New Blog Focuses on Disputes in Family Businesses

With the spectacle of the Frank and Jamie McCourt divorce being played out in a Los Angeles courtroom, there might be no better time for the launch of Our Family Business at Odds, a new legal blog that focuses on the unique legal issues that arise when family-owned businesses suffer internal meltdowns.

Launched by the Boston law firm Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers, the blog describes itself as “dedicated to the unique issues of helping family members in family businesses avoid, mediate and litigate (if you must) family business disputes.” It is written by various lawyers at the firm and also includes contributions by a family-business consultant.

And, yes, the blog includes posts about the McCourt trial, including one earlier this month with the particularly prescient title, Do Documents Mean What They Say? The McCourt Family Business Battle. Another recent post considers the balance between aggressive litigation tactics and underlying family relationships. Another observes that, while breakdowns in family businesses are often cast as financial disputes, in truth they are never about the money.

“Family businesses … are not like every other business,” partner Edward D. Tarlow writes in an introduction to the blog. “Family businesses are personal and evoke strong emotions, which sometime go back generations, which can make them especially volatile. These strong emotions must be taken into account when attempting to resolve disputes.”

I have seen other legal blogs that sometimes touch on the business, estate-planning and tax aspects of family-owned businesses, but this is the first I’ve seen devoted exclusively to their internal legal disputes. (If you know of others, please add a comment below.)