• Commercial Law

    Is your Australian Business Legal and Legitimate?

    Are you concerned about the costs involved in hiring a lawyer for your business requirement? Spending a small fee on hiring reputed commercial lawyers can help protect you against expensive liability and stressful lawsuits. Ignorance of Australian commercial laws can dramatically increase the risks of litigation and court action. After all, you want to proceed with running your business in the best way you can without feeling stressed about potential lawsuits from employees, customers and suppliers etc. A good lawyer can help protect your valuable assets and monies from the threat of litigation by keeping a close eye on your business affairs from the start.


    Starting your own business can be exciting and exhilarating. Hiring a commercial lawyer can help anticipate and tackle potential problems in a prompt and efficient manner. Many new business owners may not be aware of the ramifications of starting their own business. This is why it’s extremely important to have written and signed contracts in place for every commercial transaction and business relationship.

    Contracts play an extremely important role in business operations. The following points explain why it’s important to seek legal assistance with respect to contracts:

  • Hidden Assets in Divorce
    Family Law

    Finding Hidden Assets in Divorce

    The beginning of finding assets in a divorce are the documents you collect from your client.  It is not the only way to find hidden assets, but a thorough and complete list of documents is an excellent starting point because the “paper trail” can often reveal volumes of information.  Some of the most important documents to obtain are: Credit card statements, loan applications trust documents and schedules of assets, financial records of businesses, accountant’s working papers, bank statements including checks and deposit slips, pay stubs and information about compensation packages, and tax returns.

    Tax returns are an important place to start.  When a person signs their return they are attesting that the information on the return is true and accurate.  Certain sections of the tax return are more important than others.

    • It’s important to review all sources of income in this section of the return and verify you understand them.
    • Pay close attention to business income and income that might come from bank or investment accounts.
    • Examine multiple years of tax returns to see if a spouse has dissipated assets in anticipation of divorce.
    • Withholding: carefully examine whether the spouse is currently over-withholding expecting a large tax return after the divorce is finalized.
  • Gray Divorce
    Family Law

    Tips For Handling a Gray Divorce

    Studies show that the overall rate of divorce has stayed somewhat constant for the last twenty years, however the rate of divorce among people over fifty years old has more than doubled in the same time period.  These are often called “Gray Divorces”.  Nearly 25% of all divorces measured recently occurred in this population.  This represents a 250% increase from similar rates twenty years earlier.  The simple fact is that you may be, in some way, involved in a gray divorce.

    The simple fact is that in increasing numbers older couples are deciding that they do not want to spend their retirement years with their current spouse.  A host of issues come up in divorce when it occurs at this stage of life:

    • While a divorce can help a person’s emotional well-being, it can be very difficult financially and problematic unwinding a couple’s financial life.
    • Many retirements decisions, such as when to retire, and levels of spending, were possibly made assuming an intact marriage. But following a divorce and liquidation of certain assets, individual may no longer have sufficient funds to retire.  Divorced individuals may end up working many more years than expected as a result.
  • Surrogacy Contracts
    Family Law

    Surrogacy Contracts – Tips and Tricks

    The world is changing and options for couple who want kids are rapidly expanding outside of adoption.  In fact, the number of adoptions are falling while alternatives are on the rise.  Some of the options now available are:  Donor eggs (anonymous or from a known donor), Donor Sperm (unknown or known), Donated embryo, Gestational Carrier (a variety of combinations include: client’s sperm and egg; client’s sperms and donor egg; client’s egg and donor sperm or donor embryo), and Traditional Surrogate

    Just because these are now scientific possibilities, it doesn’t mean that all jurisdictions are friendly to contacts that govern them.  Check your local laws to make sure and consult with the appropriate professionals.

