4 Methods For Affording A Lawyer

Two focuses of my blog are Creating Ecosystems of Success and Financial Literacy/Money. One of the most valuable investments we can all make is in legal counsel. Many individuals find that they need it and then struggle to afford this critical service. The following contributed post is entitled, 4 Methods For Affording A Lawyer.

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There is a major difference between being frugal and cheap, and there will be some situations that you can’t simply skip out on or avoid paying. Legal fees and legal help from a lawyer will be two of them. Paying a lawyer can be an unpleasant experience, but there are ways to get the legal representation that will not cost you a fortune. So, here are some ways to successfully handle paying those legal fees without stressing out.

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Paying by the hour

Whenever you’re looking into family legal advice, you should always try to see what your payment options are, especially during your initial consultation with lawyers. Using a lawyer is expensive, especially when money is tight on your end. A savvy lawyer will use the most suitable legal means of payment to minimise costs and maximise outcomes. While it is becoming rare, some lawyers will only charge by the hour. Therefore, you only have to pay by the hour. This can potentially build up and be expensive, so proceed with caution.

Getting legal help from a university

Getting legal help from a university is a great way to help those struggling with their legal problems. It can also provide students with practical experience and help them network with attorneys. However, you need to remember that you’re rarely getting a lawyer but rather a student who is still learning. So they can provide some free or cheap legal advice.

Alternatively, some universities will get new grads in touch with people who need cheap lawyers; you’re just going to need to hunt around and see if local universities in your area offer this.

Discuss payment plan options

For the most part, lawyers have payment plans, but during the initial consultation, you will want to discuss this rather than just assume. Some of these payment plans may include paying on a weekly or monthly basis, sometimes even bi-weekly. Plus, you may want to see if interest is charged if there is a payment plan, as this does seem to be common.

Getting legal aid

Getting legal aid is a way to get the help you need. However, it is important to know the rules and restrictions for free legal help. If you can find a legal clinic or a lawyer’s association, you may be able to get a free lawyer. If you cannot, you may need to pay a fee.

Some legal aid programs are income-based, while others are more flexible. Legal aid clinics are nonprofit organizations that provide free legal help to the community. They usually take civil cases. Some legal aid organizations have a hotline for people in need of legal advice. These programs help low income individuals and families in civil legal matters. Legal aid organizations usually have limited staff and resources. They may not be able to pay for basic transportation, but they may be able to coordinate with private attorneys. They may also provide a list of other free resources you can utilise.

The Importance Of Law In Business

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. For anyone unfamiliar with the business world, it is closely intermingled with the legal world. In fact, most successful businesses have a strong legal component. To not have one is literally flirting with catastrophe. The following contributed post is entitled, Importance Of Law In Business.

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Every business owner, whatever their area of business, naturally exposes himself to legal risks during their business activities, so he is required to build a proper legal envelope that will protect them and their business, reduce risks and avoid unnecessary expenses and damages in the future. Here are some important tips that will help business owners identify the relevant potential issues in their business activities.

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If the business operates as an authorized dealer, it must be examined how the business owner’s exposure can be minimized in the face of potential lawsuits or legal proceedings. If the business is run as a partnership, it is important to draw up a partnership agreement that will regulate the relationship between the partners, their rights and obligations towards each other and towards the partnership itself. If the business operates within the framework of a limited company in which there is more than one shareholder, it is very important to draw up a founding agreement which will regulate the legal relationship between the shareholders themselves and the company. Law is vital for any business, therefore, seek out a great team and be educated on employment law.

Every business that provides services to customers must have a quotation document/ contract agreement that regulates, among other things, the legal issues between the business and its customers. It is also very important to draw up agreements that determine the business’s relationship with external parties with whom the business works on a regular basis, such as: employment agreement (mandatory by law), service agreements, supplier agreements, cooperation agreements, franchise, license agreements, marketing and more.

