2016 Legal Changes That Affect Business Owners

Now that it is 2016, it is the perfect time for business owners to consider new laws that have recently come into effect (or will during the coming year) and how they might influence your business. Below are a few examples of new federal laws or new regulations that you’ll want to know about if you are a small business owner! Changes to Federal Wage Law and Minimum Wage One big change during 2016 will come from the Department of Labor’s amendment of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Most notably, the amendment will require all employers to provide overtime pay to all employees who work more than 40 hours per week, so long as they earn less than $50,400/year or $970/week. What’s more, the beginning of 2016 marks an increase in the minimum wage in many places around the country. These minimum wage increases are for both hourly employees and independent contractors. Keep in mind, though, that not all areas will see this wage increase. For example, if your city has minimum wages that are higher than the expected minimum wage, you likely won’t notice any difference. Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) This law is expected to establish new guidelines designed to protect the rights of expectant parents in the workplace. It was drafted with the intention of mandating employers to make accommodations for the realities that arise during pregnancy, childbirth, and associated medical conditions. While PWFA is not an official act yet, most legal experts expect it to pass sometime in 2016. It was proposed in September of 2015 and was referred to the Congress’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. Local Laws These are mostly federal laws, and there may be other laws and regulations that have recently come into effect. Stay vigilant and keep your ears to the ground so that you don’t miss out on anything that is happening in your area. Check out this insightful article from the Denver Business Journal to learn more about new employment laws that every employer should know! Related posts: Misleading Small Business Legal Advice to Avoid How Marketers Can Avoid Legal...

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How to Choose The Best Law School For You

Choosing which college to attend is a tough decision every college student has had to mull over. Beyond choosing the correct university or college that is a good fit for yourself financially and culturally, there is the added layer of finding a school with the programs that are the best suited to meet your needs. This is especially crucial when you are choosing a law school! Some of the best law schools include: Yale University: Yale offers top-notch financial aid advising for current students and alumni, career counseling, and competitive clinical training. Stanford University: Stanford’s Law School offers joint degree programs, which are attractive alternatives to more traditional law programs—no wonder Stanford is commonly rated one of the best schools in the country! University of Chicago: Regularly ranking in the top 5 law schools in the country, the University of Chicago retains its edge by staying on the bleeding edge of the application of social science to law. If you’re interested in social science and its intersection with law, then the University of Chicago may be the school for you! What should you consider when choosing a law school? While there are some factors that may be unique to choosing a law school, there are many variables that you should consider that are the same as every other college student. Here are a few factors to considering carefully: Location: The very important question—where do you want to be located? Not only does this mean living off campus or on campus, but also where your school is in general. If you know where you want to live post graduation, then you should attempt to find a school in that general area. By doing so, you can start building up your professional network right away once you get there, and you’ll create some powerful connections prior to entering the workforce. Specialized programs: Are there specialized programs that put one school above the rest of the pack that would help you advance in your career? Campus: What is the campus like? Do you want it to be integrated into a city or do you like a large, standalone campus? Where do you want to be located in general on the campus? If you are seriously considering a school, you should definitely give their campus a visit! Faculty: A school’s faculty, by and large, will have the biggest impact on your life outside of school. Studying the faculty of a law school is especially important if you are considering postgraduate studies—on grad school applications, you will certainly be asked who you will want to work with. Related posts: Georgetown Invites Law Students to Participate in Crisis...

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Study Finds That Most Lawyers Are Introverts

According to a recent study, most lawyers have an introverted (as opposed to extroverted) personality type. These findings would appear to support the mindset that introverts do, in fact, make better lawyers than extroverts. Let’s dig into the results to find out more! Lawyers = Introverts According to the study from Eva Wisnik, president of the legal training and placement firm Wisnik Career Enterprises in New York City, roughly 60% of lawyers are introverts. She gave more than 6,000 attorneys the Myers-Briggs personality test during a period of time that started in 1990. While these findings might seem counterintuitive, Wisnik is not surprised by the findings. “It’s not something you’d intuitively think, particularly when you think of litigators,” she says. “But it makes sense. Many lawyers spend a lot of time by themselves—reading, writing, thinking—compared to other jobs, where the majority of the work is interacting. Introverts make good lawyers, especially for clients who want a thoughtful answer.” Of course, this doesn’t mean that introverted litigators freeze up in the courtroom or face any other detriments that might be imagined for a stereotypically shy group of people. “Being an introvert is really about how I approach problems and how I recharge,” Airina Rodrigues, an intellectual property lawyer, explains. “I’m not shy, but I find networking draining. I love meeting new people, but it requires extra energy.” Do introverts make the best lawyers? There are many aspects of the lawyer’s job that tend to favor introversion. As noted above, there is a lot of reading, writing, and thinking that is required of a lawyer—skills that introverts tend to thrive in. What’s more, areas where introverts are conventionally lacking are actually propped up by the legal profession. For example, while introverts might not be as social as extroverts, many find that presenting in a courtroom was rather easy because of the rules and regulations involved in the process. These are anchor points that can help guide introverted and shy lawyers. To learn more, check out this insightful article from The Legal Balance about the introverted lawyer!   No related...

