Richard G. Burt, Attorney and Counselor At Law
Please Call : (408) 286-7333
San Jose Business Attorney
Four Decades of Business Law Experience, from the SEC to Silicon Valley
Richard Burt (JD, George Washington University, ’73) began his legal career at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., in 1973. Now an attorney rated “AV”* “Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, he heads his own law firm that serves the communities of the city of San Jose and of other cities in Santa Clara County, California as well as the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area. In the four intervening decades, Mr. Burt has garnered extensive legal experience at firms of various sizes: international commercial giant Wilmer Hale; the mid-sized Northern California firm Berliner Cohen; and, most recently, in practice for himself, after founding his own firm in 1984.
His firm now leverages this broad experience to provide boutique legal services in business matters and real estate matters to clients throughout California (as well as to out-of-state clients). The firm prides itself on providing to each client service of big-firm quality coupled with small-firm attentiveness. Whether the client is a large business enterprise, an entrepreneur just starting a business, or a professional in private practice, the firm has the ability to help.
Richard Burt’s Areas of Practice
Business Entity Formation: Mr. Burt organizes business entities, ranging from sole proprietorships and partnerships to corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs). His clients include existing businesses and startups, as well as founders of closely held companies, professionals, and investors in real estate. To learn more about this aspect of the firm’s practice, click here.
Outside General Counsel: Mr. Burt establishes relationships with existing businesses as well as with startups to provide ongoing outside general counsel. This allows both parties to establish a long-term counsel-client partnership based on mutual trust, and it provides the firm with an understanding of the particular needs and requirements of the client. Services provided under an outside-general-counsel arrangement can include review of standard agreements, drafting contracts, reviewing financing documents, advising on, negotiating, and preparing agreements for the purchase or sale of a business (M&A). As outside general counsel, the firm also provides the service of finding experts in other legal areas when the client needs a specialist. Read more about these services here.
Buy-Sell Agreements: A buy-out between co-owners of a business (including redemption of shares by the business entity) is often routine, but it can be the result of a tense, stressful negotiation. Mr. Burt is experienced in both these situations, and for those clients who wish to plan ahead, he helps avoid the disruption that a hostile buy-out negotiation causes by drafting a buy-sell agreement ahead of time. The firm chooses the most appropriate form of buy-sell agreement, taking into account such factors as the number of partners, the nature of the event that can trigger the purchase or sale, the value of the business, the method of payment (and security for a deferred payment), and many other complexities. For a longer discussion of the issues surrounding buy-sell agreements, click here.
Richard Burt Understands the Legal Issues Silicon Valley Businesses Face
Mr. Burt offers the knowledge, skill, and experience needed to help clients navigate the legal complexities inherent in business matters, large and small. If you are looking for a lawyer, contact Mr. Burt at (408) 286-7333 or use the contact form here to schedule a consultation. (Please do not include any confidential information in your inquiry.)
*A longer explanation of the Martindale-Hubbell rating system is available at the “Peer Review Rating” tab.
Richard Burt provides new businesses and established enterprises with high-quality legal services, including forming corporations, partnerships, and LLC’s, negotiating and drafting contracts, agreements, leases, and legal instruments, and advising clients on a wide range of business law issues. His typical clients are founders of closely-held businesses, corporate executives, real estate investors, and professionals, such as lawyers, architects, and physicians. Mr. Burt serves as outside general counsel for a number of closely-held companies, many of which are in San Jose and other cities in Santa Clara County (also known as Silicon Valley). Because of his in-depth knowledge and analytical ability concerning business law matters, he is frequently consulted by litigators and other lawyers.
Mr. Burt has been rated by Martindale-Hubbell as “AV Preeminent,” the highest possible rating. For more information about the Martindale-Hubbell rating system, click on the tab for “Peer Review Rating.”
Mr. Burt has extensive experience in the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of corporations, partnerships, and LLC’s, in drafting contracts of various kinds, including leasing, manufacturing, distribution, and service agreements, and in real estate and business transactions, including purchase and sale of a business, mergers and acquisitions, buy-sell agreements between co-owners, and purchase, financing, leasing, and sale of real property.
