5 Legal Tips for Small Businesses and Startups

law

The economy today is moving faster than ever. Given the ubiquity of cloud-based solutions in the market, relatively low barriers to entry and a surplus of capital available to aspiring entrepreneurs, full speed ahead is your only choice. Anything slower, and someone else will pass you.

Yet even with these market conditions, potential roadblocks remain, and every business owner needs to tackle them. From the beginning, your business strategy should satisfy the legal requirements of your industry. After all, no matter how great your business strategy, it can’t be executed if you’re operating outside legal bounds. The very well-being of your business depends on giving this building block the time, attention and investment it deserves — and at the early stages.

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

Ten tips for the lazy law student

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For any law student, time is an invaluable asset. It’s not just about working hard; it’s about working smart. Here are 10 tips which will save time and sanity for all law students*.

1. You don’t have to read the whole thing

Before reading a case, search for the case summary on Westlaw, or better still, Wikipedia. In exams, you won’t be expected to go into a particular judge’s reasoning in depth. A simple legal principle is usually enough. If you must read the case, the head-note will refer to specific paragraphs for each legal principle you can quickly skip to.

2. Legal research? More like Ctrl + F

For legal research, search for keywords in journal articles, get a PDF file of your source materials from Westlaw, LexisNexis, HeinOnline, or JSTOR, and search with Ctrl + F for keywords – done in minutes.

3. Using Wikipedia like a boss

Wikipedia is your best friend for essays. Just be sure to edit the page after copying and pasting to avoid plagiarism. If you are in need of additional sources, the relevant Wikipedia article should

Seven Content Marketing Tips for Lawyers

r“Content marketing” is no doubt the legal marketing buzz-phrase of the year. The Content Marketing Institute defines it as a “technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience.” So what does this have to do with you? The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Sayre Happich has insights from the 2013 Legal Marketing Technology Conference/West.

All lawyers can benefit from content marketing. By creating targeted content — blog posts, articles, tweets — and pushing it out through the right channels, you can position yourself as a thought leader in a specific area of law. And, whether you are a solo practitioner or part of a megafirm, that can lead to more clients.

During the recent “Content Marketing and Social Media” panel at the 2013 Legal Marketing Technology Conference/West, JD Supra’s Adrian Lurssen and law firm marketers Julie Gurney, Stefanie Marrone, Heather Morse and Joeanne Thomson described their firms’ content marketing campaigns. Here are a few take-aways.

  1. The key to content marketing is focusing on your niche. No lawyer or law firm can be everything to everyone. You need to determine your niche to be an effective marketer of your

Tips for law students

Its not easy to know what to expect when starting out on a degree. We spoke to current LLB student Samantha Whale to find out her tips for studying law:

 

  • At school you may find social science subjects such as religious and modern studies are useful to prepare you for studying law.  My advanced higher religious studies really helped me to improve my research skills as I had to complete a dissertation.
  • Taking a language may open up more opportunities – I didn’t do this but in some ways I wish I had, as you can study law with a language and it opens up opportunities to study international law and travel. However, most universities do offer opportunities to travel during the course so check what your options are, even if you are not taking a language with law.
  • Get involved in debating – this really helped me build my confidence and develop my communication skills.
  • Get involved with mooting – this is the best thing I ever did.  I was the treasurer and also the vice president for the mooting society at my university.  This built my confidence even more and helped with oral coursework at university.
  • Be motivated for self-study – sometimes it can be

Twenty Lessons for Lawyers Starting Their Careers

Nobody hands you an instruction manual or a playbook when you start your legal career. Much of what you need to know is not told to you. Much of what you need to know is learned the hard way, often from making mistakes. Sometimes you are being evaluated on how well you perform when no one gives you instructions and sometimes it’s just the case that no one is giving you any instructions.

In my legal career, I’ve been in big firms and smaller firms. I’ve been a summer associate, an associate and a partner. I’ve run a firm’s summer program and I’ve been involved in hiring. I’ve seen a lot and, from time to time, I’ve tried to put together the lessons I’ve learned.

Sometimes you are not ready for the lesson. Sometimes you think you know the lesson, but you later realize that there was a different lesson that you weren’t able to see until later. Some lessons are painful, but many come from other lawyer’s generously sharing their experiences.

In the spirit of sharing lessons, I offer 20 lessons I now think that I have learned about starting the practice of law and, in particular, working at a law firm.

Networking Tips for Lawyers

A friend of mine who is a lawyer asked me to write some networking tips that she could share with fellow attorneys at her firm. Believe me writing networking tips for lawyers wouldn’t be the first audience I would think about but my friend is very special so this is what I wrote. I thought I would share them with a wider audience. The legal disclaimers are at the end.

