Five Social Security Disability Myths That Simply Aren’t True

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Social Security is a vital program for millions of Americans. It provides much-needed monetary and medical benefits for the elderly, the disabled, and dependents of deceased workers.

Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration gets a bad rap. Many people don’t fully understand everything the agency does, and subsequently most people’s opinions of its programs are based off misinformation and inaccurate reports.

The disability insurance program in particular tends to have a lot of misconceptions. Here are five of the most common:

  1. Disability Benefits = Welfare

Disability benefits are not welfare. Far from it. Social Security Disability is an insurance program, which means you have to pay into it to receive benefit coverage in the event you are unable to work due to a medical condition. It’s just like the retirement program but with different eligibility requirements and different payment accounts for the benefits, so if you are eligible for the program, you should feel no qualms about applying. You paid into the program in case a medical condition prevented you from working, and now you need coverage. It’s not a government handout; you worked hard for these benefits.

  1. Most Social Security Disability beneficiaries aren’t really disabled. They’re just too lazy to work.

The Social Security Administration’s disability approval process is actually quite stringent and thorough. In fact, it has some of the strictest requirements of any developed nation in the world. Fraud is incredibly rare and really only accounts for less than one percent of benefit payments. Additionally, disability beneficiaries tend to be elderly, which is understandable since we usually experience greater health complications the older we get. The vast majority of disability beneficiaries are between the ages of 50 and 65.

  1. If my doctor tells the Social Security Administration that I am disabled, I’ll automatically be eligible for benefits.

While a doctor’s support can be beneficial to your case, it is not the end all be all for approval. The Social Security Administration will evaluate your income and medical records to verify that you meet the program’s requirements, and if they have any questions about your eligibility, they will send you to a consultative exam to gather more information. It can be a long, drawn-out process. Try to remain patient, and make sure you are getting information to the Social Security Administration in a timely manner to ensure your case is evaluated as soon as possible.

  1. Nobody is ever approved the first time they apply. You have to submit multiple applications.

It’s easy to see where this rumor comes from. After all, nearly 70 percent of initial applications are denied. However, the Social Security Administration has no policy or formula that denies all initial claims. It’s just incredibly hard to prove you meet the program’s requirements without going before an Administrative Law Judge for a hearing. If you are denied for benefits after submitting an application, don’t just fill out a new one. File a request for reconsideration, and keep moving through the appeals process until you are approved or run out of options. If you just file a new application, you will more than likely continue to be denied.

  1. It’s not worth applying because the disability fund is going to run out next year anyway.

Although the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund is expected to run out of its reserves by late next year, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply for benefits. As it moves closer to insolvency, Congress will start feeling the pressure to act—either by reforming or reallocating funds out of the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund. Reallocation isn’t a new concept; actually it’s been done multiple times in the past to keep both programs solvent. Even if worst comes to worst, and the reserves do temporarily run out, the Disability Insurance fund will still bring in enough money to keep paying out 80 percent of benefits.

All in all, the Social Security Disability Insurance program is quite effective and helps millions of Americans who are unable to work through no fault of their own. Hopefully you never need to use these benefits, but if you do, you can rest easy knowing they’re available to help you through this difficult time in your life.

Author Info: Alyssa Vincent is a writer for DisabilityGuide.com, a website dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities navigate the Social Security Disability process.  She lives in Salt Lake City and enjoys reading, blogging and riding her Vespa. 

Asbestos Fibers Found in Crayons Made in China

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The San Francisco Chronicle reports a study released by the Environmental Working Group, an environmental health advocacy organization, found asbestos fibers in some Chinese-made crayons and crime-scene fingerprint kits in Bay Area stores and online. Asbestos was found in four of 28 boxes of crayons and two of 21 kids’ fingerprint testing kits that researchers observed. The crayons were labeled with popular cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sonya Lunder, lead author of the study and senior analyst with the group, said, “The right number of children’s toys that should be contaminated with a carcinogen is zero.”

CNN reports that labels on packaging indicated that the toys and crayons with asbestos fibers “were made in China and imported to the United States.” The report by the EWG Action Fund did not list the amount of asbestos found in the products, but the powder from the crime lab kit is considered more dangerous, said Dr. Jerry Paulson, the former chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Environmental Health, as they’re “much more available to the lung, where asbestos does its damage.”

