Appellate Attorneys Increase ROI

Many think of appellate attorneys only after a court case has been won or lost at the trial level, but ensuring from the start that your trial team includes an attorney with strong appellate expertise can translate into real savings for your bottom line. Hiring an attorney with deep appellate experience protects the investment you make at the trial level and strengthens your position should you choose or face an appeal.

Consider a sample of the special skills that appellate attorneys provide to ramp up return-on-investment:

Picking Your Battlefield

If you or your business face serious legal and financial exposure in a case, ensuring that your trial team includes an appellate attorney to counsel as to where to bring a case (when there is a choice) can impact the potential for appeals. For example, it is very difficult to appeal an arbitration decision, so selecting arbitration versus court litigation necessarily restricts the potential for any successful appeal – depending on your case, there may be strategic reasons to limit appeal and select arbitration (if you can). In terms of court selection, there may be more than one choice, including federal or state, and one state’s laws and precedent could be far more favorable to your case than another state’s. Such breadth of knowledge from the inception of a case is invaluable. Litigators with strong appellate experience see the entire forest, not just the trees (and weeds) of trial.

Making Your Record

Appellate courts rarely look outside the “record,” meaning the transcripts of testimony and evidence presented during trial. Arguments or objections that could have been made but were not are usually lost and cannot be made on appeal (“waived”). Many litigants are surprised to learn that they do not have a solid appeal because their trial attorney did not make the proper motions or objections, or introduce key evidence, during trial. Attorneys with comprehensive knowledge of the appeals process not only have a deep understanding of legal principles and process at the appellate level, but also know how to increase the likelihood of success on appeal by creating a good record and ensuring that all appealable issues are preserved and not waived. Trial attorneys with appellate experience can also create opportunities for “interlocutory” appeals – appeals of certain issues before there is a final judgment.

Assessing Your Likelihood of Success on Appeal

Whether you have won or lost at the trial level, there are many factors to consider. If you won, the other side may appeal and your choices are limited: defend the appeal or try to settle. If you lost, even if the trial court got something wrong, your likelihood of success on appeal may be limited by the discretion afforded to fact-finders. Even when reversible error on case-determinative issues gives you the highest likelihood of success on appeal, the cost of pursuing an appeal may outweigh the cost of satisfying judgment. Litigators with appellate expertise provide neutral assessment of all of these factors.

Understanding Business Considerations

A legal case is more than an argument under applicable facts and law – it is also a cost-benefit analysis. Litigators with strong appellate experience will objectively advise as to not only the likelihood of success on appeal, but also as to the impact of an appeal on certain business considerations – not just your bottom line, but the potential for precedent impacting your business in the future. Appellate attorneys should objectively assess your case and understand your business objectives to counsel whether to appeal (if an option), defend an appeal, or settle, taking you to the best possible result within a complex framework of rules and timelines.

Knowing the Audience

Appellate attorneys put themselves into the shoes of an appellate court judge. What are the issues on appeal, why are they important, and why are some issues not worth appealing? A witness may have lied, but an appellate court will defer to the fact-finder that was in the courtroom to assess the credibility of that witness. You may have had a winning argument, but if it was not made at trial you likely cannot make it on appeal.

A good appellate attorney objectively assesses the record, spots the strongest arguments for overturning or affirming the decision below, understands precedent and any public policy implications and presents well-researched and compelling arguments to the appellate court, both in written briefs and at oral argument.

Presenting your best arguments on appeal requires a nuanced understanding of how appellate judges think. Select an appellate attorney who not only deep dives into research and is a strong and persuasive writer, but who anticipates the other side’s arguments and, more critically, intuits the issues most important to the appellate court. Less is often more, both in terms of selecting the issues to appeal and in writing concise and compelling briefs. At the end of the day, a good appellate advocate tells and sells your story.

“Appellate records are longer than they once were, and oral arguments are more compressed, but even in the electronic age, the essential art of appellate advocacy – and of appellate judging too, I believe – has remained constant.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Remarks on Appellate Advocacy, 50 S. C. L. Rev. 567, 570 (1999). Because appellate advocacy is most certainly an art form, it pays to carefully select your artist.

