Legal Insights

  • Should You Incorporate Your Small Business?

    One of the first decisions to make when starting your business is how to structure it. This decision will have an impact on many aspects of your business, from the way that your business is taxed to who will have liability for business debts. Each state operates under its own business corporation laws, and each has different filing fees to establish various types of business entities, as well as different reporting requirements for each type of entity. It is critical that the structure yo...
  • U.S. Visa Basics: Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas

    A visa is a document that allows a foreign citizen permission to travel to a port of entry to the United States to request entry to the country. There are two main categories of visas: immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas. Within these two broad categories, there are different types of visas issued depending on the person’s reason for entering the country. The visa application process, fees, and requirements differ based upon the type of visa being sought, and may vary depending upon t...
  • The Basics of Arbitration

    If you have ever entered into a contract, you most likely have seen a clause that says something to the effect of “any controversy or claim arising or related to this contract shall be resolved by arbitration…” These are arbitration clauses and they appear in virtually any kind of agreement, from securities trading and employment agreements to consumer contracts such as for credit cards, health insurance, cellphones, and automobile purchases. Arbitration clauses simply require that ...
  • Choosing the Right Practice

    Many recent law school graduates struggle with the decision about which area(s) of law to practice in. The choices are seemingly endless, from advertising to zoning, with hundreds of options between. Not to mention the decision between whether to take an associate position at an established firm, to start a firm, or to pursue a career in public service. Picking the right area of law requires that you know yourself, do your homework, and not be afraid to pursue your passion. Though it may...
  • Understanding U.S. Visa Laws and Immigration Status

    In the United States, there is little difference between someone who enters illegally and someone who originally enters legally but then stays past the time permitted. As a result, it is important to understand visa requirements and restrictions. What is a Visa? A visa is simply a document that gives a non-U.S. citizen permission to travel to a port of entry to the U.S. A visa itself does not permit an individual to enter or stay in the U.S. Upon arrival at the port of entry, the person c...
  • Should Your Law Practice Hire a Virtual Receptionist?

    For home-based solo practitioners, those with ‘mobile offices,’ and/or those with smaller, unshared office spaces, hiring a traditional receptionist can be helpful, but many times, the benefits don’t outweigh the costs.For those attorneys with non-traditional offices, there has been a rise of ‘virtual’ services designed to improve the impression that you make on clients without significantly impacting your bottom line, including ‘virtual’ mail services, ‘virtual’ offices, a...
  • The Basics of Medical Malpractice

    Having to undergo a medical procedure or receive medical treatment can be a nerve-racking experience, and there is always an expectation that the doctors, nurses, staff, and facilities involved will render the appropriate care. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical practitioner deviates from the appropriate standard of care in treating a patient, which causes injury or damages to the patient. There is, however, a lot more to a viable medical malpractice claim than simply a mistake on t...
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Managing Punishment & Penalties

    It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle impaired by drugs or alcohol. The name of the specific offense may vary from state to state, but typically it is driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). The ramifications, consequences, and penalties are serious. Pleading guilty to or a conviction for driving impaired can lead to jail time, fines, license suspension, steep monetary penalties, and driver education and rehabilitation programs. Knowing what to do a...
  • Will Versus Living Trust: Understanding Estate Planning Options

    Estate planning is an important process that should be taken seriously. Estate planning ensures that your property and assets are distributed according to your wishes upon your death, and can also address other important decisions, like who is going to care for your minor. Despite the importance of estate planning, over 70% of American adults do not have an estate plan. When estate planning, it is important to know the difference between the different legal documents that are available to ...
  • What to Do If You Are Audited By the IRS

    For the average taxpayer, the chances of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service are not very high; however, if you receive an audit letter from the IRS, it should be taken very seriously. Below are the basics of IRS audits and some tips to prepare for them. What is an IRS audit? According to the IRS, an audit is “a review/examination of an organization’s or individual’s accounts and financial information to ensure information is being reported correctly, according to the tax law...
  • What Is An Exempt Employee and How Does Exemption Affect Pay?