  • Networking is about developing relationships. It is not about selling. Business happens when mutually beneficial relationships are established over time. You don’t ask people to marry you on the first date. There is a whole category in humor called lawyer jokes. Don’t let your poor networking skills contribute to it. The types of folks that most people don’t want to meet are lawyers and undertakers.
  • Get off your crackberry. Don’t become a lemming like everyone else standing in line at Starbucks reading their emails oblivious to the people around them. Trust me; your next big client engagement is not going to come in the form of an email while you are waiting for your coffee. The barista’s mother could be the President of a bank. Talk to her and others around you.

10 tips for better legal writing

Throughout your career as a lawyer, you’ll be judged professionally on two main things: your interpersonal skills and your writing. Although the requirements of writing assignments will vary depending on your organization, your supervisor and your clients, here are 10 pointers that will improve your work product.

1) Be sure you understand the client’s problem. When given an assignment, ask plenty of questions. Read the relevant documents and take good notes. Learn all you can about the client’s situation. If you’re a junior asked to write a memo or a motion but you aren’t told anything about the client’s actual problem, ask what it is in some detail. You must be adequately briefed—and that’s partly your responsibility. There’s almost no way to write a good research memo in the abstract. As you’re reading cases and examining statutes, you’ll be in a much better position to apply your findings if you know the relevant specifics.

2) Don’t rely exclusively on computer research. Combine book research with computer research. Don’t overlook such obvious resources as Corpus Juris Secundum and American Jurisprudence. Look at indexes, digests and treatises to round out your understanding of the subject matter. And when it comes to computer research, don’t

What Happens When A Person is Charged With A Crime

Certain constitutional protections apply to a person charged with a crime. There are also certain procedures that are roughly the same from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The following is a brief description of what happens when a person is charged with a crime.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately if you or someone you know have been arrested or charged with a crime. Getting legal help is critical to ensure a defendents rights are protected.

A person may be charged with a crime before they are arrested. If this happens, a judge will issue a warrant for the person’s arrest. A police officer will attempt to locate the person who is the subject of the warrant. If the person is located by the police and arrested, the police must give the person a copy of the warrant that states the charge for which they are being arrested. The police do not necessarily need to have a copy of the warrant with them at the time of the arrest, but they should provide a copy to the arrested person within a reasonable amount of time afterward.

After a person is arrested, they will be “booked” at the police department. This entails taking fingerprints and

Singapore Business Law Top 10 Legal Tips for a Small Business in Singapore

Running a business is exciting. But without the right advice, it can also be a minefield, especially where legal matters are concerned. We provide some tips to guide you through the minefield.

Running a business is often exciting. But without the right advice, it can also be a minefield, especially where legal matters are concerned. Prevention is always better than cure.

The following top 10 tips aim to help you guide through the minefield:

1. Don’t put your personal assets at risk
2. Put it in writing
3. It pays to get proper advice early
4. Spell out your terms and conditions
5. Keep up to date with the law
6. Keep employment contracts clear and simple
7. Protect your intellectual property
8. Not keeping proper corporate records
9. List down your rights and responsibilities
10. Getting involved in litigation

1. Don’t put your personal assets at risk

Are you running your business together with your partners? If so, are you aware that under Singapore law, all partners are jointly liable for the debts and obligations of the business. So if your business does encounter any problem, not only all your investment in the business will be at risk, all your personal assets would also

10 Intellectual Property Tips Entrepreneurs Can’t Afford to Ignore

 

Intellectual property (IP) is one of many important legal considerations for startups. While a lot of small companies immediately put together an effective IP policy, in contrast many startups don’t take necessary measures to protect their ideas and end up spending a fortune in legal fees down the road.

Basically, IP covers an array of legal ownership claims that include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets. Given that IP is broadly defined, there is substantial room for mistakes and oversights.

Protect all of your creations with these ten key steps.

Patent Protection: Protecting Products and Processes

  • Formalize ownership agreements amongst founders. If your company is just getting off the ground and you’re about to look for some serious funding, hope for the best but get a clear agreement between everyone involved as to who owns what and how any dividends created by your intellectual property will be divided either when you grow larger or if the company just flat out implodes one day.
  • Patent filing is expensive, so spend strategically. Keep any patent expenses to a minimum and focus them exclusively on strategic IP protection. For example, although you may want to enter international markets one day, first focus on domestic patent

The Criminal Process How it Works

The criminal process typically begins with a stop or an arrest. It could end at any point up to the time of sentencing, depending on the facts and circumstances of any particular case. You have certain rights at every stage of the criminal process. The following is a brief explanation of each step from a stop through sentencing.

You may be stopped for questioning by the police. A stop is not the same as an arrest. A stop occurs when a police officer detains you to ask you questions, but does not move you to a different location. A police officer should not stop you unless he has a reasonable belief that you have violated the law. Even though you are not under arrest at this point, you do not have to answer any questions that the police officer asks you. The police may also ask to search you or your vehicle. The police officer cannot search your car without your consent unless he has “probable cause”. “Probable cause” is a legal determination that you won’t be able to challenge until later. Because of this, you may want to tell the police officer that you do not consent to a search

Jobs and Employment Law

What Is Employment Law?

Employment law covers the many facets related to employment, employers, independent contractors and employees. From selecting and interviewing employees to work disputes and termination of employment, employment law creates specific guidelines, which both employers and employees must follow.

Type of Employment

There are generally two types of employees – “at-will” or The majority of state laws say that employment is “at will,” meaning the employer can terminate an employee from a position for any reason, so long as the reason is not an illegal reason. State employment laws also regulate employment contracts, and the clauses an employer or employee may find within employment contracts.

As an at-will employee, your employer can terminate your position at any time – with or without notice. Typically an employment contract will define an employee as at at-will employee. However, where an employment contract is silent on the matter of an employee’s status, and that employee is fired for no reason, that employee may argue that the termination was wrongful. The employee could argue that they could only be terminated for “good cause.”

An employment contract is an agreement between an employee and employer that outlines the basic responsibilities of the employee. If the employee signs

Getting your startup visa Seven tips on choosing the right immigration attorney

While Congress is trying to decide on immigration reform, I’ve been through the excruciating, year-and-a-half-long process of getting a long-term US visa. I wasn’t looking to work for an American company. I was looking to build a company and create jobs on American soil.

After trials, tribulations and a couple rejections, here I am, finally staring at a shiny sticker inside my worn-out Belarusian passport.

As many will tell you, immigrating to the US is really tough. The best way to start your own process is by having a consultation with an immigration attorney.

I worked with two different law firms and learned the hard way that choosing the right immigration attorney is extremely important. I hope my experience can help moving your startup to the US.

*Since I’m a software engineer turned entrepreneur, not a lawyer, nothing in this post should be considered as legal advice.

Tip 1: Don’t bargain hunt

Choosing blindly might result in you working with mediocre or terrible immigration attorneys. Some might be handling too many cases at the same time, thus making them unable to dedicate enough time for each client. Some don’t have enough experience in certain areas of immigration law. Some are just trying to charge the heck of their clients.

I’ve heard all kinds of horror

10 Nifty Tips For Becoming a Successful Criminal, According to Harry Houdini

Though Houdini repeatedly claimed the book was meant to teach law-abiding citizens to avoid crime, it functions equally well as a criminal instruction manual, providing creative and unexpected ways to get away with all kinds of burglaries, heists, and hoaxes.

Infused with Houdini’s flair for drama, the work incorporates collected interviews with famous criminals and law enforcement officers, and cites real criminal cases from the 19th and 20th centuries. So whether you’re an aspiring delinquent or crime fighter, here are some of Houdini’s tips for “how to do wrong the right way”:

1. WALK BACKWARDS IN THE SNOW.

If you’re planning a burglary in the winter, make sure to approach your target backwards. That way, any footsteps you leave will appear to be moving away from your mark instead of towards it. As Houdini notes, “any tracks going forward would attract the next policeman who should pass.”

2. IF YOU WANT TO STEAL A DIAMOND, TRY HIDING IT IN A PIECE OF CHEWED GUM.

This piece of advice comes from “one of the cleverest and most unscrupulous diamond thieves” of the period, Houdini noted: When lifting a priceless diamond from a jewelry store, hire an innocent, wealthy-looking woman to enter the store ahead of you. As she peruses the jewelry

5 Tips for Writing Authentic Crime and Legal Fiction

Writing about a highly technical topic, like crime or law, can be intimidating. In the world of criminal law, there are innumerable rules, practices and procedures. Criminal lawyers speak their own language. To write a good crime or legal story, a writer needs to have credibility. Credibility comes from working within the rules of criminal law and speaking the criminal law language. But you don’t have to be a cop or lawyer to write about crime or criminal law with authenticity. Here are some tips to get started: 1. Brainstorm: As in any genre, a good story with interesting characters and plot twists must be the starting point. Physically write out brainstorming ideas without regard to order, quality or completeness. Just start writing, and let the ideas flow.

  1. Get Inspired: Inspiration often comes from outside sources, often unexpectedly. Read great books, and watch great movies, especially crime and legal drama. Read about crime in the news. Follow interesting trials. Watch true crime stories on television and read true crime books. You never know when some small tidbit will spark a story in you.
  2. Outline: Everyone has their own methods of and opinions about outlining. Whether organized by chapter, act, scene, character

The 10 Laws of Sales Success

A recent Gallup poll on the honesty and ethical conduct of business professionals found that insurance salespeople and car salespeople ranked at the bottom of the list. Bet you’re not surprised to hear this. But did you know that it’s not just car salespeople who have a bad reputation? Bill Brooks of the Brooks Group estimates that more than 85 percent of customers have a negative view of all salespeople.