Fox News notes the crayons were purchased from February to May 2015 from Party City and Dollar Tree, while the crime scene toys were purchased through Amazon.com and ToysRUs.com.

TIME reports the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission “has no ban on the material in crayons,” but said it is “investigating the EWG’s findings.” U.S. Sens. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) called on retailers to issue a voluntarily recall of “toxic products.”

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

What Can You Do if You Are Involved in a Class Action Lawsuit?

What Can You Do If You Are Involved in a Class Action Lawsuit

When you are involved in a class action lawsuit, you may feel that there’s nothing you can do. After all, there are many people involved in the suit, and it seems like waiting it out is the best thing to do. However, there are a few things that you can do to become involved in the class action lawsuit.

Stay Active in Following the Progress

One thing that you can do to further the lawsuit is to stay active and monitor the case. It may be helpful for you to provide your testimony to the trial if more evidence is needed. You can also help get the word out so that more people are aware of the trial; as more consumers add their complaints to the trial, the liability of the company will increase.

It’s important that the jury knows the full extent of damage caused by the company; if you are inclined to help more people join the lawsuit, then you could really help the trial along. As an added benefit, this tactic could be much better for your own peace of mind than simply waiting for the results of the trial

Become an Advocate for Your Cause

The class action lawsuit is a great starting point for making more people aware of the injustice that a company has done. In addition to the lawsuit itself, you can get involved in spreading stories about the problems that you and other users have had with the company. In this way, you can get some relief while also protecting other consumers from experiencing the same problems.

In some ways, a class action lawsuit can be the best start to talking about larger issues that consumers face. By staying active and leveraging the power of the lawsuit to back your claims, you can start to draw large-scale attention to the problems that the company has created.

Some class action cases can be beneficial to the participants because it provides a way for consumers to get justice against a large company that has wronged them. This benefit can go beyond just the monetary compensation for an individual. The benefit of getting your story out there and having your complaints heard by other consumers can help to alleviate some of the burden of being wronged. In order to get the most out of a class action lawsuit, it’s important to seize that opportunity to seek justice for yourself and other people affected by the claim.

This article is courtesy of Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver who often writes about home, family, law and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

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Kids — 38 Test Answers That Are 100% Wrong But Totally Genius At The Same Time.

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Natural Disasters: How to Prepare to Keep Your Family Safe

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Turbulent weather caused by a natural disaster can be a devastating experience. The unpredictability of weather patterns means preventive measures are essential to protect you and your family from injuries or worse. Fortunately there are great resources available that will prepare you for any type of dangerous weather. Here are tools to help you prepare if a natural disaster lands in your backyard:

General tips to follow prior to and during a natural disaster event:

1) Prior to the weather event occurring, have a discussion with your family on the household emergency plan. Arrange for a contact person outside of your region that would be able to accommodate your family. Discuss an escape plan that includes where the family should meet if people get separated. Practice safety drills and know where local emergency shelters are in your city.

2) Learn basic safety and emergency aid skills and keep your home equipped with a first aid kit. Local American Red Cross agencies will sponsor classes if you want to receive specialized training.

3) Stock supplies like water, canned goods and other non-perishable items (don’t forget the can opener). Know where your flashlight, batteries and portable cell phone chargers are located.

Plan for specific disasters

Flooding

Flooding is the most common natural weather event in the United States. Consult the FEMA flood map to determine if your property is susceptible to flooding. To protect yourself, raise all of your electrical components to reduce the risk of shock or electrical fire. Waterproof your basement if you live in a flood zone. For your physical safety, go to higher ground if water is accumulating to dangerous levels. Under no circumstance, try to walk over a stream or drive over flooded roadways. If water rises before you are able to escape your home, try going to the attic or even roof. Wash your hands if you’ve come in contact with any floodwater.

Tornadoes

According to FEMA, nearly every region is at risk for a tornado. If a tornado is impending, go to the basement or an inside no-window room to shield yourself from flying objects. Injuries are usually a result of debris flying in the air, so you want to minimize points of entry. For extra protection, cover yourself with something sturdy as if you are taking cover, like a mattress or heavy table. If you live in a mobile home, make every effort to leave and seek other shelter.

