“Ignorance of the law is no good excuse…”
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
There are two divergent approaches to getting legal protection. Getting it early reminds me of the Thomas Hobbes quote of, “Ignorance of the law is no good excuse”. Getting it late reminds me of the Warren Zevon song, “send lawyers, guns and money”. I favour Hobbes’ advice, and when entering the US market it makes sense to get legal advice early on. However, knowing where to start and who to trust can be confusing but recent articles on product liability, US immigration law, and US employment law provide some sage advice from lawyers with experience in both Australia and the US.
Product Liability: Keeping Everybody Safe
The first article by Patrick Fazzone discusses product liability. Patrick stresses the importance of designing and manufacturing your product with customer safety in mind, and also the importance of providing adequate product information to explain the proper use of the product. Management of those issues can be done by your company’s management with input from an experienced lawyer.
Employment Law: Managing Australian and US Employees in America
The second article by Naomi Sheridan covers a range of employment law issues that can easily be overlooked if you are setting up a US office, store or factory. Even if you are buying an existing US business it is important to review its operations to ensure that it is compliant with the patchwork of state and federal employment regulations in the US.
As well as the regulations that govern employee-employer relationships, you also need to be aware of the immigration regulations that allow you to bring your Australian employees to the US as visitors or as employees at your US office. A lawyer that handles immigration matters on a daily basis can guide you through the administrative process and help you avoid delays in the application process or any problems at the border. Noah Klug from the Melbourne law firm Nevett Ford published a great article on business travel to the US. The article highlights the basic visa categories while also providing insight to the legal nuances that can lead to either success or disaster when entering the US for business purposes. Noah is a US immigration lawyer based in Australia which gives him the benefit of seeing his home country from an outsider’s point of view.
to ask your network who they recommend. If you don’t know any Australian companies working in the US then contact the Australian companies mentioned throughout my blog and ask them who they use for legal advice in the US and Australia.
If you want to provide input on other legal issues affecting Australian companies in the US then comment on this blog or send me a message via email or Twitter: