About Lawrence B. Morse
Life Lessons and Practical Solutions. I love working with my clients and they know I will do my best for them, listen well, and use my training and experience for creative solutions. Clients appreciate that I treat them with a kind, caring attitude; but there is a tough side for adversarial situations. My years of experience and keeping up with the law allow me to use forms I developed or from Continuing Legal Education materials updated frequently. Our recent IT upgrade allows us to handle documents even more efficiently using a law office management program, CLIO. Through it, I offer clients a secure web client portal for viewing and downloading important documents. I was fortunate to go to Harvard College on a full scholarship and graduate with honors. I taught English in public high school for a while, learning much from my students from all backgrounds. After that experience, I made the most of the excellent training that I got at Boston University Law School. While higher education alone does not produce practical smarts, my upbringing and attending the “school of hard knocks” taught me the value of preparation and perseverance and of understanding other’s needs. I apply my God-given gifts for excellent writing, original thinking, advocacy, and planning for personal and business legal matters.
Working with Clients. I listen well to learn what needs to be done and give sympathetic and thoughtful advice about how best to take preventive measures or handle a matter. Growing up in the small city of Rutland Vermont, my family and I sometimes faced hardships and worked to change tough situations. Those experiences and the years since taught me how to work well with clients from all walks of life. I learned the value of building relationships and many of my clients have been with me for a long time and/or return for new matters. Our rates are competitive in the area and we detail our work on statements. We charge nominally for most consults, do an initial review of what you need and of how and whether we can help and discuss costs. In those meetings, you will be given answers to your questions. We send out checklists and questionnaires in advance. We use a V.O.I.P phone system that instantly sends messages to my cell phone. I mull over the best ways to handle clients’ legal issues – at odd times of the day or night – solving problems requires insights. Applying legal requirements to real-life situations needs to be tempered by hard-won wisdom and the client’s wishes. I, with a client’s help, often eliminate whatever box his client finds herself/himself in by “thinking out-of-the-box.” As one happy client said recently:
“I am extremely grateful for his help, patience, sincerity, legal counsel and support during a challenging time. For this fairly complex document, his working with me made all the difference.” E. C.
I represent both businesses and individuals in employment and other matters. This can give me an edge in evaluating client issues from the other side, arguments, strategies and the best way to negotiate. Thus, I am a member both of the Society for Human Resource Management “SHRM” and the Massachusetts Employee Lawyers Association “MELA” with resources from both – for helping management and employees. I often consult with other counsel either through listservs or calling lawyers/ firms that I have worked with. I assist laid off or terminated employees, executives, middle and upper managers, and other employees. With a large collection of legal forms and checklists, I negotiate/ review / prepare severance agreements, employment contracts, settlement agreements and other documents.
Businesses have a variety of legal issues. Knowing the laws that businesses must obey helps me set up preventative measures or solve crises. For businesses, I negotiate reasonable severance and settlement agreements, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements with language protecting trade secrets, preventing raiding and unfair competition by former employees. I prepare and update Employee Handbooks, essential for the protection of both employees and employers. Without a handbook, companies may not have affirmative defenses in discrimination claims before the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination (MCAD) or in the courts. Handbooks are the best way to provide employees with written expectations and policies, termination procedures and meet other governmental requirements. We include a Massachusetts sick leave policy and warning notices to document performance problems.
On-going small businesses need help with the purchase or sale of businesses (usually asset purchases to lessen risks of liability for the buyer, but also often simpler stock transfers of interests among shareholders – family members or other buyers. Shareholders Agreements can prevent a number of problems. I assist closely held corporations, limited liability companies, charitable corporations, (and others) to delineate the rights and responsibilities of stockholders, directors, and LLC members and charitable organization’s boards of directors and/or members. Today, with lawsuits buzzing like bees in the fall – owners, officers and directors, etc. need indemnification language, including for attorneys’ fees, in company or a charity’s documents. Charitable entities, as well as companies, need to maintain their records and filings. The former must preserve favorable charitable deductions for donations as required by the IRS for 501(c)(3). I have successfully helped companies to reduce the risk of such disputes for majority shareholders and LLC management members, etc.
