Small Business Advice and Guidance

Optimize and Protect your Business.

Business ownership can feel overwhelming. As business owners ourselves, we understand the challenges you face. Our team of advisors can help guide you through the hard decisions which define your business’ future. We all have experience in fields outside of law, from technology and agriculture to education and construction. Let us help you avoid hidden risks and keep you on track for financial success.

Buying and Selling Businesses

We’ll close the deal.

Buying or selling a small business does not have to be difficult. The key to success is avoiding hidden risks which may not become clear until after the deal is done. Whether you are new to this process or an experienced business flipper, our team’s broad knowledge and experience outside of law can help you control your risks and get your deal closed smoothly.

Agribusiness

We understand the farming business.

Farming is special. The risks you face, your cash flow, your real estate and equipment, financing, and succession planning are all unique to agribusiness. Fortunately, our partner Nisha Noroian is a life-long farmer from a family of agribusiness pioneers dating back over a century. Her knowledge and experience will help you make the best decisions to control risk, protect your assets, and secure your enterprise for future generations.

Estate and Asset Protection

Secure your Legacy.

Preserving your wealth for future generations is a challenge which requires clear vision and strategic thinking. More than just estate planning, successful wealth transfer and long-term asset protection is a process of continuous management and attention, growing and sheltering your wealth through the decades. Let our team’s knowledge help you provide for your family’s future.

Our Firm

Poulton & Noroian serves the legal needs of individuals and businesses in Arizona and California. With four attorneys from diverse professional backgrounds, our firm offers legal representation in a variety of areas. We advise clients and resolve disputes involving small business ownership, agribusiness, asset protection and estate planning, construction, real estate, commercial landlord-tenant, and contracts.

Our Attorneys

staff-1Senior Partner Karen Poulton was born and raised in the Akron, Ohio area. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in special education and a Master of Arts degree in Speech Language Pathology. She earned a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Florida, and became a professor at the University of Nebraska before attending law school. Karen is licensed to practice law in seven states. She is a career litigator who has represented clients ranging from national banks and mining companies to rural farmers and municipalities.Read More

staff-2Managing Partner Mike Poulton holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska College of Engineering, majoring in Construction Management with minors in Physics and Business. While at UNL, he worked as a physics research technician designing and building lab apparatus for the Polarized Electron Group, including lasers, electronic instrumentation, and high vacuum electron beam equipment.

Before attending law school he worked as Project Engineer for a national commercial construction contractor here in Phoenix. Mike is a metalworker, ham radio operator, and outdoorsman in his spare time.  As a professional pyrotechnician, he conducts public fireworks displays several times each year, including the City of Chandler’s annual July Fourth show. Read More

staff-3Partner Nisha Noroian was born and raised in the small Southern California town of Blythe. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Agriculture Business with an emphasis in agricultural policy and law. Nisha is a third-generation farmer. In addition to practicing agribusiness and asset protection law in Arizona and California, she is a manager of her family’s Nish Noroian Farms in Blythe. Read More

Associate Kristin Penunuri was raised in a family of engineers and scientists here in Phoenix. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology magna cum laude from the Barrett Honors College at ASU. After working in bio-research, she earned her J.D. from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. As a litigator and transactional lawyer, Kristin’s strong analytical skills and science-based logical reasoning help her reach the correct results from complex information. Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the more common questions and concerns people have about hiring an attorney and navigating the legal system. Answering questions is a lawyer’s job, so if you do not find the information you need on our site, please give us a call.

Poulton & Noroian is a small firm, and young. Why not pay more for a large, old firm?
We focus on quality over quantity. More attorneys and more clients does not equal better legal representation, just as a department store does not sell better clothing than a boutique. Our senior partner has over 23 years of litigation experience, and our younger attorneys are some of the sharpest minds in the Valley. All of us have unique backgrounds outside of law which enhance their ability to understand and address your legal issues. In our experience litigating against firms of all sizes here in Phoenix, there is no discernible difference in the quality of legal work produced by large firms versus small ones. We are not intimidated whatsoever by opposing the biggest firms in the city – we do it all the time.
Do I really need an attorney to start a small business?
No, not necessarily. If you are knowledgeable and experienced in Arizona business law and administration, you can handle this process yourself. Many small business owners do this, and some owners with advanced business education or corporate management experience are well-equipped to do so. However, many owners learn years later that they have created expensive legal problems due to inadequate understanding of the implications of business entity types, Corporation Commission filings, operating agreements, and bylaws. It is always more expensive to solve these problems later, and it can be financially devastating to end up in litigation over ownership disputes. We believe it is always worthwhile to consult with an attorney to plan the best structure for your business, even if you choose to handle the actual filings yourself. Successful enterprises are built with legal strategy in mind, with input from attorneys.
How much will it cost to hire an attorney?
Most of our clients are plaintiffs (the ones doing the suing) pursuing cases against large companies. These cases are usually handled on a contingent-fee basis: our firm invests in the case, paying all the expenses and working in exchange for a percentage of the final outcome. This reduces our clients’ risks and encourages us to obtain the best possible result. For cases where a contingent fee is not appropriate, we bill hourly. There is no question that litigation on an hourly basis is expensive. At every step of the way, our job is to give our clients the best advice possible on how to manage the legal process. We always inform clients of the risks versus benefits of litigation, and how legal expenses affect those decisions. We never advise a client to pay us to litigate when it would be less expensive to choose an alternate solution.

Good legal representation is not cheap, and anyone who tells you otherwise is making a sales pitch. But that does not mean having an attorney is unaffordable. In fact, the reason an attorney’s work is valuable is because legal advice saves money. Making the wrong legal decisions in business or failing to handle a lawsuit properly can be financially devastating. Your attorney’s job is to provide knowledgeable, rational, and candid advice on how to best address your legal needs to ensure the most positive financial outcome. That’s what we do.

How long does a lawsuit take?
The American legal system is focused on quality, not speed. Courts are slow, and there is little that can be done to move a case along more quickly. Unless the parties agree to settlement early on, most cases take a year or more to resolve from start to finish. Large and complex cases may take years. No attorney can “fast-track” a case or expedite the courts. The lengthy process is a result of rigid scheduling procedures established by law, and the busy schedules of the courts themselves.
I was just served with a lawsuit. What should I do?
You need to meet with an attorney immediately. You generally have 20 days to respond to the lawsuit (file an “answer”), and the answer itself requires a substantial amount of work to produce. The answer is a carefully prepared legal document which must address the allegations of the lawsuit in a very specific and technical way. The answer is critical – errors at this stage could cost you the entire suit, and may be unfixable. Unless the value of the dispute is low enough that losing is of little consequence, it is inadvisable to attempt to answer it yourself. Consult an attorney at the earliest opportunity so your lawyer can begin strategizing your defense.

Don't See the Answer You Need?

The attorneys at Poulton & Noroian are here to answer your legal questions. That's our job. Please give us a call or use our contact form to let us help you.

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