    The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and be given overtime pay at one and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over forty hours in a workweek. But employees that are considered executive, administrative, or professional employees, as well as some outside sales and computer employees, are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards ...
  • Trees and Neighbors: Who is Responsible?

    Homeowners often confront a number of legal issues associated with home ownership, and a common one includes the maintenance of, and responsibility for, trees. When an issue arises with a neighbor’s tree, such as a tree falling on to your property or roots damaging your foundation, your best bet is to speak with the neighbor to determine whether you can come to some agreement about how to handle the situation. But if a compromise is impossible or the neighbor refuses to take responsibili...
  • Attorney Marketing: Effectively Using AdWords

    If you have a law practice, you’re always looking for new ways to reach potential clients, gain an edge on your competition, and see your hard work pay off. Part of this strategy undoubtedly includes increasing your online visibility and presence. Search Engine Advertising: A Common Way for Attorneys to Get Found Online One of the most common tactics that attorneys use to raise awareness regarding their practice is advertising on search engines like Google and Bing. The idea is simple, ...
  • Workers’ Compensation Basics

    According to the Hartford Insurance Company’s analysis of claims data, there is a fifty percent chance that a small business will experience a workplace injury claim in the next ten years. That is to say that workplace injuries can occur in any type of business, at any time. Just because your business is not an inherently dangerous one does not mean that your employees cannot and will not get hurt on the job. The Hartford study revealed that the most common injuries in small business are...
  • Nonprofit Organizations: Obtaining and Maintaining 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status

    Most nonprofit organizations are established for charitable purposes pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. After you have incorporated your nonprofit organization, obtaining federal tax-exempt status is a critical next step in forming a nonprofit organization. Obtaining tax-exempt status comes with significant benefits, including paying no federal, state or local income tax, receiving donations, qualifying for special grants and government funding, and potentially enti...
  • Advertising Your Business Using Endorsements and Testimonials

    Endorsements and testimonials can be some of the most powerful marketing and advertising tools for any small business; these tools provide “impartial” third party support for a product or service by actual consumers who have used the product or done business with the company.  Studies have shown that consumers not only read reviews and testimonials before they buy, but they often rely on them. As a result, they can have a significant impact on a business’s bottom line. But they ca...
  • The Basics of Forming a Nonprofit Organization

    Identifying a need in the community, and starting a nonprofit organization with the hopes of addressing that need is an inspiring experience. Starting, building, and sustaining a nonprofit organization, however, is no easy task, typically requiring years of commitment and dedication, not only to your organization, but also, to the cause it serves. Before starting a nonprofit, it is important to know the steps involved in the process, as outlined below. What is a Nonprofit Organization? Mos...
  • Resolving Disputes with Bad Contractors

    Building a new home or remodeling an existing home can be an excellent experience and profitable investment when done properly. All construction projects experience some hiccups, but they can be a nightmare if you hire the wrong contractor. While delays and unforeseen expenses are to be somewhat expected, shoddy and defective work are not. The best way to protect yourself when taking on a construction project is to choose your contractor carefully, and enter into an unambiguous written co...
  • The Basics of International Adoption

    The decision to expand your family is a joyous and exciting one, and adoption is a great option to do just that. Increasingly, families from the U.S. are adopting children, and with the dwindling number of children available for adoption in the U.S., more and more families in the U.S. are adopting children from other countries. The process for adopting internationally varies greatly depending on the country where the child lives, the state in which the prospective adoptive parent(s) live, ...
  • A Law Firm’s Guide to Choosing a Law Practice Management Software

    Every practicing attorney has been frustrated with all the time wasted on non-legal tasks, such as scheduling, managing calendar entries, and other, time-consuming, administrative tasks. Enter law today’s practice management software.    According to a recent Above the Law article, author Robert Ambrogi took a look at ten reasons practice management software is important--a few notable reasons include significant reductions to salaries and overhead (more than $40,000 for the ave...