This is default featured slide 1 title
This is default featured slide 2 title
This is default featured slide 3 title
This is default featured slide 4 title
This is default featured slide 5 title
 

Category Archives: Law

Civil Law

Civil law deals with dispute resolution. This covers a broad range of specific areas, and civil lawyers (a.k.a. litigants) generally specialize in one or two practices. A civil defense attorney can be found in the courtroom representing a defendant in a medical malpractice suit and the next day they might deal with a dispute concerning environmental law.

Think of it this way: Many centuries ago, you might have witnessed two champions, each selected by someone involved in a dispute, fighting each other. The champion who won the fight essentially won the dispute for the person who hired them. These champions, assuming they survived, might have gone on to work for another person who had an entirely different dispute to settle.

Today’s litigants act in a very similar capacity, but without the literal bloodshed and the clanging of weapons on shields. Note that civil law concerns matters which do not include criminal charges like murder, armed theft, arson, and so on. That’s the realm of the criminal lawyer.

Before you start calling and sending out emails, it is best to try and understand exactly what a civil law attorney does in their job.

Civil lawyers represent clients in lawsuits as opposed to criminal trials. In general, one lawyer won’t practice both civil and criminal law. A victim has to hire their own civil lawyer, which means you’re not entitled to a lawyer provided by the court in a civil case.

If litigation concerns money at stake, you want a civil lawyer. You won’t go to jail if you lose a civil suit, so stick with a litigant. (Talking of which, a civil lawyer can represent either defendants or plaintiffs.)

You may have heard the term “insurance defense lawyer.” This refers to an attorney who specializes in representing defendants in civil cases regarding insurance claims. They are often hired by insurance companies to represent a business or individual who has been sued on a claim covered by an insurance policy.

Find Good Legal Services Abroad

Areas of Specialization

One of the travails of establishments operating in a foreign country is finding good legal services. Lawyers usually specialize in one particular type of law, or other related areas. A lawyer may generally work on immigration cases, while another one may be a tax specialist. Note that there are lawyers who only render advice to their clients, and not represent them to actual court litigation.

General areas of legal practice include: personal injury, criminal law, tax, employment and family law. It is best to choose a lawyer that specializes in one’s legal concern and one that has a firm foundation in the laws of the host country.

Different Types of Lawyer

Foreign Legal Consultants may be classified as lawyers working for international law firms based in foreign countries. These attorneys may advise clients regarding the requirements and conditions of the host country’s law, but they may or may not be licensed to practice law in the country where they are based. If court representation is needed, a licensed lawyer in the country where he works is required.

Solicitors and Barristers are specialized lawyers who may be practicing in foreign countries. Solicitors generally do not represent clients in court, but advise them, and may put together legal cases for barristers to take to court.

Notaries usually do the functions of attorneys, but depending on the country they practice, their job description may vary. Notaries may draft transfers of property titles and wills. In some countries, notaries are Ministry of Justice appointees and may act as administrators in estate settlements.

Where to Find a Lawyer

Searching for a lawyer in a foreign country is no longer too tasking. Overseas embassies and consulates of most countries have listings of local lawyers who have expressed their willingness to assist citizens of another country. For example, an American in Thailand may go to the U.S. embassy and he will be furnished with a copy of local lawyers willing to assist a U.S. citizen.

There are international bar associations with local chapters that could help foreigners with their legal problems. Most of these associations and similar organizations have standing agreements with accredited members in other countries.

Law firms maintain websites. This should make it doubly easy for anyone needing legal counsel to find a qualified lawyer through this mode.

Law schools have credible law professors who may be practicing or may know a practicing lawyer in his circle. If the legal advice and drafts are needed, senior law students could handle these requirements.

Surely local contacts could refer qualified lawyers to meet one’s legal requisites.

