JUSTLAW

The Importance of Website Terms of Use

INTRODUCTION

On a website, ‘Terms of use’, which are more often referred to as the ‘Terms of Service’ or Terms and Conditions’ (hereafter, “Terms”) set out rules and regulations which are applicable to the visitors of a website or mobile application. Despite their importance, many entrepreneurs and other site operators often copy these Terms from other sites, giving very little thought to their unique application. At JUSTLAW, we always caution against doing so, as these terms should be tailored to your business and its customers, and they do carry important legal significance.  Read on to learn more.  (Est. read time 2-3 minutes)

At bottom, these Terms are a legal document. They create a contractual relationship between the website visitor and the website owner. Such Terms clarify various aspects of that relationship,  from conditions of providing service, IP ownership, the code of conduct of one user in relation to the other, limits of liability if something goes wrong, disclaimers, and how a user can be suspended from usage.[1]

NEED FOR ‘TERMS OF USE (ToU)’

Because of the legal nature and protection afforded by Terms, they are a ‘must- have’ for all the parties who desire to run their business or offer service efficiently and without any hindrance. These Terms are essentially sine qua non for every company or business who desires to flourish online. This furnishes a need for the development of code of conduct to regulate the user-service provider relation and at the same time govern the relation among different users with ensuring minimal interference with their right to privacy and self-expression.

IMPORTANCE AND ADVANTAGES OF ‘TERMS OF USE’

While is it true that a business does not require legally to set up Terms at the initial stage of their business, to ensure clarity and avoid misunderstanding any good business attorney will recommend that you do so. Such Terms and conditions legalize the control of the service provider on deliberating as to what is acceptable and what is not.[2]

There are a number of inherent advantages that are provided by the Terms.  One of the most important is permitting a site owner to limit the scope of their liability by adding disclaimers, affording substantial protection to the owner in case any error presents itself on the website. Another important benefit of setting up such governing regulations is allowing the effective use and applicability of the Intellectual property law which allow the website owner to product their trademarks, copyrights, patent and other intellectual property or proprietary rights which may be registered or not. This advantage allows the website owner to protect their content, logo, design etc. Furthermore, such terms and conditions are one of the main policies of every company or website owner which  ensure that their website offers a safe environment, free from any abuse, misuse etc. It also allows parties to establish guidelines for suspending account, to mention the laws applicable and the terms to be followed in case a dispute arises.

CONCLUSION: HOW CAN WE DRAFT A STRONG TERMS OF USE DOCUMENT?

Terms of Use plays a Pivotal role in governing the relationship between the owner of the website or service provider and the user for the time period till the service provider carry out his operations, therefore, utilizing term of use which are not properly drafted to cater the need and requirements can be titled as a perilous approach. There are many ways of creating Terms of Use; one may simply duplicate the sample available online or use a terms of use generator. One of the best option available is to hire a professional lawyer who is well-versed in such technical drafting. A good business lawyer can not only draft a strong document of terms of use which may protect the service provider but at the same time allow such Terms to be flexible in case of occurrence of any contingencies.[3]

JUSTLAW founder appears on Legal Tech Startup Focus Podcast

JUSTLAW founder & CEO Jason Gabbard was recently interviewed by leading legal tech podcast, the Legal Tech StartUp Focus Podcast, hosted by legal industry veteran Charlie Uniman. 

In this terrific episode, Jason dives right into a recounting of his career and, we learn, it is a varied one from a business standpoint.  A Winding Career

logo for Legal Tech Startup Focus

After law school, Jason spends four years in corporate law at NYC law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Jason goes on from there to:

(i) found, in the early 2000’s, a “distributed” law firm, (ii) to create a legal tech startup in 2010 that extracts M&A deal clauses from SEC databases and that, with humans in-the-loop, also analyzes those clauses and (iii) to found Counselytics, another legal tech startup, one that automates much of the analytics that went into Jason’s previous startup’s clause-based work.  

Jason has successful exits from both of the above-mentioned startups. And, in fact, for several years works at Conga, the company that acquired Counselytics. All this leads to Charlie and Jason discussing the (over?) abundance of companies in the CLM space and the frothiness in the market for investing in legal tech startup (and in startups, in general).