Maximum protection of the intellectual property of the business and its owner: One of the significant, important and valuable assets for the business and its owner is its intellectual property which is reflected in the copyright (eg works, collections, articles, designs, photographs, software, source code, applications, methods and more) as well as in its trademark which symbolizes the unique brand the business has gained a reputation for and sets it apart from the rest of its competitors. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to protect these rights as soon as possible by registering them in your city or abroad and anchoring them in appropriate agreements when there are agreements with third parties.

In the case of a unique and innovative venture in its infancy, it is important to draw up a confidentiality agreement tailored specifically to the relevant venture and to sign all the parties exposed to the idea. It is also important to draw up contracts related to the enterprise’s platform.

Proper conduct in collecting payments from customers: It is very important to make sure that each customer signs a quote or demand for payment (also on a tax invoice that constitutes a demand for payment) and makes sure that there is a full signature. Any written commitment of the client by email, notices, watts-up or anything similar should always be kept to ensure a strong paper trail and to allow you the justice you deserve, if something goes wrong.

5 Ways You Can Put Your Law Degree to Good Use

“Students who studied law in college often finish school and find that they are confused as to what the next step should be.”

A key focus of my blog is Career Discussions. When we think of law degrees, we think of them for specific purposes but there are actually several ways to put them to good use. The following contributed post is entitled, 5 Ways You Can Put Your Law Degree to Good Use.

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Students who studied law in college often finish school and find that they are confused as to what the next step should be. A lot of law graduates opt for the most obvious choice, which is to apply to a law firm. Most times, it’s usually because of the appeal of a large salary. Unfortunately, a bulk of these applicants find themselves disappointed when they’re hit with this painful reality: getting into a law firm is very difficult.

More so, the very small percentage of law graduates who do eventually get the opportunity to work at prestigious law firms sometimes realize down the line that the job might not be what they expected, or not what they really want. The problem here is that a lot of law graduates limit themselves when it comes to exploring options post-law school. It isn’t uncommon to shift positions,or sides, from prosecution to defense for example. You may also step down from key roles into something where you can help others, just as Tricia A Bigelow recently did by moving from the California Court of Appeal to arbitration. There are several other things you could do with your law degree, and if you’re sitting there wondering what they are, then here are 5 other ways for you to use your degree.

1. Notary
Those who do not want to argue in court should take a closer look at the profession of notary. In contrast to public prosecutors, judges and lawyers, the notary is basically there to prevent a legal dispute. Notaries, for example, take care of the certification of property contracts and mortgages, foundations of joint stock companies, marriage contracts and divorce agreements as well as wills and inheritance contracts.

2. Administrative lawyer
Yes, there’s the option of practising law in a law firm, but discussed, sometimes that just doesn’t work out. You see, working in a law firm doesn’t mean that you have to practice law there. There are other opportunities for law graduates in law firms, one of which includes filling administrative roles.
This is a relief for those who don’t have a postgraduate certificate in their pockets, as the final grade is not so important here. More so, administrative lawyers take on administrative and legal advisory work for authorities and also bring clarification in legal disputes. Administrative lawyers are primarily employed by the federal, state or local authorities – such as the police, ministries or district offices.

3. Self-employed lawyer
This is a less common route than the others, but as a law graduate, you could simply just venture into entrepreneurship as a criminal defense lawyer or start your own law firm. If you really have an entrepreneurial mindset, don’t be afraid to venture out and do your own thing. Remember that all the big law firms you know today started out small.

4. Government lawyer
There are at least a thousand and one roles that a government lawyer could take up. The great thing about being a government lawyer is that there are opportunities on every level, from federal to state to local/regional. Local governments employ lawyers all the time, as they need their expertise in roles ranging from contracting to litigation. More so, working as a government lawyer can even get you the added advantage of having access to special loan forgiveness programs that help pay off your student loans.

5. Conflict resolution
A lot of the time, businesses and individuals tend to consider alternative dispute resolution before going to court. This is where you come in since there are a couple of roles involved in this field. You could work as a mediator, dispute resolution specialist as well as a bunch of other things. You will essentially be involved in helping people reach resolutions outside the courtroom.