Monsoon

If you are in area subject to monsoons, under no circumstances, stand near a pole or tree. It is best to stay in your home or if you are on the road, remain in your vehicle. Prepare your vehicle for a disaster by doing things like adding all-terrain tires from Kuhmo, purchasing a high quality battery and keeping an emergency bag in your car with water and other supplies. For extra protection, avoid large wide areas and do not huddle close together with people.

Earthquakes

When the shaking starts to happen during an earthquake, stay where you are. Avoid doorways and cover yourself with your hands and arms to prevent being hurt from fallen debris. Avoid all windows and grab any sturdy covering so you are able to move with it while the shaking continues. If you are in your vehicle when the earthquake hits, stop as soon as possible and remain in your vehicle. Avoid electrical wires and buildings if outside.

Hurricanes

Hurricanes are slow moving weather events so people often have ample time to prepare. If officials ask you to evacuate because your home is in the pathway of the hurricane, it is prudent for your safety to listen to this advice. For those who make the decision to stay, use plywood to cover all windows and seek a room that will be safe from all flying debris. Anchor all items down and trim trees so they won’t land on your home.

Use common sense and don’t be caught off guard when a natural disaster hits. Prepare yourself to save your loved ones as well as your property.

Rudri Patel is a former lawyer turned writer and editor, wife, mother and observer. She has written for Brain, Child; Huffington Post; First Day Press; and Mamalode. She is seeking grace in the ordinary.

Going to Criminal Trial as a Minor: Is it a Major Ordeal?

Going to Trial as a Minor Is it a Major Ordeal

Minors can go to trial when charged with a crime, but the juvenile court system is different from what adults will experience. It can actually be worse for a growing child who is scared and unsure of what is happening so it’s best to prepare early for what you might need to expect. This process can make trial as a minor a major ordeal.

The Process Can Be Humiliating and Stressful
Going to trial can be a humiliating process. Although not likely to face a jury, the opposing attorneys and the judge are likely to do everything possible to paint the minor as a bad person. The judge might even be very harsh on minors in the courtroom. This type of process can leave a juvenile feeling alone, helpless, and stressed until the trial ends.

Juveniles Can Be Detained until Trial
Something to consider is minors can be detained until trial. The juvenile might have to spend time in a detention center until the trial date. This action can be ordered in the middle of trial if necessary, and some jurisdictions actually place minors in the same facilities as adult criminals and felons for federal crimes. Detention can be a very traumatic experience and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Potential Penalties Can Be Harsh
The ruling at a trial could come much faster than expected, and the potential penalties imposed can be harsh. Punishments might include time in a detention center, extensive community service, probation, or forced participation in a diversion program for something like driving while under the influence, or a DWI.

There Could Be Collateral Consequences
It is important to remember there could be collateral consequence for minors found guilty of DWI, drug possession, or violent crimes. Those consequences can include denial of federal benefits, denial of federal student loans, and problems finding employment before the records are sealed. Not all juvenile records are sealed in every jurisdiction as well.

Juvenile Court Is Hard On Families

A final point to consider is how going to trial as a minor can affect family life. The family might feel conflicted or could be anxious about the outcome of the case, and a trial can create rifts between family members.

Juvenile court is incredibly serious. It can change the life of a minor forever and the negative consequences can even seep into adulthood. It is always best to avoid going to trial as a minor by negotiating a plea deal or by avoiding criminal activity completely.

This article is from Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Understanding Your Legal Rights After a DUI

Understanding your Legal Rights after Being Charged with a DUI

An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) can be frightening and few people know what their legal rights are after an arrest for such a crime. The majority of people who are charged with a DUI are unaware that they are over the legal limit, thinking that the few drinks they had with friends were not enough to cause them to drive while under the influence. There are rights that you have after being charged with a DUI, however, that can protect you and give you a better chance for a fair sentence.

Burden of Proof

In a DUI case, it is the prosecution who has the burden of proof that you drove a vehicle and were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the defense can prove that either of these two requirements is false, the prosecution may not be able to prove that you are guilty. If you are in a parking lot with your vehicle running, for example, your attorney may be able to convince a judge or jury that you were not driving under the influence.

Legal Justification

In most states, a police officer must have legal justification to stop you. In other words, they must have probable cause to believe that you were drinking and driving. If you can prove that you were not driving erratically or in a manner that demonstrated intoxication, it is possible the policeman had no justification to stop you.