But it doesn’t have to be that way: You can prove the masses wrong, and learn to develop the skills that will have people thinking differently about the selling process. In fact, selling can be one of the most rewarding tasks you’ll undertake as a business owner-but only if you follow these 10 tactics:

Law #1: Keep your mouth shut and your ears open.

This is crucial in the first few minutes of any sales interaction. Remember:

  1. Don’t talk about yourself.
  2. Don’t talk about your products.
  3. Don’t talk about your services.
  4. And above all, don’t recite your sales pitch!

Obviously, you want to introduce yourself. You want to tell your prospect your name and the purpose of your visit (or phone call), but what you don’t want to do is ramble on about your product or service. After

Criminal Defense Strategies

Developing a defense with your attorney for your criminal case.

In general, a criminal defense strategy for your criminal prosecution will emerge as your criminal defense attorney finds out more about what the prosecutor is planning to do. Because each criminal prosecution is different from every other, a particular criminal defense strategy is unique to the situation at hand. For example, if a prosecutor in one case lays out a story that has the defendant at the scene of the crime, the defense attorney will probably ask questions that may lay out a different story showing the defendant at another location. In addition, how the criminal defendant acts and answers questions that the prosecutor poses will also change the criminal defense strategy.

However, this is not to say that a criminal defendant and his or her attorney sit around and make up false stories that would tend to show innocence. Generally speaking, a criminal defendant that is open and honest with his or her attorney will have a better chance of putting up a great defense. But it is worthwhile to keep in mind that the truth that a defendant sees is not always the truth that a prosecutor sees. Indeed, there

5 Funny But True Tips On How To Become A Lawyer

I decided to Google this topic of discussion prior to commencing this article, just to research the direction most authors took with their advice. Would it be a generalization–totally subjective to the author, stuffy and/or seriously helpful? As I suspected, most of the information provided was extremely black and white, with zero emotion or personal stories of what really happens for a legion of people seeking to be accepted into law school, get a law degree, pass the bar exam and GET A JOB!

Attempting to become a lawyer is not easy. It can be one of the most humbling experiences of your life. So without further adieu–I offer Part I of comedic, yet one hundred percent seriously on-point tips on the “Dos and Don’ts” in pursuing a law degree.

1) Do Not Go To Law School Just To Buy Time

Yes, it is your senior year of college, the job offers you received are not of interest to you, and your parents are chomping at the bit to get you off of their insurance. This perceived lifeline of going back to school to get a degree that you may or may not use is not the best strategy. Why do you ask?

Ten Landlord Legal Mistakes to Avoid

Being a landlord is a complicated endeavor. Not only do you have to worry about the usual headaches like leaky pipes and broken dishwashers, but there are extensive legal requirements that are waiting to trip you up. Here is a list of the ten most common legal mistakes that landlords make, and tips on how to avoid falling into these traps yourself.

Asking Discriminating Questions

A landlord should refrain from asking certain questions to a prospective tenant. This is one of the more serious legal mistakes that landlords make. Because the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits a landlord from refusing to rent property to a tenant for discriminatory reasons like race, color, religion, national origin, sex or gender, disability, and familial status, a landlord should avoid questions that may appear discriminatory or suggest a discrminatory intent. For instance, questions about the severity of a disability or marital status can result in a lawsuit or in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A landlord does, however, have the right to use standard tenant screening methods like credit and reference checks, but weeding out tenants based on the use of discriminatory information is illegal.

Failure to Make Disclosures to

5 Internet Marketing Tips to Increase Traffic to Your Law Firm Website

What are some basic steps I can take to market my firm on the Internet?

While Internet marketing is a business unto itself, full of companies that assist law firms to improve their search engine rankings and overall Internet presence, there are a few steps you can take at your firm level, with very little Internet knowledge, to improve your firm’s web presence.

1. Create an effective website

The website is your firm’s office space on the Internet. And, your visitors are very discerning based on appearances. If your website looks unprofessional, visitors will be less likely to trust the quality of your services. First impressions are everything. A professional website conveys to visitors that your firm is competitive.

2. Become a scholar in your practice area by writing blogs

“Blogs” are articles you can write and post on your website. You can write blog posts about everything from current trends in your practice area to high-profile cases, helpful information for individuals unfamiliar with your practice area, and more. Every article you publish increases your firm’s exposure on the Internet. If you have a library of blog posts on your practice area, individuals looking for an attorney in your practice area may stumble upon a