(Leanne Murray Shofi is Special Counsel at Pastore in Stamford, Conn., with 20+ years of litigation and appellate experience within the Connecticut and New York state and federal courts.)

Connecticut State Court Reduces Award by More than Half in Alternative Investment Hedge Fund Dispute

In a hotly contested alternative investment hedge fund dispute involving a billionaire family office, the Connecticut Complex Litigation Court recently reduced an award after trial by more than half. In a motion to modify, Pastore LLC argued that requiring their clients to pay this amount plus interest would be excessive, due to a settlement payment previously received by Plaintiff in a related federal court proceeding. The judge agreed with Pastore LLC on that issue. The issue of costs and attorney’s fees is still pending. Additionally, Pastore LLC’s client won the aforementioned related case in federal court and the corresponding appeal before the Second Circuit, and thus, the entire state court matter is subject to appeal.

Why Looming Crypto Lull Will End

Crypto will reach its potential in the next two years.

For those who may think that is a long time, remember that this burgeoning digital asset industry has percolated in the background since the first block of bitcoin was mined in 2009.

For those who may think that it is way too soon amid today’s environment, keep the faith.

Figuratively speaking, crypto 2023 is like accumulating debris in a back churn, where a creek’s flow attempts to force its way into a much larger lake. That is where crypto is right now. It is trying to make it out into the mainstream but is being held back. There is no momentum pushing it forward.

But crypto’s lull is coming to an end.

Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford, who revolutionized the automobile industry with his assembly-line innovation, once said, “Patience and foresight are the two most important qualities in business.”

There are several reasons why today’s headlines signal a final push forward for crypto’s acceptance.

Too Difficult to Regulate Through Litigation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) continues to argue that it should oversee cryptocurrencies because they are securities—aside from Bitcoin—under the Howey test, which is a 1946 Supreme Court decision that is used today to determine what is an investment contract.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler said, “At the core, these (altcoin) tokens are securities because there’s a group in the middle and the public is anticipating profits based on that group,” during an interview with New York Magazine.

The SEC has turned its belief as the presumed overseer into a basis for lawsuits against significant players in the crypto space. Despite the SEC’s stance, regulation through litigation is not an appropriate method for the crypto industry.

The agency has filed 13 charges against the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, and its founder, Changpeng Zhao, alleging that both allowed certain U.S. residents on its exchange despite restrictions.

The SEC also has sued the world’s second-largest crypto exchange, Coinbase, alleging the platform operated as an unregistered national securities exchange and broker. The agency also alleged that at least 13 specific crypto assets that Coinbase offered were “crypto asset securities” and that its staking program counts as an investment contract for an unregistered security.

Coinbase has stated in an article on its website that it had met 30 times with the SEC during a nine-month period to set up a registration process for crypto companies. Instead of a path forward, however, the exchange said it received legal threats in the form of a Wells Notice.

At some point, most likely by the first of next year, both cases will be settled. The decisions in the Coinbase and Binance matters will help push crypto forward.

Too Difficult to Argue with Success

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres handed crypto a memorable win in July, ruling that Ripple Labs’ XRP crypto token is not necessarily a security on face value—an opinion that counters the SEC’s stance.

The judge segmented the different sales methods involving XRP, which included programmatic sales, institutional sales and “other distributions” like employee compensation. XRP was ruled a security when it involved institutional sales that were distributed to sophisticated individuals. However, XRP was ruled not to be a security during “retail” or programmatic sales and other distributions.

Judge Torres also dismissed the agency’s interlocutory appeal, which is essentially an appeal before a final outcome. The court has set an April 24, 2024, date to decide the remaining issues regarding XRP.

But the matter may not be settled yet. Sometimes courts disagree.

In a separate securities case involving the collapsed TerraUSD, Anchor Protocol and LUNA, U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff has rejected Judge Torres’ ruling, which parsed the nature of distributions.

