Monday, May 21, 2018

Video: The Supreme Court’s ruling on employee arbitration

Opponents of arbitration suffered a setback at the Supreme Court Monday when the justices ruled 5-4 that companies can force employees into individual arbitration instead of taking collective action. The ruling could affect up to 25 million employment contracts, and gives employers the right to decide wage dispute and other possible issues like job discrimination in arbitration instead of litigation, according to The Washington Post. Robert Barnes with The Washington Post explains the significance of the ruling in this video.


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Podcast: DNA, genealogical websites and privacy

DNADNA posted on a genealogical website helped investigators finally track down the man they believe is the Golden State Killer. While prosecutors and law enforcement personnel are praising the ways new DNA techniques can help identify suspects, defense attorneys and DNA experts say they’re concerned over privacy and ethical questions that have been raised. In this Lawyer 2 Lawyer podcast from Legal Talk Network, hosts Bob Ambrogi and Craig Williams talk to DNA attorney Bicka Barlow and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and discuss the issues raised by genetic identification.


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Should they recuse themselves?

Attorney General Jeff SessionsEver wonder whether a judge, prosecutor or other official should recuse themselves from a case? Now there’s an easy way to figure it out.

The American Bar Association has posted a new ABA Legal Fact Check that explores when a prosecutor should consider stepping aside from a case because of a potential conflict of interest.

Late last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was subjected to a sharp rebuke from Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, when he declined to say at a hearing whether his recusal from campaign-related investigations also extends to the federal inquiry into President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

The new fact check explores the federal regulations related to recusal and under what circumstances a prosecutor is required to recuse himself/herself from a matter. Prosecutors are not automatically required to step aside in political matters unless a clear conflict exists under state model rules or federal regulations.

ABA Legal Fact Check seeks to help the media and public find dependable answers and explanations to sometimes confusing legal questions and issues. The URL for the site is www.abalegalfactcheck.com. Follow us on Twitter @ABAFactCheck.


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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Podcast: An audit checklist for your law firm’s website

smartphoneWhen’s the last time you audited your law firm’s website? In this webcast from Lawyerist at Legal Talk Network, guest Karin Conroy talks to Aaron Street and Sam Glover about ways you can make your website more functional and effective. They discuss tips on design, SEO, content and everything you’ll need to perform your own website audit. Learn about website and SEO tools you can use to make your firm’s website better, faster and more effective.


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Monday, May 7, 2018

Reduce Lawsuit Risks and Minimize Tax Liabilities of Owning Real Estate

commercial real estateBy David B. Mandell, JD, MBA & Carole C. Foos, CPA

While real estate is a common investment, few real estate owners have implemented the proper legal structures to get the most out of their investment.  As a result, some real estate owners, including many attorneys, expose themselves to unnecessary lawsuit risks and pay far too much in unnecessary taxes on their real estate investments.  The purpose of this article is to show you how to own real estate so that you may be able to protect yourself from real-estate-related lawsuits.  Perhaps most importantly, the proper structure could more than pay for itself through the tax savings you may realize.

The types of real estate we are referring to include rental residential or commercial properties, the law practice building, or even raw land.   The merits of real estate as an asset class are beyond the scope of this article, but the structure to most efficiently benefit from these holdings is universal.

The last thing you want to do is invest in an asset that generates a lawsuit, threatening all of your other wealth.  Each year, millions of lawsuits are filed against the owners of real estate throughout the U.S.  They are brought by lenders, tenants, guests, lessees and even trespassers.  Let’s look at an example of a real estate lawsuit risk:

Rob the Real Estate Owner is Victimized

Rob owns several apartment buildings. He owns some in his own name and some in his wife’s name.  The total value of the real estate is $4,000,000 and there is about $2,000,000 of debt on the properties.  The rental income more than covers the debt service and Rob and his wife make a small profit every month.  Rob also has a home worth approximately $1,500,000 with a mortgage of about $500,000.

After an unfortunate event at one of the properties, Rob was named in the lawsuit. Though Rob wasn’t even on the property at the time of the event, Rob ultimately lost a judgment for $3,000,000.  His liability insurance covered $1,000,000 of the loss, but he had to come up with $2,000,000 himself.

This left Rob with a dilemma.  Sell all his real estate properties as part of a fire sale and mortgage his house for the remainder of the settlement or sell his house and further mortgage his real estate at relatively unattractive loan rates.  In either case, Rob was unhappy about the consequences as both options resulted in a loss of the equity he had built over 20 years.  In the end, Rob lost his rental properties and his home.

What Could Rob Have Done Differently?

If Rob had gotten the right advice, he could have done a few things to protect himself.  We will show you a few options here that may be helpful.

Review his Property and Casualty (P&C) Insurance

In this case, Rob did not have adequate insurance protection. Had he had the right coverages and limits, either through a “slip and fall” type policy, landlord insurance, business umbrella or other coverages, his personal liability might have been severely reduced… if he had any at all. Also, such coverages can be extremely inexpensive, given their high coverage limits.  

Separate Properties into LLCs

A limited liability company (LLC) is a legal entity that affords both inside-out and outside-in protection.  In other words, if you had one LLC for each piece of property, a lawsuit arising from one property could only threaten the equity in the property inside that LLC. The judgment would not extend to the assets in other LLCs.  Further, if Rob had been sued personally for an accident, for professional malpractice, or for any other personal claim, the LLC would provide a high level of protection from that lawsuit even though Rob and his family own all the shares of the LLC.  This is a popular strategy for real estate owners in the U.S.

Separate LLCs with Management Company

To take the above strategy to the next level, many savvy real estate owners use a management company to manage the LLCs that own properties.  This technique can provide significant tax and retirement advantages, as the management company can be structured as a different type of tax entity from the LLCs.  This allows the owner to get the “best of all worlds” in terms of the taxation of the entities involved.  One benefit the management company can provide the real estate investor is to sponsor qualified or non-qualified retirement plans.  These plans can often be layered on top of existing retirement plans at the practice level, may not require contributions for practice employees, can reduce the taxes on real estate generated income, and can ultimately increase retirement income for the owners.

Conclusion

If you now own significant real estate, or plan to in the future, you will want to maximize the protection of your valuable personal and practice assets (not just the real estate) and minimize unnecessary tax liabilities.

SPECIAL OFFERS:  To receive a free hardcopy of Wealth Management Made Simple, please call 877-656-4362. Visit www.ojmbookstore.com and enter promotional code NTL01 for a free ebook download of this book for your Kindle or iPad. 

David B. Mandell, JD, MBA, is a former attorney and author of more than a dozen books, including Wealth Management Made Simple. He is a principal of the financial consulting firm OJM Group www.ojmgroup.com, where Carole C. Foos, CPA is a principal and lead tax consultant. They can be reached at 877-656-4362 or mandell@ojmgroup.com

 

Disclosure:

OJM Group, LLC. (“OJM”) is an SEC registered investment adviser with its principal place of business in the State of Ohio.  OJM and its representatives are in compliance with the current notice filing and registration requirements imposed upon registered investment advisers by those states in which OJM maintains clients.  OJM may only transact business in those states in which it is registered, or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration requirements.  For information pertaining to the registration status of OJM, please contact OJM or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure web site (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov).

 

For additional information about OJM, including fees and services, send for our disclosure brochure as set forth on Form ADV using the contact information herein.  Please read the disclosure statement carefully before you invest or send money.

 

This article contains general information that is not suitable for everyone.  The information contained herein should not be construed as personalized legal or tax advice.   There is no guarantee that the views and opinions expressed in this article will be appropriate for your particular circumstances.  Tax law changes frequently, accordingly information presented herein is subject to change without notice.  You should seek professional tax and legal advice before implementing any strategy discussed herein.

 

 


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NTL Webinar: How to Get New Business from Your In-Person Marketing

business developmentWho: Presented by Larry Bodine, Editor, The National Trial Lawyers

What: A free webinar, How to Get New Business from Your In-Person Marketing”

When: Thursday, May 10, 2018, at 1 PM Eastern | Noon Central | 11 AM Mountain | 10:00 AM Pacific.

Why: You will discover:

● The Top 4 Most Effective Business Development Techniques
● Easily Connecting with People
● Building Your Reputation
● Generating Referrals
● A Plan that Produces Results

Register now: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5568911336530175489


Learn from an expert

Are you marketing more these days and getting less in return? Then you are the perfect attorney to attend our free webinar that reveals the most effective in-person marketing techniques that reliably produce new business.

Many attorneys are frustrated because they expend effort and money to grow their law firms, and they get the feeling that some or all of it is wasted. For answers, you’ll want to hear from attorney Larry Bodine.

Larry, who is the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers website and Sr. Legal Marketing Strategist of LawLytics, has been advising lawyers on business development since the 1990s. He will cover the face-to-face methods that reliably produce new files and new clients.

