Legal Insights

  • Accused of Academic Misconduct: Do I Need a Lawyer?

    If you have been accused of academic misconduct, you may think that you don’t need a lawyer, and you may have been told that you don’t really need an attorney because, unlike the criminal justice system, academia’s purpose isn’t to determine if you’ve committed a crime and punish you but rather to determine if you violated the school’s code of conduct, and to instruct, or to teach you.  Your school or institution may not even allow an attorney to be present during the disci...
  • Adding Digital Assets to Your Estate Plan

    The vast majority of adults in the U.S. have some sort of digital presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and/or one of the many other social media outlets or online communities that exist today. But what happens to all of these accounts and the digital assets contained within them - including photos, videos, text posts, friend or contact lists, events, and more – when you die? That depends on you. You have a number of options, depending on which social media services and onlin...
  • Defending A Domestic Violence Charge: What You Need to Know

    Sometimes our relationships with those closest to us end up in court. If you have been accused of domestic violence, you may feel angry, confused or betrayed. You may also be scared about what will happen next. This is understandable. Not only do domestic violence charges have legal consequences, but they jeopardize your social and professional life.Domestic violence is a serious matter. It is estimated that nearly 20 people are physically abused by a sexual partner every minute in the United St...
  • Long-Form Content: Establishing the Pillars of Your Legal Content Marketing

    Content marketing has taken the world by storm over the past decade, and every industry has embraced some form of it as law firms look for new ways to reach consumers and/or clients by developing helpful, informative, and entertaining blogs, videos, podcasts, or webinars. For attorneys, the story is the same—reach consumers by writing content that answers their questions, delivered to them when they search for it.  Avoiding “Content for the Sake of Content” However, too many at...
  • That Tree is a Nuisance – What Can I Do?

    Trees can be beautiful, but sometimes trees near your property can create problems or interfere with the enjoyment of your home and yard. Below is a discussion of frequent issues with neighboring trees and your avenues of recourse. Common Situations Situation 1: If a neighbor’s tree branches or roots are causing damage to your property, such as lifting a sidewalk, damaging a retaining wall, or harming a structure on your property and the neighbor refuses to take action to remedy the si...
  • When is an Employer Liable for the Acts of an Employee?

    When an employee causes harm or damage to a third party, sometimes the employer can be held liable for that harm or damage, regardless of whether the employer intended to cause harm, was directly involved in the action of the employee, or even was aware of it. Acts Done in the Scope or Course of Employment An employer is liable for the acts of their employees as long as the employee’s act is done in the “scope or course of employment.” In legal circles, this concept is referred to ...
  • The Naturalization Process

    Naturalization is the legal process through which a foreign citizen or national can become a United States citizen. In order to be naturalized, an applicant must first be eligible to apply for citizenship; the applicant must complete a written application; attend an interview; and pass English and a civics test. If an applicant is able to successfully complete these steps they then take an oath of loyalty, and become a citizen. Who Is Eligible For Naturalization? According to U.S. Citizens...
  • Understanding Child/Parent Emancipation

    The parent child bond is one of the strongest ones there is. For most people, it’s a sacred relationship and one that lasts a lifetime. But for some young adults who can’t wait for the moment they’re free from their parent’s control, emancipation is a real consideration. Legally, parents are responsible for their children until their 18th birthday. When a child under the age of 18 petitions for emancipation, parents lose custody and all legal rights to their child. But it’s not as ...
  • Sealing or Expunging Juvenile Criminal Records

    Many states distinguish between crimes and offenses committed by adults and those committed by minors. Crimes and offenses committed by juveniles are often prosecuted in separate, juvenile courts, or in family court, rather than in criminal court. Some rules that apply to juvenile crimes, and the records associated with them, are different than those that apply when an adult is accused of a crime.  Criminal records, including arrest and conviction information can prevent a juvenile offe...
  • Choosing a Legal Guardian for Your Child

    If you die or suffer from a significant disability that renders you unable to continue to care for your children, what will happen to them? Establishing a legal guardian for your minor children is an important part of your estate planning that should be done as soon as possible after your child is born. If your child has special needs, you will want to name a legal guardian for them in your will even if they are not minors, since it is likely that these children will require care for the rem...
  • Beyond the Basics – Other Coverage to Add to Your Auto Insurance Policy