“Howey makes no such distinction between purchasers,” said Rakoff, whose comments were published in Coindesk. “And it makes good sense that it did not. That a purchaser bought the coins directly from the defendants or, instead, in a secondary resale transaction has no impact on whether a reasonable individual would objectively view the defendant’s actions and statements as evincing a promise of profits based on their efforts.”

Crypto’s formal acceptance will most likely include notes from the highest court in the land. Do not be surprised if the U.S. Supreme Court adds an additional layer to the existing Howey test in the next two years to address Crypto’s status.

Too Difficult to Stifle Innovation

Fictional race car star Ricky Bobby, played by actor Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights, once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

That is the American ethos in a single sentence.

It is also another reason why the United States lagging, global position will change soon. After years of inaction from a nation built on innovation, the United States finds itself trailing other countries and regional blocks like Singapore, Japan and the European Union on advancing a framework that would allow crypto and digital assets to stake its place.

However, additional court wins have already started a momentum shift, which will lead to new products in the marketplace.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, for example, ruled that the SEC’s rejection of Grayscale Investments (“Grayscale”) proposed conversion of its closed-end bitcoin trust into an ETF was “arbitrary and capricious.” The three-judge panel said the agency failed to explain the difference between a futures bitcoin EFT, which it had approved, and a spot bitcoin ETF.

Grayscale’s victory will most likely have far-reaching implications that will change the financial landscape, ushering in a new asset class. Competitors such as BlackRock, Fidelity, Invesco and WisdomTree are also standing in line waiting to have their spot bitcoin ETF proposals approved by the SEC. The agency has 240 days to approve or deny applications, which means the first deadline for the earliest applicant would be January 10, 2024.

Nothing is holding the SEC back from approving all the applications, including ones for a spot Ethereum ETF, at the same time.

“The fact that SEC is actively engaging with spot bitcoin issuers on their current applications—which hasn’t ever happened before—we think a rejection is unlikely and hold a 75% chance of approval by end of this year,” said Bloomberg Senior ETF Analyst Eric Balchunas in a recent Forbes article.

To encourage even more momentum, the next bitcoin “halving,” an event that in effect cuts supply every four years, will occur in April. This event typically starts the next crypto bull run.

Right now, my Texas intuition tells me that crypto is a lot like a nice piece of brisket in the making. Trim off the fat on top to let the smoke in and then slow-cook the rest until tender. It rewards those who are patient.

The crypto lull is coming to an end.

(Tyler W. Rutherford is an associate attorney at Pastore with expertise in regulatory compliance, contract law and corporate law. He represents a wide range of clients, including crypto and blockchain companies.)

Pastore LLC Wins Motion to Remand in SDNY Involving Largest Real Estate Development in Westchester

Pastore LLC, along with Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP and Levitt LLP, moved to remand an Adversary Proceeding originally pending in the Complex Litigation Docket in the Connecticut Superior Court in Stamford. Although the case was pulled from the docket by the original bankruptcy filing, a SDNY bankruptcy judge ordered it returned for “equitable” remand. The claims involve corporate governance and ownership structure of construction projects totaling over $1.6 Billion. Related to this dispute, Pastore’s client has already won a $14 million Arbitration Award, which will be paid out under the Bankruptcy Court’s supervision.

7 Questions to Ask Potential Business Partners About the Firm

Business partnerships can be very successful when they work.

These alliances are utilized to monetize relationships that bring in top-line revenue. They can also serve as a catalyst for more opportunities that will lead to top and bottom lines. Almost half (44%) of companies create alliances for new ideas, according to BPI Network. Harvard Business Review says most of tech’s executives (94%) envision partnerships as a fundamental part of their overall business plan.

Despite the promise, however, research finds that most business partnerships fail.

This type of angst makes the interviewing process even more important. The next time you need a new business partner, make sure a series of questions is asked about how prospective partners expect to play nicely with the existing operations, as well as each existing partner.

Business Partnership Insight: 1. What are your expectations of each owner?

