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What to Know About Veterinarian Practices in the Bay Area

Are you a veterinarian in California who owns—or wants to own—your own professional practice? Our law firm provides a full range of business law services to skilled professionals, including licensed veterinarians. We help clients with every aspect of the business cycle—from the formation of a veterinary practice to day-to-day operations to the transition out of ownership.

Building a Group Practice Veterinary Business

To establish a successful group veterinary practice in California, it is imperative that you have the proper foundation in place. Most often, this starts with developing a comprehensive business plan. This plan will typically include goals, operational strategies, financial projections, and a market analysis. In most cases, you will need to form a professional veterinary corporation. It is a business structure that provides some much needed liability protection while also being taxed as an S-corporation. Under California law, the group practice must be owned by a licensed veterinarian. A business lawyer can help you ensure the proper registration and compliance with both the California Secretary of State and the California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB).

Legal Structures for Veterinary Businesses

In California, vet practices are either formed as a sole proprietorship or a professional veterinary corporation.  You will need to comply with the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act. Notably, the professional corporation business entity type complies with state regulations and offers some important legal protections. Key steps to form one include filing articles of incorporation, appointing directors, drafting bylaws, notifying the California Veterinary Medical Board, and considering S-corporation tax status by filing IRS form 2553. An attorney can assist you with these steps.

Office Lease Considerations for Veterinarians

Commercial lease agreements are an important part of veterinary practice in California. Business owners must carefully evaluate lease agreements to ensure that the office space is appropriate for their needs. Key considerations include understanding the total cost (base rent and additional charges), the viability of the office space, and suitability for services and animal housing. Beyond that, clarifying responsibilities for property maintenance, repairs, and improvements is an essential part of a well-written lease agreement. Veterinary practices should also be aware of any liability risks and ensure that they have the appropriate insurance coverage. Finally, for the purpose of long-term planning, a lease agreement should also address renewal and termination options. An attorney can provide legal assistance in reviewing the risks of a commercial lease.

A Business Lawyer for Veterinarians

Our business law attorney for veterinarians helps clients navigate a wide range of commercial matters. With nearly three decades of experience, our firm provides comprehensive guidance that veterinarians can rely on for the forming, developing, buying, selling, and/or transitioning of their professional practices. Some of the key services offered by our business lawyer for vets includes:

  • Setting up a professional practice
  • Navigating complex commercial transactions
  • Implementing effective governance
  • Drafting and reviewing contracts, including commercial leases
  • Addressing regulatory matters specific to veterinary medicine

Contact Our California Business Attorney for Vet Practices Today

Lynnette Ariathurai is a experienced business lawyer for veterinarians. If you have any questions about your rights or your options, please contact us today for a confidential consultation. With a legal office in Fremont, we work with vet practices throughout California’s Bay Area.