Miranda Warnings

After being charged with a DUI, or any crime, the police are required to read you your Miranda Warnings. Most people recognize the Miranda Warnings as “reading your rights.” What many people do not know is that the Miranda Warnings must be read at the time of arrest and that they must be recited correctly. If the police officer fails to read you your rights or recites them incorrectly, your DWI lawyer may be able to exclude certain evidence at trial, such as a blood test required after arrest.

Police Report

You are entitled to a copy of your police report after the arrest. If there are any statements in the police report that are not true, your attorney may be able to exclude them. For example, if the police officer wrote that you were staggering when you got out of the car and your clothes were disheveled, they must be able to prove that this was true. If you have witnesses to testify that it was not true, you may be able to refute the police testimony.

Breath, Urine and Blood Tests

You have the right to refuse any breath tests at the scene of the arrest, but, in some states, this can lead to an automatic suspension of your license. If you submitted to a breath test, it is possible to refute the results as the test is not always reliable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines require that an individual must be observed for 20 minutes before a breath test is administered. If it was not 20 minutes after you were stopped, you may be able to refute the test. Breathing tests must be calibrated at regular intervals and you have a right to request calibration records. Most states no longer use urine tests as they are the least accurate, but states do use blood tests, especially in the case of an accident where someone was killed or injured. A blood test is more difficult to refute than breath or urine tests, however.

These are some of the rights you have after being charged with a DUI which may help you fight the charges against you. The best option is to not drink before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, but if you find yourself in a position where you have been charged, it is important to know what rights you have.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

When Should You Consider Settling Out of Court?

When Should You Consider Settling Out of Court

A personal injury can have a significant impact on your personal life, determining your ability to work and whether or not you will have continuing medical problems in the future. If you are involved in a personal injury case, acquiring an attorney with knowledge and experience can be critical in ensuring that you receive appropriate compensation for your injury. A settlement is a sum of money that is offered to compensate the injured party. A number of factors come into play when considering when to settle your case out of court, instead of extending that dispute through a lengthy court process.

Ongoing Medical Needs

Legal experts recommend refraining from considering a settlement out of court until your medical condition is thoroughly evaluated and you know the extent of the disability, whether temporary or permanent, and how your life will be affected. These considerations will influence the amount of compensation you will need to stabilize your condition and normalize your life in future years. Even a settlement, though, can potentially cover your medical needs. Consider Ladah Law Firm’s case results for a snapshot into potentially settlement outcomes.

Returning to Work Duties

Another consideration for the injured party is whether he or she will be able to perform their usual work tasks, will have to seek a different form of employment or possibly will not be able to work at all. Agreeing to a settlement amount before you know the true impact of your injury on your ability to work can leave injured parties at a serious advantage if they find they are unable to support their families.

Family Responsibilities

A serious injury can cause severe disruption in an individual’s family. The focus on medical care, disruption in income and other matters can create an atmosphere of chaos and distress. Many plaintiffs feel that settling out of court will allow them to return to normal more quickly and reduce the amount of stress the injury has caused to their families. Frank discussions with an attorney can help determine if settlement is the best course of action for these individuals and their families.

Ability to Wait

Another consideration is a practical one. Plaintiffs may feel they cannot afford to wait through a long, involved court case over disputed amounts of compensation and may feel it’s more beneficial to settle for an amount, so that they can resume their lives as normally as possible. This is a personal consideration that plaintiffs must decide for themselves.

If you have questions about receiving a settlement for your personal injury case, do your homework and figure out how a settlement will influence your finances, timelines, and medical conditions.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica Oaks loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

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Ever wonder how the Amazon warehouse works? The Amazon warehouse has been automated by robots for years now, but I only recently saw a video of the little creatures in action. Fascinating.

Are You Entitled To Compensation If You Suffered Food Poisoning From A Restaurant?

Are You Entitled To Compensation If You Suffered From Food Poisoning From A Restaurant

When are you entitled to compensation for injuries that you have incurred? Usually, the answer is when someone else is clearly at fault, and you have suffered an injury for which there can be compensation. It’s easy to think of this process in terms of things like a car accident or even a slip and fall, but what about a more nebulous issue? It’s possible to raise the question of liability when it comes to something as common as getting food poisoning from a restaurant. Whether or not you are entitled to compensation is an interesting question, and one that cuts to the very heart of the law.