Figuring out how each business partner fits together is an important question that you will need to address sooner rather than later. The topic of gross negligence, when a partner harms another by failing to provide a certain standard of care, is one of the more common reasons why business partnerships fail. Assessing each partner’s motivation, which is closely tied to expectations, should jibe with the business partnership agreement and operations plan to increase chances for success.

Business Partnership Insight: 2. What is your vision for the firm?

This question asks about what the prospective business partner wants from the venture. New business partners can bring new thoughts, ideas and motivation that can propel the company forward. New energy, however, doesn’t always have a positive impact. Are the prospective partner’s goals in line with the other partners? Would the candidate’s management style elevate the firm? Breach of Partnership/Operating Agreement is another common legal problem that can doom a business partnership. The best time to discuss alignment is during the interview process.

Business Partnership Insight: 3. How would you manage the departure of a partner?

This is why you need a comprehensive business partnership agreement. Depending on how many partners you have in the firm, the departure of a business partner can be quite involved in varying degrees. Typically, there are four options. The fastest option is for the remaining partners to buy out the shares of the departing partner. If the departing partner played a large role in the company, then perhaps selling the business would be the best option.

Dissolving the business, on the other hand, could be the best option. This option could also be spelled out in the business partnership agreement to avoid a potentially lengthy legal battle, which is possible when one partner disagrees.

Replacing the departing business partner is another option. Although it would take more time than a buyout, it wouldn’t impact the resources of existing partners and would create an opportunity to bring on someone with a different perspective and skill set.

Business Partnership Insight: 4. What experience do you have with business partnerships?

Being an employee and being a business partner are two different things. Partners, for example, must act in good faith and fairness as part of their fiduciary duty to other partners.

Mismanaging company funds, damaging the firm’s reputation or “goodwill” and putting the company at legal risk due to your own negligence would be examples of a breach of fiduciary duty.

Along with ownership comes more legal responsibilities that must be considered.

Business Partnership Insight: 5. What is your experience with sales and margins?

In sports, it has been said that winning is the best deodorant. Success tends to cover missteps and miscues.

In business, top-line sales and margins are important factors when determining success. When those two items are realized, however, there could be finger-pointing. The setback could also encourage business partners to lose interest as they put their energy behind other entities. Partnership abandonment is a real legal issue for business partnerships, and it is another reason why you need to work with a trusted legal advisor to ensure all possible outcomes are covered in writing before they occur in your business partnership.

Business Partnership Insight: 6. How can this firm take it to the next level in the next 12 months?

This question is about resources and how they will be utilized. When asking about the path forward, a prospective business partner will have to disclose specifics about the “how” as well as the “why” behind the plan.

In the big picture, business partners are very important, in-house resources that should be utilized fully based on areas of expertise. Delegating the work can be a challenging area for partners. Failure to delineate authority is another common legal issue that surfaces with business partnerships. The operating agreement should contain enough detail so partners understand how they can make a meaningful contribution while staying in their own lane.

Business Partnership Insight: 7. Looking ahead 12 months, you believe that you made a great decision by joining this partnership. What are the two reasons?

This question asks, “What do you want?” in a different way, which tends to draw more specifics about the prospective business partner’s intentions. The more insight that the existing partners gather before an offer is made, the better for the entire venture. Making time for due diligence will pay dividends figuratively and literally.

(Paul Fenaroli is an Associate Attorney at Pastore, a law firm that helps corporate and financial services clients find creative solutions to complex legal challenges. He can be reached at 203.658.8470 or


12 Questions to Ask Potential Business Partners About Themselves

Business is another word for relationship.

And that is where things get interesting.

Like marriages, many business partnerships fail. To compound matters, there is also a greater likelihood that it will end in a legal proceeding.

As an executive, how can you sidestep both negative outcomes? Well, you can start by selecting better business partners. The next time you find yourself looking for a business partner, spend more time upfront asking probing questions that can reveal possible red flags for you in the long run.

Remember, the secret to better answers are better questions. Feel free to pull from the following to increase the chance of a successful partnership:

What can you tell me about yourself?

