The previous post on protection from abuse orders explained what a PFA Order does, who can a PFA Order be issued against, the definition of abuse, and the two different types of PFA Orders. In this blog, I will describe how the PFA process works so that you can prepare if you find yourself in
With the headlines coming out of the United States Supreme Court, I thought this would be a good time to write about the different courts that make up the American judicial system and how they work together. Let this be the start of a new blog series I’m calling Capturing the Courts, where I will discuss the different levels of state and federal courts and how cases work through each of the various court systems.
For this post, I will delve into the US Supreme Court (“the Court”) but will follow this up with a general overview of how the state and federal courts work together before digging into each specifically.
What is the US Supreme Court?
The United States Supreme Court was established by Article III of the United States Constitution to act as the highest court in the United States.
Continue Reading Capturing the Courts: The US Supreme Court
The past few weeks have been challenging for everyone. We know that each of our clients has been impacted in different ways. As we work to help you with the questions and concerns that arise with new developments every day, rest assured that we are still here to help. Our three physical office locations are…
Our firm regularly helps guide SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon’s clients as a part of their Simple Steps to Starting a Business workshop series. Last week was my turn participating in a panel discussion alongside a community lender, an accountant, an independent insurance broker, and a SCORE mentor. One of the key topics addressed by the panel was how to get the most out of a meeting with a professional for the first time.
The consensus of the panel’s recommendations was to be prepared. As an Eagle Scout, this was music to my ears, because “Be Prepared” is the Scout Motto. Regardless of whether you’ve completed 21 merit badges, “Be Prepared” is just a good concept to live by, and if you follow it, you’ll make the most out of your meeting or initial consultation with a lawyer.
Here’s how you can “be prepared” for your first meeting with an attorney: …
Continue Reading How to Get the Most out of a Meeting With an Attorney
In the past, I’ve written about why you should care about legal writing – it can help you avoid costly mistakes. Sometimes the entire legal effect of a document can hinge on something as seemingly inconsequential as a comma. Today’s post focuses on another simple tip, but one that could prevent fraud in various ways.…
Happy New Year from all of us at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP. As we ring in the new year, remembering to write 20 instead of 19 when writing the date isn’t the only change to be mindful of. As of January 1, 2020, many new laws, rules, and policies have taken effect that may impact you and your business.
Here’s a summary of a few of the key changes and links to additional information for several legal changes to be mindful of in 2020:
IRS Updates Standard Mileage Rate
On December 31, the IRS announced its new standard mileage rate for 2020: 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use, down one half of a cent from the rate for 2019.
US Department of Labor’s New Overtime Rule
The Department of Labor’s new overtime rule went into effect as of January 1, which updates the Fair Labor Standard Act’s minimum salary thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees from minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.
The DOL estimates the changes will impact as many as 1.3 million employees. The change that will likely impact the most workers is raising the minimum salary requirement from $455 per week to $684 per week, or from $23,660 per year to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker. To learn more about the changes, check out the DOL’s press release on the final rule here.
Continue Reading Legal Changes in 2020
One of the most common issues I am asked about is what a small business can do about online criticism. Here are five practical tips any business can use to help manage their online reputation.
- Know What is Being Said About You
To effectively manage your online reputation, you need to know what is being said about your business. Keep an eye on the platforms that matter most to you. For a professional services business like mine, that means watching platforms like LinkedIn. But for other businesses Facebook, Twitter, or Amazon might be more important. And almost every business benefits from keeping an eye on Google’s reviews.
And try to keep an eye on what is being said in the news because many online newspapers allow comments to be posted after articles. We use Google Alerts to get automatic email notifications when our firm or attorneys are mentioned online.
- Respond, But Remember You Cannot Argue with Crazy
It is important not to ignore online criticism. But you also cannot argue with a crazy customer. Remember that the primary purpose of responding to an online critique is not to resolve that customer’s situation (more on that below). The purpose is so the rest of the world reading the criticism can see you responded in an empathetic and respectful manner. Use some form of “we are sorry to hear you had a bad experience,” but do not use a stock response. Craft each response based upon the criticism leveled. That shows you are aware of the concern and care about it.
Continue Reading Five Practical Tips for Responding to Online Criticism
This afternoon I presented a continuing education course to my colleagues in the Lancaster Bar Association about digital evidence. But digital evidence is not just for lawyers to worry about! So let’s go over a few points everyone should remember.
Continue Reading Digital Evidence: What You Need to Know
All digital evidence, whether emails, computer files, or text messages, comes with metadata. Metadata is nothing more than “data about data,” i.e. things your phone or computer keeps track of about a digital file. Some of the most common examples are the “last accessed date” (when a file was last opened) and its “creation date” (when a file was first created).
Great, so metadata exists. So what? I get this question all the time. Particularly from opposing counsel when I’ve demanded that he or she reproduce a set of documents with metadata, usually after he or she has already provided a PDF copy. But I’m not asking for metadata in a fit of gamesmanship or to drive up litigation costs. I do it because metadata can be as valuable as the content itself.
Continue Reading Metadata is NOT an Excuse to Make Your Lawsuit More Expensive
I first became aware of the spotted lanternfly (“SLF”) when, as a Penn State Football season ticket holder, I received a notice that I was supposed to search my car for any evidence of SLF presence before leaving my home in Lancaster County en route to State College. I became more concerned about the SLF after I read a news article about a family whose home was overtaken by SLFs that were attached to their Christmas tree.
The SLF is an invasive plant-hopping insect that can have a detrimental impact on local agriculture. The SLF was first discovered in Berks County and has spread to a number of nearby counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. As a result, several counties, including Lancaster County have been placed in a SLF quarantine zone. …
Continue Reading Does your business or organization need to obtain a Spotted Lanternfly Permit?