Your Worst Nightmare – What To Do If You Are Wrongly Accused Of Murder

The first principle of my blog is Creating Ecosystems of Success and two key focuses are Current Events and Health/Wellness. Unfortunately, throughout our history, people have been wrongly accused of crimes. If you find yourself in such a perilous position, it’s important understand how to navigate the situation. The following contributed post is entitled, Your Worst Nightmare – What To Do If You Are Wrongly Accused Of Murder.

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Being wrongly accused of a murder you didn’t commit is perhaps everyone’s worst nightmare and can have a huge impact on a person life. If you or someone you know has been accused of murder, no matter how sure you are that you will be proven innocent, it’s vital that you find a defence attorney immediately to guide you through the process.

What are the different types of murder charges?

Murder also referred to as homicide, is often broken down into subcategories, although all are serious they can come with slightly different penalties and which you have been accused with matters greatly.

  1. First-degree murder
    First-degree murder is the most serious murder charge and is used when the accused is thought to have planned to kill the victim requiring malice and forethought. As one of the most heinous crimes first-degree murder often comes with the highest of penalties.
  2. Second-degree murder
    Second-degree murder is often used to describe a case when the individual intended to kill a person but did not have time to plan it, such as a crime of passion. In some states, second-degree murder is also applied to cases where a person’s actions are so reckless that they were likely to kill someone. Second-degree murder is still a very serious crime and the accused will still likely face some of the harshest sentences, although the death penalty is not an option.
  3. Manslaughter
    Manslaughter charges usually come from accidental circumstances where the accused did not mean to kill the other person. Sentences for manslaughter can vary greatly depending on the situation but are often far less severe than intentional murder.
  4. Justifiable homicide
    Justifiable homicide is not really a legal charge but more of a classification that can be used by law enforcement if a person kills another through actions such as self-defence.
  5. Other homicide
    Some countries and states have developed other homicide charges such as felony murder wherein the defendant did not cause the death of the other person but was participating in the crime which eventually caused the death.

What to do next

  1. Call a lawyer
    The very first thing you should do when accused of murder is to seek help from professionals such as murder defence attorneys. You are not obligated to answer police questions straight away and have the right to remain silent and plead The Fifth Amendment until your lawyer is present.
  2. Avoid talking to family or friends
    The only person you should call is your attorney, don’t speak to family or friends about the events of the crime as these are not protected by law and your family may be quizzed about what you have told them putting them under unnecessary stress.
  3. Work to prove your innocence
    With your defence attorney, the next step is to prove your innocence. Start by making a list of alibis and potential witnesses who can testify in your favour. If you were present at the crime but not involved then write down everything you can remember while it is fresh in your mind. Finally, work through the evidence you have with your lawyer who will be able to build a case for you.

Three Times in Life When You Should Definitely Call Your Attorney

The first principle of my blog is Creating Ecosystems of Success and key focus is Health/Wellness. Throughout our lives there are times when unexpected things occur. Typically we think of illness, but there are also unforeseen legal crises. These crises require competent legal counsel. The following contributed post is entitled, Three Time in Life When You Should Definitely Call Your Attorney.

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Sometimes life can be really challenging. When you find yourself in deep water, it can be hard to know when you should try to sort the situation out yourself, and when you need a lawyer in your corner.

Even if you are well aware that a lawyer’s help would be to your advantage, the high fees can be difficult to afford when you are already in a sticky situation.

Sometimes it does make sense to handle things for yourself. But in other more complex situations, it would be a mistake not to hire a legal professional. But how are you supposed to tell which situation falls into which category? These cut-and-dry scenarios will help you make an informed decision.

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You Are a Victim of Defamation

In the legal world, defamation law refers to the area of law which deals with people’s reputations, be it online or in the real world. If someone is publicly attacking your character, it can be extremely harmful for your future, so it’s important to take it extremely seriously. You can’t just tell someone to take back what they wrote about you in the newspaper or online because people have a right to express their views. Even if they did remove the article, you can’t be sure that there are no existing copies. To mitigate the damage that has been done and prevent no further damage to your career and financial future, it is essential that you get a lawyer’s help. An internet defamation attorney can help with one of the most tricky defamation cases, as they specialize in the removal of damaging online material.