This question seems quite innocuous, but it is extremely strategic. The response will tell you how well the prospective business partner can communicate, which is an important factor in any successful partnership. The answer should be tailored to the opportunity, not a recap of the person’s life. In addition to communication skills, this question will reveal if the person conducted due diligence before the interview.

What is your “why?”

You never really know someone until you know what they want. Motivation is key, so ask about it early in the process.

What does success look like?

We all want to be successful, but what does that really mean? For some, it may mean growth or money. For others, it may mean more control over their time. These are different looks at success. Get clarity sooner rather than later.

A breach of the partnership agreement, for example, is a common cause of a failed business partnership. During the interview process, you must ascertain whether the prospective business partner has a vision of success that jibes with the partnership agreement, which typically includes insight into business operations.

What is your competitive advantage?

Learning about a prospective business partner’s strengths could help you determine the business structure. In the partnership agreement, you could spell out how each partner would be responsible for their respective areas of expertise.

What are your areas for development?

Identifying weaknesses is just as important as learning about strengths. This information will give you a more complete picture of where this person would fit in the organization—if at all.

Gross negligence occurs when a partner harms another by failing to provide a certain standard of care. Make sure areas of development for each partner are addressed from the onset.

How would you describe your management style?

Are you a visionary leader or a transformative one? Do you take charge yourself or delegate? Knowing the management style of all your business partners speaks to expectations, teamwork and, ultimately, business operations. Before profit and losses, it is about intangibles.

How would you describe your communication style?

You can’t be a leader without followers, and you can’t have followers without communication. Communicating tends to be the make-or-break variable in any equation involving a relationship. So, does the prospective business partner have a passive or aggressive communication style? Or is it more assertive? Assess the words, tone and actions during the interview. Now, ask yourself: How would this person fit in with other partners?

Unfortunately, failure to delineate authority is a common reason for business partnership breakups. To ensure the partners aren’t shirking their responsibilities or overstepping into another partner’s area, communicate in terms that all parties understand and reinforce in the partnership agreement.

What will you need from the other business partners to be successful?

From day one, it is important that your team members are put in the position to succeed—because when they win, you win. Learning about which resources they will need in advance will help you to determine the true cost of bringing this person on board. Do the requests logically align with the roadmap that was presented? Is it realistic?

Can you describe your current workday at your most recent firm?

Past behavior may not be a guarantee of things to come, but people tend to be creatures of habit. You should know in advance if the prospective business partner believes in working around the clock or four hours a day. This expectation could have a positive or negative impact on the rest of the partners.

Partnership abandonment happens, which can result in a breach of fiduciary duty. The partnership agreement should define partnership work and business operations to make expectations clear and concise.

What is your exit strategy?

This question is another way to ask about the person’s “why” in an inconspicuous manner. When you want an honest answer to an important question, make sure you ask for it several times in different ways. The composite will tend to be the real answer.

(Joseph M. Pastore III is chairman of Pastore, a law firm that helps corporate and financial services clients find creative solutions to complex legal challenges. He can be reached at 203.658.8455 or

How to Break Impasse With 50/50 Business Partnership

Most business partnerships don’t last.

Harvard Business Review says the fail rate for corporate alliances ranges in the 60% to 70% neighborhood.

So, would a 50/50 business partnership improve your odds? Maybe. Fewer “voices” could make things easier or more challenging.

The reasons for the breakup, regardless of the number of partners, have remained consistent over the years:

  • Lack of communication
  • Different goals and expectations
  • Lack of participation/inclusion

Knowing the five ways to break an impasse in a 50/50 business partnership could help resolve the issue in question as well as the outcome.


  1. Mediation

Mediation is an effective way to solve disputes in business partnerships. Unlike litigation, which tends to pit one partner against the other, mediation is a collaborative process without winners and losers.

The mediator serves in the role as a facilitator who helps each partner contribute to the solution—not like a judge who passes a verdict.

Choosing mediation also keeps the matter private, protecting the company’s brand and reputation by not undermining public confidence in your operations.


