Ownership & Leadership Transition

Top Washington Winery Looks to Next Generation

Founded in 1983 by Jean and Baker Ferguson, L’Ecole No. 41 has become one of the most dominant wineries in the state of Washington. Much of the credit, however, goes to the second generation in this family business. Their son, Marty Clubb and his wife, Megan, have continued the effort and grown it to an award-winning $8 million per year enterprise. And now the time has come for them to think ...Continue Reading

Recap: Powell’s Book’s | The Rise of an Empire

Who Owns the Family Name?

Passing on the Business to the Next Generation: Not for Everyone

Parent, Child and Participation vs. Ownership: A Family Business Dilemma

Keeping the “Family” in Family Business: Succession of Ownership Does Not Always Mean Succession of Control and Income

Governance & Business Operations

Scales for weighing with a house and percent sign.

Proposed Regulations Would Curtail Most Valuation Discounts for Family-Owned Businesses

2016 Planning Opportunity Recently proposed Treasury Regulations (“Proposed Regulations”), if enacted as proposed, would curtail valuation discounts that currently reduce the value of certain business interests transferred during life or at death for gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer tax purposes. The limitation or elimination of these discounts will increase the value of a transfer of certain business interests made during lifetime, or such assets included in a decedent’s estate, in turn ...Continue Reading

Do Securities Laws Apply to the Family Business?

Earn-out Pitfalls for Business Owners

The Next Generation

Event Recap: Transitioning to Sibling and Cousin Generations

2016 NACD Private Company Governance Survey Results

Growth & Exit Strategies

Funnel flow flat line style concept illustration

Top Ten Seller Mistakes

In his recently published book, Perfect your Exit Strategy:  Seven Steps to Maximum Value, Seattle investment banker Thomas Metz highlights what he sees as the top ten mistakes made by sellers of businesses.  Family-owned businesses are not immune from these mistakes.  We present a brief summary of the list with Mr. Metz’s permission:  Confusing Price with Value. The buyer and seller need to agree on price, not value.  The price can be ...Continue Reading

The Difficulty of Succession Planning

What’s Next: After the Sale of a Family Business

Family Business in China – Is There A Succession Crisis?

Valuing Interests in the Family Business

Deferred Payments and Earnouts – A Potential Source of Family Discord

Estate Planning


Be Careful with Living Trusts that Own S Corporation Stock

In many states, Living Trusts are a person’s key estate planning document.  Living Trusts are created to hold assets during life and then dispose of those assets at death according to the person’s directions (here, we will call the person making the Living Trust the “Grantor.”  Living Trusts thus operate much like a Will, but, unlike a Will, Living Trusts have the benefit of avoiding probate.  This makes them common ...Continue Reading

Succession & Estate Planning Fundamentals for Business Owners

Plan to Communicate

Preserving Your Family Business (or Sale Proceeds) for Generations

Effectively Utilize Your Combined Federal Gift and Estate Tax Exemption

Your Estate Plan – Four Documents You Should Be Considering



Harder to Let Go?

Family-owned businesses have a hard time letting go of underperforming employees – harder than other businesses might.  At least this is the thesis of Wayne Rivers of the Family Business Institute in his recent article in The Wall Street Journal.  Mr. Rivers does not cite any statistics to support the prevalence of this issue, but it is not counterintuitive.  Family-owned businesses – especially in their early days – are primarily ...Continue Reading

The Cowles Company

Does “Hobby Lobby” Apply to My Family Business?

Simple Cafeteria Plans – Key to Keeping Key Employees

Essential Employment Policies for Family Businesses, Part II

Essential Employment Policies for Family Businesses, Part I

Beyond Business


(Not) All in the Family

On June 7, Davis Wright Tremaine hosted its annual Farm To Label event at the Nines Hotel in Portland, Oregon. The event was an unqualified success, drawing hundreds of registered guests, including industry experts, business owners and operators and funding sources of all kinds. We were proud to hear attendees and participants alike once again refer to it as one of the premiere West Coast gatherings for the food and beverage industry.   Among ...Continue Reading

Around the Pacific Northwest: Family Business Events You Won’t Want to Miss

Seattle Family Business Exchange

Introducing: The Family Owned Business Guide

6 Tips for Rebuilding Trust in a Family Business

Philanthropy and the Family-Owned Business