Two Ways To Find The Right Attorney At An Affordable Price

If you are in a situation in your life where it is necessary to hire an attorney, expenses can be at the forefront of your mind. Opening the phone book or searching the internet for a lawyer will give you more results than you will know what to do with. Here are two tips for finding the right legal representation for you.

Finding Representation You Can Afford

The average cost of a lawyer in the United States is $284 per hour. When many people hear pricing in that ballpark, they will immediately begin looking for the cheapest option available. This is a mistake. While $284 may be the average, it is simple enough to find something more affordable. If you live in a small town or rural area, even the top law firms will generally charge much less than the national average.

Another way to get top flight legal advice for a lower rate is to find an attorney who is just getting started. Young lawyers know they cannot charge as much as their more experienced counterparts. They are also more willing to negotiate their rates, as they need every client they can get to grow their business. A final option for those in search of legal representation, is to contact your local bar association. The bar association is in charge of licensing all attorneys, and many will offer programs where potential clients can consult with lawyers for little or no fee.

Explore Unusual Options

Nearly every law school in the country offers clinics to provide legal advice to those who can’t otherwise afford it. It provides a wonderful learning experience for students, and a chance for justice for clients. While many people are wary of having a student attorney, the fact of the matter is that fully licensed lawyers, with years of experience, supervise the students every step of the way. Schools offer clinics that specialize in criminal, family, environmental, tenant, and employment law, to name a few. Generally, they are free to the client. Along with law school clinics, there are a number of legal nonprofits that offer similar services for little or no charge. Their specialties can be as specific as copyright law for musicians, or as broad as civil rights and public interest for all citizens. The purpose of these organizations is to help people.

There are a lot of traditional and nontraditional options for legal representation. To find the type that is right for you, schedule a meeting. Sit down, explain your problem, and see what they say. Find out if they normally handle cases like yours, and how often. You will be working quite often with whatever law firm you decide upon, so make sure that you get along. Be open about your budget as some lawyers are open to negotiations. Talk with your local bar association, nonprofits, and schools. Find a young lawyer with excellent grades who just graduated. There are a lot of affordable options out there for all price ranges.

Criminal Defense – The Right To Cross Examination

History Of The Right To Confront Your Accuser (Confrontation Right)

Something we often teach children is that they have a right to ask questions of someone who wronged them. Even though they may not get the answers they seek, they have this right. The law has this similar notion in the Confrontation Right. This is the right of a defendant to confront the witness that is testifying against him or her. This usually takes the form of a cross-examination in the courtroom. This right, however, only applies to criminal cases and not civil cases.

This clause has its roots in England. According to The Heritage Guide to The Constitution, “Long before the American Constitution, trials featuring live testimony in open court subject to cross-examination were typical in the English common-law courts.” When the Confrontation right was adopted into the sixth amendment, those who did so probably had that model in mind. This is due to the abuses the American colonists had experienced or witnessed. Framers were familiar with State trails of the early seventeenth-century. In these trials, British prosecutors obtained affidavits or depositions in private. They then presented this information as evidence in trials stating treason against the crown. This most likely caused much anger among those who were subject to the practice. Defendants usually demanded, in futility to have their accusers brought before them face-to-face.

The American colonists faced similar abuses in the 1760s. Parliament allowed the colonial vice-admiralty courts to try certain offenses using a “civil law” model of trial based on written interrogatories instead of live testimony. Both George Mason and John Adams publicly condemned that practice. As the Supreme Court declared in its first major Confrontation Clause opinion, “The primary object of [the clause] was to prevent depositions or ex parte affidavits, such as were sometimes admitted in civil cases, being used against the prisoner in lieu of a personal examination and cross-examination of the witness.” Mattox v. United States (1895).

Today this law is well practiced, and the clause the guarantees opportunity for cross-examination.

It is important to appreciate the history of this clause. Because of this clause, lawyers cannot bring out of court statements, or hearsay, into the courtroom to use in a trial. According to to Revolutionary War and Beyond, which is a website that discussed the history of this clause, “Hearsay is not permitted in court because the defendant cannot cross-examine or challenge the witness.” This protects a defendant from being blindsided by a comment made in anger outside of court being used against them in court. There are examples where this does not apply. Testimony given by someone on a deathbed, for example, can be used in court because it is assumed that person will not be able to be present. Also, if a witness is no longer available, meaning they died or moved, this rule can be amended. However, in all other situation it holds and is a protective measure allowing for the full facts of the case to be presented so the jury can make a through deliberation.

