Pittsburgh Business Attorneys

Business Law

Pittsburgh Business Attorney Advice and Litigation Without the Big Law Price Tag

At Steele Schneider, our Pittsburgh based business attorneys are committed to providing you and your business with personalized legal representation at a reasonable price. We assist businesses and business owners with day-to-day operational decisions aimed at avoiding litigation. When disputes do arise, we defend all aspects of business litigation. Our work with our business clients includes but is not limited to:

    • Employment/Labor Litigation
    • Wage Disputes
    • Discrimination and Whistleblower Claims
    • Non-compete Agreements
    • Trade Secret Litigation
    • Workplace Investigations
    • Employee Handbooks and Policies
    • Employee Contracts/Compensation Plans
    • Business Formation
    • Partnership Agreements
    • Mediated Resolution of Disputes

Representative Clients

Steele Schneider has represented a diverse group of businesses in preventing and defending legal disputes. The following is a representative list of business clients:

    • Multi-location Dental Practice – As General Counsel and Litigation Counsel
    • International Pet-food Company – As Litigation Counsel
    • Multi-location Restaurant – As General Counsel and Litigation Counsel
    • Start-up Brewery- As General Counsel
    • Driving School- As General Counsel and Litigation Counsel
    • Medical Testing Company– As General Counsel

How our Business Attorneys Can Help

Steele Schneider is devoted to Western Pennsylvania businesses in the prevention, pursuit, and defense of litigation. We have substantial experience litigating business disputes in state and federal courts and administrative agencies, like the EEOC and PHRC, on matters that often involve claims of employment discrimination, whistleblower protection, and wage disputes. We routinely use this litigation experience to work with clients outside of the courtroom to prevent litigation before it starts by drafting important contracts for our clients, developing policies and procedures, and working hand-in-hand with business owners and HR managers to navigate difficult situations in the workplace. 

While we often meet our business clients in a time of need arising from urgent concerns or filed litigation, we are proud of the fact that most of these businesses remain long-term clients of the firm. We value these long-term relationships because it provides our attorneys with the opportunity to better understand our clients’ needs, and it gives our clients the confidence that they have a trusted advisor by their side for whatever challenges may come their way. Our experience ranges from assisting our favorite local pizza shops to multi-million dollar international corporations. While most of our business clients consist of small and medium-sized businesses in Western Pennsylvania, we have found that even our largest business clients value the close relationship we strive for with our clients. 

Our goal in that close relationship is to provide our clients with all legal and practical advice needed for them to make fully-informed business decisions that are best for their unique needs. When the best course involves defending or initiating litigation, we develop appropriate strategies with our clients and implement them through vigorous representation. We also have extensive experience exploring resolution of disputes through alternative means, like mediation. 

Whether our services are required to protect your company from litigation or to help your business grow without legal obstacles, we work hard to get you the best results possible. We want to help you succeed by providing creative, practical solutions – the kind that have worked for our clients time and time again. We know how to stand up for our clients in negotiations, in court, and in mediation and would welcome the opportunity to work with you on all of your legal needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a business lawyer?

Whether you are thinking about starting a business or have been operating for years, a lawyer can be an invaluable resource. Your lawyer can help you assess your options and associated risks in a wide variety of circumstances.  Broadly speaking, you should turn to your lawyer when you need to know what your rights and responsibilities are with respect to others, and what others’ rights and responsibilities are with respect to you. Questions may include how to manage relationships with employees, methods of avoiding litigation, how to enforce agreements with vendors or suppliers, and how to protect both the business you have built and your reputation. Our lawyers can help you recognize and deal with issues that often blindside business owners and answer questions regarding issues before they become critical. 

My business is running smoothly, do I really need an employee handbook?

As a small business ourselves, we understand how a strong workplace culture can go a long way towards ensuring relatively smooth operations. But when it comes to the workplace, the old age that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” really does hold true. Reducing workplace policies to print can provide many different important legal protections for your business. We work closely with our clients who have been operating without a handbook to understand what is working and what is not and to identify potential future issues that should be considered. We are sensitive to the need to develop and publish an employee handbook in a way that does not disrupt operations or negatively impact employee morale, and we tailor our process to your unique needs. The goal of working with you to create a handbook is to help you manage all of the potential legal risks your business might face–now and in the future–but you control what makes it into the handbook and what is best left on the cutting room floor.

What can I do to protect my trade secrets?

There are a variety of statutes that provide trade secret protections: Pennsylvania’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Pennsylvania common law, and the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, among others. But these protections serve you best–and sometimes only–when you make a dedicated effort to protect your trade secrets through internal documents and restrictive covenants, including reasonably-tailored non-compete agreements with appropriate employees. Our business attorneys have experience drafting and enforcing these important documents and can help you create a comprehensive approach to protecting the business know-how that gives you critical advantages in your industry.

Should I consult an attorney before terminating an employee?

Most successful businesses will reach a point where a separation of employment with an employee is necessary. Whether it is your first time terminating an employee or you have particular questions about a separation involving unique circumstances, we can offer a wide range of assistance in the process. Every employee termination involves some legal risk, even if it is limited to whether the employee is eligible for Pennsylvania unemployment compensation benefits. Thus, it is a perfect opportunity for your business attorney to provide you with legal counsel about the legal risks you might face in a given situation and the best way to manage those risks. You may read that Pennsylvania is an at-will state, meaning that employees can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. While this is true, it can be misleading because this general rule is subject to a wide-variety of exceptions stemming from laws, such as state and federal anti-discrimination statutes, that restrict an employer’s ability to terminate employees in certain circumstances. Our business attorneys are closely familiar with these restrictions and can guide you through the termination process.

We often hear from clients after an employee termination because of threats being made by the separated employee. There are still opportunities to manage and mitigate legal risks at this point. In these situations, we often step in to handle the unemployment compensation hearing involving the employee and assist you in corresponding with the former employee threatening legal action. Even if there is nothing to be done about the termination itself, our business clients often find peace of mind from reviewing their legal risks with us and creating a plan for what to do if they’re sued. 

I’ve been sued by a former employee. Now what?

After we’ve determined whether you have insurance coverage that may cover the former employee’s claims, we will assess the situation. First, we will review the relevant documents to determine where you’ve been sued and what claims are being asserted by the former employee. Many claims by former employees must go through administrative processes before the EEOC or the PHRC. Your options for responding in these forums differ from your options in state or federal court. Once we’ve reviewed the situation, we will provide you with an assessment of  your legal risks. Those risks could be limited to your own legal fees, or they could include reputational harm or potential damages–often measured in the form of lost or unpaid wages and pain and suffering of the former employee. The goal of providing you with an overview of your risks and options for responding to the legal claim is to allow you to decide upon a strategy that works best for you in the particular situation. Appropriate strategies could include vigorous defense against the allegations, further internal investigation to better assess the situation, or early efforts to resolve the claims amicably. At each step of the process, we work closely with you to provide you with the information necessary to allow you to make informed choices.

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Ready to Get Started?