Owner-Managed and Closely Held Businesses

Closely held and owner-operated businesses in the middle market often face a common dilemma: They are large enough to need sophisticated counsel, yet the range and nature of legal and business issues makes a full in-house legal team impractical. We have the experience and know-how to provide effective and efficient counsel to these companies.

Ballard Spahr’s Owner-Managed and Closely Held Businesses Team is designed to serve clients in this unique market position, as outside general counsel or in conjunction with in-house legal staff. We are experienced in partnering with clients across industries to address business challenges with insight and perspective that complements organizations’ executive, management, and legal teams. 

We view our services as an investment in building and maintaining value for our clients. We start by listening. Our attorneys coordinate with business owners and their executive teams and get a full understanding of their goals for the company and their respective ownership interests, so we can provide proactive and strategic guidance. We make legal services management easy and efficient by integrating document processing and unifying procedures. We help growing companies meet expanding legal needs efficiently and support homegrown enterprises in acquisitions as new business ventures, as well as positioning for acquisition, public offering, or business succession.

Our integrated approach centers on providing our clients with a multidisciplinary team. Each team includes the right blend of lawyers to handle intellectual property, real estate, labor and employment, litigation, risk management, transactions, and ownership succession. We continuously monitor developments and keep business owners up-to-date through regularly scheduled meetings and integrated updates using our digital platforms. Ongoing assessment and refinement are key to our approach. 


  • Represented a custom manufacturing company in the journey that led to a stock sale with a strategic buyer that enables the current owners to continue to operate the company, and participate in its success, after the sale. The journey has included developing and implementing programs by which key employees were provided the opportunity to become owners of the company; representing the company in acquisitions of other entities and product lines of other entities; advising on human resources, confidentiality of customer information, risk management, and other operational issues; negotiating and drafting agreements establishing key relationships; and advising executive management to build the value that led to a successful exit event for the owners of the company. We continue to represent the company after the sale.
  • Represented a family-owned glass fabricator and installation firm in the design, modification and implementation of a long-term plan for successfully transferring ownership and operation of the company to the next generation of the family. Our representation included working with the first generation owners on their estate planning needs and addressing a situation where not all children are involved in the business. It has also included on-going representation of the company in avoiding and, if necessary, solving business issues that arise as a consequence of growth.
  • Represented a multi-generational family manufacturing business, a client of more than 25 years, in a $50 million stock sale to a strategic buyer and continue to represent the client as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Estate Planning for the Entrepreneur and Business Owner: Planning Early and Often

Read More