Charlie and Jason next turn to Jason’s latest venture, JUSTLAW, that aggregates small business demand for legal services and surfaces that demand to solo and small/medium-sized firm practitioners.  What’s of particular note here is that the practitioners charge for their services available on the basis of a tiered monthly subscription model (with the tiers corresponding to different levels of lawyer services).

Lessons Learned

Jason concludes this podcast episode with words of wisdom to other legal tech startup founders/leaders (i) who are eyeing (or may someday eye) an M&A exit, (ii) whose startups are deluged with customer feature requests, (iii) who are building senior level teams and (iv) who are just moving from practicing law to starting up a legal company.

How to use FL’s Sunbiz to form an LLC

Using Florida’s Sunbiz: What to Know Now

Quick primer from your friends at JUSTLAW on how to use Florida’s Sunbiz system (3 min read)

Florida is on fire these days from a business and cultural perspective. For that and other reasons, we see a lot of folks wanting to form new companies in Florida. If you want to form an LLC in Florida, you should read on. There are 4 steps to get your LLC started:
    1. Understand the requirements for filing your LLC’s Articles of Organization.
    2. Assemble and organize the information you’ll need to file.
    3. Complete the online Sunbiz Articles of Organization.
    4. Pay for the filing with an acceptable method of payment.

FAQs

Where can I find more information about starting and running a business in Florida?

The Florida Division of Corporations has published a very helpful set of content to answer most general questions that is available free of charge on their website.

How can I pay when filing my Articles of Organization?

There are multiple options, but we recommend using your credit card.

Is the name of my LLC available for use?

Good question. To answer it, just head over to the Sunbiz name search tool to perform a free search.

Do I have to file online?

No. But we find it to be the fastest, most convenient manner of filing.  But you can also download an Articles of Organization application and then submit your application and payment by mail. When submitting by mail, you must pay with either a money order or check.

Do I need to hire a registered agent?

No. But many entrepreneurs do for a few reasons. A registered agent agrees to ALWAYS accept mail and lawsuits on behalf of the business. You may move and change addresses in the future, but the agent won’t (or at least will keep the records updated). In addition, hiring a registered agent, like JUSTLAW, will help you personally keep private. Many entrepreneurs value the privacy.

After filing the Articles of Organization, how long will it take for them to be processed and posted?

It depends on how you filed and current demand, but it’s typically fast. Sunbiz is a remarkably efficient engine for the State of Florida. If your Articles of Organization were submitted and paid for online, they are processed in the order received, which typically results in a 2-3 day processing time. If you submit the Articles by mail, expect processing time in the 3-5 business days range.

How can online forms be signed? 

Under s.15.16, F.S. typing your name will fulfill the signature requirement. Legally, e-signatures are the same as physical signatures. If you sign someone else’s name without their permission, this is considered forgery.

How do I get a copy of my Articles of Organization?

After your Articles of Organization have been posted, you can download a free copy at Sunbiz.

Why would my application be rejected?

Every application will be closely reviewed to make sure they meet state requirements. In the event your application is rejected, you likely failed to fulfill one of these requirements.

What can I do after my application has been rejected?

You can make any necessary corrections to your Articles of Organization by visiting the Sunbiz website and entering your PIN and tracking number.

Limited Liability Company Name

Florida, like most (if not all) states, requires you to have a unique name for your LLC.

Before you submit your formation documents, you should perform a search to determine the availability of your LLC name. In addition, make sure that the name of your company includes the words limited liability company, or LLC/L.L.C. If you’re establishing a professional limited liability company, the name of your company should include the abbreviations PLLC or P.L.L.C, or the words Professional Limited Liability Company or Chartered. You should not use your LLC name until it has been approved by the Division of Corporations.

Requirements

When submitting your formation documents, you should make sure to include the following:

    1. The business name
    2. The business purpose of the LLC (eg, “to engage in the sale of apparel”)
    3. The principal place of business of the company
    4. The mailing address of your LLC (or other entity), if different
    5. The registered agent’s name
    6. The registered agent’s mailing address
    7. Signature of the registered agent

Optionally, you may include the names and addresses of the managers and authorized representatives of the LLC.