  1. Arbitration

Arbitration is a procedure both parties approve that delivers a binding decision on disputes. A private dispute resolution can be advantageous because it comes with a timetable that can be controlled by the parties involved. In addition, there are no appeals.

Besides finality and speed, arbitration also offers other benefits. The proceedings are confidential matters, and the financial cost can be set beforehand, which turns an otherwise expensive unknown into a number that is predictable.


  1. Divide Company

One way to maximize a business relationship is to divide tasks and responsibilities among each partner based on their strengths and expertise. If one partner is stronger at marketing and sales, for example, then have that person concentrate on that area. This simple strategy allows the business partnership to create better results and efficiencies.

Well, the same can be said for breaking up the business partnership. If an impasse remains, dividing the company along the lines of each business partner’s existing responsibilities might make the most sense. It could allow each partner to start another venture with their “piece” or add their portion of operations to another business partnership so they retain a certain level of value.

Ideally, each partner should lay out this outcome in the business partnership agreement from the onset with guidance from their lawyer.


  1. Buy-Sell Options

The business partnership agreement should spell out several exit options, especially for 50/50 ventures. A buy-sell provision could be a preferred choice among the two partners. Essentially, it means one partner would buy out the other partner at fair market value. To accomplish this option, a third-party appraisal would be required from a professional who was agreed upon by both partners.

A challenge could occur if both partners want to buy out each other. This type of contingency would need to be documented in the business partnership agreement.


  1. Dissolve Business Partnership

If certain contingencies are not addressed at the onset of a business partnership agreement, such as what happens if both partners—or neither partner—want to buy out the other, then dissolving the partnership could be the last remaining option to end a 50/50 business relationship impasse.

Working with an attorney at the beginning of your business partnership would ensure that the agreement would be comprehensive so it would address—and therefore eliminate—many possible deadlocks and headaches before they happen.


What is a Partnership Business


Alliances are often created in the first place to capitalize on the skills, talents and relationships of others. A business partnership, for example, is an agreement between two partners or more with assets and liabilities on an ongoing venture.

Being part of a business partnership can create several advantages that an entrepreneur couldn’t do alone. For example, a partner can pool their time, talent and resources, fostering new thoughts and problem-solving approaches. In addition, partners can share the workload that matches their individual expertise to improve outcomes and efficiency.

These important details would need to be spelled out in a business partnership agreement to ensure everyone’s expectations are aligned. In fact, the business partnership agreement often turns out to be a make-or-break document, so don’t skimp. More substance upfront will only help support unity in the business partnership.


Partnership Business Examples


A general partnership is one of three common categories of business partnerships. Essentially, a general partnership means all the partners share financial and legal aspects equally, including debt for which each partner is personally accountable.

A limited liability partnership protects the partners from legal action. This type of business partnership, which is common among professional service providers such as doctors and accountants, limits legal exposure from one partner to another. So, if one partner is involved in a legal proceeding, the other partners are shielded from the outcome.

A limited partnership has one general partner personally liable for the business partnership’s debts and at least one silent partner with limited financial and legal liability based on the amount invested. Silent partners are not involved in the day-to-day management of operations.

Whether you are involved in a 50/50 business relationship or not, an impasse is bad for business. Move forward with invaluable counsel from your attorney.


(Joseph M. Pastore III is chairman of Pastore, a law firm that helps corporate and financial services clients find creative solutions to complex legal challenges. He can be reached at 203.658.8455 or

Business Partnerships: How to Improve Odds of Survival?

Whether it involves two parties or more, a business partnership has followed a certain convention of thought for decades.

Start with a comprehensive business plan and a business partnership agreement with clear, understandable metrics that capture the sense of accomplishment for your alliance. Systems and procedures should be part of the overall structure built for success.

That’s the winning recipe, right? Well, not necessarily. Researchers Jonathan Hughes and Jeff Weiss, who authored “Simple Rules for Making Alliances Work” in the Harvard Business Review, believe more rules are needed to improve the long-standing fail rate for business partnerships, which hovers around 70%. Although the research focuses on corporate alliances, it has implications for the intricacies of business partnerships.

