Tom Thorelli - Partner at Thorelli & Associates

I’m on my way to a conference on ‘How to Start Your Business’ in the United States. The conference has been organized by the International Business Council. It’s the third of a 3-day road show that started in Paris, then went to Brussels, and ended in The Hague.

One of the speakers is Tom Thorelli, who has been active as a lawyer for over 30 years and has helped many European companies minimize their legal risk when setting up their business in the United States.

I enter the conference room and see Tom talk to people from the U.S. Embassy. Tom is tall and lean, and he’s wearing a dark suit. He listens attentively and, when he speaks, he speaks using his hands. “There must be some Italian influence here,” I think to myself.

Tom Thorelli - Partner at Thorelli & Associates

Tom starts off his presentation.  “We are a small office based in Chicago and I’m based in Paris. Why? Because virtually all of our clients are small to medium size European companies, doing business in the United States. We help them minimize their exposure to legal risk while doing business by taking advance preventive action.”

“What is very important to understand, is if you want to do business in the U.S… it’s Go Big, or Stay Home. You have got to be determined to be successful.”

Tom Thorelli - Partner at Thorelli & Associates

“Something else you should be aware of,” Tom continues, “there are about 10,000 lawyers in the Netherlands… but there are about 40,000 lawyers in Chicago alone. Why? Because Americans use lawyers before they do business,” Tom adds. “You can be 100% certain that every potential business partner has a lawyer and talks to his or her lawyer on a regular basis.”

“In the U.S. a contract is not a piece of paper that maybe gets looked at in the future. If there is any kind of a problem… the first thing an American will do, is go through the contract. The contract means everything!”

“The conclusion is, get a lawyer before you start doing business in the United States.”

“We recommend setting up a company in the U.S. — sooner rather than later — and opening an American bank account. Americans like to do business with American companies and pay to American bank accounts.”

Tom Thorelli - Partner at Thorelli & Associates

“It also has to do with liability of your European company. If you sign a contract with an American partner using your American company, your European company may be shielded in case of claims of breach of contract.”

Tom finishes his presentation sharing advice, tips and tricks of doing business in the U.S.

“Interesting stuff,” I think to myself. Let’s see if I can ask him some specific questions on the way out.


Tags: Tom Thorelli, #TomThorelli, International Business Council, IBC, #IBC, #Thorelli, Business USA, #DoingBusinessintheUSA,  Thorelli & Associates

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