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Finding the Best Cheap/Free Legal Advice For Your Business

If you’re a small business owner and you have one simple legal question, going to a lawyer and paying for a consultation might seem a bit like overkill. For those in such a situation, there are many online resources that provide very cheap (or sometimes completely free!) legal advice, so that you can forego a price and unnecessary appointment with a lawyer. Next, let’s explore some of the best resources available on the web! You can get a free trial or pay for a real account on Rocket Lawyer. They make any type of law need very easy because they have a variety of experts on staff to help you with your needs. You can look up anything from NDAs to contracts and corporate agreements and so much more. com has a section specifically for small business owners looking for legal advice. You can learn about starting a business, partnerships, franchises, trade regulations, and nearly anything else you’d want to know! Nolo dates back to 1971 when it began as the Nolo Press, selling DIY legal books. On their website, you’ll find a great deal of free legal advice—especially advice related to business! You can use Avvo as a Q&A forum to get some solid legal advice. If that doesn’t get you what you need, you can pay a flat fee of $39 to talk to a real lawyer through Avvo. This is a cheap and easy alternative to scheduling a meeting with a lawyer! LegalZoom has a business legal plan that you can sign up for starting at $24/month. At that price, you can ask legal questions, get advice on specific scenarios and situations, have an attorney reviewed your business documents and contracts, and much more! If you need regular legal advice, you should consider trying LegalZoom first as a long-term option. Click here to learn about more resources where you can receive cheap or free legal advice for your business! Related posts: Misleading Small Business Legal Advice to Avoid How Free Legal Advice Helps Startups, State, Everyone How Marketers Can Avoid Legal Trouble 5 Legal Podcasts Worth Tuning In...

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How to Get the Most From Your Mentorship

Young lawyers should all have a mentor–someone that they can trust, someone to look up to in their firm while they are learning the art of becoming a litigator. There are so many things that you can’t learn in law school about being a lawyer, and your mentor is the perfect person to teach you! Given how important your relationship with your mentor will be, it is vital that you don’t squander such a golden opportunity. Below is some crucial advice that will help you get the most from your relationship with your mentor. Keep the lines of communication open. There is no point to having a mentor if you don’t utilize them! Keep in close contact with your mentor so that you can always get quick feedback whenever you have a question. Meet regularly with your mentor. Especially when you have just started at a new practice and there is so much to learn, you’ll want to spend a lot of time with your mentor. This goes hand-in-hand with keeping in close contact with your mentor—give yourself as many opportunities as reasonably possible to learn from them and ask questions. Ask your mentor for networking advice. Beyond showing you the ropes at your new practice, your mentor can be a very valuable asset in the networking game. It really is all about your connections and who you know, which makes your mentor and their network extremely valuable and helpful for long-term career success. Ask your mentor the tough questions. Your mentor is the perfect resource for questions that you would normally be too embarrassed to ask. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your mentor any burning questions about your practice or the profession at large. Return the favor! Now that your mentor has done so much for you, look to return the favor. Naturally, you won’t be able to help them in the same way that they helped you, but look for opportunities to do whatever you can to make their life easier. And who knows, eventually you may wind up knowing more than they do! Hungry for more advice on making the most of your mentorship? Check out the resources below for some further reading: 7 Questions to Ask Your Lawyering Mentor—BluePrintJD Developing a Relationship with Your Mentor—LexisNexis No related...

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Expert Career Advice for New Lawyers

It’s a tough world out there for recent law school graduates, many of whom are struggling to find jobs and make ends meet. Here’s some tried and true career advice from experts in the field that will hopefully make the transition a bit easier.   Cultivate a network.   Law school is a great place to begin building a network. “Be really nice to all your fellow law students,” says Miami lawyer Kendall Coffey. “Referrals, even employment may come from former classmates. Someday some will be judges, others will be elected officials, and most will be successful at something that really matters….So share your notes and other help if asked—you are already sharing an unforgettable present and a fascinating future.”   A recent study found that 64% of people find their jobs through networking, so it’s definitely important to build up your contact list. Start simple with people you know, asking for advice, information, or referrals. In time this could lead you to new professional opportunities. “No one is going to hand you a job,” says Kathleen Brady, who runs a career planning firm in New York City and Philadelphia. “But if they can offer you ideas and introduce you to people in their network, you can take it from there.”   Always be adding to your knowledge base.   Even if you’re not currently employed, there are a variety of ways you can bulk up your resume and offerings for potential employers. Internships and volunteer work might not pay, but they can put you in the way of professional contacts and experiences that will help you get the next job. Try volunteering with a judge or court, a legal clinic, or a local or federal government office.   “To land a job, you have to convince the other lawyers that you will do a better job of making their lives easier than anyone else they are interviewing,” says Grover Cleveland, a Seattle attorney and author of Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks. “Your words and actions have to demonstrate extreme attention to detail and unfailing dependability.” One way to do that is to find ways to learn new things and keep up with the latest in your profession as you continue to apply for positions.   Broaden the net.   If the job search isn’t going well, it may be time to consider broadening your approach. Are there nontraditional positions in the legal profession that appeal to you? A part time job you could take while searching for something more permanent? Something that will help you develop research, writing, or analytical skills? Many different organizations and business areas need legal advice—contract administration, policy work, nonprofits. If that perfect position in that perfect law firm isn’t available now, there may be a way to get something going in the interim that can help you continue to develop your skills and move toward your dream job.   Alternatively, there may be other skills you can focus on developing that will make the job search that much easier: developing your LinkedIn profile, networking at events, and getting in touch with your university’s alumni association, for example. Related posts: FAWL Launches ‘Board Certification Boot Camp’ for Women...

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