Legal Insights

  • The Basics of Assault & Battery

    In 2015, over 1.1 million violent crimes occurred in the United States, and more than half of those crimes were assaults. Below are the basics of both the civil and criminal acts of assault and battery. Assault vs. Battery “Assault” generally defined as an attempt to injure someone else, and in some circumstances, can include threats or threatening behavior against others. Assault has three elements (1) intent; (2) apprehension of harmful contact; and (3) causation. Assault typically d...
  • Fair Lending: Mortgage Discrimination

    Financing your new home can be a trying process and it can become even more difficult and complicated if you are the victim of mortgage discrimination. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) were enacted to protect potential borrowers against discrimination when applying for a mortgage, a mortgage refinance, or a home equity line of credit. What is mortgage discrimination? Mortgage discrimination is the practice of lending institutions denying loans to one o...
  • What To Do If You’re The Victim of Identity Theft

    When someone uses your name and personal information without your consent to receive money, credit, goods or services, you are the victim of identity theft. If you suspect your personal information is being fraudulently used, you must act quickly and aggressively to recoup any losses you sustained and prevent your identity from being compromised further. Below are a few steps to take to stop and minimize the damage of identity theft. Types of Identity Theft Identity theft is a crime that c...
  • Tips for Handling Debt Collectors

    If you are behind on paying your bills, or if one of the individuals or businesses you do business with believes that you owe them money, you may be contacted by a debt collector. The call may come directly from the creditor you owe, but sometimes creditors, including credit card companies and mortgage lenders, send the debt to a third party debt collector for collection.  What should you do if you receive debt collection calls? If you receive a call from a debt collector, use cautio...
  • Domestic Violence: What To Do

    According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. It is important to understand what constitutes domestic violence is so you can identify it when you see or participate in it. There are federal protections against domestic violence; however, the legal ramifications generally vary from state to state. Her...
  • Parental Liability for the Actions of Minors

    Being a parent is hard. This is especially true if your child commits negligent, intentional, and/or criminal acts. Most parents don’t know that they can be held legally responsible for the actions of their children. Parents have a legal duty to reasonably supervise their children, and if they fail to fulfill that duty, they may be held responsible. What Is Parental Liability? Parental liability is the legal responsibility parents have for the negligent, intentional, or criminal acts o...
  • The Basics of Adult Guardianship

    When the health of a person you love or care for takes a turn for the worse or they otherwise become incapacitated, it is time to determine whether an adult guardianship is appropriate. Guardianship allows a person or people to make decisions for the incapacitated person, and is a serious process that should be handled with care. Below are the basics of adult guardianship. What Is Adult Guardianship? People—especially the elderly—can have mental and/or physical disabilities that impose ...
  • What Can Debt Collectors Legally Do to Collect?

    If you owe money to a creditor or if you get behind on your bills, you may receive debt collection calls and may receive a debt collection notice in the mail. There are rules that debt collectors must follow when contacting you to collect. Governing Laws There are federal laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), that govern what debt collectors can and cannot do in order to collect debts owed, and each individual state also has its own laws that govern debt collecti...
  • Car Accidents: Making the Case for Your Personal Injury Claim

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 over 2.4 million people were injured in car accidents. From fender-benders to massive collisions, car accidents can leave lasting injuries. Handling the situation properly immediately following the accident will help strengthen your claim in the long run. Proving Your Case In order to be compensated for your injury following a car accident, you must demonstrate that the other driver was negligent, and that their negli...
  • Is That Job Interview Question Legal?

    Job applicants and employees have legal rights. There are restrictions on what a potential employer can legally ask during a job interview, and what they can do as part of a background check. Below are some of the key points on both topics. General Law An employer cannot discriminate against applicants or employees differently based on certain protected characteristics, such as race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, disability, genetic information (includin...
  • What to Include in an Independent Contractor Agreement

    Independent Contractors v. Employees Many businesses prefer to use independent contractors or freelancers rather than hire employees, especially if the business does not need help year-round or does not have enough work to keep regular employees busy. Since independent contractors do not receive employment benefits and usually do not require office space, hiring an independent contractor can be an effective way to keep costs down. There are pitfalls to hiring and/or improperly classifying...
  • Private Attorney vs. Public Defender: Choosing the Right Defense Attorney

    As anyone who has heard the Miranda warning read in movies or television shows knows, when you are arrested for a crime, you have the right to an attorney. Specifically, the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, among other things, affords you the right to “the Assistance of Counsel” in your defense in criminal prosecutions. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, regardless of the severity, it is imperative that you are well represented. Here are the advantages...
  • 6 Features Every Law Firm Website Needs

    Your website is one of the most important marketing and business development tools you have. The primary purpose of your website is two fold: 1) to help potential clients find you; and 2) once they find you, to tell them about you and what you do. Whether a small or large firm, there are 6 website features that are crucial to generating more leads: Mobile, Contact Info, Attorney Profiles, Practices Areas, Testimonials and Reviews, and a Blog. 1. Mobile-Friendly Potential clients are almost...
  • Friendly Divorce: Can It Really Happen?

    The decision to end a marriage, regardless of the circumstances, can be difficult. With emotions often running high, it is hard to imagine ending a marriage in a way that is not contentious. But an amicable divorce, also called a no contest or uncontested divorce, may work very well for certain couples who decide to end their relationship and agree on most, if not all, matters subject to the divorce. Here are the basics of an amicable divorce. Amicable Divorce An amicable divorce is when ...
  • Car Accidents: What to do Immediately After

    Car accidents happen even to the most careful drivers. They are unexpected and can leave you with serious injuries. When car accidents happen, regardless of the severity, emotions often run high, and it is important to keep a level head and know what steps you should take to protect yourself and your interests. Be Prepared, Assess the Situation, Be Safe The best way to handle an accident is to be prepared for one. Keep a vehicle safety kit in your car that can include items such as a fir...
  • What To Do About Difficult Neighbors

    Sharing property lines and/or walls with a stranger is not always easy. How you coexist with your neighbors can make the difference between living in harmony and living in discord. Whether you own or rent, you shouldn’t have to deal with neighbors who interfere with your peace and quiet. If you are unable to coexist with your neighbor, depending on the dispute, there may be remedies available to you under the law. Nuisance neighbors come in all shapes and sizes. There are neighbors who...
  • 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...