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Apr 25

Frequently Asked ‘US Legal’ Questions

Our Answers to your legal questions.

Have Questions? We are happy to provide you with Answers. We have compiled a list of our answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for you below:*

1. Why should use Norris Echetebu Law’s American legal expertise instead of a New Zealand-based Law firm for our US-related legal matters?

Answer: The lawyers at Norris Echetebu Law are highly specialized in American law and practice only American law. New Zealand law firms are specialized in New Zealand law. Although a few New Zealand law firms may be able to provide you with American legal advice, these firms are usually the most expensive firms in the country. They use American-trained lawyers within their firms or farm out the work to other big name international law firms with presence in the US market. Norris Echetebu Law will provide you with exceptional legal representation right here in New Zealand and in the United States, and at more affordable rate.

2. What is the difference between the American and New Zealand legal systems?

A: Although both the American and the New Zealand legal systems have their roots in the Common Law, the US legal system and American laws in general are very different in form and substance. First of all the American system is very large and complex, as it is made up of a federal level, a state level and a municipal level. Each level has different laws and regulations. Further, every state’s laws are different from each other, and each state has its own court and legislative system which are independent (sometimes) from the federal courts and the federal legislative branch. Even though they are independent, the federal laws and regulations are interwoven with the state laws and regulation. Only a lawyer trained and experienced in the American legal system, like the lawyers at Norris Echetebu Law, can guide you through this complex system.

3. I would like to start/expand my New Zealand business into the American market, what do I need to know?

A: There are a number of important considerations that must be undertaken prior to initiating your American enterprise. Some of these include choosing the best legal entity through which you run your business (partnership, joint-venture, Limited Liability Corporation, etc) and making the decision as to the best location for your business (in terms of which State’s laws are most friendly to the business format you have chosen). Additionally, it is important to seek an American Lawyer’s advice on potential risks and exposure to liabilities on both the personal and business levels. Norris Echetebu Law lawyers are highly experienced in business law and can provide you with the necessary advice to grow your business into the lucrative American market.

4. What do I need to know do if I’m entering into business with an American firm?

A: First and foremost, do not agree to anything without a contract in place. We advise you to act on the assumption that the American is most likely represented by highly-skilled legal counsel and thus, that you should do the same. We highly recommend that you seek the counsel of an experienced American business lawyer before you sign your contracts. All too often, Norris Echetebu Law deals with New Zealand clients who come to us when they are in trouble that resulted from not having proper legal counsel during their business and contract negotiations. A lot of times, these clients end up being sued in the United States and face costly defence costs that may have been avoided had proper American legal counsel been sought. The lawyers at Norris Echetebu Law are highly experienced in the intricacies of negotiating, analyzing and drafting of business agreements and can help you avoid costly legal problems.

5. How do I incorporate my business in the United States and where?

A: We applaud you for your interest in expanding your business ideas into the lucrative US markets. That being said, there are many considerations and intricate steps that must be taken in order to properly incorporate your business in the US and we caution you to seek the advice of American legal counsel while doing so. As discussed in Question 2 above, the US legal system is a complex one and each state has its own laws and regulations. There are states that are friendlier to business than others when it comes to regulation, taxation and court decisions. Incorporating you in a US state that will best suit your business’s unique requirements in such a way as to provide you with the best protection from liabilities and to increase your profit margin by reducing taxation issues are some of the many things the lawyers at Norris Echetebu Law can do for you.

6. Do I need an American lawyer to review my contract with an American business?

A: We highly suggest it. See our response to Question 4 above.

7. I am being sued in the United States, what should I do?

A: We advise that you immediately seek the advice of an American lawyer. American litigation is very aggressive and we do not advise that you attempt to defend yourself without proper legal counsel. Norris Echetebu Laws lawyers are highly-experienced litigators on both the Plaintiff and Defence sides. If you find yourself facing litigation in the United States, please call us immediately so we can preserve your rights.

8. I was injured while in the US, do I have any rights?

A: US law allows injured parties to recover damages if their injury was caused by the negligence of another party. When you are injured in the US, you may be entitled recover monetary awards for medical expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement and impairment, loss of wages, loss of profit, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and sometimes punitive damages. If you have been injured, we advise that you immediately the lawyers at Norris Echetebu Law so that we can assess your case and provide you with representation if needed. We also advise that you do not attempt to negotiate directly with the party who injured you or any insurance company as this may result in a waiver of your potential claims and a substantial reduction or bar to any recoverable amounts to which you may be entitled.

9. Someone in the US owes me money, how do I collect?

A: Unfortunately, this is an issue that we face quite often from our New Zealand clients. While collecting from a US party may seem like a daunting and time-consuming effort, we advise that you seek the advice of US counsel prior to making the decision of whether to pursue collection or not. We can provide asset-location services and can help you determine if the debt owed to you have a likelihood of being paid by the US party. Additionally, we can help you secure and register a judgment in the US courts against the party who owes you money which will preserve your rights to enforce and collect from the party who owes you the debt.

10. I would like to buy (or sell) property in the United States, what do I need to do?

A: Buying and selling property in the United States have different, detailed and complex procedures than in New Zealand. It is best to have US legal counsel draft and review any real estate agreements into which you are contemplating entering.

11. I would like to live/work in the United States, how do I get the necessary visa?

A: The US offers several categories of visas to people who want to visit or work there. To determine if you may qualify to apply for a US work or long-stay visa, please contact us to discuss an assessment.

* No Legal Advice or Attorney-Client Relationship. The information contained above is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal or other professional advice or services. Your use of the Norris Echetebu Law website does not create an attorney-client or confidential relationship between you and the firm or any of its attorneys. Information on this website should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax, and/or other professional advisors. Nothing in the site is to be considered as either creating an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Norris Echetebu Law, it’s lawyers or any of its affiliated businesses or as rendering of legal advice for any specific matter. Readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel. No client or other reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information contained in the Norris Echetebu Law website without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue.