Boyce Law Firm is a premier sponsor of Startup Sioux Falls.
With a history dating back to 1878, it may come as a surprise that the city’s oldest law firm is also one of its most progressive, particularly when it comes to working with entrepreneurs and business owners.
In fact, Boyce Law Firm is not only Sioux Falls’ first firm, but also the first to make its home downtown on Phillips Avenue, now host to an array of thriving businesses both large and small.
Boyce has since moved a few blocks to its current office on Main Avenue, but its commitment to helping businesses at all stages has never wavered. In every practice area, the team at Boyce is known for providing their clients with the highest level of service.
“Our overarching theme, day-in and day-out, is representing, working with, and solving the problems of those who run businesses,” said attorney Patrick Knecht.
Boyce’s legal services for business owners include everything from business formation and contract review and preparation to worker’s compensation defense, employment law and succession planning, among others. View a full list of practice areas here.
With a team of nearly two-dozen attorneys and an exceptional support staff, Boyce takes pride in maintaining lasting relationships with many of the successful businesses that make up Sioux Falls’ vibrant economy.
I’m an entrepreneur—do I need a lawyer?
According to Knecht, far too many businesses function without proper legal support. While a do-it-yourself mentality is at the core of most entrepreneurs’ spirits, some things are best left to the experts.
Still, many entrepreneurs feel that the scope of their business simply doesn’t warrant a lawyer’s services. Knecht reiterates that if you’re selling a product or service, you have legal needs.
“Whether you’re an ad agency or you sell sandwiches, a lot of your concerns are exactly the same,” Knecht said.
“On the one hand, I get it,” he continued. “You’re trying to get your business going, you’ve got financial pulls in so many directions, and calling a lawyer is often low on that list, especially when so many people have the impression that they can spend fifteen minutes on Google or LegalZoom to get the same result.”
But Knecht emphasizes the importance of developing a relationship with your legal counsel, and he encourages business owners to view their lawyer as an extension of their team. Often, entrepreneurs will venture down the legal path on their own until it reaches a point where they realize they need help—from a human being, not a computer.
“They’ll finally come in, and we’ll find out they’re in rough shape, and we have to spend a lot of time fixing things,” Knecht said. “As the old saying goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’”
In a world where quick-fix alternatives are available at the click of a button, lawyers are faced with the challenge of proving their value to clients.
“It’s on us to communicate what’s available and educate clients that this in not simply a vending machine-type transaction,” said attorney Paul Tschetter.
Tschetter also emphasizes the trust that Boyce attorneys build with their clients. Ultimately, the lawyer wants to educate and help their client understand why certain measures are necessary. It’s important to note, however, that they’ll never advise a client to pursue something they don’t need.
“For every LLC I help someone form, I probably tell two other people they don’t need one,” Knecht said. “Sure, we could make money doing it, but we don’t advise people that way. The client comes first.”
Why work with Boyce?
For years, Boyce has been committed to supporting community endeavors, whether through financial sponsorships or their own client relationships. Additionally, the firm has a roster of nonprofit clients for whom they provide legal services at no charge or for significantly reduced fees.
“Our community and our practice of law is bigger than us individually, and it’s bigger than Boyce Law Firm,” Tschetter said. “We have an obligation to support organizations that are doing positive things, whether it’s in the arts with our sponsorship of the Washington Pavilion, or whether it’s lawyers and staff from our firm donating time at nonprofits in the community.”
It goes without saying that Boyce’s support of the Sioux Falls community extends to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“We’ve seen tremendous entrepreneurial growth in the area, so we really see it as a need,” Knecht said.
Recently, the firm has tested several non-traditional fee arrangements to better serve entrepreneurs, particularly those in the earlier stages of starting their businesses. Typically, legal fees are billed on an hourly basis, which can be a deterrent for business owners on a budget.
“It’s hard when people are starting a new business venture to bite off more than they can chew,” Tschetter said. “It’s hard to do that planning not knowing what it’s going to cost up front.”
“Especially now, during a time when many business owners are facing unprecedented challenges and economic circumstances due to COVID-19, Boyce is committed to developing solutions that are feasible for clients.”
While billing hourly is still standard, Boyce is open to working with businesses on a case-by-case basis to determine a customized solution that will achieve the necessary results within a reasonable budget.
Sioux Falls design agency, Lemonly, has worked with Boyce for about five years on a fixed-fee basis. Lemonly pays a set monthly rate for unlimited access to Boyce’s legal services.
“It’s great for them from a budgeting standpoint, and it’s great for us because it deepens our relationship,” Tschetter said. “Sometimes small business owners, when they know they’re going to get a bill every time they call their lawyer, they don’t make the phone call even though they know they’re going to regret it later. Having an agreed-upon monthly charge eliminates the disincentive for key personnel at Lemonly to call us on an issue—no matter how large or small.”
Additionally, while most law firms will charge flat fees for smaller projects, Boyce has offered flat fee pricing for larger undertakings such as private placements or employment-related matters.
MarketBeat founder, Matt Paulson, has developed a flexible relationship with Boyce when it comes to project pricing.
“We actively seek to find creative ways to partner with clients,” Tschetter said. “While we have performed work for Matt and MarketBeat on a traditional hourly format, we also take on tasks on a negotiated flat-fee basis.”
In order for such situations to be feasible, Knecht and Tschetter reiterate the importance of developing that relationship early on in your business’ lifespan.
“We’re willing to entertain those options for clients if the circumstances are right,” Tschetter said. “It works best when the lawyer and client know each other, but you can work to develop a relationship over a small window of time.”
The best way to get started is by calling (605) 336-2424 to see if working with a Boyce attorney is the best fit for your business.
For more information on how Boyce can assist small business owners, head over to their Business & Transactions page.