    In a previous post, Understanding Your Car Insurance Policy, we covered the nuts and bolts of your car insurance policy: your policy limits and deductible, and basic coverages, including liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. But there are other coverage options (and in some states, requirements) that may be included in your auto insurance policy. No Fault Coverage or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Some states have “no fault” laws, which provide that, regardless of who i...
  • What to Do if You Can’t Pay Your Taxes, Part 2

    In Part 1 of this series, we covered why failing to file a tax return is not your best option if you cannot pay your taxes, and introduced the first two of four possible alternatives: requesting a temporary delay of collection and arranging an installment payment plan. This post will cover two additional options: obtaining an Offer in Compromise and making an Innocent Spouse claim. Offer in Compromise An Offer in Compromise is just what it sounds like – it allows you to negotiate a lowe...
  • What to Do If You Can’t Pay Your Taxes

    The first thing you should know if you cannot pay your taxes is that you absolutely should not ignore the problem or fail to file your tax return. Although not paying taxes is a violation of the law, failing to file a tax return is considered a more serious offense than not paying – and can carry much heavier penalties. Failing to File a Tax Return Failing to file a tax return can not only result in the accumulation of interest on top of the amount you already owe in taxes, but can also...
  • The Medicaid Look-Back Period and Penalties

    Medicaid is a joint federal and state government program that provides low cost or free nursing home care, assisted living, or in-home care to those with limited income. To be eligible to receive care through Medicaid, your assets must not exceed a specific limit. If your assets exceed that limit, the government will expect you to use or sell those assets to pay for long-term care before receiving benefits from Medicaid. Many people try to transfer money or assets to relatives to qualify for...
  • Hiring Illegal Immigrants and Other Unauthorized Workers

    It is a violation of federal law to hire an illegal immigrant, anyone who is not authorized to work in the United States, or even to hire a contractor who employs unauthorized workers. The Immigration Reform and Control Act, among other federal statutes, requires an employer to verify that each employee is authorized to work in the United States.  Employers are also required to complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) for each employee hired after November 6, 1986...
  • Should Your Will Include a No-Contest or Mediation Clause?

    There are several steps you can take to protect your will from being contested in court after your death, potentially unraveling your carefully crafted estate plan. Some of these were discussed generally in our previous post on preventing a will contest, but in this post, we will discuss two specific clauses that you can include in your will that may help to prevent lengthy and costly estate litigation. No Contest Clauses One way to limit the chances that a will contest will be brought i...
  • Can I Get a Ticket for Using My Cellphone and Driving?

    Across the United States, cellphones and other mobile devices are being used by people of all ages, from young children to grandparents, and texting has become increasingly popular.  But cellphone use behind the wheel is dangerous, and studies have shown that it can contribute to accidents, with more data being compiled all of the time; forty states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands actively collect data on the use of cellphones as a contributing factor to accide...
  • When to Consider a Month to Month Lease Instead of a Fixed Term Lease

    A month to month lease is a lease that doesn’t have a defined end date. It is less common than a fixed term lease, which is a contract to lease property for a specified period (most often one year).  Many long-term lease agreements convert to month to month leases if a new lease agreement is not signed at the expiration of the lease term. In other words, if you sign a yearly lease for your apartment, and the landlord does not send you a new lease to sign at the end of the first year a...
  • Why Attorneys Should Rethink Their Practice Areas Pages in 2018

    If you’re at a social gathering and someone from outside the legal world asks what you do, you can usually get away with “I’m an attorney.” They might ask what kind of law you practice, if you work at a big or small firm, and a few other icebreakers regarding your job, but that’s about as far as a conversation will go before their eyes glaze over.  The exact opposite scenario occurs when someone needs to hire an attorney. Scrolling through dozens of websites, many of which loo...
  • Is an Employer Required to Pay for Training?

    Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers in the United States are required to pay their non-exempt employees for all hours worked. But what does that mean? Does it include time spent in meetings, seminars, or training?  The determination of whether the employer is required to pay for time an employee spends in seminars, training or meetings is based on four factors: 1. The employer requires the employee to attend the training;2. The training is related to the performance of...