If a customer owes your local business money, it’s hard not to feel angry, like you want to do anything possible to get your money back. But the days of going all out to collect on a debt over. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, designed to protect consumers from harassment or intimidation, sets firm limits on what you can do to collect a debt from a consumer. The federal debt collections law even prohibits practices that were once standard, and that you might not consider harassment at all.
Besides, as a local business, you have an even more powerful reason to be especially careful about legal debt collection issues. You have something much more valuable at stake than a lawsuit: your business’s reputation in the community.
Legal Debt Collection Best Practices
There are plenty of articles on the web that lay out in plain English what the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act says you can and cannot do. Just to give you some idea of the law’s requirements, here are some of the biggest:
* No telling any third party about the debt (except collection
Lawyers have a responsibility to guide their clients through the legal system with both skill and tact. A good lawyer can make all the difference in a client’s case. There are a number of different attributes that it takes to be a successful lawyer. However, the success of a lawyer also depends on how one to chooses to measure success.
Part 1 Knowing the Law
1. Know your information. Keep yourself up-to-date on your area of law. Be aware of new developments, as laws and rules often change and new cases are being decided every day. States introduce new legislation that affect your area of law practice every day. Federal laws also regularly change.
2. Conduct research when needed. If you have a non-routine case involving issues that you have not dealt with before, take the time to do the legal research and find the answers. Don’t assume that you know everything, even if you have practiced in the same area of the law for several years. New issues and cases arise every day, and you have to do the research to find the
With all of this in mind here are six tips all practices should be mindful of whether they are large or small. Failing to be mindful of these six tips could seal a firm’s fate like Denny Crane and Ed Stevens. But instead of cancellation, the real world penalty is often disbarment.
- Legal practices should employ the use of legal accounting software opposed to general purpose accounting software. Firms that utilize general purpose accounting software will not be able to easily remain compliant while using an out of the box software solution made for general accounting. If a firm were to be successful in doing this, it would require multiple rounds of customization. The process of customizing business accounting software would cost both time and money. The finished product would be far from simple to operate too and would make it more complicated to use and require a higher level of expertise by the bookkeeper or whomever is entering the data. Everyday diligence becomes necessary to ensure transactions are posted correctly. The software must also have customized reports that meet both management needs and
Sometimes even the safest drivers cross the line between legal and illegal driving. While there are a lot of traffic laws that most people agree need to be followed at all times (like stopping at a red light), there are others that are broken by seemingly everyone. When you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to push the limits of what’s legal, but it’s important to remember that these laws exist for your safety and the safety of others.
Many people seem to take speed limits as “suggestions” and may get frustrated when the car in front of them is actually going the correct speed. When you’re running late, going 30 mph can feel like 10 mph, but you’ll be even later if you get pulled over.
Conversely, driving too slowly can also be dangerous, especially on the highway. Not all states have speed minimums, but if you live in a state that does, it’s important to make sure that you are at least going the minimum, when possible.
2. Rolling through stop signs
Running a stop sign is a terrible idea because it’s extremely dangerous (not to mention illegal). Although most people are aware of that, some consistently roll though stop
There are times when you need to hire a criminal attorney; this doesn’t mean that you are a criminal or have killed someone. Sometimes, situations go wrong and you turn out to be a criminal, according to the court of law. When you are in such a problem, you need to hire someone, who is experienced enough to pull you out of the situation you are trapped in.
But hiring a lawyer is not as easy as it seems; following are the top five things that you need to search for:
1) Is he associated with any of the legal firms?
If you really want to hire someone, who can be trusted with the problem you are going through, you have to search for a legal firm. Such firms have several professionals working under them and you can easily get the best one from the lot.
2) Can you afford his fees?
This is the second most important question that you need to ask yourself – once you meet him and discuss about the fees that he would charge for his services, you need to find out if you can afford him. Criminal lawyers charge a lot of money, at times. If
Criminal court cases go through methodical steps to reach a verdict:
1) the case is assigned to a federal or state court based on the type of crime
2) the defendant obtains a lawyer
3) an arraignment or bail hearing takes place where the charges are read and defendant enters a plea of guilty/not-guilty or no-contest
4) preparation for the trial takes place where the defense and prosecution gather evidence
5) the trial takes place where, in the end, a verdict is delivered and
6) an appeal may be pursued if there is a guilty verdict.
There are countless millions of criminal court cases that take place in America every year; and here are three types of criminal court cases that are, unfortunately, far too pervasive.