Based on their findings, the researchers propose several complementary rules to elevate conventional wisdom.


Business Partnership Insight: Place more value on working together

A solid business plan and contract are crucial, but those two instruments alone are not enough. When it comes to business partnerships that fail, the paperwork is rarely called into question while communication and trust grind to a halt.

Diversity of ideas is one of the benefits of starting a business partnership. Aren’t two heads still better than one? More ideas often lead to more opportunities and improved efficiency.

The notion of working together implies two-way communications that can counter many possible negatives associated with business partnerships, such as confusion. Of course, the business partnership agreement would spell out areas of responsibility. But once you drill down to day-to-day activities, it can quickly become gray areas that fester. Is your partner really working as hard as you? Is he moving into my area of expertise, which could create further internal conflict?

Hughes and Weiss recommend that alliances, such as business partnerships, put less emphasis on the business partnership arrangement and more energy behind the working relationship.


Business Partnership Insight: Highlight Progress, Goals

Building a successful business partnership is a process. The wins don’t happen overnight, especially when the relationship is a new one.

Achieving desirable outcomes takes an investment of time, money and third-party resources that come in the form of more relationships, which most likely will be time-consuming and inconvenient—although worth it. In a practical sense, this effort, which could take 12 months or multiple years, could lead to barren monthly reports for the foreseeable future.

Blank reports can lead to lower morale and lost confidence. It would also feed a popular negative about business partnerships, which centers on personalities. When interacting with another person, you will have to navigate their quirks and emotional levels on a daily basis. In sports, it has been said that winning is the best deodorant because everything smells bad when you are losing. A slew of negative reporting, especially at the beginning of a project or relationship, could tip the scales in the wrong way.

Researchers urge business partnerships to place emphasis on “means” metrics as opposed to “ends” numbers. For psychological reasons, highlighting the road to success will go a long way to sustaining the effort so all partners feel the initiative is moving forward—although not complete yet.


Business Partnership Insight: Transform Differences Into Opportunities

Matching strengths and differences are often driving forces why two parties should partner together.

However, the difference in backgrounds and experiences can quickly turn into a negative for the business partnership. Assuming one way to solve a problem at another company would work in the current partnership may be naïve. Resenting the other partner without working toward finding common ground would be unproductive.

The researchers reference a real-work example of two companies partnering in an alliance when good faith and communications started to break down. Company executives created working sessions with team members from each company to address differences between the companies. Individual competencies and culture were issues that topped the list, which is why so few were initially open to joining the conversation. When the negatives were highlighted, the reluctance stopped and team members began to provide frank feedback, which ultimately turned the tide and allowed the two entities to work more closely together.

Eliminating differences and embracing collaboration serve as the third complementary rule from the researchers.


Business Partnership Insight: Find Collaboration Beyond Structures

In most situations, corporate structure is a framework that leads to positive outcomes. Sometimes, however, it can feed the blame game when surprises become negative.

There is nothing more draining to productivity than team members spending their energy pointing fingers and assigning fault to others. Instead, researchers recommend that the partners discuss how each contributed to the problem and what they can do to address it today and prevent it tomorrow. Refusing to tear down the other partner preserves the relationship, avoiding a situation where information could be withheld out of self-preservation—something that wouldn’t be positive for a company.

Reaching a stage of collaboration underscores the chief competitive advantage of any business partnership.


(Joseph M. Pastore III is chairman of Pastore, a law firm that helps corporate and financial services clients find creative solutions to complex legal challenges. He can be reached at 203.658.8455 or

3 Keys to Launching Legal Cryptocurrency ICO

Money is going digital.

In 2013, you could count the number of active cryptocurrency coins on both hands.

Today, there are 8,832 active coins and tokens, according to CoinMarketCap.

Launching a successful Initial Coin Offering (ICO) continues to be the main mechanism for bringing these digital assets to the marketplace. In cryptocurrency, an ICO is a crowdsourcing way to raise money for a new coin or application. Investors purchase tokens related to a product or service that are expected to increase in value based on demand. However, in many cases, several types of cryptocurrency may offer some form of utility, but they don’t always offer an ownership share in the organization or a portion of revenue, which is a key difference between ICOs and initial public offerings (IPOs) for stock equities.