Legal Aid Society

Some of the typical civil cases that legal aid society handles include but are not limited to:

• Landlord-tenant disputes
• Domestic abuse protective orders
• Bankruptcy
• Family law-divorce, domestic violence, and child support
• Immigration-securing the appropriate documents in order to remain in the United States, contest deportation
• Elder law-preparing wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney, helping them apply for public benefits

The cases they do not handle are criminal cases. The services offered by legal aid society range from advice and information to representation throughout the entire case. Sometimes seminars are offered to help inform the local residents about their legal rights. They will also answer basic legal questions at seminars.

Although the process to determine eligibility varies by jurisdiction, there are general steps that have to be taken in each case. The main step is to do an evaluation of the client’s assets and income. The reason is that in order to qualify for a pro bono attorney their total household income has to fall below a threshold that has been pre-determined. In the case of domestic violence or divorce situations, legal aid society may consider the spouse’s income to determine the household income. This can happen if it appears that the client does not have access to the spouse’s income. The one exception to meeting low-income requirements is victims of domestic violence, as legal aid society does not usually verify their income. The reason is that a victim of domestic violence may need urgent legal assistance like getting a protective order against the abuser.

If the applicant meets all of the eligibility requirements, the services they receive from legal aid society will be free of cost in most cases. A client may still have to pay the mandatory filing fees but there may be a fee waiver. This waiver is a request that is filed by the client requesting that the court waives the filing fee for their case. The court will generally waive the fee if they determine that the client is unable to afford the filing fee.

All about Law Enforcement Investigator

Interviewing potential suspects:

In order to find out who the actual culprit is, the investigator will need to interview various individuals associated with the crime. He will also need to verify the location of the prime suspects at the time the crime was committed.

Interviewing witnesses:

Investigations also include checking out if any witnesses can provide information that will help reveal the identity of the culprit.

Examining records:

The investigator will need to examine database and records to carry out background checks of people associated with the case.

Providing updates:

Regular updates will need to be provided to the police department regarding the progress of the case.

Maintaining records:

Records of the investigations will need to be maintained so that they can be produced as and when required.

Testifying in the court:

The investigator may be required to testify for the case in the court of law.

Let us see how private investigators help law enforcement authorities:

Gathering evidence:

An investigator collects sufficient evidence using ethical means. This is used by the authorities to press charges and make the arrest. This evidence may need to be presented in the court of law as well.

Manpower support:

Many a time the police authorities have too many cases to handle. In such cases, they hand over the responsibility of investigating certain cases to private investigators. They collect evidence, interrogate witnesses, etc. so that the authorities have time to pursue more important cases.

Different Approach:

Since a private investigator works with an approach that is different from that of the authorities, the case can be viewed from a different perspective. Moreover, they may be more experienced in certain types of cases than the authorities.

Interviewing witnesses and locating people:

Many people are not comfortable in talking to authorities. In such cases, the services of a private investigator are very useful. This is because they can locate and interview witnesses. They can easily serve warrants, subpoenas, etc.

Info of Technology in the Legal Sector

As technology progresses at this pace, we should probably look at what this means for the legal sector. Firms all over the world are adopting and investing in new technology to effectively compete with the other competition out there. Not only do they need to use this technology to compete with other firms, but clients are wanting more and more engagement with technology in all of the sectors of business. In this respect, the legal sector is quite far behind but they are catching up rapidly.

According to SEO experts, voice searches are expected to take over. With Siri and Alexa already setting the bar very high, and voice searching are expected to account for 50% of online searches by the year 2020. You may be wondering how this can affect the legal sector. Because a quarter of all voice searches are for local information, it is likely that people will be searching for information on local lawyers. This means that law firms will have to make sure that their websites and online presence are adapted to be found in this way. Law firms will already be used to optimizing their page for traditional searches, SEO for voice will be slightly different. It is worth finding out what the difference is and how you can get prepared.

Law firms should also expect to get used to the idea of automated technology. The Law Society has predicted that this type of technology will take over 67,000 jobs in the legal sector by the year 2038. Although many people are worried that this means they’ll lose their jobs, they need to remember the positives to this. Machines can take on a lot of the legal work that often slows law firm employees down and therefore make them more efficient and better able to take on important work. Service automation will help increase productivity and will help law firms be able to take on more and more work, without any extra strain on their employees. This means that you should expect a rise in the number of cases that law firms take on, as well as how much they do in advisory capacities.