The confrontation clause is an important one in the American courtroom. Rooted in England and carried into the constitution by the founding fathers, the clause holds an important place in the courtroom. It allows the for statements that may hold no weight to be ignored in a trial, and it allows the accused to ask the questions that may help prevent facts or clarify situations. As history shows, this clause can stop bullying from occurring and false charges from being placed based on circumstantial evidence an individual was confessing in private. The next time you hear the word hearsay, you will have a greater appreciation for where it came from and what it means.

Compensatory Time Off – Overtime Must Be Paid to “Intern”

Compensatory Time Off is Often Misunderstood or Abused by Employers

Fictional Background

Mary worked one year working as an intern in California. The contract specified a rate per hour and gave Paid Time Off [PTO.] Mary did not use her PTO, but relied instead on “Compensatory Time Off” [CTO], that is, she took time off in lieu of overtime pay.

At the end, Mary was told she would not be paid her PTO because of a ‘use it or lose it’ policy. Her employer told Mary that PTO granted was not a ‘policy’ of the company, but a ‘component of the internship.’ That sounded strange to Mary.

The “intern” contract also stated that Mary was overtime exempt, and would not be paid overtime.

Mary wanted to know: Did her international student intern status make any difference to her rights to PTO?

Legal Analysis


Paid Time Off [PTO] is the equivalent of wages earned, and must be paid immediately on termination of employment. PTO can be capped, but it cannot be forfeited — i.e., the “use it or lose it” policy is illegal in California.


Compensatory Time Off [CTO] must meet California conditions: Labor Code Section 204.3:

— The employee requests CTO, in writing, in lieu of overtime.

— The employee is regularly scheduled to work no less than 40 hours in a workweek.

— There is a written agreement for CTO before the work is performed.

— Accrued CTO must be paid out when the employee terminates employment.

Note also that the CTO is to be given not just for the hour worked over 8 in a day, but at the overtime rate of time: 1 hour worked = 1.5 hours off up to 12 hours, and 2 hours off over 12 per day.

A true intern, usually as part of an academic requirement and approved sponsorship, is unpaid. As an intern, Mary’s work duties are under continuous mentoring and supervision, with no discretion to decide matters of significance to the company. Bottom line: Mary is non-exempt. Mary should demand her overtime and money equivalent of unused CTO. She likely has a claim for the extra 1/2 hourly rate even for each hour she was allowed to take off at base hourly pay.

3 Factors To Consider When Hiring Notary Services

A notary public can be very helpful when entering into business deals and contracts. You do not want to take chances when making important business deals where legal documents need to be signed and where the signing comes with lots of implications. Hiring the services of a notary keeps you safe as far as ensuring that you are dealing with the real person named in the document and ensuring that the documents and signature appended on the same are authentic and won’t pose any legal implications in the future.

There are so many documents that require the presence of a notary public to be legal and valid and this definitely means that you need to hire notary public services to make the process smooth and valued for you. Considering that there are so many firms that offer these services today, making a few considerations can help you make the right choices with the process and get real value for the money that you spend on the services.

1. Mobile versus stationary

Notary services can be offered in two ways, stationary and mobile. For the stationary services, you will be required to make your way to the office of the notary public to have the notarial act performed for you. As for the mobile, you have the expert come to where you are to perform the act. Most people prefer the mobile notary services because of the flexibility they offer them in terms of time and choice of location. They can however be a little costlier compared to the stationary services. Check out both services in detail before choosing the one you feel works best for your needs.

2. The service cost

When it comes to notary service costs, they can vary according to given elements. State laws are some of the elements that can determine the charges with different states having different maximum fees that can be charged for the services. Find out the maximum amount that should be charged depending on where you are located or the state from where you are signing the contract from so that you have an easier time choosing the best and most affordable services in your locality. Remember the process can call for first notarial act and a second one and the charges can differ too. If you are choosing mobile services, then you are most likely to be charged a travel fee by the notary public offering the services. The distance covered is therefore also another determinant you ought to consider.

3. The services

Notary publics are required to be present in a number of document signing processes and commissioning of oaths. However, there is still a need to confirm what exact services your firm offers and what documents the notary publics can handle for you before hiring. When looking at the services you can offer you should think of future needs as well so that you can choose services that you can use at any other time when the need arises without wasting too much time looking for reliable notary publics.

Ecommerce – The Importance of Having a Privacy Policy

A privacy policy, also known as an information management policy, is an agreement between a website operator and a website user that determines how the operator intends to use, collect, store, share, and protect the data that the user shares through interactions with the website. Even a little more than a decade ago, some commercial websites did not have privacy policies, but now, virtually all websites have one. These policies, which should be separate from the website’s terms of use agreement, are a necessity for several different reasons.