Mr. Burt has served three terms on the Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies Committee and two terms on the Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California. He has also served on the executive committees of the Business Law section and of the Real Property section of the Santa Clara County Bar Association.
In his capacity as a member of the two state bar committees mentioned above, he has drafted the text of various sections of the California Corporations Code and of the California Business & Professions Code that were enacted into law by the legislature.
Mr. Burt is a frequent lecturer on business law topics, and he has authored a number of articles and book chapters on business law topics. A partial list of speaking engagements and publications appears below.
Mr. Burt has also testified as an expert witness on business law matters.
Prior to establishing his own practice in 1984, Mr. Burt was associated with Berliner, Cohen & Biagini (now Berliner Cohen) in San Jose, and prior to that, with Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now Wilmer Hale) in Washington, D.C. He began his legal career with the Division of Enforcement of the Securities and Exchange Commission in its home office in Washington, D.C. in 1973.
Mr. Burt was graduated with honors from George Washington University in 1973 with a Juris Doctor degree. He was awarded membership in the honor society, Order of the Coif, and he was a member of the editorial staff of the George Washington Law Review. Mr. Burt was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Author, e-Bulletin, Delaware Court Holds Buyer in a Merger Transaction Can Access and Use Pre-Merger Communications with Seller’s Counsel (discussion of Delaware Court of Chancery decision in Great Hill Equity Partners) (Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California, 2013) .
Author, e-Bulletin, Excluding Assets from Personal Guaranties (Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California, 2013) (republished by the following committees: Insolvency Law Committee, Commercial Transactions Committee, Financial Institutions Committee, and Partnerships & LLCs Committee, 2013)
Author, e-Bulletin, AREI II Cases (third-party liability for fraud in the sale of securities) (Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California, 2013).
Author, Recent Cases of Interest, Business Law News, Issue 4, 2012.
Author, e-Bulletin, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Perry (business judgment rule defense not available for corporate officers)(Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California, 2012).
Author, “But It Was Only a Proposal…” A Cautionary Tale About Letters of Intent, 32 California Business Law Reporter, No. 5 (2011)
Author, e-Bulletin, Greb v. Diamond Int’l Corp. (Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California, 2010).
Author, e-Bulletin, Ahcom Ltd. v. Smeding (alter ego claims of creditors do not belong to trustee in bankruptcy)(Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California, 2010).
Contributor, Report Of The Opinions Committee Of The Business Law Section Of The State Bar Of California On Selected Legal Opinion Issues In Venture Capital Financing Transactions (2009).
Co-Author, Forming and Operating California Limited Liability Companies (CEB 2007) (2nd ed. and updates) (also 1st ed. and updates).
Contributor, Report on Legal Opinions Concerning California Partnerships by the Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California (1998).
Co-Author, Selecting & Forming Business Entities (CEB, 1996).
Contributor, Guide to Organizing and Operating a Limited Liability Company in California (State Bar Business Law Section, 1995).
Author: Negotiability of Promissory Notes in California Commercial Transactions 6 California Business Law Practitioner, No. 3 (1991).
Recent Speaking Engagements:
Mr. Burt has been a featured speaker to lawyers and accountants, community organizations, and CEB (CEB is a non-profit joint venture of the University of California and the State Bar of California). His most recent lectures were:
Drafting Buy-Sell Agreements: What the Form Book Won’t Tell You (webinar jointly sponsored by the Partnerships and LLC Committee and sponsored by the Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California) November 14, 2013.
Prepare for the Coming of the New LLC Law (sponsored by the Palo Alto Area Bar Association) November 12, 2013.
Prepare for the Coming of the New LLC Law (webinar jointly sponsored by the Partnerships and LLC Committee and by the Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California) April 4, 2013.
Essentials of California Corporations Law: Avoiding the Traps for the Unwary (Business Law Section of the State Bar of California)
Organizing California Limited Liability Companies (CEB)
Buy-Sell Agreements for Closely-Held Businesses (CEB)
Mistakes Lawyers Make in Forming Corporations (Santa Clara County Bar Association)
Please Call : (408) 286-7333