Food Poisoning As An Injury

Let’s start at the very beginning of liability – with the injury. Is food poisoning an injury? If it makes you sick enough to go to the hospital, one could say that it is. If you miss work, it’s likewise clear that some kind of injury has occurred. If you had a bit of a sick stomach and walked away? There might not be any injury of which you can speak. You have to have some kind of quantifiable harm happen for there to be any sort of liability, so that’s the first question that must be answered.

What The Restaurant Owes You

The next question is whether the restaurant owes you any kind of duty of care. Unless you signed some kind of waiver (which in itself may not be valid), a restaurant clearly owes each of its patrons a duty to prepare food well. This not only means that the food should be cooked, but that it should use ingredients that will not cause illness. It’s a bit more of a gray area if you have an allergy of which you did not inform the cook. Though, what you’re looking for is a violation of the basic relationship between the restaurant and patron.

Getting The Compensation You Deserve

So, are you entitled to compensation if you suffered from food poisoning at a restaurant? The short is answer is “maybe.” However, an attorney can help back up your case to get the compensation you deserve, say the experts at Pritzker Law. It depends on the circumstances under which the offending food was consumed, as well as the harm that you suffered. If you do believe that you suffered some kind of harm, you should always meet with an attorney to discuss the next step. While food poisoning may not always be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of liability, it may be a problem that deserves some form of compensation.

Getting food poisoning can be very serious, especially for people who already suffer from various health conditions. If you have suffered from even moderate food poisoning from a restaurant, it’s important to talk to a lawyer.

This article is courtesy of Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver who often writes about home, family, law and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

Is A Career In Law Worth It? Six Reasons You Should Pursue A Law Education And Career

6 Reasons You Should Pursue A Law Education And Career

Becoming an attorney takes many years of studying, but in the end, it is a rewarding career choice. You’re looking at around a four year undergraduate degree, three years of law school, and another six months in passing the bar exam and getting sworn in. It requires both personal and financial sacrifices. These are six reasons why that sacrifice and investment pay off.

Dollars

The median income for attorneys at well over $100,000 a year speaks for itself. Many attorneys that are known on a national level earn considerably more. Even solo practitioners can reap a hefty income when concentrating on practice areas like personal injury or white collar crime.

Ability to help others

Lawyers are uniquely situated for helping the unfortunate guy or little old lady. You may not make as much when you occasionally undertake their representation, but intrinsic reward has its own value. You’re helping somebody who needs help. You might also get a referral three years down the road that pays for your kindness tenfold.

The bad guys

There are some very bad people out there that need to be put away. An undergraduate degree in criminal justice can be the first step toward becoming a prosecutor. It also prepares you well for the thought process needed in law school. You can make a tremendous contribution to your area by prosecuting bad guys and keeping others safe from them. Earnings of most senior level prosecutors are well into six figures. The benefits packages are generally strong too.

Mind games

A legal education and career will keep your brain sharp and intellect challenged for a lifetime. Lawyers learn that every rule has exceptions, and they continually analyze them. They read, write and interact with others daily, often on an intellectually competitive level. For decades they’ll employ their analytical abilities from dawn until dusk, even when retired. When you think like a lawyer, you’ll think that way for life.

Legal diversity

A chemist or engineer can go into patent law. Teachers can go into educational law. Athletes can be sports lawyers and agents. Pilots can be aviation lawyers. Biologists can be become environmental lawyers. Whatever one’s primary interest is, they can specialize in that area of the law.

Well-educated

No matter what area of law you decide to focus on, it will require a great deal of education and studying to get there. A criminal justice degree can give you the information needed to succeed in your career. Because lawyers need to keep up with the new laws a regulations, they are always in touch with the world today.

There are other great reasons for becoming a lawyer, and the rewards are well worth the sacrifices. With hard work and a passion for law, you can get the job of your dreams and make a positive impact.

This article is courtesy of Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver who often writes about home, family, law and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

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The Importance of Having a Good Trial Lawyer in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The Importance of Having a Good Trial Lawyer in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Whether you are charged with DUI where someone was injured or someone slipped and fell in your home, anyone can become the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit. Too often, people rely on their insurance company to handle such claims, thinking there is no need for an attorney. The fact is, whenever you are charged in a personal injury lawsuit, you need to hire an attorney who specializes in that type of law.

