Legal Insights

  • All About Security Deposits

    A security deposit is money the tenant gives the landlord at the beginning of the lease term to reduce the landlord’s risk that the tenant will not cover some of the tenant’s obligations under the lease agreement. Most residential landlords will require tenants to put down a security deposit when the lease agreement is signed.   Each state has its own laws governing residential real estate agreements and security deposits, but in general, a security deposit may be taken by the landl...
  • Transferring Assets to a Minor: UTMA or Trust?

    There are many circumstances under which minors might acquire or inherit property before they become adults. But what is the best way to transfer that property to a minor? Two options include using the UTMA and creating a trust. The UTMA The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) is a model law created by legal scholars that permits you to name a custodian to manage property that you leave to a minor. Almost every state in the United States has adopted some form of the UTMA. Under the UT...
  • Special Rules for Suing a Municipality

    Did you know that if you have a claim against a municipality (a governmental entity, such as a city, state, town, or village), there are special rules that apply? And if you don’t follow those rules, you may jeopardize your ability to bring a lawsuit or to be compensated for your injuries or damages, regardless of how badly injured you are or how egregious the behavior of the municipality is. Let’s go through some of the rules that might apply if you have been injured or damaged by a sta...
  • Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders

    Orders of protection and restraining orders are both orders issued by a court against a person who has been accused of stalking, harassing, or threatening violence against another person as a means to keep the other party away from the alleged victim. Sometimes they can also be issued as a preventative measure before any act has taken place. An order of protection is a kind of restraining order issued either by a criminal court or by a family court and is most often issued to protect victims...
  • Understanding Attorney’s Fees

    How attorneys charge their clients can be confusing, especially if you have never had any contact with the legal system before. Although all attorneys are required by the rules of professional conduct to charge “reasonable” fees, these fees can vary widely by geographical area or the type of legal matter, as well as the complexity of the matter, the experience of the attorney, and other factors. Sometimes the choice of how to charge fees is left to the lawyer, but in other cases, the man...
  • Social Security Disability: SSDI vs. SSI

    The Social Security Administration oversees two types of federal disability benefits, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Both programs set standards for how an individual is determined to be disabled and provide some income replacement for those individuals, but each program has different rules for eligibility.  To qualify for either SSDI or SSI, you must be considered totally disabled. You cannot receive benefits...
  • Will I Be Released After My Arraignment?

    The arraignment is the first court hearing that occurs after an arrest, when the defendant is advised of the charges against him or her and enters his or her initial plea. (You can read more about what happens at an arraignment here).   If you have been arrested, after the plea is entered at your arraignment, the court must decide whether you will remain in custody or be released until the next scheduled court hearing, and if release is granted, whether there will be conditions placed o...
  • Are “Private” Social Media Posts Discoverable in Litigation?

    Many people are aware that anything they post publicly to a social media account is “fair game” in litigation because the information can be easily obtained and is readily available on the internet. But what most believe is that even information that they think is “private,” including posts whose visibility is limited only to specific audiences, or “private” messages sent through social media channels, cannot be the subject of discovery. But that isn’t necessarily the case. Pu...
  • What Happens at an Arraignment?

    What is an Arraignment? The arraignment is the first court hearing that occurs after an arrest, when the defendant is advised of the charges against him or her and enters his or her initial plea.  Arraignments may be conducted differently depending upon the state where the arrest is made. For example, in some states, an arraignment hearing can be held for any charge that could carry jail or prison time, while in other states, an arraignment is only held if the defendant is being charge...
  • Easements 101

    An easement is a legal right to enter into or use real property (or a portion of it) for a specific purpose. Easements do not create ownership or possessory rights in the property, but merely a right to use or enter onto the property.In real estate law, any interest in land is known as an “estate.” The property over which the easement is being granted is called the “servient estate,” because the rights of the property owner are encumbered or restricted by the easement, which cannot l...
  • What Is a Civil Union or Domestic Partnership and How Does It Differ from Marriage?

    Civil unions and domestic partnerships are legal relationships between two people who are not married, but they are not recognized in all states. In most cases, civil unions or domestic partnerships became legally recognized largely for same-sex couples who were unable to legally marry. Over time, many states evolved from recognizing same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships to permitting same-sex couples to marry.  Same-sex marriage became legal throughout the United States in 201...
  • Marketing Your Law Firm: Planning Your Content

    When it comes to drawing in new clients, few things have shown as much promise for attorneys as content marketing—a practice in which you provide helpful content for potential clients through blogging, visual content, video, social media and more. Unfortunately, many attorneys miss the point of content marketing, creating “content for the sake of content.” Unfortunately, this lack of direction fails to deliver the traffic, leads, or clients that an attorney expects, resulting in dead b...
  • How Notice Requirements Affect Your Slip and Fall Case

    If you get injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, one of the issues that will likely come into play in any lawsuit or settlement negotiation is the issue of notice. What Does it Mean to Have Notice in a Slip and Fall Case? To get compensated for your injuries in a slip and fall case, you usually have to prove that the property owner was negligent. That can mean that the property owner negligently created the condition that caused you to fall, the property owner ...
  • Long Form Content: The Value of Whitepapers in Law Firm Marketing

    The content marketing movement is based in lead generation and offers an economical approach to helping potential clients understand why they need your services, the reason they need help, and the reason you’re better at providing these solutions than someone else. However, with so many tactics and strategies for making content marketing work, what’s best?  Following our last attorney marketing blog on the power of long-form content in your legal marketing and our earlier blog on ...
  • Employee Use of Social Media: What Can Employers Control?

    As a business owner, your business reputation is important to you. As a result, it may be tempting to try to place limitations on what your employees can and cannot say on social media about your business in order to preserve that reputation. But while having a social media policy can be a smart business move, employers must keep in mind that the law does not allow employers to completely control what their employees do online. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act) guarante...
  • Penalties for Not Paying Your Taxes

    Failing to pay your taxes can be a serious offense which can result in stiff monetary penalties or even jail time if the IRS files criminal charges against you for tax fraud or tax evasion. You can be charged with tax evasion if you deliberately misrepresent the amount of taxes you owe to the IRS, such as not reporting taxable income, overstating expenses or deductions, or not filing a tax return when you know your income is taxable to try to hide that income from the government or to avoid ...
  • How A Long-Distance Move Can Affect Child Custody Arrangements

    Child custody arrangements can be difficult to make work under any circumstances, but when one parent decides to move – especially if the move is long-distance or out of state – it can be even more difficult. Whether the relocation is the result of a job change, a new relationship, an educational opportunity, a desire to be closer to family, or just to make a new start, a long-distance move could have a significant effect on the custody agreement or order and might impact your ability to...
  • 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...