Virtual and augmented reality are fast becoming commonplace in a lot of other sectors, but it is one piece of technology that law firms don’t seem to have adopted just yet. This could all be set to change, however, with the law sector finally coming on board with this technology. It is expected that virtual and augmented reality will be used to help with client recruitment and engagement. It is also expected that law firms can use these types of technology to help with staff recruitment and training. It means that training sessions can be delivered via AR or VR and won’t take the employee away from the office for as long as if they were going away to train. This will help lower costs and make sure that people are being trained fully and effectively.

Probate Attorney

Although this is not required for them to do so sometimes they will be the executor of the will, especially if the deceased has named them as the executor of their estate. When they are the executor of the will they will manage the distribution of any assets the deceased has left behind. Some of his duties can be helping to change the title on some property. It can also be helping to move assets into the person’s name who inherited the items. The probate attorney is also responsible to make sure that all of the funds are accounted for along with the taxation aspect of the will and estate. When the probate attorney is the executor of a will they are generally paid a nominal fee, which could be a percentage based on a percentage of the estate or a flat fee. It is a fee that is separate from the one for preparing the will.

To become a probate attorney you will first have to have a bachelor’s degree and graduate from law school, which can take up to ten years. Before you can apply to take the bar exam you will have to have acquired a specific number of hours work experience for a law firm. Each state has a specific number of hours. Once you have met this requirement you can take the bar exam.

As an added bonus you should have good interview skills. When discussing any requests to change a will or when creating a will having persuasion and oral communication skills can be very helpful. When starting work as a probate attorney many will work as a junior attorney for a law firm that deals with probate work. They will be the ones that review wills, doing paperwork that involves the execution of an estate, and fulfilling change requests. They will also learn how surrogate court works.

Careful Analysis

The validation of different points in a case proceeding justifies the rationale of the argument. The judge listens closely to the arguments made by the parties. Every action must be properly outlined within the scope of the law. The existence of proofs and how it relates to the reality of a particular case will highlight the effectiveness of a lawyer. This is the high voltage situation and the legal team that you hire is basically the link that may either strengthen or weaken the case. It is the ability to control the different parameters of the argument in a legal trial.

Determination along with diligence is a critical success factor in controlling the nitty-gritty of the case. The quality of argument will vary from one case to another, however the authority with which the legal team can present the case of their client will offer better reflection of their action in a particular situation. This requisite having the skills to professional exhibit the circumstances in a rational way; do justice to your choice of selecting the legal team that can be of all-embracing support. The authenticity in relationship always produces positive outcomes.

In life we are all dependable on others in some capacity. However the quality of dependency is also vital. In the realm of law, you depend on your legal team to take you out of troubles circumstances. This relationship is built on a very delicate thread. The ability of the legal advisor to design a relevant risk perception model is highly influential. This is only doable when an expert is handling your case. You need to see the broader picture of the situation and choose the most favorable solution.

In business situations, the legal team is more than simply advising the management in making rational decisions. Sometimes the technicalities of the issues are better understood and interpreted by a legal expert. The blurred vision can be highlighted and all the gray area can be removed by a legal expert.

You are the judge of your situations and the issues that are haunting you. High quality legal assistance is necessitated, since many things are at stake. It is all about setting the right priorities for the client. The value that you seek from legal support is reflected on the outcome, isn’t it? Learn to be appreciable in having the right type of service that can help your cause.

When you are in deep trouble and nowhere to go, the legal advisor and advocates can construct the right path for you. Your legal situation must be expertly provisioned within the scope of the law. All the finer details must be effectively presented that can reinforce your case. An excellent legal assistance helps the client to toughen up in facing any outcome. The court will look for approval of your innocence through the eyes of law. The eyes that closely monitor your case must be immaculate. Any point missed can be detrimental for your cause. The ability to firmly defend the client is a foremost task of the legal team. The quality of an efficient legal team can be determined by their past record. It can reveal a lot about their ability and skill to offer customized results to their clients.