In-person marketing is essential to growing a law firm. Larry will present the best of tried-and-true plus shiny-and-new business development techniques that will work for you.

We’ll cover where clients come from, the 4 tactics that rainmakers use to get new business, networking with a purpose, elements of a 30-second commercial and getting referrals.

Register now for free at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5568911336530175489


Larry Bodine

Larry Bodine

About our presenter:

Larry Bodine is a marketing writer and editor who helps law firms get more customers and generate more revenue with content marketing. An attorney, journalist and marketer, he brings the skills to business messaging that produce results.

He is the Editor of The National Trial lawyers website and Editor of the soon-to-be launched News.law website

Bodine is the Senior Legal Marketing Strategist for LawLytics, the #1 choice for websites for small law firms.

Recent projects include:

  • Law Tigers association of motorcycle attorneys: 28-page
    downloadable e-book on niche marketing, and two email marketing
    campaigns with 10 messages per campaign.
  • HMR Funding: Write custom blog posts for on medical funding for clients in personal injury cases. https://hmrfunding.com/blog/
  • LawLytics Legal Marketing Suite: Developed the web strategy for a local Maryland law firm to become the national source of information about Taxotere mass tort litigation. see https://www.gilmanbedigian.com/taxotere
  • Mass Tort Nexus: wrote daily blog posts for an educational company about product liability cases involving dangerous drugs and medical devices. See https://goo.gl/RwKnsi
  • Larry Bodine Marketing Blog: author of a legal marketing blog for more than 15 years on business development for attorneys. https://www.larrybodine.com/blog
  • Lawyers.com: served as editor-in-chief of consumer website for LexisNexis for three years.

Since he launched his consulting practice in 2000, Larry has advised more than 250 law firms — as large as a 3,000-lawyer global law firm and as small as a husband-wife litigation boutique – on their business development strategies and tactics, and Web
sites. For more information, see www.LarryBodine.com. He is a cum laude graduate of both Seton Hall University Law School and Amherst College.


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Friday, May 4, 2018

NTL member Juan Dominguez wins record verdict in CA car crash case

juan dominguezTrial lawyers for The Dominguez Firm won a record-breaking verdict in Riverside (California) Superior Court when the jury awarded their client $11,779,154.77 in damages for an auto v. auto injury case.

In early July 2015, Mr. Oscar Esparza returned home to introduce his girlfriend, Cristal and her two children to his parents, knowing that he planned to propose to her soon after. On July 8, 2015, as the happy couple and her children began their drive back to Colorado in his Mitsubishi Eclipse, they came to a sudden stop caused by a third vehicle on northbound Interstate 15 near the 91 merge. Unfortunately, a flat-box truck owned and operated by Win Distribution, Inc. plowed into the back of Mr. Esparza’s car.

The force of the impact was severe to the back of the Eclipse and damaged Mr. Esparza’s seat back. Mr. Esparza took the brunt of the impact, suffering cervical spine injury as well as a mild-complicated traumatic brain injury that put him in the hospital for six days. The defense alleged that the third vehicle and Mr. Esparza were at fault for the accident and injuries.

The general damages portion of the verdict was reduced by 20% for alleged negligence by third vehicle involved in the accident. Still, the result for Mr. Oscar Esparza will much exceed $10 Million dollars and could exceed $12 million dollars after post trial motions for interests, costs and penalties. The verdict is considered to be the highest traumatic brain injury verdict award in Riverside Superior Court in 2018.

“This was a hard-fought case in which defendant tried to introduce irrelevant matters into evidence and tried to blame our client and others for the fact they rear-ended him,” said lead trial attorney Olivier Taillieu of The Dominguez Firm. “At the end of the day, our team and I were able to keep the trial court and jury focused on the relevant, pertinent issues and we were able to get our clients justice, especially Mr. Esparza, who is most deserving.”

The nationally recognized attorney Juan Dominguez of The Dominguez Firm, said, “This was a hard-fought case for two and a half years, including a five-week trial that included testimony from numerous leading experts. Gladly, justice prevailed.”

The Dominguez Firm is a powerhouse injury law firm serving Greater Los Angeles since 1987, with over $500,000,000 recovered for the injured. The Dominguez Firm is staffed with award-winning attorneys and is one of the most recognized and successful law firms in Southern California. Recent 8-dollar-figures personal injury results include: $29 Million Jury Verdict, $12.5 Million settlement, $11.7 Million Jury Verdict, and $10 Million settlement.


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