Domestic Violence Crimes
Domestic violence can include violent acts or violent threats and can escalate very quickly. Domestic violence prevails in every city in every state in America. Women are usually the victims associated with domestic violence, so much so that the Bureau of Justice Statistics states that 1 out of every 4 women in the United States will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Another disturbing statistic reveals that in 2 out of 3 female homicide cases,
Customer testimonials are great for your business. They build customer trust, create goodwill for your product, and show potential customers a positive brand history. But there are some things you need to watch out for when using them. Endorsements and testimonials are governed by truth-in-advertising laws.
First, we’ll take a look at the effectiveness of testimonials, and then we’ll go over four key legal tips for using them correctly.
Effectiveness of Reviews and Testimonials
Let’s examine whether testimonials are actually useful. It seems almost self-explanatory that when choosing between two similar providers, the one with excellent reviews and numerous testimonials would appear to be the better choice. But just how persuasive are reviews?
1. Disclose Your Relationship with the Endorser
You must disclose any special relationships between you and your endorsers. For example, employees who promote your product must disclose that they are your employees, and business owners must create a policy that states this. Within your business, you should make sure you share this policy with employees, shareholders, and investors.
2. Ensure That Testimonials Are Accurate
You need to make sure all testimonials are accurate. One of the primary rules of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is that endorsements must reflect the honest
Here are five tips for crafting a legal strategy in your fledgling organization:
1. Budget more for legal spend than you think you need.
Don’t underestimate your legal expenses. Legal fees could end up being a large upfront investment when you start your business. In my experience, these fees always end up being more than anticipated due to the constant back and forth, legal complexity and other factors. For this reason I recommend giving yourself enough of a buffer in your budgeting for these services. Also, make sure you consult with your attorney to estimate the total legal fees at the onset.
On top of that, you also need to pay for license fees, license filing fees, bonds and more. It can be very helpful to speak with other entrepreneurs who deal with similar legal challenges, to determine a better estimate of those costs. At the end of the day, budget wisely so you don’t have to dip into funds that could have been put toward other business objectives.
2. Assume you need twice as much time as you anticipate.
When the idea for your business comes to you and you see a market need that is not being fulfilled, you want to
Most entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed by all of the decisions that must be made when they are first starting a business. Many of the initial decisions you make can have long-lasting consequences and impact on your ability to grow, so you want to get it right! Below are a few tips to consider when launching your business that will help ensure it has a successful start:
How you legally structure your business is of utmost importance. There are different types of ways to incorporate your entity and each has its pros and cons from a tax and liability perspective. Having a knowledgeable business lawyer assist you with deciding which type of legal structure is the most advantageous for your company is critical or you could end up paying way more than is necessary in legal fees and taxes down the road.
It is a common mistake for new business owners to rely on verbal promises that later get broken.. There will be people that act excited about your new venture and make statements that they intend to do business with you, but without a written contract in place, do not rely on these promises. To protect your interests, get it in writing!
Your branded website is your Internet home. And if you want to leverage this valuable real estate and maximize its potential, you need to invest in quality content and aesthetics. This means paying careful attention to design, functionality, and layout. To guide you through the process, we’ve cultivated a full list of helpful tips and tricks.
Why a law firm website matters
For attorneys who have been in practice for 20, 30, or 40-plus years, it’s sometimes difficult to fully grasp the value of a law firm website. After all, you had plenty of success in the 70s, 80s, or 90s without so much as touching a website. Well, the industry has changed. Marketing has moved online. Client acquisition has moved online. Virtually everything has moved online. If you want to remain competitive, you need a reputable site. Here’s why:
Discovery happens online. Did you know that 92 percent of adults use search engines like Google to find information? Roughly 60 percent use the Internet to find local businesses, including law firms. If you want potential clients to find you, you can’t ostracize Internet users.
Your competition is online. It’s highly likely that your biggest competitors are already online. This means their
1. Practice talking to people who exhibit obvious disinterest when speaking with you. I recommend going to Radioshack and chatting with employees. Because they are some of the few who still work on commission, they are obliged to listen to you chatter. But be sure to let them know in the first moments of the conversation that you have absolutely no intention of buying anything. Then proceed to talk to them for 60 minutes. This exercise in futility will prepare for you for the process of lunching with people who have no job to offer and couldn’t give a damn about you.
2 Learn to host an interview. Forget the Emmanuel’s and fast-track summer classes. If you really want to sharpen your skills, take a community college course on journalism, but only attend classes related to interviewing subjects for a story. Learn to ask a person a million questions without ever being asked one back. Once you’re able to sustain 90 minutes of chitchat purely by generating questions aimed at self-important a-holes who talk without ever feeling stressed or hurt that they know nothing about you, you’re ready to network.