    A few terms will be useful to know:

    • Assisted Reproductive Technology:  treatments where the egg and sperm are joined outside the body.
    • In Vitro Fertilization:  this is where a woman’s ovaries are stimulated to produce eggs, eggs are removed and fertilized outside the body, and the embryos created are then implanted in the uterus.
    • Surrogacy:  this is the process whereby a woman carries a pregnancy with the intention of placing the child with someone else for rearing and parenting.
      • TS Surrogacy (aka “traditional” or “true”):  here a woman becomes pregnant with her own egg and sperm from another (either the donated sperm of the intended father, or donated sperm).  In many jurisdictions this type of birth will result in the surrogate being the birth mother, requiring formal adoption of the child after the birth
      • Gestational Carrier:  here the woman becomes pregnant but with an embryo that has no genetic connection to her.
    • Cryopreservation:  the process whereby sperm, eggs, or embryos are frozen in liquid nitrogen and used in the future.
    • ICSI:  this acronym stands for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection which is the process of inserting a sperm into the nucleus of an egg.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
    Commercial Law

    Alternative Dispute Resolution – A Better Way to Resolve Commercial Disputes

    Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a popular concept in today’s high stakes, competitive, and expensive commercial litigation industry.  I use the word industry purposefully because in some sectors, litigation is a form of business, conducted with profit and loss statements with attorneys generally on the winning side no matter what the outcome in court.

    ADR is meant to provide a more cost effective, and equally fair, method of resolving disputes.  ADR can take the form of mediation, arbitration, binding arbitration, and a variety of mixtures of those approaches.

    In a general sense a mediation is a conference between opposing parties with an experience person (often a lawyer or a retired judge) acting as a moderator.  The mediator will ask both parties to submit documents and other information so she can be as well versed in the subject matter before the conference begins.  Then, as the meeting progresses, a mediator will shuttle between the parties looking for common ground, pointing out weaknesses in positions or arguments, and generally attempting to bring the parties close enough that they can actually reach a settlement.

    Arbitration is more formal and feel more like a courtroom setting. An arbitrator is typically governed by the rules of the American Arbitration Association.  This person will ask for papers and other evidence before the arbitration, and then will listen to testimony and statements by both sides before making a final judgment, typically after a period of days or weeks considering each sides argument.

  • Child Welfare Law
    Family Law

    Child Welfare Law & Technology Hackathon August 13 & 14, 2016 Phildelphia, PA

    As part of the 39th National Child Welfare, Juvenile and Family Law Conference, the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) will host a child welfare hackathon spanning 24 hours from August 13 to 14, 2016 at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. Collaborative teams of subject matter experts and technology developers will join together to examine acute problems that face practitioners in the child welfare legal field to foster effective, realistic solutions which improve the overall quality of legal representation for children.

    At the conference, hackathon teams will be surrounded by the most respected leaders and critical stakeholders in the child welfare legal community. If teams have questions or need supplementary support, over 600 child welfare practitioners and thought leaders are steps away. The hackathon will conclude with a presentation from each team where the solutions developed are shared and discussed at the conference closing plenary.

    INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING?
    Contact Amanda Butler by 7/25/16: [email protected]

  • False Advertising Claims
    Commercial Law

    It Matters What You Say – False Advertising Claims

    When considering a claim of false advertising it’s first important to understand what “advertising” is.  Typically, advertising is defined as commercial speech, made for the purpose of influencing someone to buy a product or service, that is then disseminated to the relevant audience.

    But speech is often misconstrued and it depends on the reader or listener what message is actually conveyed.  That is why a claim of false advertising is evaluated from the perspective of the consumer.

    If there is a claim of false advertising, it’s important to understand who can bring the claim?  First, the government can bring a claim with agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, State Attorneys General, etc.  Competing companies can also bring claims under federal statutes such as the Lanham Act and some state laws.  Consumers may also bring claims and typically do so in the form of a class action.

    To proceed with a false advertising claim the claim itself must be substantiated. This is a term of art and has special meaning in this contact.  To substantiate a false advertising claim you must:

    • Competitive claims must be true. They are also prohibited from being misleading.  What can constitute misleading?  Omitting material facts, using suspect or convoluted phrasing, apples and oranges comparisons.
    • Claims must be validated: Saying something true is not good enough, claims must be validated in a measured and reliable way, with supporting documents.