If You Own a Corporation or LLC, You Must Be Represented By An Attorney In Court

judge_robeOften, and particularly in landlord tenant matters, business owners will try to represent themselves in Court. In the legal world, we call this pro se representation, and it is usually driven by the cost of hiring an attorney. While individuals are allowed to represent themselves in court, corporations or limited liability companies cannot do so, except in small claims cases. See Varney Enterprises, Inc. v. WMF, Inc., 402 Mass. 79, 79 (1988). If a corporation or limited liability company owner tries to appear in court on behalf of their company, the company can be defaulted.

As a practical matter, this means that if you are a landlord, but your business is run through a corporation or limited liability company, you must hire an attorney to pursue an eviction or respoind to a lawsuit. Likewise, if a customer or vendor sues your company, you must hire an attorney to represent the corporation or limited liability company or you risk a default. If the court defaults you, it means the other party has won the case. A default can subject you or your company to monetary damages.

If you do get defaulted, you should seek an experienced attorney immediately. It may be possible to get the default removed and the case reinstated, but this requires quick action by competent counsel. In fact, the best legal advice anyone can give you is to retain competent legal counsel whenever you interact with the legal system. While it may seem expensive at first, in the long run a good attorney will save you headaches, financial pitfalls, and allow you more time to focus on what you do best.