You Are Charged With Criminal Activity

Even if you are completely innocent, being charged with a crime is one situation in which you absolutely must pick up the phone and call a lawyer. Do this before you speak to anybody else, as your words can be twisted by the accusers to be used against you. Do not—under any circumstances—make an attempt to defend your own case without the aid of legal representation. Even something that seems like a minor accusation can potentially impact your future in many negative ways that you haven’t even thought of yet. Everything from immigration to getting a loan to invest in property one day depends in some way on having a clean criminal record, so if you have been charged with a crime, it is imperative that you get a lawyer to help you clear your name.

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A Passenger Was Hurt When You Crashed Your Car

If you were unfortunate enough to have been involved in a motor collision while driving and somebody in either your car or the other vehicle was hurt in the accident, you will almost certainly need a lawyer. Legal representation becomes essential if the fault for the accident is assigned to you. This won’t necessarily mean that it was your fault, per say. It simply means that based on the evidence available to the insurance companies and police on the scene, you were the driver with the greater duty of care in the crash situation and are therefore liable. This is a complex situation with extremely serious consequences, so it’s important to have a good lawyer on your side.

Deciding whether to hire a lawyer is not always easy, but sometimes the decision is clear. These situations require a lawyer almost every time.

A look at the Law of Compounding Interest and why you should care

“Compounding Interest is the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it!”

Note. Like my Net Worth piece, the subject matter of this blog post is not new. It has been known for years by those who’ve learned about it in their families, learned about its concepts in business school, or who have discovered it on their own. It’s a discussion from my personal perspective which I think is worth visiting. Also, while this is a ‘money’ topic, I’m discussing it from a ‘scholarly’ perspective. I’m not rendering financial advice where I’m telling readers what they should do. In the spirit of the first principle of my blog, Creating Ecosystems of Success, I’m simply introducing a concept and discussing why it’s important for the lay person, so they can make their own life choices.

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“Because we’re getting our Ph.D.s and we’re in school for so long, we won’t start making our money until much later,” my lab mate and senior graduate student Damon adamantly said. “When you save and invest your money, it doubles about every 10 years, and we’re missing out on the ‘doubling cycles’! The classmates I attended Colgate University with, who’ve already gotten out and started working, are already seeing their money double!”

To start this off with some humor, coming from the eastside of Buffalo, anyone named Damon I’d ever met up to that point was black, but this Damon was of Greek descent. Damon was a very smart, opinionated and short-tempered guy. He was also knowledgeable on numerous topics: current events, politics, and economics, and I loved talking with him while in our research lab as I always learned something.

Damon introduced me to one of my current heroes, Dr. Thomas Sowell and let me borrow his copy of Inside American Education, which Dr. Sowell wrote. I didn’t know it, but that day while our Pharmacology experiments ran, Damon gave me my first lesson ever on the “Law of Compounding Interest”. I was in my late 20s, and similar to my learning about the ‘Net Worth’ and a ‘Matching Contribution’ concepts, it was late in the game, but still much earlier than many people learned about it. So, let’s talk about the Law of Compounding Interest and why we should all care.

As opposed to trying to piece together an explanation of Compounding Interest myself, I’m going to simply reference the book How To Turn $100 Into $1,000,000 which I referred to in my post entitled, Challenging misconceptions and stereotypes in class, household income, wealth and privilege. In that story I talked about how my mentor challenged me to read what appeared to be a children’s book. While it is written for children, the book contains lots of valuable information that many adults don’t have a handle on – even those in their 40s and beyond. Since reading the book I’ve consequently given copies to my younger cousins and other youngsters in my circle to give them the chances I didn’t have. You should too!

