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Closely-Held Businesses

The Goulston & Storrs Closely-Held Businesses group represents small, medium and large family-owned and other closely-held businesses. We represent businesses at each stage of development, from start-up through maturity, and often over the course of several generations of ownership. We counsel and advise businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals and individuals. Our clients are engaged in a wide spectrum of businesses, including manufacturing, retail, real estate development and management, service, technology and healthcare.

We have particular experience in representing family-owned businesses and are sensitive to the dynamic interplay of family and business issues. Clients of the firm regard their lawyers as trusted advisors with whom they can discuss the full range of business, personal and family matters. Due to the varied needs of family-owned and other closely-held businesses, a multi-disciplinary team approach is often most effective. Members of the firm’s Corporate and Tax group frequently work closely with attorneys in other practice areas, such as Private Client and Trust, Real Estate and Litigation, to make certain that all of the client’s business and legal needs are being addressed. We also work closely with our clients' other professional advisors, including accountants, financial and insurance consultants and other participants on the client's advisory team. Goulston & Storrs was instrumental in the founding of the Northeastern University Center for Family Business as the Center’s exclusive law firm sponsor and is also active in the national and local chapters of the Family Firm Institute.

The Closely-Held Businesses group provides practical legal and business advice on matters ranging from everyday operational concerns to guiding clients through the most significant events in the lifecycle of their businesses. We have substantial experience representing closely-held businesses and their owners, including:

  • Structuring and formation of corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs) and partnerships
  • Ownership and management succession planning, including estate and succession planning for owners of family businesses with children both active and inactive in the business. 
  • Governance and evolving board composition
  • Financing transactions of all kinds, including public and private offerings of securities, secured and unsecured loans and bond financings
  • Stockholder and employee relationships
  • Commercial contracts
  • Joint ventures and other strategic alliances, both domestic and international
  • Protection of intellectual property
  • Acquisitions, mergers, restructurings, management buy-outs and other business reorganizations

Representative Projects and Transactions

  • Series of acquisitions for a Boston-based printing and engraving company.
  • Ownership transfer to the second generation of a family-owned manufacturing company, including stockholder and buy-sell agreements among the new owners.
  • Longtime general counsel through three generations of a $500 million textile manufacturer with international operations.
  • Deferred compensation plan for key executives of a large seafood processing company.
  • Drafting and assisting in the implementation of sexual harassment and other employment policies for a national chain of health care facilities.
  • Longstanding counsel to the family owners of a national chain of cinemas and retail department stores.
  • Representation of a group of stockholders of a New York state beverage distributor in a contested intra-family buyout.
  • Sale of the largest event planning company in  New England to an affiliate of Fidelity Investments.

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