Juvenile Court

In most places, if the person is at least an adult, cannot be referred by one of their family members to court but if they are a minor they could end up in court after being referred by their parents. Some minors can even be referred to juvenile court by some school officials. A minor, same as an adult, could end up in court after they have been accused or caught in the act of committing a crime.

When a minor goes to court their case is often handled differently than an adult’s case. An example is that typically adults are arrested for their crime but a minor may simply be taken into custody to be questioned. If the minor does have to appear in juvenile court the case is normally heard by a judge. For most crimes the minor is not given a jury trial in most places. The juvenile court can consider many factors to decide the course of justice. They may consider the circumstances that surround the act and whether or not the minor has a previous history of being delinquent. The judge may consider their school records and even their medical history when deciding how to handle a particular case. He may also look at the minor’s home life.

There are some cases in which the minor could end up in adult court instead of juvenile court. If the minor is accused of committing murder, there are some jurisdictions that allow the minor to be tried in adult court. This being tried in adult court is usually reserved for minors who are at least in their teen years and have also committed willfully serious acts.

Value an Estate

Get the details.

To work out the value of the estate, you will need details of all assets e.g. bank accounts, savings accounts, property, etc. You will need details of all debts e.g. utility bills, loan repayments, mortgages, etc. and all significant gifts they gave away in the last seven years before they died. This means you will have to write to the asset holders and ask them for the value of the asset at the date of death. You are trying to ascertain the value of the estate at the date the deceased person passed away. This is an important point as some assets will increase in value, e.g., a bank account gaining interest.

Money in a joint bank account or owned jointly will automatically pass to the other owner or owners, half of the money will need to be added into the calculation for the estate.

Tip: To value non-monetary assets (cars, antiques, etc.) it is recommended that you use a professional valuer if the asset is worth more than £500.00. If the deceased left a lot of belongings such as furniture, jewellery, etc. you can hire a professional valuer who will value everything at once and provide you with a succinct report.

Tip: You will need to get three valuations of any houses from three different estate agents and then use the average to give you a figure for the property.

Total up the assets and the debts. Add all of the assets together to reach the total asset figure and total up all of the debts to reach the total debt figure.

To find the value of the estate, you will need to subtract the debts from the assets. Take the total debt figure away from the total asset figure to be left with the final value of the estate.

Assets – Debts = Estate value.

If the estate value is over £325,000.00 then usually you will need to pay inheritance tax. For more information on when and how to pay inheritance tax.

Regardless of whether or not you need to pay inheritance tax if you need a grant of representation you should fill out the right inheritance tax form. This needs to be completed to obtain the Grant.

If there is no inheritance tax to pay, but you need a grant, then you need to fill out form IHT205. If there is any tax to pay you will need form IHT400.

Send in the forms when you apply for the grant of representation. You should send your application to your local Probate Registry.

Settle Court Case

When we hear the word, “Settlement”, images of money are immediately conjured into our minds. Most of the settlements we hear about in the media are for large sums, anywhere from $50K to millions of dollars, often involving celebrities or powerful business moguls. Many people might ask, “If a party knows they are innocent, then why would they agree to settle the case?”

People settle cases for all kinds of reasons:

1. Save on lawyer expenses
2. Avoid public attention
3. Reduce stress/Time in court
4. Reduce risks of harsher sanctions from potentially losing in a trial.

Defendants often settle criminal cases for “plea” bargains. (An admittance of guilt in exchange for a lighter punishment) for similar reasons that defendants agree to settle in civil cases.

Nobody likes being in court! It is costly, time consuming, stressful and can be somewhat intimidating. Whether you are being sued for a credit card debt or facing criminal charges, the potential of being garnished, put in jail, missing time away from work and family, the presence of armed guards, black robed judges, etc… the entire process can be a bit frightening, especially for those who do not spend much time in the courts. (Which is usually most people unless you are a legal professional, police officer, or a habitual criminal.)