Before discussing the Law of Compounding Interest, I’m going to jump ahead to Chapter 9: Investing, because for the sake of this post, it needs to be introduced first. According to Chapter 9, investing is defined as, “Putting your money into something that can potentially make you more money.” There are likewise lots of investment classes out there: stocks, real estate, and businesses of all kinds.

Coincidentally, the same buddy I discussed in my post entitled, We should’ve bought Facebook and Bitcoin Stock, recently approached all of us, looking for ‘investors’ because he wants to start his own Amazon store – a ‘speculative’ investment. When you think about the Law of Compounding Interest though, you want to think about putting your money in places where it will steadily ‘appreciate’ over time – someplace safe where you’d place your retirement savings for example (discussed below).

Two important concepts to understand here are ‘Principal’ and ‘Interest’. Financially, Chapter 8 assumes readers understand the meanings of Principal and Interest in the context of getting a ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI), as opposed to the borrowing context where you’re paying someone else interest on a loan. The chapter quickly starts discussing how Interest can steadily build your Principal from year to year.

If for example you have a $100 and it’s invested in something at a 5% interest rate after one year, you’ll have earned $5 so your total principal at the start of year two will now be $105. If you keep that $105 principal invested, it will earn the 5% on that amount and not the original $100, so your new total after year two will be $110.25, and so on. This is just an example, and this is just with the starting a principal of $100, but what if you started with a greater principal – let’s say $2,000, and you steadily added more money to it every month for 10-20 years? For retirement purposes the ideal scenario is to be invested for 40 years allowing one to retire well at age 65. Ideally the person should have started investing/compounding at age 25. However, getting started at any age is the key.

The second aspect of the Law of Compounding Interest discussed in the book is the “Rule of 72” on page 84. The Rule of 72 is a calculation which allows investors to determine how long it will take for their money to double based upon a given interest rate. To determine this number, you simply divide 72 by the interest rate that you expect to earn over time. The higher the expected ‘Rate of Return’, the less amount of time it takes to reach your goal. For example, if you divide 72 by an interest rate of 10%, it would take 7.2 years for your money to double. If you divide 72 by an interest rate of 2% the time would be 36 years – hence the importance of looking for the most competitive rate of return relative to your personal risk tolerance when looking for investments.

The chapter cites two more examples which highlight the importance of continuing to add to your principal and then the importance of time. The example on page 86 shows the difference in returns when two siblings both start with a $5,000 investment at the same age at an interest rate of 8%. One sibling continues to contribute to her account out to age 50 – that is $1,000 every year and arrives at 50 years of age with $750,000. The other doesn’t contribute anything further and arrives at 50 years of age with a total of $200,000.

The last example on page 87 gives an example of two people who start investing at different times in life (pictured above). In this example both subjects become millionaires by 70 years of age. The first individual started saving $1,000 per year starting at age 15 and paid in only $55,000 to reach their $1,000,000. The second individual started at 30 years of age and had to put in a total of $140,000 to reach their $1,000,000. The take home lesson here is that because the first person started earlier, it took them less than half the principal of the second person the reach their $1,000,000.

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My classmate Damon’s words at the start of this post, underscores these last two points. Our peers who started working immediately after earning their Bachelor’s degrees, were in theory able to start taking advantage of the Law of Compounding Interest earlier, assuming they knew to do so. Working towards our Ph.D. s, we wouldn’t be able to start the process until much later. But there were other professionals from our peer group who were getting even later starts than us due to the nature of their fields and the amounts of debt incurred during their educations; the Law and Medical students come to mind.

There’s another piece to this though. What about individuals who didn’t go the college route at all? They too would’ve been able to start using the law earlier in life assuming they knew about it and followed it. So, as I’ll describe below, having a degree has nothing to do with using this law.

Who should care about the Law of Compounding Interest? Everyone. That goes for STEM professionals like me and Damon, ‘Blue-Collar’ workers swinging hammers, cooks in the kitchen, lawyers in courtrooms, non-degreed individuals, business owners/entrepreneurs – everyone. No matter what your profession is, you only must know about the law, start it, and start it as early as you can.

