Continuing as part of our series on Due Diligence, we have already outlined Financial Due Diligence, and this time we will take a look at due diligence regarding issues that are more legal in nature.

As part of the due diligence process, it is important that you have the legal documents of the business reviewed, just like you would the business’ financial statements. This can help identify irregularities or potential problems with the acquisition. In addition to documents to review, it may also be a good idea to interview the owners and employees of the company to see if what happens in practice with the business lines up with its legal documentation.

Some of the documents to review include:

  • Articles of Incorporation/Organization, Bylaws/Operating Agreement, or any other equivalent document (like a Partnership Agreement)
  • Minutes of meetings as well as any stock or other buy-sell agreements between owners regarding their ownership interests
  • Documents showing capitalization of the company (meaning who are the stock or ownership interest holders)
  • Major contracts the company has with its suppliers, distributors, etc.
    • This can also include employment contracts
  • Insurance policies benefiting the company
  • Any intellectual property rights, licenses, trade secret information etc.
  • Documents relating to any lawsuits against the company

These documents will indicate how the company has been formed, as well as who all of the owners are, what types of restrictions have been placed on the company or its owners, and other key legal issues. This can help determine if there will be any complications regarding the transaction, as well as if the business has been run properly and in accordance with the legal documents. Additionally, having this type of documentation reviewed can help understand the business better, which can also help in determining a good valuation of the company. Finally, having these legal documents reviewed can also provide insight into existing or potential liabilities the business is exposed to, so you can understand what you are getting yourself into by purchasing the business.

If you need assistance with legal help and/or document drafting for your business sale, please contact the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Attorney, Elizabeth Lewis, at 720-258-6647 or email her at