Recognize Payday Loans Before Getting One

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Many know to be mindful about loan providers who provide fast cash whilst asking excessive attention. Online payday loans may have a great deal of fees connected with them, in fact it is important to realize that before applying for starters. This short article offers details to assist you safeguard on your own when you really need a rapid personal loan.

When you are thinking of taking out a payday advance to repay a different line of credit, end and ponder over it. It may well wind up pricing you considerably much more to utilize this process around just paying past due-settlement costs on the line of credit score. You may be saddled with financing charges, program fees as well as other service fees that happen to be connected. Feel long and challenging when it is worthwhile.

In case you are within a placement that you truly feel you need to take out a pay day loan, you should recognize that the interest is extremely high. These costs may also get to up to 200 %. Payday loan companies count on usury regulation loopholes to charge excessively high interest.

Avoid sliding in a capture with online payday loans. Theoretically, you might pay for the bank loan in 1 to 2 days, then go forward with your life. In fact, nevertheless, many people do not want to pay off the financing, as well as the equilibrium will keep going to their next income, amassing massive levels of attention from the procedure. In this instance, a lot of people end up in the career exactly where they could never afford to pay for to repay the borrowed funds.

Usually directly guard your monetary details when trying to get financial loans. Generally, you’ll be required to distribute private information, including your Social security number, when obtaining a pay day loan. Some con artists use payday lending as being a top to have information and facts to offer to thirdly events. Be certain you might be included in a truthful loan company.

The best way to take care of pay day loans is to not have to adopt them. Do your greatest in order to save just a little dollars per week, allowing you to have a something to tumble back on in an emergency. Provided you can preserve the cash for an unexpected emergency, you can expect to eradicate the need for employing a cash advance services.

If you’re constantly having to utilize a pay day loan services then you may want to think about gonna a person for debt guidance. This can teach you to handle your income much better. Payday cash loans could actually be harmful to you if you don’t rely on them the proper way, and yes it could cause you to get rid of lots of money.

Needless to say, there are hoops to leap by means of to get a pay day loan, but don’t let this have you feeling such as a quantity or a cog inside a wheel. Don’t anxiety looking for their manager and haggling for a far greater deal. You may be able to discuss the organization from part of their income. In fact, they will likely nonetheless make a bundle.

When getting a payday loan, it is important that you do your research. You may not would like to blindly believe an ad, as you are certainly not obtaining the complete story. Speak to people who took out this kind of personal loan, or read some of the company critiques on the Internet.

Figure out the laws in your state regarding payday loans. Some loan companies try to pull off increased rates of interest, penalties, or numerous charges they they are not lawfully allowed to ask you for. Many people are just happy for the personal loan, and never question these matters, which makes it easier for lenders to continuing acquiring apart along with them.

Wherever you look, there appears to be a new pay day loan developing. This type of short-phrase personal loan has behaved as a lifeline for countless fighting individuals. For that reason, you will have a really temporary on this loan. Because these are this sort of short-termed loans, the interest rates tend to be excessively high nevertheless, they may supply support for those who require resources for the accurate crisis.

The easiest method to make use of a cash advance would be to shell out it way back in full as soon as possible. The charges, fascination, along with other costs associated with these financial loans could cause important debts, that may be almost impossible to get rid of. So when you can pay out your loan away, practice it and you should not increase it.

Pass on any payday loan provider that charges you more than 1/5 of the amount borrowed in processing fees. Payday loans do are more expensive nonetheless they should never surpass more than 20% interest whenever you add in the service fees and attention charges.

In case you have a number of different personal loans, in no way obtain a even bigger a person to stick them with each other. A huge financial loan is the final thing you want while you are battling to repay smaller lending options. Attempt to reimburse the smaller personal loans as quickly as possible.

During times of financial issues, a lot of people wonder exactly where they may change. Online payday loans provide an option, when urgent circumstances call for fast cash. A complete comprehension of these financial vehicles is, vital for everyone contemplating securing funds in this way. Utilize the suggestions previously mentioned, and you may expect to produce a wise selection.

Learning The “Secrets” of Services

Understanding Insurance Bad Faith

Insurance bad faith, also called insurance fraud, is a term that refers to the mistreatment consumers and businesses get from their insurance companies. It is often used in situations where an insurance company refuses to pay out a settlement to an insured individual or entity.

Insurance bad faith is unfortunately a widespread occurrence. Several insurance companies rely on statistics when deciding how much they have to pay out in specific circumstances. Even if the policy entitles the insured person a certain amount of money, the insurer may refuse to pay it fully. Either the individual or entity accepts the insurer’s decision or brings the matter to court for bad faith.

Three of the most common scenarios involving insurance bad faith are:

> insurer denying all promised benefits to the insured;

> insurer offering less compensation than what the policy guarantees; and

> unwarranted payment delays.

Each insurance contract comes with a stated or implied “covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” That means both parties have their respective obligations to follow what is stated in the contract.

In such a contract, the insurance company must fully compensate the insured party when appropriate and in a timely manner; otherwise, the insurer will have committed a violation of the good faith and fair dealing covenant. There are states that have statutes or other regulations that cover bad faith by insurance providers.

Companies exhibiting bad faith may be subject to government-imposed penalties, punitive damages and statutory damage. Bad faith claims are affected by different laws in different states, so anyone dealing with related issues with their insurers must talk to a lawyer.

Depending on the jurisdiction, an insurance company may have to pay different bad faith damages. The damages will be generally equivalent the actual compensatory damages the insurer, in a non-bad faith setting, would have paid out to the insured. A lot of states also allow for punitive damages, or damages intended to punish the insurance company for bad conduct. In some states, punitive damages come under a cap, but not in other states where there are no limits. With insurance fraud or bad faith being complicated and thus confusing, anyone who may want to court because of such experience must seek a lawyer’s help.

This kind of case is typically accepted on contingency basis by an attorney. That means the attorney will not be paid from the client’s award of damages, but rather from the damages that the insurer will have to pay the lawyer in a separate judgement.

If you believe your insurance company has acted in bad faith on your policy claim, talk to an insurance lawyer who can outline the steps you can take.

Source: injury attorneys

Looking On The Bright Side of Professionals

Choosing The Best Lawyer Wisely Can Be Beneficial

Choosing for a lawyer can become a tough decision to make especially if you are not yet sure of the qualities that you prospected lawyer should have since in choosing one, it is essential to know their qualities as well as the fact that they can execute their job as efficiently as they can with the price that you can surely afford to pay. Determining the characteristics that defines a good attorney may be a difficult task for you since there are advertisements in radios and televisions that promotes attorneys that ensures you best results if hired thus making you get more and more confused which may result for not to reach a conclusion on what exactly makes a good lawyer. Do you want to know how will you determine if the lawyer you have chosen is great or not when you needed one? You must continue to evaluate so that new ideas will help you learn.

In your search for the best lawyer to hire, you must take into account the fact that what you need is a lawyer, and not a buddy that you can befriend. Never judge a lawyer by his attitude because, first, they are lawyers and they are subjected to handle cases that requires them to bury their emotions in exchange for the success of the case therefore, if you get associated with one of those types, never dismiss them for they might be a potential attorney that can help you. Handling a case is a business matter and lawyers always means business so if they treat you more like their client than a friend, so be it however, even if you are not being treated in a friendly manner, make sure that they are still giving you a professional treatment. You must always keep these things in mind and give yourself a constant reminder hence, here are some of the things that should not be done in looking for a lawyer.

Do not believe on what television ads are saying because for all you know, they are just in a melodramatic-action-packed commercial that does not offer real work and are just pure fictional. A case is always a gamble with unknown results therefore, if the lawyer you choose guarantees you a positive one, then he is not what you need. The best lawyers are those who can give you a briefing about your case and will honestly tell you the chances of you winning the case however, there is no such attorney who can see the future. If you hire a lawyer that you saw on television, chances are that they might not be taken seriously since they tend to prioritize their style and will come out as lacking in substance.

Aside from television lawyers, you must also remember to never associate yourself and your case with lawyer from phone books.

Source: click here

Social Media For Lawyers: The Rise, And Rise Of Blogs

Have you heard comments from other lawyers suggesting that blogging is not an effective strategy for attracting clients to your law firm? Some believe that a website combined, perhaps, with effective (or expensive) SEO tactics is all they need to succeed together with their current networking and referral strategies.

This post will highlight why this view is not necessarily true, and how lawyers can make blogs work brilliantly for them as part of an effective and comprehensive social media strategy.

First, why are some blogs totally ineffective?

I’ll suggest a few reasons, though there may be loads more:

There is no real strategy for having a blog in the first place – which is to develop a position of authority within a target niche and differentiate yourself from competitors;

Not enough time is set aside to develop a good content strategy for blogs, which means they are not updated regularly or don’t provide information that prospects and clients are actually interested in;

Very little use of other social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter to direct followers to the content provided on the blog;

Very little use of offline marketing strategies to point target readers to the information provided on the blog;

No irresistible offers provided via the blog (e.g. free reports, invitations to seminars/webinars/lunches) to deepen relationships with readers;

No lead capture systems in place to collect names and communicate new information or offers.

A blog that stands by itself with no connection to other marketing tactics and channels is a waste of time. A blog that simply talks about the services on offer or which is used to make comments in a language that readers might not understand is no good either.

Blogging is not passed its sale by date, and serious lawyers should not view it as irrelevant to their marketing strategies. If you address each of the five points above, then you are on your way to having a blog that successfully attracts leads to your legal practice.

Blogs are also a fantastic channel for engaging with prospects and clients. Whatever methods you use to get feedback, whether it be direct questionaires or via crowdsourcing platforms, you have an opportunity to produce content that you know people are actively looking for. This is a fundamental prerequisite for success.

The other thing to note is that SEO does not have to be expensive if you want good search rankings either for your blog. If you make sure you analyse the search terms people are using to look for information (e.g. using Google analytics or StatCounter), you can start off by tailoring your headers and content accordingly. This will help with rankings and, more importantly, more people will link back to your blog, comment on what you write or share the content via other social media channels.

I am not the first person to comment on the value of blogs for law firms, or on the use of various social media tools to attract clients. However, recent discussions I have had combined with commentary on the use of blogs has highlighted the fact that there is still a lot of resistance by lawyers to creating blogs.

I think the main reason is because many feel they don’t have the time or skill needed to set one up and connect it to various other elements of their web marketing strategy.

Many lawyers start off with “what will I blog about?” instead of asking “what information do people want updates on that I can easily comment on or give freely, and which can help them solve their problems?”

So, find out what information people are looking for. Ask clients, prospects or peers. Once you have a clear idea of their information needs, think about the target market for your blog. It is better to be relevant to a few who will actively follow you instead of being a generalist and simply get lost in the vast crowd that already exists on the Internet. For example, many lawyers will find that a localisation strategy is key to their success.

Setting 15 – 30 minutes aside twice a week should not be too difficult for lawyers. If it is, then delegating or outsourcing the creation of content is an option that should be considered. Either way, you need regular updates to keep yourself top of peoples’ minds.

Eria Odhuba helps lawyers implement new online business models to attract more clients to their practices, giving them the chance to be succesful and enjoy the things they would like to do but can’t because they have no time or money.

He helps lawyers use social media to position themselves as leaders within their target niches and creating platforms to increase their visibility despite the competition they may face. He creates messages that answer the questions going on the in the minds of prospects and, when combined with an effective lead capture system, helps lawyers develop a winning platform from which they can develop trust with prospects and win new business without the need to do any hard selling.

A Strategy For Lawyer Marketing

Every product needs marketing and a legal service is no exception. A good marketing strategy should be a first priority item for every practicing lawyer. Lawyer marketing needs a properly planned strategy for successful results. A well crafted strategy will take into account many factors. One of these factors is the cost of marketing. It is wise to put aside some money for advertising your legal business. Make a good budget; it will play a major role in making your business a success. You can also make an annual plan to make sure that you market throughout the year perfectly. By doing so, you will not spend finances meant for advertising and this will make your lawyer marketing effective.

Another focus is the creation of clientele. As a new lawyer, you have no referrals, so you must do aggressive marketing to get clients. This means that you have to be very active to generate business and keep it going. This brings the importance of choosing a means of marketing that will attract clients from the first day and keep attracting more. To achieve this you may need to use two ways of marketing. Online lawyer marketing remains the fastest way of doing this; search engine optimization is the best for long time lawyer marketing. Additionally, pay per click advertising can put you in the market within a day. This makes it a good strategy for immediate marketing. This is a factor that needs to be carefully carried out because if not, it could easily bring the whole business down.

A third factor is picking your targeted audience. This entails knowing how much you can spend on marketing and the means of advertising that is most suitable. It is also important to recognize the people that you want to reach out to. Use a way of advertisement that is easily accessible to your targeted group. Television and mail are also effective ways of reaching many people. Good research will give an effective lawyer marketing strategy and more benefits.

Another important factor is called Spread marketing tactics. Do not carry all your eggs in one basket; it is advisable to use as many ways of marketing as possible. When you do this, you end up sticking with the lawyer marketing channel that works for you in the best way. Follow up all your marketing channels; identify the most active and dormant ones. Compare the cost, time and energy used in certain marketing techniques and see if the return on investment is worth the effort. You should also be careful not to expect too much from a certain channel. You need to be realistic; you might dismiss a good way of doing lawyer marketing if you aren’t. Do not stick to the advanced technology if your targeted audience does not have access to it.

These are just five main factors that should be considered when making a lawyer marketing plan. By carefully following them your business is bound to boom. Reaching as many clients as possible is the aim of lawyer marketing. This is the final part of the straw after law school.

Internet Marketing Services You Can Obtain for Lawyer Websites

Being a lawyer has numerous responsibilities. You have to manage cases, that take up a large amount of your energy and time. You also have to prioritize clientele and be certain you’ll fulfill their goals. With all these responsibilities, you may not have the time to concentrate on lawyer marketing procedures. Thankfully, you’ll be able to turn to Internet Marketing firms in the event you require a raise in your promoting wants. These may present many services that can help you bring in possible people.

Search engine marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing makes it possible for your internet site to gain exposure on search engine result pages (SERPs). This encompasses other types of Internet Marketing procedures like search engine optimisation (SEO), on the web paid advertising, and social media. Even though it uses organic search results, most lawyer websites choose paid out advertisements.

SEM has several advantages. The lookup can guide your people to your internet site if they type particular keywords on major search engines and make an effort to click your internet site. Your advertisement will constantly be visible on search records if you are involved in the paid results. It is usually cost-effective when compared with other promotion tactics.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)
SEO, like SEM, aims to raise your website’s traffic on major search engines. The distinction, however, lies on the procedure. SEO depends more on how individuals use major search engines and how these work to increase your on the web visibility. SEO involves the manipulation of keywords, cataloguing certain phrases that target audiences prefer using.

Most lawyers marketing their services on the web prefer to use this strategy because of its several advantages. SEO services from Internet Marketing firms are more cost-effective than other promoting techniques like media and print. Obtaining Search engine optimisation also boosts the likelihood of having far more people since more individuals will focus on your internet site. What is a lot better is 24/7 advertisement-users can connect to your internet site anytime of the day as long as it’s updated.

Email marketing
Email is among the effective equipment on the Internet. Email marketing involves the use of emails to send information, to communicate with existing and potential people, and to promote products or services. The process is simple, straightforward, and personal. You have to be informative so your people will be enticed to read your message. As such, the message must contain relevant content with a few sales pitches towards the end.

Some lawyers marketing their services also use this strategy because of its several advantages. Email marketing is fast and easy-you do not need an expert to compose an informative message or to send the email to your clientele. You can also do this strategy without spending too much, as you can create a free email account. What is even better is you can stay in touch with your existing and current clientele constantly and easily. Most clientele even appreciate it if you respond to their queries personally.

Social media marketing
With social networking sites becoming popular, it is not surprising lawyer websites use these as their advertising platforms. Social media marketing involves the use of networking websites to catch the attention of your clientele. This allows you to post information clientele can read and share.

Social media marketing can also be beneficial for your job. You can meet and interact with your clientele through networking websites. Participating in social media may also increase your lawyer websites’ rankings-consistently updating your account may increase your traffic from major search engines. This marketing strategy might also increase your chances of getting potential clientele, especially if you have many subscribers.

Settle With Insurance or Get a Lawyer? Strategies For Minor Personal Injury Cases

Every day, hundreds of people in California are involved in car accidents. Often times these are mild rear-enders, or “fender benders.” People often ask me whether it’s worth it to get a lawyer in such circumstances.

You may be surprised to hear this, but it’s not always worth it to get a lawyer! If you find yourself in this type of situation, you have two main options – either retain a lawyer to handle your case, or try to deal with the insurance companies directly.

First, let’s look at what usually happens if you deal with the insurance companies directly.

The Insurance companies will want to evaluate your injuries, so they will usually ask you for the following: 1. A recorded statement of what happened, 2. Copies of your medical bills and records, 3. Signed medical releases so the insurance company can obtain all of your medical records and bills, 4. Signed employment releases so the insurance company can determine how much work you missed.

Once the insurance company has all of these things, they will evaluate your case, and usually they will either offer to settle with you for a certain amount of money, or reject your claim, if for instance, they think the accident was your fault.

Now let’s look at what happens if you get a lawyer.

Usually your lawyer will recommend that you DO NOT give a recorded statement, and that you DO NOT sign any releases. Instead, your lawyer will usually gather the relevant information, and send the insurance company a “demand packet” explaining 1. What happened 2. Whose fault it is 3. What your injuries are 4. How much time you lost from work, and 5. a demand for settlement.

The advantage to this approach is that the lawyer will do most of the work, allowing you focus on healing. In addition, since you won’t have to do a recorded interview, you don’t have to worry about saying something that may hurt your case. Also, your lawyer will only send the insurance companies your relevant medical records, so you don’t have to worry about disclosing private medical histories.

These are all nice services, but most people’s main concern is How much is this going to cost me?

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that they will receive a percentage of your ultimate recovery – usually somewhere from 25% to 40% depending on the attorney and on the case.

The advantage to the contingency fee is that you don’t have to pay your lawyer an hourly fee. The disadvantage, is that it will ultimately reduce the amount of money that will end up in your pocket.

On the other hand, often times insurance companies will be more likely to settle, or willing to settle for a higher amount once you retain a lawyer. This can balance out the attorney’s fee, or sometimes even result in you receiving more money that if you had settled directly.

So to review, both options have their pros and cons.

Settling with the insurance directly
Pros: Often faster, you don’t have to pay attorney fees.
Cons: More work, you may disclose private records.

Retaining a lawyer
Pros: Easier, protects your privacy better, can increase value of your case, resulting in more money for you.
Cons: Often slower, you will have to pay the attorney a percentage of your recovery.

In the end, each case will be different. Luckily, most reputable attorneys will offer a free consultation. If you have a case that you are not sure about, you can always go in for the consultation, and then decide to go it alone. Many people don’t realize it, but many attorneys prefer not to spend their time and effort on small cases anyway. If you have concerns that you may be better off on your own, ask the attorney during the consultation! Most reputable attorneys will be honest with you, and let you know when you would be better off alone.

This article is not legal advice.

If you have a moderate to serious injury, you should always consult a personal injury lawyer.

Noah Schwinghamer is a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento, California.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Noah_Schwinghamer/663878

Personal Injury Lawyers – Strategies to Help Find a Good Lawyer

For many individuals in, looking for a personal injury lawyer is one of the most difficult and important decisions they make. You must determine whether the lawyer specializes in the type of injury claim you are pursuing. Experience is a plus for every lawyer, but specialized experience is highly important.

The type of lawyer you need will often vary depending on the type of accident, for example, the litigation might require advanced knowledge of medical malpractice law, or the pursuit of a personal injury claim will often necessitate a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in a specific area of law.

The ability to adequately evaluate a lawyer’s education, professional qualifications, experience and fees is critical to making an informed decision. Unfortunately, many choose an attorney who does not have sufficient experience in their area of law, or select a lawyer who does not complete good work.

Traditionally, word of mouth recommendations from friends, and recommendations from colleagues or ads in local publications is the most important ways been to find a good lawyer. However, each method suffers from significant drawbacks. Most people ask only one or two recommendations from friends, meaning they can only be a few lawyers to choose from. As a result, they will not have enough information to make meaningful comparisons regarding fees or professional experience.

Choosing a personal injury lawyer for based solely on an advertisement in a publication is not recommended. While an ad can provide some useful information such as a lawyer qualifications or credentials, it offers very little objective information on how easy the lawyer with how efficiently uses the lawyer’s time, or how clever the lawyer is working in his field of expertise.

Web-based reviews and ratings for lawyers represent a strong alternative to the phone book or on a few opinions from friends. Users can read reviews written a large number of friends and other users, ask friends for reviews, browse profiles of lawyers and communicate directly with a lawyer without disclosing their names or contact information.

It also is essential that the lawyer be someone with whom you feel comfortable and feel you can trust. It is not good enough to just follow someone’s recommendation, regardless of how good the lawyer reputation. It is extremely important that you retain a personal injury lawyer who can put you at ease to communicate your needs and concerns.

The process of selecting a personal injury lawyer does not have to be any more difficult than when you are out shopping for a new living room set, or a new car. Always remember, the lawyer works for you. Do not be afraid to ask hard questions about their experiences in the courts, as well as the area of law in which they have practiced. If the above mentioned methods are used, you should have no problem securing a good lawyer to pursue your personal injury claim.

A Minneapolis Personal Injury Lawyer is your #1 resource when it comes to pursing your accident or injury claim.

Let your Minnesota Personal Injury Attorney guide you through the process from beginning to end to ensure you end up in the best possible financial situation.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Carlson_Meyers/1009974

An Effective Lawyer Marketing Plan

A lawyer marketing plan is the one which a lawyer undertakes to support his career. It is generally conducted by lawyers entering into the field of practice for the first time. But for that a lawyer needs to be aware of certain things which will determine his marketing plan.

Each individual lawyer needs a separate marketing plan. One strategy is not applicable to all. A senior lawyer may have a different marketing strategy than a new lawyer who has just entered the business. A marketing strategy cannot be borrowed from someone else. The lawyer should have new ideas and strategies.

A lawyer should basically make his plan on the basis of factors like cost, audience, mix, testing etc.

Cost- Before setting up a lawyer marketing plan a lawyer should consider his budget and how much will he be able to spend in year on marketing.
Immediacy factor- This is a very important factor in a lawyer marketing plan. It means how heavily you depend on a strategy to promote business. A senior lawyer can get his business from marketing avenues but a new lawyer has to depend upon good marketing techniques. This will decide and influence the immediacy factor and in turn the lawyer marketing plan.
The audience- The lawyer has to consider the audience while chalking out his plan. The audience holds a prime position in lawyer marketing. He should reach out to the people through television ads, search engines or by targeting a particular type of audience.
The Marketing Mix-The plan should be diverse. The more diverse it is the better it gets. The lawyer should advocate different methods instead of sticking to one in his lawyer marketing plan.

Lastly the lawyer should keep a track of what is happening in his plan and what is working out for him without investing in a lot of money on the strategy. There are obviously many other factors which should be considered by him while deciding on his strategy. The above listed are few important ones which may a lead to a good and promising start of the lawyer’s career.

Myself, webmaster of econnoisseur.com.We provide services like Attorney Website Design, Law Firm Website Design, Logo & Template for lawyers to increase their clients and bussiness.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Julian_Wood/615011

So Your Business Has a Legal Problem – 8 Useful Tips on What to Expect From Your Lawyer

As a business owner, you are usually run off your feet with the challenges of operating your business. The last thing you need to worry about is a legal problem. Many business people put off dealing with a legal problem because they don’t know where to turn, don’t have the time, or most often, are afraid of how much it will cost and how much time it will take.

Legal issues come in many forms:

· A customer failed to pay an account despite many promises. · You just received a letter from a government agency. · You just found out that your former manager has set up a competing business and has stolen your best customer and one of your key employees. · You have just been sued for $100,000. · Someone told you that one of your standard form contracts won’t stand up in court and you are worried about it. · You have a dispute with your landlord. · You have a problem with a US or European customer. · Your business has been defamed on the internet. · You just found that your warehouse manager has been sexually harassing a female employee. · An employee is damaging your business but threatens to sue if you fire him. You are not sure how to handle it. · You are involved with a Workplace Safety Insurance claim.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of the kinds of legal issues business people run into frequently.

Tip #1 – Seek out legal help at the first sign of a problem

Suppose a competitor has been passing off its business under your name and it’s costing you customers and sales but it’s hard to estimate the amount. Unless you act promptly, it may be too late to seek an injunction from the Court. If you think you have a claim against another party under a contract, a limitation period begins to run from the time the contract is breached and usually expires two years later. It’s not a good idea to leave the claim to the last minute.

If you have an issue with an employee who is working unacceptably, it’s important to develop a legal strategy as early as possible. The longer you wait, the more it may cost your business.

The short point here is that it is important to seek advice as soon you detect a problem and before anything has been done to make it worse. Crisis management is always more expensive and time-consuming than early response.

Tip #2 – Have a team of lawyers to call on when you need them.

Every business should have a team of on-call lawyers. This is less expensive or complicated than it sounds. All you need are the telephone numbers and email addresses of trusted corporate, employment law and litigation lawyers. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need an intellectual property lawyer, who deals with trademarks, patents and copyright. You may even need a tax lawyer because not all tax issues can be solved by an accountant.

If the amount of your legal dispute is very small, such as a claim or complaint by a customer for $1,000 or less, it will be uneconomic to hire a lawyer. Fortunately, there are other helpful resources. The BBB has a dispute resolution process which permits BBB businesses and their customers to resolve disputes by arbitration or mediation. You don’t need a lawyer and the only cost is a small administration fee. More information about this process is available on the BBB website.

If your case is in the Small Claims Court ($10,000 or less), you might need a paralegal who specializes in these kinds of cases. Paralegals are now regulated by the Law Society but they are not lawyers and they are not a substitute for an experienced lawyer.

Tip #3 – Learn what to expect when a dispute arises.

As a business person, you have learned that success is often the result of building relationships. The relationships you build with your lawyers can be just as important to your business success as the ones you have with your customers, suppliers, banker and insurance broker. A relationship with your lawyer built on mutual trust and respect will save you many sleepless nights over the years and probably make or save you a lot of money.

There are several ways to find good lawyers for your business:

Ask business associates or relatives if they have someone to recommend. If you get a recommendation, find out more about the firm and the lawyer by using some of the research methods below. · The internet is a very useful resource for finding a lawyer but you have to be careful. Any lawyer can list with various online legal directories. Anyone can have a flashy website. You have to move past the flash to find the substance.
When looking for a lawyer on the internet, look for someone who has experience in the field you require. The first name on a Google search may not be the best choice. Some lawyers have written extensively about the law. This is a useful indicator of expertise and standing in the legal community.
Some lawyers list cases they have been involved in on their websites. Broad litigation experience in complex business matters over many years is a good indicator of competence.
The Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario, Canada) has a lawyers’ referral service. The service provides a name but you have to check the details out yourself. · The Law Society certifies specialists in several areas of practice. Certification as a specialist signals that the lawyer has achieved a higher standard of experience in his/her area but certification isn’t mandatory. Many competent lawyers have long experience in a field without applying for certification. You have to decide if this is important to you.
· If your problem is outside Ontario, find a local lawyer first. Many firms have networks with lawyers globally and are able to refer to lawyers in the USA or other countries. Refers between colleagues are often more effective.

When you call, don’t expect the lawyer to solve your business problem over the telephone. The first discussion is for the lawyer to identify whether s/he can represent you and for you to assess whether the lawyer appears to have the skills to deal with your problem. If you have a legal problem the lawyer believes his/her firm can resolve, an office meeting will be arranged.