When we decide to settle a case, we have to weigh our options. Defendants and Plaintiffs settle for the same reasons believe it or not. If a defendant believes he has a weak defense or is simply fed up with the court process, he is likely to settle, if a plaintiff believes he has a weak argument or he is fed up with the court process, he is likely to settle. Time is money, and people do not like to have their’s wasted!

In essence, settlements happen when people come to a conclusion after assessing in their minds a “cost-benefit-analysis”. Let us take a look at the perspective from a defendant and plaintiff’s point of view in a hypothetical discrimination case.

John sues Corporation-Z for racial discrimination. John has several witnesses who have agreed to testify. Corporation-Z learns that these witnesses with be participating. Corporation-Z believes that John has a good chance at defeating them in court. Corp-Z offers John $10,000 to settle the case out of court. If John were to win the case in court, he would probably sue for much more in damages, however, if John takes the offer, he can save himself attorney fees and months (possibly years) going to court cases.

Although Corp-Z is in a disadvantageous position, they are well-funded and will be able to drag the case on for a long time. John is a simple 9 to 5 employee with very little resources. However, John feels that he has strong evidence and is unwilling to settle for $10,000, he refuses the offer and decides to see it through to the end. Corp-Z offers another amount for $15,000, John still refuses.

Corp-Z files several continuances to drag out the case. John is getting tired.

John later finds out that several of his key witnesses have decided not to testify. John is now getting worried. Corp-Z has not yet learned that the witnesses have backed out. The next court date is in 6 weeks. John must act fast! Due to these new circumstances, his chances to win the case have gotten much lower.

At this point, John has several options:

Contact the defendant and accept their $15,000 settlement offer.
Send the defendant one last counter offer for a higher amount before agreeing to settle.
Rebuild his case, look for new evidence, take the case to trial and potentially win big or end up with nothing if he loses.

Option 1 is the safest- Defendants and Plaintiffs have the option to offer and/or withdraw settlement offers at ANY TIME. In this scenario, the defendant, Corp-Z is likely to accept to settle unless new evidence has been obtained.

Option 2 is a little risky- In this situation, John has learned that his witnesses are refusing to testify. Corp-Z has not yet found out, however, if they do find out, they are very likely to withdraw any offers to settle, as they will be likely to defeat the suit. John can attempt to negotiate one last time to get a higher amount from the defendant, but it will take some time to sort out the particulars, and time is something John doesn’t have with a looming court date. The closer the trial date gets, the more likely the defendant is to find out about the witnesses backing out.

Option 3 is highly risky- If the case goes to a trial by jury and John has other evidence besides witness testimony, the jury could still see it his way. If his witnesses are his key pieces of evidence, then he is at high risk for losing. This option would require very careful consideration. If John wins the case through jury, he will likely receive a huge pay-out, if he loses the case, he could end up losing everything or even end up being counter-sued by Corporation-Z.

Factors to consider:

Is John poor? How bad does he need money? If he loses the case, will he still be financially sound? Is he looking for justice or a pay-out? What are his goals in this lawsuit? Is he mentally and emotionally prepared to stay in court for several more months? These are questions John has to ask himself before making a decision on how to proceed.

From the Defendant’s perspective:

Corporation-Z is a business and they have a business to run. Handling these legal matters are a huge cost and burden on the operation. Negative publicity can also hurt the business extensively. Even if Corporation-Z discovers that the plaintiff, John, has lost his key witnesses, it still may be beneficial for Corporation-Z to settle. Typically, when settlements occur, non-disclosure agreements must be signed stating that the allegations against the company cannot be publicly discussed. If Corp-Z refuses to settle and defeats John, John may still end up retaining his right to discuss the trial and his allegations to public organizations causing bad press not to mention the extra legal fees it may take to try and sue John later for defamation.

In this situation, if Corp-Z discovers that John has lost his witnesses, Corp-Z can agree to settle, for the same amount previously offered or for a lower amount, (since Z now has bargaining power!) or Corp-Z can withdraw all offers and attempt to win in trial.

