you updated about the progress and performance of the contract as well as your obligations.
For business disputes, you will first attend a Business Solutions Meeting to determine your needs and ensure that we are a good fit for each other. You will complete a secure online questionnaire prior to the meeting so that we can make the best use of our time together. At this meeting, you will learn about our services, your options, and our fees. At the conclusion of the meeting, if you are ready to move forward, you will sign an engagement agreement and pay the initial invoice (both of which can be handled online).
After we have been engaged, the next step is the Dispute Planning Session. In this session, we really dive in to learn about you, your business, and the dispute that you need to be handled. We will come up with a plan of action to work on the dispute on your behalf, and after the session is concluded, we will move forward with that plan.
If litigation has not yet been initiated, in most cases we will attempt to resolve the matter without having to litigate, as it is the fastest, most efficient, and least expensive way to handle disputes in most cases. If litigation has been initiated, or if we need to initiate litigation, then we can handle that process for you as well.
When you are ready to move forward, whether that be at your initial Business Solutions Meeting or later, we will send you an engagement agreement for electronic signature and an invoice for payment via our secure online payment provider. Once those things have been completed, we will move forward with the first phase of our engagement.
We take on a limited number of clients that are aligned with our firm’s mission of creating a lasting attorney-client relationship that can help you ascend your business to the next level. If you are looking for the cheapest attorney around, or if you are not committed to the development of your business, we are not the right law firm for you and would be happy to refer you to a different firm that might be a better fit. If you are committed to developing and growing your business with the support of a legal team that legitimately cares about you, then we are the firm for you.
Every legal matter or project is very different.
Simple contracts can be turned around quickly; sometimes in only a couple of days. More complex contracts and transactions can take longer, with the time to complete the documentation being relative to the complexity of the transaction and how much negotiation is needed to reach the final documents.
We start working on business dispute and litigation matters right away, so as to avoid missing any deadlines that could jeopardize your case. At your Dispute Planning Session, we will give you a better understanding of the process and how long it will take after we have a better idea about your specific situation.
Generally, no. Most of the time, the only in-person meetings that are required are for closings of certain transactions (like real estate) and for certain phases of litigation matters. Most document signings can be handled with electronic signatures.
Every transaction and business dispute is different. Also, every business and its needs are different – think solopreneur vs. large enterprises. Even if your transaction or dispute seems simple, there are probably aspects from a legal perspective that you have not considered. That’s what we are here for! At our Business Solutions Meeting, we will learn about your business and your specific needs so that we can give you a detailed description of what services you will receive and what our fees are. We cannot dive into detailed fee discussions before that because we don’t have enough information about your specific matter to do so. In many transactional matters, we are able to offer fixed/flat fees as opposed to billing by the hour so that you can have a complete financial picture regarding your legal spending.
We firmly believe that every legal matter should be adequately staffed by the right people to handle the job in a timely matter with great client communication. We always strive to ensure that we have adequate staff available and that we don’t take on too large of a volume of work to provide the level of service that we demand and that you deserve. Therefore, we take on a limited number of matters at any time.
Generally, yes. Mr. Lee will ensure that your matter is properly staffed with the best people on our team for your matter. Most of the time, that will include Mr. Lee, and could include other attorneys or team members.
Business Contract / Commercial Transaction Matters
Yes. You really do. No matter what stage of your business journey you are at, having well-crafted contracts is incredibly important. I’m from a small town in Texas, and I come from a blue-collar family. My grandfather was an actual cowboy – he rode a horse, worked cattle, fixed fences, you name it. He taught me that you are only as good as your word and that deals are done with a handshake. I think it would sadden him, and it certainly saddens me, that those things are not good enough anymore. So, while my handshake still carries significant meaning, I put my agreements in writing, and you should too. There is no other way to ensure that your business has the protection it needs. Well-designed contracts ensure that the other party has clearly defined obligations and time limitations and that there is no confusion about who is supposed to do what. They also ensure that there is a process for handling when things go wrong.
Like a lot of things in the legal world, it depends. It depends on where you are in your business journey. It depends on the purpose of the contract and the complexity of the deal. It depends on your niche and industry. Rest assured that in our Business Solutions Meeting, we will determine exactly what you need and give you your options. We won’t push you to buy legal services that you don’t need. We match the options to your specific business and transaction so that we can meet your needs and accomplish your goals.
Never use free forms you find on the internet. It is highly likely that those forms will not protect your business and could even create more problems than not having a contract at all. Likewise, I do not recommend using budget legal template providers. They put the work of being a lawyer on you… and that is not something that you need to be dealing with. You don’t need to be trying to decipher exactly what template fits your business needs. You don’t need to be trying to figure out how to modify their useless generalized forms for your specific business. You don’t need to be banging your head against the wall trying to fill out their forms correctly. Let us handle the legal work. If at your Business Solutions Meeting we determine that a custom template will be a good fit for you, we will let you know. If we determine that you need a fully customized contract to suit your needs, we will let you know that as well. We will present you with all of your options and let you decide what solution suits your needs the best.
We can handle it all! We can help with contract review and advice, drafting, negotiating, execution / closing, and monitoring post-execution.
We work on all types of contracts. The most common are shareholder agreements, operating agreements, employment agreements, independent contractor agreements, service agreements, terms and conditions, non-disclosure agreements, non-solicitation agreements, non-compete agreements, purchase and sale agreements, lease agreements, settlement agreements, assignment of contracts, franchise agreements and financing agreements just to name a few.
Dispute and Litigation Matters
If a lawsuit is filed, you should act immediately. If you fail to timely file an answer, you may lose the lawsuit without even getting a chance to participate. For disputes that are not yet in litigation, you should still quickly seek counsel as soon as a dispute emerges or you anticipate the conflict. Engaging an attorney early in the process not only helps you understand your rights and your options but can also help get the matter resolved outside of court, saving thousands in legal fees and significant amounts of time and stress.
Consult an attorney immediately. Failure to timely respond may result in a judgment being taken against you without you having a chance to defend yourself.
First, you should set up a Business Solutions Meeting with us. At the meeting, we will learn more about your situation and give you your solutions / options plan. If you choose to engage us, we almost always try to resolve the matter without the need for litigation. However, if litigation is necessary, we are here to help. We are experienced in litigating collection matters and collecting judgments.
Litigation is a slow process and generally takes what most people consider to be a long time. The time litigation takes can vary greatly depending on the complexity of your case, the number of parties involved, and the court that you are in. At our Business Solutions Meeting, we will learn more about your case and give you a better idea of how long your specific case might take.
Of course you can, unless a restraining order, temporary injunction, or other injunctive or extraordinary relief has been granted against you. We take as much of the burden of litigation off of you as possible so that you can focus on your business while a lawsuit is pending.
No. In fact, most cases do not go to trial. Most cases are resolved before trial through informal settlement talks, mediation, and sometimes arbitration. We will develop a plan of options and solutions to assist you in meeting your litigation goals.
We handle breach of contract, collections, business torts, fraud, misrepresentation, vendor / supplier disputes, ownership disputes, violations of non-solicitation, non-compete and non-disclosure agreements, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent transfer, deceptive trade practices, as well as other types of business and commercial litigation cases.
You can work with a law firm on your contracts, processes, record keeping, communications, and other important areas of your business to help minimize risk and help avoid litigation.
Business Formation Matters
Absolutely. At our Business Solutions Meeting, we will determine what the right entity is for your business needs. We typically form LLCs (Limited Liability Companies) as well as Corporations, Limited Partnerships, professional entities, and nonprofit organizations.
You should never use free online forms to form your business. I also do not recommend using a budget legal template provider to form your business. Why? Because it makes you do all the work that a lawyer would normally do, and you aren’t a lawyer. You will have to make your own decisions about what entity type is right for you, how to structure your entity, and how to set up voting, profit-taking, and asset contributions… all on your own. You will have to figure out how to customize their basic templates to fit your needs, and then you will have to figure out how to fill them out correctly. The budget legal template provider puts all of the lawyering burden on you, and if you don’t get it right, there can be disastrous consequences. Finally, the budget legal services provider doesn’t provide you with the essential information that you need about how to run your business in a way to maintain liability protection, which is the whole reason you are forming a business entity to start with.
Of course. It is extremely important for you to set clear expectations on how your entity will operate, how voting will work, how asset contribution will work, and how the owners will get paid.
Definitely. We are happy to help.
At your Business Solutions Meeting and Entity Design Meeting we will collect all the information we need to determine what contracts and agreements may be helpful for your business.
We have several different all-inclusive business formation packages with different levels of service, options and extra benefits. We will discuss the different packages at your Business Solutions Meeting, and you can choose the one that best suits your needs.
On our end, the amount of time the legal work will take will depend on the package your select and how complex your formation will be (i.e. how many owners, asset contributions, employment agreements, and financing issues will need to be handled as part of the formation). Single-owner formations with no asset contributions, financing issues, etc. can generally be completed on our end in about a week, plus the time it takes for the state to process your paperwork. More complex formations can take longer. The State of Texas generally processes your paperwork within 30 days.
Absolutely. At our Business Solutions Meeting we will determine what your needs are and what company documents we are working with to come up with a plan that works for you.
Certainly. We can handle the entire process of documenting the sale and we can even help you with the due diligence process.
Yes. We can help with your merger and acquisition issues as well.