If you need help with your LLC Sunbiz filing, you can use the JUSTLAW marketplace to find a top attorney at an affordable price. At JUSTLAW, we have over 300 attorneys in our network, and many of them are drawn from top law schools like Yale and Harvard, and have worked in the top firms in the world.

How to Form an LLC Quickly and Cheaply

Most lawyers won’t tell you this, but you can form an LLC by yourself. It’s fast and affordable. You’ll need a little patience and attention to detail, but that’s it. And for a very limited time, JUSTLAW will even do the work for you. Free of charge!  That’s right. See the button below for more details.  (Estimated 3 min read)

1. The LLC Business Type
2. Clear the Name
3. Get a Registered Agent
4. File the Articles of Organization

Want to form a limited liability company (LLC) yourself, quickly and cheaply? To do so, you need to select a business name, appoint a registered agent (which in some cases can be you), file the Articles of Organization, obtain an Employer Identification Number, and open a business bank account. The time and cost associated with forming a new LLC varies by state.

The LLC Business Type

The LLC entity type is probably the most popular business type in 2021. This popularity stems from its flexible nature, limited liability protection and ease of administration, especially in contrast with traditional corporations. Many entrepreneurs would like to set up an LLC, but have avoided it due to time and costs. A traditional attorney might charge upwards of $2,500 to form an LLC and complete and prepare the associated paperwork. This essential primer will help you understand how you can form an LLC by yourself.

Clear the Name

Searching your state’s database of corporate names before you file the Articles of Organization might be a good idea. If your name is relatively common, someone else may have already taken it. That would lead to your filing being rejected. Many secretaries of state, such as Delaware, have free, online databases where you can research the availability of any name you have in mind. In some states, you can even reserve a name online by paying a small fee. Naming requirements may vary slightly from state to state, but generally you must assure:

  1. Your LLC name must differ from the names of other businesses that are already registered in the state; and
  2. Your LLC name must contain a limited liability signifier, such as “LLC”, or “Limited Liability Company”. Eg, ACME LLC.

Get a Registered Agent

The name and address of a registered agent are normally required on the formation papers for your LLC. An agent is a person or entity tasked with receiving legal papers on behalf of your LLC in the event that your company is sued. The agent must have a physical address in the state and must be available during work hours on all workdays for this purpose.

Get Your Free LLC Today

File the Articles of Organization

Articles or Organization are usually submitted to the state’s Secretary of State along with a filing fee. When the Secretary of State accepts your Articles of Organization, your LLC has officially been formed. Many states will accept articles and have your company “live” in 24-48 hours. This document provides the fundamental details on your business, such as:

  • The name and address of the company.
  • The business purpose of the company (e.g., “to engage in e-commerce cat food sales”).
  • A statement on whether the company will be managed by a manager or the members.
  • The name and address of the registered agent of the LLC.

Although successfully filing the Articles of Organization indicates that the state recognizes the LLC, there are additional steps to get yourself truly in business.

After the Articles have been filed and accepted, other considerations are:

  • Publishing the Articles of Organization. In some states, such as New York, new LLCs must publish the fact of their formation in a local newspaper and to file an affidavit of publication with the state. Publication costs can exceed $1,000, so you should consider this fact when selecting a state.
  • Drafting an operating agreement. You will not file your operating agreement with the state, but you need one as an internal contract between the members of the company. If you have partners, or other members, you should likely find a good business lawyer to help you with this work.
  • Procure an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Banks and governments both require an employer identification number. This number acts, in essence, as a social security number for your new company. EINs are available free at the IRS website.
  • Getting a business bank account. Your LLC will need a business bank account or the members’ limited liability protection can be called into question by the authorities.
  • Determine if your business requires a license.  Some states or cities may require you to obtain licenses to do business. It varies by jurisdiction and a complete survey is beyond the scope of this primer, but Google will at least get you started.

Hopefully, this primer gives budding entrepreneurs all they need to set up an LLC alone. If not, and you’d still like to set up your own LLC, for a limited time (through Labor Day 2021), JUSTLAW will do the paperwork for free. JUSTLAW maintains a network of over 300 attorneys in all 50 states. Our lawyers graduated from places like Harvard, Yale, Berkeley and UVA.   Click the button below to get started.

Get Your Free LLC Today