The Policy Can Foster Transparency and Trust between Operators and Users

In connection with privacy policies, website users usually want to know two things: what information the website collects and how that information is used. Best business practices dictate that website operators let users know the answers to those two questions and let them know how to control that use.

Some websites inform users that they simply collect information for their own use, and other websites disclose that they provide that information to third parties under certain circumstances. eBay’s privacy policy, for instance, tells users that it does not “disclose your personal information to third parties for their marketing and advertising purposes” without the user’s explicit consent. The policy says eBay may share personal information to third parties when it is necessary to prevent fraud or use the eBay website’s core functions. The extended version of eBay’s reader-friendly policy could be improved by specifically informing users at what points of service the information is collected and how it is shared at each point.

A website should also update users whenever the privacy policy changes. It should let the users know when the new policy will go into effect, and it may allow users to agree to the changes, explicitly through a dialogue box or implicitly through continued use of the website.

The Policy Can Help Shield You from Legal Liability

Although there is no general federal law outlining privacy policy requirements for websites that collect information from adults, several state laws and minor-specific federal laws exist. For instance, the California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 (OPPA) requires that website privacy policies must contain certain information, including: “personally identifying information collected, the categories of parties with whom this personally identifying information may be shared, and the process for notifying users of material changes to the applicable privacy policy.” The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requires operators to maintain a privacy policy if the website is directed to children under the age of 13 or knowingly collects information from children under the age of 13.

7 Ways to Get Referrals for Your Law Firm

For many attorneys, referrals are a significant and comfortable method for new business. Client referrals are satisfying as the implication is that the referring client is confident in your work and was happy with the outcome.

Another method of referral is from a colleague, usually referred to as lawyer-to-lawyer referrals. Research by LexisNexis found that 26 percent of a U.S. law firm’s income typically comes from referred work. However, it is not practical to rely only on attorney referrals. Developing a multi-pronged approach for referrals requires several methods which require continued attention.

Many lawyers assume that all satisfied clients will refer friends. Unfortunately, it happens less often than they would like. Lawyers need to be pro-active in order to gain referrals and build a practice.

We researched the best methods for building an effective referral process:

1. Ask

While this seems obvious, it is not used often enough. Even for those who do ask for referrals, the typical request goes something like this: “If you hear of anyone who needs my services, I hope you’ll keep me in mind.”

An effective “Ask” has more elements to it than most professionals realize. Just asking for referrals is very open ended and can result in a bad fit for the prospective client and the attorney. Here are some tips that can turn a vague “ask” into a client.

-Try an “ask” which offers a clear picture of the type of services you offer.

Be specific about what you can offer beyond what some clients are aware of. Many clients only know about the services you supplied, so be sure you make clients, friends and other professionals aware of the full spectrum of your practice.

-After the final closure of a case, you may offer what is called “net promoter survey.”

It is single-question survey that reveals how your clients feel about the work you did for them. The question may go something like: On a scale of one to five, how likely are you to refer me to your closest friends and peers? You will want a space for the client to elaborate if necessary.

2. Introductions

If you are looking to connect to someone who would find it helpful knowing your services, be sure to attend meetings and events you know this person attends. Offer your services to assist in areas of your expertise. When introduced, be sure to be clear about who you are. One way to do this is to describe who you are and what services you provide. It cuts through the conversation in having to explain what you do after the initial introduction.

3. Networking

Create a database of 100-200 organizations as well as contacts in your local area. This list should include good resources such as service clubs, interest groups, faith organizations and professionals outside of your industry who may be aware of your services such as medical professionals non-attorneys and your local bar association. Often these are groups who are in a position to refer clients to you.

4. Advertise

Let people know about your interest in receiving referrals from other firms. There are law firms that need assistance with lawyers outside of their practice. It could be that clients they represent may also have an issue that is in conflict as well as something they don’t represent. Take out ads in state and local bar association publications as well as in newsletters, Web sites and organizations where your services are required.

5. LinkedIn

Be sure to take advantage of online resources like LinkedIn. Keep your profile current and include that you are interested in new clients. Join other legal LinkedIn groups for lawyers such as Leadership for Lawyers, Linked Lawyers, Lawyers Weekly and Lawyers Network as well as law groups that fall into particular specialty. LinkedIn has excellent search tools that can help you find other lawyers as well as clients that you might want to meet. LinkedIn advanced tools can help you search by keywords, firm size, specific industries and their location.

Be sure to take advantage of writing posts for LinkedIn as well as for your blog. Well written and timely LinkedIn articles can garner thousands of views. It is a very effective way to broaden your visibility and let the potential client and other professionals aware of your knowledge in your respective practice.