In business matters, lawyers customarily charge a consultation fee for the first office meeting. At the meeting, the lawyer will give preliminary or urgent advice and develop a go-forward strategy. The lawyer may be able to give a partial fee estimate and will ask for a retainer to cover some of the work. No lawyer can guarantee the outcome. At this early stage, there are usually a lot of unknown matters. While the lawyer may be able to give you a partial fee estimate in a litigation matter, it’s impossible to say with accuracy how much it will cost. It depends on too many unknown factors.

It will be then up to you to decide whether or not to hire the lawyer to represent you further. The decision you make will depend on your sense of confidence in the lawyer. Has the lawyer listened to you? Have your questions been answered? Does the lawyer appear to understand your problem? Has the lawyer presented the risks and downsides of your case? Every case has risks and costs. Beware of a lawyer who tells you only what you want to hear without assessing the strengths of the opposing party’s case.

Some lawyers will accept a monthly or annual retainer which entitles the client to telephone advice a few times a month. More complicated issues require separate engagements.

Tip #4 – The least expensive lawyer is unlikely to be the best person to handle your legal problem

Consider this scenario: you are looking for a lawyer for a complicated lawsuit. You call Mr. Jones, who answers on the first ring. You tell your story, which has many facts the opposite party disputes. Mr. Jones says, “You have a great case. I’m sure you’re going to win.” When you ask how much it will cost, Mr. Jones says “Don’t worry, you won’t have to pay me anything unless you win. Just come on down to my office and we’ll get started.”

Beware of any lawyer who tells you this. While Ontario lawyers are permitted to charge their fees based on contingency, i.e. a percentage of the result, this type of fee arrangement is only rarely applicable in business cases. It never occurs when facts are in dispute, recovery is uncertain or if the amount is small.

When you retain a lawyer, you need a trustworthy advisor, who will point out the weaknesses of your case as well as the strengths. A litigation lawyer who is waiting by the phone for your call and tells you exactly what you are hoping to hear may be too hungry or too inexperienced to manage your case. He may be in over his head and will bail out as soon as your case takes a negative turn. By then, your legal situation may have worsened. It will be more expensive and perhaps impossible to repair it.

Even worthwhile cases require careful analysis and risk assessment. An experienced litigation lawyer will typically do his by for fees on an hourly basis plus GST and any out-of-pocket expenses necessary for your case.

Good litigation lawyers are often in court, at mediation or other litigation procedures, at meetings or discovery. However, good litigation lawyers always call or respond by email within 24 hours. In case of urgency or vacation, the lawyer will arrange for someone in the office to contact you.

Tip #5 – Prevention is better and much less expensive than litigation.

Legal problems are like computer crashes — they are bound to occur, it’s just a matter of time. Unlike computer crashes, some lawsuits can be avoided. Often, businesses owners deal with legal matters only when a crisis arises. They look for the least expensive lawyer to draft their leases, contracts, corporate and employment agreements without regard to skill, competence and experience.

Sometimes, business owners avoid legal steps like failing to make a shareholder agreement, failing to file a trademark application or failing to prepare a non-competition and non-solicitation agreement with a key employee. When served with a lawsuit, they ignore or tear the papers up in anger. These business owners will be caught short when the inevitable occurs. While litigation or arbitration may still occur when there are written agreements in place, you will be in a far more secure position if you have taken precautionary steps before the dispute occurs. If you respond to correspondence and legal papers promptly, you will be better protected than if you ignore them.

Competent legal advice is available for matters such as corporate organization, leases, the wording contracts and other documents you use in your business, partnership and shareholder agreements, your relationships with your employees, your company’s trade names, logos and website, your regulatory compliance, your risk management and litigation prevention techniques. It’s all important to arrange legal affairs to ensure that your personal liability is limited in the case of a claim against your business.

Ensure that the legal issues affecting your business are in good order. This is likely to save you a lot of money and grief in the future. You might even consider having a legal audit or a “business legal checkup”. We plan to write about this topic in a future article in this newsletter. Preventative legal advice may be expensive but it is just as important as fire insurance.

Tip #6 — Don’t assume that ‘going to court’ means ‘going to trial’

If you haven’t been involved in litigation before, you may not appreciate that more than 90% of cases settle before trial. While a trial (or even an appeal) is not always avoidable, lawyers use techniques to try to resolve cases at earlier stages. Business people are looking for certainty and to limit expense and exposure.

It’s never a bad idea to negotiate a settlement with the opposing party but the timing and approach will depend on the case. It is best to negotiate from a position of strength. This may mean holding off negotiations until enough facts and documents have been disclosed to favour your position.

Mediation is another technique lawyers use to achieve settlement before trial. Mediation involves a neutral mediator, who is usually an experienced lawyer, acceptable to all parties. The parties and the lawyers prepare briefs to explain their positions to the mediator. On the mediation date, after an opening session, the parties retire to separate rooms. The mediator will “shuttle” between the parties until an agreement is worked out or an impasse is declared. This process produces a high rate of settlement even in very complicated cases.