3. Learn to withstand unnecessary pauses. Call friends and family in Europe
Whether starting a brand new cloud services company or managing
an intentionally small MSP business, today’s IT professionals can expect an ever-increasing array of issues to stand in the way of their success. The financial challenges alone keep many companies from achieving their goals, and a variety of personnel and regulatory concerns tend to make those objectives even harder to hit. Needless to say, small business owners have a lot to deal with each and every day ─ and legal concerns are often one of the biggest challenges.
For IT firms, virtually every operational or client-focused activity exposes some level of risk. Every entrepreneur and manager has to be readily aware of today’s business environment where conflict and litigation has become an accepted norm. Even when you think you have strong relationships with your customers, you may still find that these customers might let attorneys dictate how to approach dispute resolution with you rather than deal with the matters personally. Conflict resolution isn’t what it used to be, even in the SMB space.
Solution providers and vendors must have access to quality legal resources today to help mitigate their concerns and tackle potential issues in a more proactive manner. By investing
One reason some law firms hesitate to start using document assembly software is because they don’t fully understand how it works. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, right?
The problem with this thinking is that you end up missing out on an easy way to save money and make your processes more efficient—and achieve the golden goose of fewer hours spent on paperwork, more hours spent on billable work. There’s a reason Richard Susskind named document assembly as one of ten disruptive technologies altering the face of the legal profession—it really works! Here’s how:
Created in the late 1970s, document assembly software has only recently really started catching on with lawyers. It automates the creation of legal documents that are used repeatedly, like wills, leases, contracts and letters. The goal is to replace the time-consuming and repetitive manual completing (read “copying and pasting”) of documents with a template-based system. After you select a template, the software asks a series of questions and uses your answers to populate the template and provide you with a finished document, thereby saving you time on document preparation.
Seth Rowland and Rose Rowland, of legal technology consultancy Basha Systems, LCC, divide document assembly software
Around the time I stopped fighting with my parents and began listening to them, my dad imparted some brilliant financial advice. He told me to become a scholar of the tax law. OK, perhaps he didn’t use those exact words, but the message was the same: Know the tax law and take every tax deduction to which you are entitled.
This advice stuck with me, and I’m certain it has saved me thousands of dollars.
The IRS website offers excellent resources to help you further understand the following tax deductions and credits. Study the credits well, as those benefits reduce your taxes dollar by dollar. In other words, if you owe $1,000 in taxes and receive a $150 tax credit, your taxes owed decrease to $850. That’s an extra $150 in your pocket.
By spending a few hours each year keeping abreast of the tax law, you can save thousands on taxes over the years. In fact, keeping a tax-reduction mindset in your everyday life will serve your finances well. Here are 16 tips to reduce what you pay in taxes:
1. Retirement account contributions are a top tax-reduction tool, as they serve two purposes. Most contributions (except the Roth individual retirement account) allow
Making Things Easier When It Comes to Legal Issues
I practiced law for many years (although today I consider myself a recovering attorney) and if I think about it, there are definitely some strategies I have learned along the way that are both inexpensive and which also can make your business life easier. Some are well known, others are not, but I think all can make a difference.
(And of course, being the lawyer I am, let me note that nothing beats meeting with your own attorney who is aware of your facts and situation. But this list should give you something to talk about.)
Here are the top seven:
Dealing With Creditors, Doing It Yourself, The Value of the Letter
1. Get creditors to leave you alone, quickly: Especially these days, plenty of folks are being called incessantly by bill collectors. If you want the phone to stop ringing, one thing you can do is invoke the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Say something like, “Pursuant to the FDCPA, you are to never call me again about this debt.” (Note: This has to be made to 3rd party bill collector and not the original creditor).
Once they have been given notice (doing it by certified
Most people understand that having a good credit score is essential when purchasing major items like a car or home. The higher your score, the easier it is to obtain a loan—or at least a good loan at an affordable interest rate.
Nevertheless, countless people mess up their credit every day due to four key mistakes:
1. Not paying bills on time.
No matter how small the amount or how short the delay, it can seriously harm you.
2. Not knowing your score.
If you think you only need to know when it’s time to make a purchase, you’re wrong.
3. Not knowing how credit scores work.
If you think items are required to stay on your report for 7 years, you’re wrong.
4. Not knowing how to fix it.
Because your credit score CAN be fixed.