6. Pro Bono work

What sets some lawyers apart is that the practice of networking without expecting anything in return. This method is more like community work for the sake of helping others. In fact, there is no hint of reciprocity and offering pro bono work for service organizations by giving you’re your knowledge, contacts and time.

7. Offer referrals

Be proactive in referring the work of your colleagues and clients. Be a resource for others and be known as someone who knows whom to call on to get things done for others. This makes you the broker of the services for others. In these circumstances, you need to know the key facts about your colleague’s practice or business. Create a list of five to 10 legal colleagues that you want to have in your arsenal to cross-market. For each one, know the specialty area of their practice, their two or three main clients, a couple of recent matters or cases, and one or two ways that they have created value for their clients. You should also do this for the top clients and professional service providers in your network.

DUI Charges And Its Implication

Driving under the Influence or DUI is in itself a horrible thing to do; getting yourself arrested is an experience that is absolutely scary. People who get arrested with a DUI are often terrified thinking about the consequences. They keep worrying about what kind of punishment awaits them. They may have to face dire consequences ranging from being stripped off their driving privileges to having to spend time within bars. But these issues happen only if they are convicted of the crime, what if there are ways to defend the DUI charges.

Defending the charges is not a piece of cake. You need to seek help from an experienced defense lawyer. The major cause of road accidents and injuries is due to a DUI. This is exactly why the laws are very stringent when it comes to drunk driving. The punishments are based on various factors though. As a rule anybody with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% is guilty.

A DUI is taken very seriously and the individual convicted may need to pay heavy fines, may need to serve time in prison or may have their license cancelled. It is vital that the attorney you choose to represent you is experienced and efficient. A capable attorney is not always expensive. There are many experienced lawyers who get the job done meticulously at nominal rates.

An attorney who is experienced will evaluate the case and estimate your defenses very quickly. He would think about whether the police officer had any good reason that led to him pulling you over, he would check to ensure if the tests performed on you were done perfectly which includes the breathalyzer, he would ensure the proper working of the equipment, he would check to see if the laboratory tests were conducted correctly, he would double-check to ensure you were in fact the driver and he would analyze the case to see if there is a defense of necessity involved.

The most important trait of a good lawyer is that he would be able to ease you and keep you confident about is way of taking care of the case. You would be at peace understanding that your lawyer is doing everything for you. It is commonly observed that prosecutors usually try to make the person plead guilty and they will also try hard to make you take a plea deal. However, a good DUI attorney will not let this happen. In fact the attorney may have all the ways by which he would strong-arm the prosecutor leading to a better deal. Your attorney would be able to find the weakest points presented by the prosecutor and use that to strengthen your defenses.

4 Benefits To Having A Legal Practice Newsletter

It’s important to focus on ways to become more cost effective as you want to drive business towards your legal practice. There are free and fixed rate resources that can be used – and a legal practice newsletter can be one of the most effective marketing tools.

There are more sophisticated Internet users than ever before. Many people become narrow-minded when they think about marketing strategies. They focus more on the PPC and the ads than they do anything else. However, boasting a newsletter can be a great way to provide information to current and future clients to ensure there is a steady flow of new leads coming in.

Focus On New Trends

There are always new trends. Within your legal practice newsletter, you can touch on these trends. Focus on the internal training programs that your lawyers are going through and the different research strategies that are being used. Demonstrating the knowledge of your lawyers and how they are able to research topics is important because potential clients want to feel comfortable that they are choosing the best law firm in order to get the desired outcome for their case.

Each newsletter that is sent out can have a segment focused on the current trends. It could even involve one attorney speaking out as to what they do in order to research the case and what resource applications they use.

Reduce Costs For Marketing

A newsletter has the ability to reduce the cost for marketing. You will be able to market directly to the subscribers of the newsletter. The readers have the ability to share all of the information with people they know, either by email, social media, or word-of-mouth. Once you have created the newsletter, there is no cost to send out the material. It only takes time to write the content for the newsletter – and even that can be outsourced if you are more focused on time savings than cost savings.

Have A Large Audience

When you have a link for people to sign up for your newsletter, you can have hundreds if not thousands of people sign up for it. Provide a value for when they sign up, such as being able to receive an e-book, or be entered into a contest. Give them a reason to sign up for the newsletter. Once you get a large number of signups, you have a large audience that is free to tap into each time you send out the newsletter. This means that the majority of people who read it will be reminded that you are a legal firm that can help them in different legal matters, regardless of what your practice may be.