The timing of the offerings is another important difference. For ICOs, they occur in the beginning when a coin is publicly launched. For IPOs, they tend to happen once the company is established and looking to expand by diluting ownership.

Since 2019, $19 billion has been raised through ICOs, while only $969 million has been raised through equity crowdfunding, according to research from CB Insights. The inclusive nature of the offerings has made them popular worldwide. For example, anyone with a digital wallet can participate in an ICO and the market is open around the clock in every time zone, which has made it easier to build large investor followings.

To increase the odds of launching a successful ICO, your coin will need to be set up for success. Here is a checklist of essential items:

Cryptocurrency Attorney Insight #1: Legal Assistance

The first must-have is legal advice from a trusted lawyer with crypto and blockchain experience.

As a member of the Connecticut Crypto Forum, which Pastore LLC has sponsored since last May, we have helped cryptocurrency and blockchain startups succeed, while others have struggled because they were not savvy about regulation.

Your attorney will need to assess whether your ICO is promoting coins that are deemed securities by the SEC. Market professionals may be promoting the sale of coins without determining if securities law is applicable to the digital assets, which could result in a violation of the Securities Exchange of 1934.

The Howey test will help you understand the legal nature of crypto at your ICO.

In 1946, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) v. W.J. Howey Co. created the basis for specific factors that separate a security from a commodity. In the decision, which involved citrus grove buyers, the investors only needed to supply capital to the arrangement, while all the other details were managed by others. This point underscores the basic tenets of an investment contract. The four factors include 1) an investment, 2) a common enterprise, 3) a profit expectation and 4) generated from the work of third-party participants.

Cryptocurrency Attorney Insight #2: Marketing Expertise

A whitepaper is a crucial document that spells out a looming problem and positions the coin as the solution. Biographies are also important. In the beginning, startups are only ideas, while the team members are the product that investors want to support.

The blockchain architecture should be disclosed and key topics, including energy consumption, interoperability and scalability, should be addressed for investors. The tokenomics of the coin, which includes supply and demand issues, should also be included in the document. What is the total supply? The current supply? Will coins be “burned” or permanently removed from circulation? These questions should be addressed.

The whitepaper should include a roadmap, which includes important dates and milestones, in addition to the amount of money raised and its intended use.

Web company Dev Technosys estimates that cryptocurrency companies should budget 10% to 20% of their funding target to support its marketing program.

As part of the outreach program, a website is an important part of the puzzle. It’s the center of your brand’s online universe. Cryptocurrency organizations tend to opt for a clean, simple one-page site that scrolls down to company news, industry awards and affiliations, as well as the roadmap and background of team members.

Cryptocurrency Attorney Insight #3: Technical Experience

There are several technical aspects a cryptocurrency team must consider to improve its chances of a successful ICO.

First, a security audit for your soon-to-be launched crypto coins leverages code analysis that discovers problems in the applications. This exercise needs to be part of your pre-launch process and stated in the marketing materials to build confidence among investors.

An emphasis on blockchain development, however, cannot be understated. Development is about maintaining the platform by managing various usages such as distributed applications, smart contracts and digital currencies. As a reference point, Ethereum may have the highest number of developers with 5,758. Since Bitcoin was established in 2009, it is estimated that there are more than 23,000 developers in the field today.

And the most crucial, make-or-break, technical endeavor? Getting your coin on an exchange. The exchange listing creates many “abilities” for cryptocurrency coins, ranging from credibility, visibility and accessibility for investors. Of course, price stability is one of the biggest benefits.

Bottom line, considering any potential legal ramifications of your cryptocurrency coins first and foremost will create an environment for a successful ICO—and productive venture.

(Joseph M. Pastore III is chairman of Pastore, a law firm that helps corporate and financial services clients find creative solutions to complex legal challenges. He can be reached at 203.658.8455 or