An LLC is created according to the statute of the state in which it is formed. It is required that the LLC members file a “certificate of organization” with the secretary of state, and the name must indicate that it is a limited liability company. Partnerships and limited partnerships may convert to LLCs; the partners’ previous liability under the other organizational forms is not affected, but going forward, limited liability is provided. The members’ operating agreement spells out how the business will be run; it is subordinate to state and federal law. Unless otherwise agreed, the operating agreement can be amended only by unanimous vote. The LLC is an entity. Foreign LLCs must register with the secretary of state before doing business in a “foreign” state, or they cannot sue in state courts.
As compared with corporations, the LLC is not a good form if the owners expect to have multiple investors or to raise money from the public. The typical LLC has relatively few members (six or seven at most), all of whom usually are engaged in running the firm.
Most early LLC statutes, at least, prohibited their use by professionals. That is, practitioners who need professional licenses, such as certified public accountants, lawyers, doctors, architects, chiropractors, and the like, could not use this form because of concern about what would happen to the standards of practice if such people could avoid legitimate malpractice claims. For that reason, the limited liability partnership was invented.