Blog, E-newsletter and CLE. I love doing what I do best, finding innovative ways to help. The goal is to deliver legal services and learn and write about the law to help clients and the public. I often write a blog, e-newsletters, and articles for my web site.
Family and Interests. I am blessed with a fine family: wonderful wife, a nurse and three compassionate daughters, all in the medical and business field. I love to hike, bird watch, watch nature programs and detective shows, travel, garden and read about history. I am active in civic affairs. I served as an officer and / or a board member on charitable boards, including the Harvard Club of the Merrimack Valley, formerly the Harvard Club of Andover, the board of directors of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Ipswich River Watershed Association, which I cofounded, and on the Andover Affordable Housing Committee. I am member of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Fight or Settle. My sword and pen logo signifies that my pen and law book are mightier than the sword. Usually in adversarial situations, a prolonged and costly legal battle benefits primarily the attorneys. At times, disputes need to be fought either to the end but almost 90% ± of them end when both sides, during the dispute, learn more about the other’s side’s case and possible outcomes. They may then find a compromise settlement agreement is best. Putting the clients’ interest first, as an ethical attorney, I am always open to settlement efforts, based upon strong advocacy in a well-developed legal case as the best path to good settlements.
When matters get rough, I remember tough spots early in life and in past legal battles. Graduating from law school during one of our severe recessions, I hand-delivered my resume to many law firms, almost wearing holes in my soles. It worked – an important life lesson of persistence in the face of challenges.
Work at Boston Law Firms. For the first 10 years of practice, I worked in Boston law firms and as counsel to a state agency. This experience in business and real estate law instilled in me high standards for my practice. The law is often described as a web or tangled net. I have successfully handled many various matters, giving me a broad perspective as I approach a new matter. I see how different fields of the law often interrelate. Frequently a new client has elements in common with other matters I have handled.
Character. Whether an individual or small business owner in Massachusetts or elsewhere, reaching me is easy. While an in-person consult will reveal best if there is a good fit between lawyer and potential client, a short call can tell a lot. Clients will know that they have an able, trustworthy, and attentive lawyer for their legal issues. I am very happy when I have helped someone who comes to me. Much of the practice centers on solutions for employment and business matters, allowing me to help small business and individuals with most needs or to guide them to someone who can.
Harvard College, B.A. with honors
Boston University Law School, J.D.
Office Practices: Technology, Consultation, and Legal Fees
Lawrence B. Morse & Associates seek to use the latest internet and software technology as tools to best serve clients. Various research databases and listservs allow for efficient legal research and consultation. The firm was the first on the North Shore to offer a content- based web site to inform about the law. His office staff scans most documents and utilizes technology to achieve efficient and effective legal representation. Staff does initial intake, including some facts about what a new matter is about and schedules an appointment. In the first meeting with a new client, he goes over the “big picture” and gets some details and provides an overview of how he approaches a particular matter. The office uses written agreements with clients that spell out the legal work to be done and expectations for both attorney and client.
Attorney Morse has served as general counsel to a state agency and as a Special Assistant Attorney General. He practiced in Boston law firms, including Weston, Patrick, Willard & Redding, handling litigation, municipal, and state agency law and Singer, Stoneman, Kunian & Kurland, where his practice focused on business law and commercial real estate. He has had his own firm on the North Shore of Boston, serving clients throughout Massachusetts for over 25 years.
Community and Professional Service
He was honored by election in 1997 as one of two Delegates from Essex County to the House of Delegates of the Massachusetts Bar Association. He served as Town Moderator for the Town of Ipswich and on the Affordable Housing Partnership Committee for the Town of Andover. He was co-founder and first President of the Ipswich River Watershed Association. He taught business law in the MBA Program at then Salem State College as a visiting professor for several semesters. He is legal counsel for, and former Chairman of the Board of Directors and former President of the Harvard Club of Andover, Inc., and serves on the Board of Directors of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce.
American Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, Essex County Bar Association