Tip #7 – Understand the risks of the litigation process: Why do lawyers emphasize settlement?

Even if you have an airtight case, your lawyer will still recommend settlement. Lawyers assess risk every day. Even the most airtight case could have problems at trial. The judge may prefer the evidence of the opposing party over yours. The other party’s expert witness may be more persuasive than yours. These are just two of many possibilities. A trial is always a last resort.

Another good reason to settle is that even if you win at trial, the case may not be over because

The legal costs awarded by the court to a successful party are only a partial recovery of the legal costs payable to your lawyer. · If you lose at trial or if the opposing party does better in court than their settlement offer, you will have to pay a portion of their legal costs. · There may be an appeal which could delay payment for two years or longer.
Until a final judgment is granted, a defendant is rarely prevented from dealing with his property – unless the property is the subject of the lawsuit (or some other exceptional situations).
The judgment may be unenforceable. The opposing party may be insolvent or go bankrupt. You might not collect anything. · The defendant may conceal his assets or transfer them to family members to make the debt difficult to collect. A separate lawsuit may be necessary to find the defendant’s assets or to declare the fraudulent transfer void.
The defendant may have assets outside Ontario. A lawyer in the jurisdiction where defendant’s assets are located may have to be retained to collect the judgment.

A settlement involves a resolution both parties can live with. If the case involves the payment of money, there won’t be a settlement unless payment is made.

Even with these concerns, some cases can’t be settled. The positions of the parties may be so far apart that a trial is necessary. As the case progresses, you and your lawyer will have to revise and update your strategy and estimate the legal cost and risk of each stage of the case. Keep in mind that the opposing party is dealing with similar risk assessment and cost issues as you are.

Tip #8 — Be a good client.

From a lawyer’s perspective, a good client is a business person who does the following:

Presents all the facts of the case fairly without exaggeration or deception. Tell your lawyer everything; not just the facts that help you. The rest of the story always comes out and usually with adverse consequences. · Considers the lawyer as a trusted advisor and advocate.
Has a well-organized set of relevant documents.
Provides other documents and information promptly when requested.
Accepts that every case has weaknesses and works with the lawyer to develop a strategy to minimize the weaknesses.
Recognizes that the lawyer cannot guarantee the outcome but can only provide effective advocacy to produce the best result, often as a result of negotiation or mediation.
If an examination for discovery or trial is required, takes the time to prepare to testify.
Asks for clarification on all matters that are unclear.
Understands that in litigation matters, it is impossible to predict the fees accurately but that the lawyer will gladly provide estimates of imminent steps in the case.
Pays retainers when asked and settles interim accounts promptly when rendered.
Considers the lawyer’s recommendations carefully and provides reasonable instructions.

One of our firm’s clients is a technology business which started as a family operation and has grown to the point that its brand is now accepted and recognized globally. Our client’s president knows hows to get the most out of his professional advisors. He is always respectful, trusting of professionalism, intelligence, experience and competence. He is prompt in responding to requests for information, appreciative of good advice and excellent service. He works hard but he usually has a happy and cheerful attitude.

Our client expects is professional advisors to have the same enthusiasm for their work as he does for the operations of his business. And another small matter: our client pays every professional account within 48 hours of receipt. He believes that if he had to challenge his lawyer or accountant’s bill, the professional relationship is not a healthy as it should be. Our client expects fair treatment, excellent service, sound advice, creative strategy, experienced advocacy and determined, no-nonsense negotiations. And he gets all of them in spades! A lot of business people who are dissatisfied with their professional advisors could learn a lot from him.

These tips offer no assurance that your legal matter will turn out exactly as you expect. However, by following our suggestions, the resolution of your business dispute is likely to be a less expensive, less time-consuming and less stressful experience and possibly more successful. Keeping your business legal affairs in good order permits you more time to focus on making your business flourish.

Igor Ellyn, QC, CS and Orie Niedzviecki are partners of ELLYN LAW LLP Business Litigation and Arbitration Lawyers, a Toronto law firm, established specializing in dispute resolution for small and medium businesses and their shareholders.

The firm is a member of INBLF ( http://www.inblf.com ) and its designated Toronto firm for shareholder disputes. Igor Ellyn is a Specialist in Civil Litigation and a past president of the Ontario Bar Association. He is a chartered arbitrator and mediator and the author of many legal articles, some of which may be downloaded from the firm’s website.

Orie Niedzviecki is a business litigation lawyer, whose practice includes commercial disputes, employment law, libel and slander, construction litigation and estate litigation. He is also admitted in the District of Columbia, USA.

For more information about the authors and their litigation services, please visit http://www.ellynlaw.com

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