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Discover Our Areas of Legal Practice in Veterinary Law

Associate Contract Review and Drafting

Helpful Guidance for New Grads and Seasoned Associates

It’s a big decision for a veterinarian to sign an employment contract. Will the compensation package support my expenses? What is the true value of the group health insurance? Does the non-compete language represent a fair compromise between my goals and the clinic owner’s reasonable desire to protect her business?
Once that contract is signed, its terms last for a long time. The best bet is to have the agreement reviewed by a professional with extensive experience in evaluating and negotiating veterinary employment contracts. Among the many cost-effective services we provide for associates are:

  • Non-competition terms: We can quickly and efficiently examine the terms of the covenant not to compete and provide guidance as to their appropriateness. And analyze their enforceability.
  • Renewal terms: Does the agreement expire or renew automatically? What if I miss the notice period for re-negotiation? Will I forfeit the opportunity to discuss a raise?
  • Analysis of the true pecuniary value of the compensation package: Profit sharing, health coverage, license, and CE/vacation PTO all have an economic worth. Further, we have helped hundreds of generalists and specialists sort out the confusing elements of “Pro-Sal” compensation programs.

Often we can “fix” a contract that has been presented by an employer by redrafting or suggesting minor language changes which work better for the hiring practice as well as the practitioner to be hired.

Boarded and Board-eligible Veterinarians Sometimes Have Unique Needs

Sometime that extra training brings with it some extra confusion when it comes to working out an employment contract. Specialists have unique needs with respect to their facilities and equipment requirements and the length and geographical limits of their covenants not to compete.

Drafting of Employment Agreements for Practices, Partners, and Clinic Shareholders

A clearly drafted (but not unnecessarily wordy) employment contract is critical when hiring a new associate. The perfect agreement is detailed enough to address everyone’s rights and obligations, but sufficiently concise that it doesn’t scare off a new DVM prospect with superfluous legalese.

And a well-crafted employment contract can be even more critical where partners are employed at a hospital with multiple owners, perhaps including minority partners.

What salary is justified for a newly admitted partner? Should it be based on hours, productivity, time spent in management or some combination? We’ve worked out these subtleties for countless vets over the years and can help your practice, too.

Practice Purchases and Partnership Proposals

We'll guide you through the areas where you need help.

Purchasing or Starting a Veterinary Practice

Starting out to practice on your own is a big step – and potentially very rewarding. But it has to be done right: Right price, right tax treatment, right real estate/leasing/zoning, and environmental compliance moves.

Call aVL to discuss the nuances of your practice acquisition or start-up plans, and we can guide you through the areas where you need help. And the things you can probably do yourself to save money, time, and heartache.

Partnership Offers

Unsure if the partnership or a practice share buy-in is for you? Are you considering a partnership offer to a colleague or employee? We can help you crunch the numbers and review the risks and benefits (emotional and economic) of that big career move. Then, we can help you prepare the paperwork from the offer to close. We’ve worked with the top banks, finance companies and insurers so you won’t be going it alone. And we’ve set up and closed out enough partnerships to know exactly how to prepare your documentation for the unexpected: disability, death, changes in a partner’s career decision, or a sudden influx of competition affecting debt service.

Veterinary Entrepreneurship and Web Enterprises

We can guide you through regulatory, leasing, and compliance issues.

Non-traditional Practice Opportunities

Our profession lends itself to thinking “outside the box.” Veterinarians, with or without non-DVM partners, frequently come up with something new… a different way to practice or a veterinary-related business that is synergistic with – or an alternative to – traditional practice.

Our clients have expanded into myriad side- and alternative- entrepreneurial ventures, and we are proud to have helped them throughout the process. Whether it’s starting up a dog-walking service, building up a hydrotherapy practice, or creating an SPF lab animal supply company, aVL welcomes entrepreneurs and can guide them through regulatory, leasing, and compliance issues.

Internet Start-Ups and Web-Based Services

The internet has ushered in a new era of opportunity for veterinarians and their co-entrepreneurs. We are pleased to have assisted numerous individuals and businesses with the legal nuts and bolts of launching and conducting animal- and veterinary-related cyber-businesses. Practice act compliance is one of the cornerstones of our consulting and legal work. We are available to discuss your potential or growing web-based veterinary venture.

Veterinary Exit Strategies and Estate Plans

We're here to guide you through the process.

Trying To Ease Out of Veterinary Practice

...can be every bit as challenging as getting into the career. Retirement or semi-retirement brings with them many key decisions: How do I cultivate a buyer for my practice? Can I negotiate a way to keep working in the field, albeit with a reduced and more flexible schedule? Should I sell my clinic real estate, and how can I minimize the taxes if I do?

Strategic Guidance on the Issues You Face

Let us help by providing strategic guidance on these and many other retirement issues faced by veterinary professionals, including:

  • Practice valuation
  • Assessment of benefits/drawbacks to providing seller financing
  • COBRA compliance and employee benefit obligations
  • Locating and identifying creditworthy potential purchasers
  • Dealing with corporate veterinary practices as potential clinic buyers
  • Non-disclosure documents and Seller Non-compete considerations
  • Long-term care insurance planning/estate tax planning/family succession strategies

Malpractice and State Board Allegations

Helping you avoid – and, if necessary, defend against - lawsuits.

Our Approach to Malpractice Claims

It can be upsetting when a client accuses a veterinarian of negligence or misconduct and it’s demoralizing when a client threatens or actually files a lawsuit alleging malpractice. It’s hard to know what to do first; particularly if the proper insurance is not in place.

Our office helps clients work through the process of avoiding – and if necessary, defending against – lawsuits brought by clients, shelters, municipalities, and others. We can help you decide what steps to take, how to manage conversations with an accuser, and what evidence needs to be assembled and/or preserved. And sometimes our advice can be helpful even before a claim is made… when a medical or surgical case ‘just isn’t going the way it should.’

Our experience can be there for you, for your insurance-appointed attorneys, as well as for your employer. We look out for the interests of veterinarians; ‘plaintiff’ cases against veterinarians are not accepted.

State Board, DEA and State Narcotics Investigations

Virtually every day a new statute or regulation is enacted, placing new restrictions and/or obligations on our veterinary licenses. Sometimes doctors and even licensed technicians run afoul of these rules, often without even realizing that they have done so.

When a federal, state, or local agency undertakes an investigation or pursues a client complaint claiming that a rule has been broken or a standard of care has not been met, the stakes are high. A license suspension or revocation can be costly and even make it difficult to earn a living.

The best time to seek information about a potential claim against a veterinarian is at the earliest possible point. So call us. If we can assist you, we will; if not, we will aim you in the best direction to get help at no charge.