Legal Practice Board Certification

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Board CertificationProfessional practice requires relevant accreditation or board certification, and legal practice is not devoid of these approvals. Currently, it is a requirement that before a lawyer is allowed to practice he or she must be licensed by the relevant authority. Aside from the federal or government oversight bodies, there are independent institutions, such as the National Board of Trial Advocacy, that certifies lawyers.

Board Certification Process

What does board certified mean? Before an individual is recognized by the board as a certified attorney, the candidate is subject to a comprehensive scrutiny process by the relevant committee. This is to ensure that experienced and credible lawyers are accredited. For the applicant to be certified they must:

  • Avail all the relevant documentation ranging from academic to professional to government clearance certificates.
  • Provide references from reputable practicing peers who are certified by the board and in good standing.
  • Sit through board certification exams.
  • Appear before the board certification committee.

After approval the member must abide by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (NBLSC) rules and at all time engage the board indulgence while practicing. The certified lawyer is closely monitored by the standards committee to ensure he or she upholds professionalism at all times.

Advantages of employing services of a NBLSC certified attorney

The board certification offers immense benefits to both the practicing lawyers and their prospective clients. There have been upsurges of rogue lawyers who offer substandard services or defraud their clients – most commonly for legal compensation lawsuits. To ensure that you work with the right attorney who will ensure your interests are taken care of and served professionally, it is a wise  to engage lawyers who hold board certification credentials.

Also, it is worth noting that the board has systems in place to receive complaints, settle disputes and discipline members who do not adhere to the required practicing etiquette. Since most of the certified lawyers regard accreditation from such institutions like the National Board of Trial Advocacy in esteem, they will always try to comply with the set standards.

The board has ensured the members are continually educated and equipped with the latest developments in legal practice across the board. The certified attorney must sit various continuous assessment exams geared to make sure that the legal experts sharpen their skills. Consequently, their clients can be assured of competent and high quality legal services. It is vital to grasp that the certificates are renewed after every five years and are only issued after an in-depth valuation of the lawyers conduct over the expired duration.

Going by testimonies of various persons it is a fact that you will draw immense benefits from a certified attorney. At Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, we understand the challenges of dealing with legal issues and we are here to help. Give us a call and we will be happy to answer all your questions. Call us today at (414) 273-1144.

How to Handle Theft or Embezzlement of Investment Funds

By | Blog, Investment Litigation | 2 Comments

With the economy recovering at a slow pace and the aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis still felt nationwide, many people are reluctant to invest their money. Theft or embezzlement of investment funds is a reality that many Americans face, and it can have financial and emotional repercussions on victims for years to come.

If you are facing embezzlement of your investment funds, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin. A skilled investment lawyer can help you take the necessary steps to report the embezzlement and regain financial security.

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Insights From a Business Lawyer: What Qualifies as a Misrepresentation or Fraud Case?

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Misrepresentation is a common crime that can best be described as a civil wrong or tort. As any business lawyer will tell you, misrepresentation can create grounds for civil liability if it leads to the victim suffering any financial losses. For example, a speculator in real estate who sells swampy land masqueraded as an expensive, commercially-viable zoned plot is guilty of misrepresentation. The entity who purchased the property based on the speculator’s misleading declarations may sue to forestall or recover any monetary losses incurred as a result of the transaction.

If you’re not a business lawyer, it can be difficult to understand what constitutes a misrepresentation or fraud case.

Insights From a Business Lawyer on Misrepresentation & Fraud

What is Needed to Establish a Fraudulent Misrepresentation Case?

You don’t have to be a business lawyer to understand that misrepresentation involves making false statements to convince someone to enter a legally-binding agreement. Fraudulent misrepresentation is the most serious of the 3 major types of misrepresentation recognized under contract law.

Basically, the legal concept of misrepresentation allows a business lawyer to seek remedial action on their client’s behalf for any rescissions or damages resulting from fraudulent contracts. For the maker of a fraudulent contract to be proved liable, three things must be established by your business lawyer:

  1. There must exist a misrepresentative statement that was uttered by the defrauder to the victim in any reliable form that can be determined in court.
  2. The defrauder must be fully aware that the victim is completely reliant on the factual correctness of all their statements.
  3. Finally, the victim’s belief in the validity of the defrauder’s proclamations must have been strong, justifiable, and reasonable enough to have caused the misrepresentation to result in pecuniary losses.

What this meaMilwaukee | Business Lawyer | Fraud & Misrepresentationns is that for something to qualify as misrepresentation, it must be shown that one not only lied or falsified facts about a contract, but that you also did it intentionally, with the sole aim of defrauding the victim. As your business lawyer will inform you, this makes it the gravest among all types of misrepresentation and it attracts the most severe complementary penalties as well.

One must note, however that the misrepresentation does not necessarily have to be expressed as a positive assertion for liability to be established. Virtually anything that can be shown as having been intended to deceive the victim will suffice. Expressions like body gestures, hints, innuendos, allusions, half-truths, undertones, and even silence, can all be used to successfully prove misrepresentation. This is where a business lawyer will truly help your case, as they will guide you through the complicated process of building a misrepresentation case.

Legal Countermeasures Against Misrepresentation

Misrepresentation is classified as a civil offense, for which you can only sue for damages in civil court with a business lawter. The criminal court equivalent of this particular offense is aptly known as “false pretenses.” Civil court decisions made as a general remedy for most cases of confirmed misrepresentation will often involve rescission. As your business lawyer may inform you, the court will essentially assume that the misrepresented contract or transaction never actually existed in the first place. The victim will thus be compensated and all parties will be restored to their initial financial positions before the misrepresentation was perpetuated. Your business lawyer will help guide you through the legal process and ensure that you are properly compensated in your misrepresentation case.

Why a Business Lawyer Can Be Helpful

Though fraudulent misrepresentation may have the distinction of having the most significant consequences with respect to recognized types of fraud, it also happens to be the hardest to prove. Demonstrating the defrauders’ “intent” is ordinarily a tricky undertaking, because most can simply claim that they were unaware that their claims were false at the time. A competent business lawyer is essential for misrepresentation victims to successfully pursue their civil cases to a fruitful conclusion. Misrepresentation legislations and statutes are applied differently across every state, so an experienced business lawyer is best placed to inform you on how best to proceed with your suit, and to explain the kind of rewards you may expect.

Get a Reliable Business Lawyer Today

If you feel you are the victim of misrepresentation or fraud in Wisconsin, you’ll need an experienced, reliable business lawyer to shepherd your case. Gutglass, Bonville & Larson Law can connect you with the business lawyer you need. We serve the Milwaukee area. Contact us today for a consultation with a business lawyer.

Business Law: Tips for Running a Family Business

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business lawIf you practice good business law, running a family business can be a great way to make money and ensure that your family members are employed, as well. Family-run businesses are often very successful due to the fact that many employees have a personal stake in the success of the company. There are special regulations that make a family business different, however. The business law guidelines are discussed in depth below.

Business Law 101:

Business Law Consideration #1 – Spouses Working Together

If you are considering starting a business with your spouse, there are many factors to consider prior to doing so. Having a solid marriage is the single most important factor, with effective communication as one of the key contributors. Additionally, partners should be able to work with each other as a team, rather than be competitive. Finally, it is crucial that home and work life be kept as balanced as possible – this means hopefully keeping ‘shop talk’ to a minimum when spending quality time with your spouse outside of the office.

Once the above factors have been taken into consideration, the next step is to speak to a qualified tax professional and an attorney who specializes in business law about how to legally structure your new business. This is important because there are a number of factors that contribute to whether  the business can be considered a corporation, a partnership, or an LLC. After speaking with a professional in your area of business law, you will be able to decide which choice is best for your business.

Business Law Consideration #2 – Employing Your Parent

When paying a parent employed by you or your company, the business law guidelines may be different. For instance, payments are probably not going to be subject to Federal Unemployment Tax. Payments also may or may not be subject to Medicare Tax and Social Security, depending upon the circumstances. Again, speaking with a tax professional and a business law attorney is highly recommended in this situation.

Business Law Consideration #3 – Employing Your Children

Many times in a family business, your child or children will become a crucial part of the workforce. Not only does employing your child bring extra income into the household, but it can also help teach adolescents and teenagers responsibility, teamwork, and a sense of accomplishment.

The first thing to consider when deciding whether or not to employ your child is how you can do so within the child labor law regulations. There may be exceptions to these business laws in some cases of a child working for their family’s business, so long as no child under 16 is performing any hazardous work.

As far as taxation of a child’s pay is concerned, this often falls under different guidelines than taxing a non-family employee. Sometimes payments to children are not subject to Medicare Tax or Social Security withholding. It is important to reference a business law professional if you are unsure, though. In addition, business law states that payments to children who are under the age of 21 also may not be subject to the Federal Unemployment tax.

Integrate Good Business Law into Your Family Business Today

Starting a family business is a great way to bring your family members closer together and give them a sense of pride in their collective teamwork; however, practicing good business law is of the utmost importance. Before starting any type of business, family or otherwise, it is always best to consult with an attorney and a tax professional to make sure you are following the business law guidelines set up by your state and federal government.

For more information about business law, contact Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville and Larson Law Firm today at (414) 273-1144.

How to Handle Employees Called to Active Military Duty

By | Blog, Business Law | 17 Comments

Active Military Duty EmployeesActive military duty refers to when the military forces are called for full time active services. Protecting the people of the state and defending the borders are very important duties of all the armed forces. Handling these employees when they are called on such tours is not an easy task. Employers, under the services of Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), must follow all such rules that are required for the care of their military employees.  An employer must also focus on the following things:

How to Handle Active Military Duty Employees

  • Inform them about all their rights under USERRA, as well as the importance of the military duty.
  • Continue providing health coverage benefits to both the employee and their dependents for 24 months. The employee may select not to remain under the health coverage but under USERRA they will be entitled for reinstatement under the health coverage after they are reemployed.
  • Employees who are called into active duty must be offered reemployment in the position that they would have attained had they not been called away, including seniority, status, benefits and pay
  • Provide reemployment of a military service employee for up to five years following the date they were called into active service.

Military duties are usually spontaneous, so the most important part of it is to create a policy for all the employees that must be followed in any case. They must be given all the guidelines by their employers according to USERRA.

At Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, we understand the challenges of dealing with legal issues for your business and we are here to help. Give us a call and we will be happy to answer all your questions. Call us today at (414) 273-1144.

Should Your Small Business Go Public?

By | Blog, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Have you been asking yourself if you should take your small business public? The process of going public with your small business can be complex and is not something you should rush into. There are a number of advantages to making the transition, and below we look at some of the reasons why you might want to go public with your small business.

Why Should a Business Go Public?

Small Business1. Raise more capital: If capital  is the limiting factor in business expansion, many investors consider going public to raise the much needed capital.

2. Brand awareness: The business is widely recognized and the credibility of the business is enhanced. It is easier to market products and services of a public company in comparison to a small business. Clients will often associate a public company with stability and quality.

3. Cross border expansion: Going public helps a business to reach out to a wider market in foreign countries with ease. This opens doors for foreign direct investments.

4. To attract a better workforce: Public companies are able to offer enhanced salary packages, staff training and capacity building. Therefore, they are often able to recruit and retain highly qualified staff in comparison to small businesses.

5. To spread out the risks: Partnership and sole proprietorship businesses may have a limited life span. In fact, many of them disintegrate upon demise of one of the owners. It is therefore necessary to consider going public to ensure that the business life extends beyond the life of the owners.

6. Listing at the stock exchange: A small business might go public in an effort to have their stocks recognized, listed and traded publicly. They are thus able to benefit from international trade gains.

7. Expansion: A small business has limited opportunities for expansion; however going public will give it an opportunity to increase its product range or diversify into totally new products or services. Some small businesses may have reached their threshold and can only go public to reach the next level. A common example are farmers savings cooperatives that grow into full fledged banks.

8. To meet threshold requirements for national and international tenders: Some tenders are only given to public companies and thus small businesses will strive to go public to net such opportunities.

How To Make a Small Business Go Public

Before going public, the management must ensure that the business is making handsome profits. A public offer will only be successful if the public have confidence in the business. Therefore before considering going public, a small business should be making handsome profits and have projections of remaining profitable in the future.

How to Legally Change Your Business Name

By | Blog, Business Law | 2 Comments

Change Your Business NameAfter being in a business for some time, you may ponder whether to change your business name to something which reflects your product, mission, and to appeal to your audience more accurately. Whatever the reason, changing your business name can be very costly if you have had the business for some time. Logos, stationery, business cards, advertisements, sales collateral, and many more items will have to be reproduced. It might also be beneficial to launch a campaign to market the new business name to your customers.

How to Change Your Business Name

All businesses follow similar steps when changing business names. However, every type of business legal entity possesses unique requirements. Limited liability companies have some requirements which differ from sole proprietorships. Therefore, before embarking on the journey of changing your business name, the steps below are critical. Most of the steps are required by law; however, others are just good business practices.

Business Name Change Checklist

Check trademark

Trademark infringements usually carry high costs for businesses. Before making a decision on a name, it is vital to utilize trademark search tools of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to help you know whether a similar name, or its variation, is trademarked.

Check the available domain names

Before doing anything toward changing your business name, ensure you are able to claim it online. This can be easily achieved with a web search; however, it is also important to check if a web address or a complementary name is available. The WHOIS database can assist you with this. If the name you intend to use is available, claim it immediately.

Make your secretary of state aware

Before changing names in articles of associations, all types of businesses, except sole proprietorships, should inform their Secretary of State first. States usually have online forms for this activity and a small token must be paid. In this process, you will find out if the new business name you intend is already being used in your state by other partnerships or corporations. This can be achieved through online state databases of fictitious names or registered business names.

File another “Doing Business As” Name

If you have in the past filed a DBA (Doing Business As), with the local government in your area, you will have to repeat this procedure using your new business name.

Revise business permits and licenses

Check with your city, state, or county to determine the due process involved in obtaining or updating new business permits and licenses. A fee is also charged for this process.

Notify the tax authorities

Your state, local revenue agencies, and IRS will need to know the changes in your business name.

A new EIN may be vital

Generally, partnerships, corporations, and sole proprietorships do not require a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) when they change business names. However, some situations call for a new EIN; for instance if a single member takes over a business as a sole proprietorship, or if a partnership incorporates.

Update business contacts, agreements and documents

Besides making updates on your business materials, building your new brand, and notifying your clients, it is important to revisit and make updates on business lease documents, bank accounts, business loan paper works, and many other items to reflect the new name of your business.

At Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, we understand the challenges of dealing with legal issues for your business and we are here to help. Give us a call and we will be happy to answer all your questions. Call us today at (414) 273-1144.

Social Media Policy for Your Small Business

By | Blog, Business Law | 12 Comments

Social Media for Small BusinessWith social media, so many avenues of engagement and communication with clients are opened up. Social media includes blogging, and it is one of the biggest online sources of copyright violation. Blogging also falls under certain endorsement laws for products most have no idea about. Coming up with a social media policy for the protection of your employees and business is thus imperative. To help you come up with one, there are a number of considerations you should have in mind.

This also comes with a level of risk and a need for a social media policy. A good example is the fact that employees could be accessing social networks at work or posting things about the business on social media. Employees could also be slamming your competitors, and in some cases, infringing on copyright through posting user-generated images and content without any permission. One of the most important things is ensuring confidential information about the company is not being released.

Social Media for Your Small Business

The first place to start is with the firm’s employees. While you might allow them to access social networks at work, you have a choice to limit or control access. The law offers some guidance on the things you could restrict your workers from engaging in. With tablets, smart phones, and PCs providing access from just about anywhere, blocking employees from accessing social media might be difficult. Nonetheless, come up with a clear social media policy on instances when social media should be accessed while at work and whether employees will face any punishment if they abuse the laid out code of conduct.

In case you intend to permit social media access, make sure the policy guidelines developed outline your expectations on the area of sharing proprietary and confidential company information such as documents, videos, and photos. Since the laws are constantly changing, work with an attorney to certify you are complying with local, state, and federal laws on employment and social media.

Social Media & the Law

Social channels such as sharing images sites, social networking sites, and blogs are areas where intellectual property infringements take place. This is why your policy should detail the information that can or cannot be posted online by workers sharing on behalf of the company. For instance, if your company administrator on Facebook wants to use the product image of a manufacturer, confirm you have written permission from the manufacturer before posting, unless permission was granted beforehand.

Many small business owners reach social media administrators and bloggers to solicit endorsements, mentions, or reviews. Federal Trade Commission understands businesses offer freebies, cash, and other compensations to get these reviews and requires that the endorser clearly indicates in the post the mention, or review, was received in exchange with some form of compensation or fee. Also, if an employee has to promote a service or product on their blog or social network, disclosing any affiliation with your company is mandatory.

The most important thing in any social media policy is that it does not have to appear like a legal piece of writing. It should outline in simple terms how a company and its workers should be represented on social media. These policies will include how and when employees are to use social media, how to come up with a unique social media tone, and reminders that intellectual properties and customer service guidelines have to be respected, among others.

Expectations for respectful and courteous engagement on social media from the subscribers and followers can also be added in the social media policy, which is a great defense in case some offensive posts have to be removed.

At Gutglass, Erickson, Bonville & Larson, we understand the challenges of dealing with legal issues for your business and we are here to help. Give us a call and we will be happy to answer all your questions. Call us today at (414) 273-1144.