To start using the law and to using it correctly, one must embrace two of the principles of my blog; the learning of Financial Literacy/Money, and Long-Term Thought/Delayed Gratification. Thus far in my writings I’ve discussed the latter principle sparsely, but it’s key here because to take advantage of the Law of Compounding Interest, the individual must think long-term. This means that they must be disciplined enough to live without a certain percentage of their paychecks every month.

They’ll also forgo or delay some short-term luxuries and indulgences for greater gains later – playing the game of ‘Chess’ in a way. This isn’t something that’s necessarily easy to do in the presence of considerable peer, societal, and in some instances familial pressures. See my Mother’s Day 2017 post, to get an idea of how to lose both money and time due to personal and cultural pressures.

What are the real-world applications for this? I’ll cite two articles. The first is by Rodney Brooks of the Washington Post. I cited his article entitled; 71 percent of Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement in my post about the Tax Reform and Jobs Act. It discusses reasons why people can’t take advantage of the Law of Compounding Interest. Another piece is entitled; Club Fed millionaire: Membership 23,000 and growing by Mike Causey which discusses the growing number of federal employees who are retiring as millionaires – most self-made. I’ll say it again, the majority are self-made meaning no one gave them anything, and they simply methodically prioritized, saved, and invested their money.

There’s a final context for the law, and that’s giving. When you think about Higher Education, philanthropists and generous alumni often leave gifts to their schools of choice through ‘Endowments’, many of which are invested so that they’re continuously compounding and generating returns used for scholarships and operating expenses. The famous Jim Kramer runs his “Charitable Trust” of which he is continuously thinking about out how and where to safely invest its funds for charitable purposes. Lastly, consider how the lives your relatives and your community could be changed by having a continuously growing principal and interest you can use in any fashion you see fit: saving up a down payment on a home, college tuition expenses, seed money for building businesses, supporting political campaigns, etc.

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If it sounds like an underlying theme of this post and others like it is that your financial (and life) success is about what you know and don’t know (outside of your profession), then you’re correct. In an upcoming story I’m going to discuss how I didn’t understand these pieces when I first started my federal science career and didn’t take advantage the Law of Compounding Interest or the federal government’s ‘Matching Contribution’ – both of which have cost me money. There were actually several personal ‘blunders’ in these areas.

The opening quote for this piece is from the famous Physicist Albert Einstein and it pretty much sums up the importance of this topic – either you’re getting paid, or you’re paying out. Compounding Interest is something anyone can take advantage of regardless of: race, creed, color, sex, gender or religion. One just must know about it, and then start living by it. If they don’t know about it, they must be curious enough to find out about it. Most financial literacy programs cover it in some way.

There are other necessary pieces such as ‘Budgeting’ which I’ll cover as well in another post. As I stated in my Net Worth piece, it’s not something that can be worked out with your boss, or even legislated by the government, though I do think schools could do a better job of teaching this information at an early age. In closing, two other principles of my blog do tie in here, and they are Self-Accountability and Self-Reliance, because first, the individual must realize that no one can make them practice and incorporate this law into their lives, and secondly, it’s themselves who have to do it. And with that, I hope you’ve learned something here about the Law of Compounding Interest.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoyed it, you might also enjoy:

Your Net Worth, your Gross Salary, and what they mean
The difference between being cheap and frugal
We should’ve bought Facebook and Bitcoin stock: An investing story
Challenging misconceptions and stereotypes in class, household income, wealth and privilege
What are your plans for your tax cut? Thoughts on what can be done with heavier paychecks and paying less tax
My personal experience with Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball revisited
Mother’s Day 2017: One of my mother’s greatest gifts, getting engaged, and avoiding my own personal fiscal cliff

If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and or leave a comment. To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right-hand column in this post and throughout the site, or by adding the link to my RSS feed to your feedreader. Please follow visit my YouTube Channel entitled, Big Discussions76. Lastly follow me on Twitter at @BWArePowerful, on Instagram at @anwaryusef76, and at the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page. While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.