Corporate attorneys are famous for their slogan to, “Always settle, settle, settle”.

While Corporation-Z has a good chance at defeating John, they may end up spending triple the amount of their settlement offer attempting to defeat the suit, also, Corporation-Z isn’t fully aware if John has any other additional evidence that is not yet known. Victory is not always guaranteed. In court, just as in a boxing match, the ability to appear weak when one is strong, and the ability to appear strong when one is weak, is very crucial in the negotiation process of settling a case.

Timing:

Losing a lawsuit that goes to trial can result in dire consequences.

Income garnishments
Loss of employment as a result of being garnished by multiple entities
Loss of public reputation
property being seized
injunctions being placed against yourself or your business
liens being places on your assets
Tax refunds being withheld
Negative credit score
(These are just a few examples)

Some may be tempted to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in light of being sued for a debt, however, I wouldn’t recommend doing so unless your debts exceed $10,000. I’ll save that discussion for another article.

Timing is very critical when it comes to successfully mitigating a civil or criminal case. Let’s say you owe a credit card company $10,000. Typically, after you default on your loan for more than 90 days, the credit card company will likely sell your debt to a third party collector. A few months to a year later, you are likely to be served with a warrant stating that you are being sued for the amount by the third party debt collector who purchased the debt for pennies on the dollar.

Once the lawsuit is filed, the creditor now has the upper-hand. Since you have essentially ignored all attempts to collect, it is assumed that you are avoiding the debt and do not have the means to pay it back. A smarter decision would have been to inquire about hardship programs or attempt to settle the debt with a partial amount before you were sued. (Always get everything in writing). However, since things have escalated to a court hearing, the creditor now probably believes that they have a great chance to win the case.

When most people owe a debt, they stick their heads in the sand and do nothing. If you are sued for a credit card debt, your goal now is to re-establish your bargaining power! Even if you owe the debt, make them prove it! File an answer to the lawsuit, file a discovery request, ask for continuances! ( I can help you do these things by offering a template to follow.) Once the creditor sees that you aren’t going to be like the other 99% of people who don’t show up to court and allow for a default judgement, the creditor will be likely willing to settle the debt for a fraction of what they are suing you for.

While you are fighting the lawsuit, whether your intention is to get it dismissed through lack of evidence,lack of itemization or your goal is to settle the debt for a lesser amount, you must act swiftly! If you do intend to settle the debt, be sure to make the number attractive but not too high. If you owe $10,000, offer them 30%, because they are likely to counter back asking for 50%.

If the creditor is not willing to settle and/or you lose the case, enroll in a “slow-pay” program. That’s right! If you lose a lawsuit, you can enroll in a “slow-pay” program whereas you may only be paying $20 a month or so to the creditor. (Albeit for a very long time!). Through the slow-pay process, you can pay with a check or money order. In order for the plaintiff (or creditor) to garnish your wages, they have to get an approved garnishment order from a court. If you miss a single-payment through the slow-pay program, some jurisdictions automatically issue a garnishment order because of your lack of ability to keep your promise to pay.

Federal law protects workers from being fired if they are being garnished by a single entity. However, if two or more entities are garnishing you, federal law allows employers to fire you because of the administrative burden your garnishment orders are costing to the company you work for.

Any legal case must be taken seriously whether it be criminal or civil. Even traffic court can cost us! If you ignore a traffic ticket, don’t be surprised if you later find out that your drivers license has been revoked! Reinstating a revoked license is time consuming and can cost hundreds, even thousands, depending on the liens placed upon the license.

In many criminal cases, district attorneys will offer “plea deals”. This “deal” is basically where you agree to admit guilt in exchange for a lighter punishment. Plea deals can benefit both parties. The district attorney meets his conviction quota, you receive a lighter sentence than you would if you lost your trial, and the process of court is sped up.

Going back to the lessons we learned earlier about, “Appearing strong when you are weak, and to be weak when you are strong”, accepting plea deals is an art within itself just as accepting settlements are.