According to the US Public Interest Research Group, 79% of credit reports contain errors. Whether they are your fault or because someone else made a mistake doesn’t matter. These errors cause serious harm to your credit rating, and can cost you thousands of dollars due to higher fees on car loans, home loans, or other credit lines. They can prevent you from getting a new car, owning your own
It doesn’t matter how far you are into your studies or your decision-making process; many of the abilities you need to be a good lawyer apply as much to work as a solicitor as a barrister, even if used in different ways, so it makes sense to start thinking about improving them as early as you can. This guide is intended to get you thinking about the kinds of things you’ll need to be able to do as a lawyer. It also provides you with some ideas of the things you can do to bring your talents up to scratch – even if you’re still at school.
1. Taking in lots of information and distilling the key points
This will be relevant whether you’re in a corporate firm reading all the documentation sent over as part of the disclosure process for a sale, or a criminal barrister reading through papers for a court case at short notice. Not only do you have to work out what’s relevant; you also need to be able to clearly explain it to your client or superior so that they understand where they stand. This is especially important if they need to make a decision on it.
One of the things that many recently employed graduates and newly admitted lawyers struggle with is their legal writing style.
In my view there are a few reasons for this, but one major contributor is that writing university assignments and Practical Legal Training assignments are designed for a completely different purpose and with different factors in mind than any form of actual legal writing in practice. In short, university has trained you to write in legalese. It has not, however, embarked on proper communication skills training.
With that in mind, I thought it might help a few people out if I set down some thoughts on key differences between writing for academic purposes, and legal writing for commercial purposes. You see, legalese has no place in practice (except for fun). If you want to improve your communication skills you need to ensure that your legal writing is up to scratch.
DISCLAIMER: lawyers have opinions about these things. The ones below are mine. Your boss might have others.
1. We Don’t Care How Much Law you Know
The purpose of an academic assignment is fairly simple: demonstrate your knowledge and application of the legal area in question. The questions and fact scenarios are specifically framed to
A freelance legal writer has great writing opportunities with lucrative pay. Freelance writers that have an interest in legal matters may find it easy to get work as a legal writer. It is a matter of understanding your options, expertise, and where to land writing gigs that will help you develop as a successful freelance legal writer. Doing your homework on jobs available and getting yourself in the right position to get them will help you get on the road to legal writing success. The following points offer more insight on how to launch your writing career in the legal niche:
Seek freelance legal writing jobs on the side.
If you are a freelance writer doing jobs for other genres you can consider legal jobs a little at a time. You may want to start researching options and think about jobs you would like to apply for. Your focus may not be on how much you want to be paid, but the aspect of being able to land a job will be more important to help you gain experience.
Which areas of legal writing do you want to achieve?
You can explore different options and pick areas you want to become your expertise.
So you need a lawyer. It happens to all businesses sooner or later, but with most lawyers still charging on an open-ended hourly basis, the ultimate cost is always a big worry.
A recent YouGov survey, commissioned by Riverview Law, showed that many SMEs needed legal advice in the last two years; 15 per cent even ended up in court. But nearly a quarter had no idea of how much to budget for legal fees over the next year.
There are ways to get price certainty over your legal budget. Below are our top five tips to get the most of your legal spend and eliminate nasty and costly surprises.
Tip one: Negotiate hard
Small businesses often get bamboozled by their lawyers and end up paying far more than expected. So start your conversation with any firm by saying you need price certainty.
There are many ways in which you can pay lawyers – ranging from success fees to fixed fees to monthly retainers – that ensure you keep control of your legal spend. And if they won’t agree to them because they have internal billing targets to meet, there are plenty of lawyers out there who will.
Tip two: Get as much as you
Small business owners can run into a wide variety of legal issues that aren’t normally encountered with partnerships or corporations. This is due to the fact that many owners retain sole ownership of the business. And this sole ownership, without a corporate structure, often leaves small business owners open to personal liability issues. To avoid having business issues affect your personal nonbusiness related assets, there are a few legal tips you should follow when getting your business off the ground.
Ten Legal Tips for Business Safety
Running your small business means having to deal with a number of legal concerns. To avoid costly mistakes, remember these important legal tips:
- Make certain your contract workers are actually considered contractors and not employees. The IRS treats contractor and employee payment differently. To ensure those working for you are considered contractors, make sure they sign an agreement that states their status.
- Pay all of your bills on time to avoid fees and lawsuits.
- Pay payroll taxes on time to avoid being held personally liable.
- Make sure your contracts are legally binding by having them all in writing. This includes receipts for goods and services.
- To protect your personal assets, purchase business liability insurance, limit company debt, incorporate your company, or