By Susan E. Campbell
Three years ago this month Theresa Skaine opened Skaine & Associates LLC, a law practice serving clients in the corporate arena, commercial real estate and the nonprofit sector.
Skaine had been in practice for more than 20 years and a partner with Lemery Greisler LLC when she decided that at this time in her life, flexibility was a stronger objective than the security of a medium-sized firm.
With a daughter in high school and a son in college, Skaine wanted to be more flexible with her schedule to be more present with her children, she said.
“My biggest challenge has been depending on myself for everything. It can be a struggle to figure things out without my support staff,” said Skaine. “The issues I face are not about being a woman in business, but more about the firm being small.”
These first years on her own have helped Skaine gain an appreciation for what she will have in the future as she builds up her associates and grows the practice, she said.
Many of her clients are people she has worked with for a long time, sharing good relationships and a good reputation, she said. Her preferred assignment is helping a client determine what type of business entity to set up and then implementing the structure. She also has expertise helping them expand their business by acquiring smaller, similar businesses or departments.
“Finding the acquisition target means looking at the make-up of the prospective business and how that business culture might fit,“ she said. “Then from a legal standpoint, one company buys another through a stock purchase or ownership purchase.”
One way she then utilizes her experience is recommending how to effect the acquisition without buying all of the firm’s liabilities, such as contracts or leases or other undesirable obligations.
“Some liabilities will always come with the transaction, but we want to establish who will be responsible without taking on all the risk,” said Skaine.
Bottom line, Skaine helps people who are in a growth position but are unsure how to get to the next level.
“Every time I have a conversation it’s an opportunity to teach me something about business while helping resolve some things for them,” she said.
“It’s exciting to be in a community where I can leave a law practice after 23 years and set up a service of my own,” Skaine said.
Skaine serves on several boards including the Saratoga Regional YMCA and Saratoga Hospital, which recently affiliated with Albany Medical Center.