Introduce New Cases

Explain to your news subscribers about some of the larger cases that have come up recently. These can be the ones that have made the headlines in the local news or the ones that your firm has personally handled. Either way, you have the ability to show off what a lawyer can do. Someone who is subscribing to the newsletter may be going through a similar issue or know someone who is and therefore your firm will be the one they reach out to for assistance.

Setting up a newsletter does not take a lot of time and it can be one of the most effective marketing tools. It helps you to talk to those who already have an interest in what you have to offer and remind them about what you do and why you are the best in your area. It is a free resource for marketing that only costs as much as you want to spend to outsource the segments you don’t want to be bothered with.

This Article was written by Anthony Larman from Leads-Locally

Anthony Larman is a smart executive that understands the foundational principles of marketing that make a difference. If you want to achieve predictable business growth and eliminating ineffective marketing that waste your money. Then Leads-Locally is for you.

All You Need To Know About Bench Warrants

Bench warrants are a lot of drama to be honest; staying out of trouble is the easiest way to avoid bench warrants as they are definitely not something you would like being issued with. These are only issued for two obvious reasons and they are explained in detail below.

If a person happens to have had outstanding warrants in his name the chances that he gets pulled over by a cop and handcuffed after he has his identification run by them is plentiful. This is one scene that happens very often in movies too. One cannot say something that is repeated is a mistake because mistakes are something that is done without being aware of it. Once committed lessons need to be learnt and care has to be taken to ensure it is not repeated. Mistakes can happen but repeated episodes are not mistakes. Bench warrants are issued only by judges and they do not issue them without proper consideration. You are only issued with a warrant if you have done something wrong.

If you have had the guts to make a “no show” or have failed to appear in court when reckoned then this is one of the circumstances that allow a judge to issue a bench warrant. A judge is not jobless and would be upset when the defendant or the plaintiff fails to show up. This is a serious offence that is considered contempt of court and depending on the judge can even lead to arrest, fining or sometimes have you behind bars. The police start search procedures as soon as the end of the session when the warrant is entered into the system and filed. It is almost definite that you will be arrested by the police if found by them and so it is always better to turn up yourself.

If the police have managed to gather a lot of evidence against you ensuring that you are indeed guilty of the crime then you are sure to be issued with warrants immediately. However, the evidence needs to prove beyond doubt that you have committed the crime and the judge needs to be convinced thoroughly. This is when the judge issues warrants to allow immediate arrest. If the judge feels it is necessary he may also additionally issue search warrants which will allow the prosecution to look for and procure more evidence.

These are the circumstances that lead to the issue of bench warrants and if you actually understand that you do have outstanding warrants against you, be sensible enough to look for the services of an experienced attorney. Though this act will not allow you to be a free man, it will most definitely give you more chances of being professionally helped. The lawyer would help you to turn yourself before being arrested and thereby you have a higher chance of being granted a bail. This will give you more time to prepare your defense.

The True Extent of Maternity Discrimination

I was taking my friend Tracey and her Siamese cat to the vet recently, and as we were driving along the seafront she turned on the radio to listen to Women’s Hour. We couldn’t believe what we were hearing. The presenter was asking Yvette Cooper about whether or not she felt that she could become the leader of the Labour party job because of her husband, Ed Balls When did a woman’s husband begin to define her and her career prospects?

It seems that more and more women are opting to have babies later on in life due to various reasons. I can tell you from my own experience that the financial burden that having a baby brings is often cited as a major factor. Women are now much more focused upon developing their own careers than having children as well compared to say 15 – 20 years ago.

After being so alarmed at what I was hearing, I decided to ask around my own group of friends to see if they had ever experienced maternity discrimination in the workplace. Most of them were able to recall a story about themselves or friends of theirs who had been treated unfairly due to being pregnant. I was disturbed to hear all sorts of examples of sexism and discrimination. Many of them had to endure all kinds of negative comments upon returning to work and even claimed that the opportunities available to them in the workplace had also diminished upon their return.

Despite the strides that we, as women, have taken towards equality in the workplace, it seems that maternity discrimination is still alive and well in 2015. Young women are apprehensive about having a baby due to the fact that taking maternity leave is frowned upon and rarely allows women to simply pick up from where they left off. The sad reality is that 54,000 women a year lose their jobs due to having a baby. It seems as though I am not the only one and even Yvette Cooper has spoken out about the exact same thing.

It is unbelievable that such attitudes towards women still exist in 2015. My hubby and I have recently been talking about us having a baby together. I had been looking forward to having a little one of my own before discovering the extent of the attitudes facing women today. Hopefully now that the true extent of the discrimination facing pregnant women has been made public, more can be done to ensure that all women are treated with fairness and equality whether they are pregnant or not.