Claims Assessment Experience

One of the most important reasons you need an attorney when charged with personal injury is that good trial lawyers have experience in assessing claims. They can tell you from the beginning what you are facing regarding the claim and whether or not you may be able to settle out of court or can expect to go to trial. When it comes to settling claims, the advice of an attorney is invaluable.

Investigative Abilities

One of the things that a trial lawyer can do that you cannot is investigate the accident thoroughly. One of the things they will look for is whether the victim was at fault, or even partially at fault, for the injury. In some states, if it can be proven that the plaintiff contributed at all to their own injury, their case can be dismissed or their award reduced. Because trial lawyers have a team of investigators available, they are able to look at the details of the accident and determine whether or not you were totally at fault or the plaintiff contributed in any way.

Knowledge of the Law

The average layperson knows very little about the intricacies of law. For example, if you are pulled over and a breath test shows you are over the legal limit, many people believe that they are automatically guilty. A DWI lawyer would tell you that assumption is wrong. The fact is that there are many different aspects of law that could mean what looks like a “cut and dried” case may not be at all. In a personal injury case, the law is even more complicated as there can be many defenses available that show you were not responsible for someone else’s injury. A highly qualified trial lawyer will understand the aspects of law that apply to your case and be able to advise you on what steps to take to minimize or eliminate the claim against you.

Even if it seems that the claim against you is minor and you believe it will be an easy one to settle, hiring a trial lawyer is highly recommended, especially in personal injury cases. Whether the injuries to the other person seem minor or not, an attorney can provide you with quality advice to be sure your rights are protected.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

Best Ways to Build the Necessary Skills for a Career in Law

Best Ways to Build the Necessary Skills for a Career in Law

Becoming a lawyer can be a difficult path, yet a rewarding career later on. Lawyers work in many different areas, such as criminal or commercial, and perform a variety of complex tasks. Successful lawyers are skilled with managing stress, multi-tasking, and dealing with mentally and emotionally intense situations. However, a lawyer needs more skills before they can build a successful career. Below explains three key competencies every aspiring lawyer should develop and maintain.

Apply Organizational Skills
Lawyers in any field must be able to juggle equally demanding tasks while quickly preparing for cases and responding to urgent problems, and you must have excellent time and task management skills. Students can build these skills through applying time and organizational techniques in their personal, academic, and work life. Learn how to use a day planner, smart phone calendar, and Outlook calendar at the same time. Aspiring lawyers should learn how to centralize and standardize the procedures for completing tasks to ensure accuracy and timeliness. For example, use an Excel spreadsheet to track and follow up with all projects and homework assignments. This will allow you to set deadlines, quickly access important information, and plan on future required actions. A good organizational skill set can set you up to finish your Masters in law degree and get you started in a career.

Practice Communication Skills

Lawyers must have excellent communication skills, including reading, writing, speaking and listening. Consider taking debate, public speaking or leadership classes. Practice reading complex legal material and writing a comprehensive review that persuades the reader to action. Learn how to actively listen and ask in-depth questions. Since so much of communication is done through email, consider taking a business writing class that will teach you the necessary skills and techniques for writing a professional email. The key to effective communication is learning how to be thorough with consistent follow-up. Practice effective communication techniques every chance you get. Ask for feedback from professors and other students on how to improve your communication efficacy and style.

Obtain a Master’s Degree in Law

According to the American Bar Association, almost 120,000 law students enrolled in over 200 law schools in 2014, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 10 percent increase in employment for lawyers over the next 10 years. A Master’s degree in Law is an excellent way to learn the necessary professional skills through formal training and education. Consider volunteering at the court or a legal organization so you can apply techniques and improve your skills.

All organizational and communication skills are a must for lawyers. In addition to this, a master’s degree in law is an excellent way to academically build skills. The American Bar Association offers career advice and resources here. It’s up to you to find your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your career in law. It takes time, but as you build up these skills you will have the necessary support you need to move ahead into the career you want.

This article is from Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

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A site with a collection of funny tweets. Some are really good.

Four Strategies to Make It Through Your Lawsuit in One Piece

4 Strategies to Make It Through Your Lawsuit in One Piece

The legal system is designed to provide answers to serious questions. These can include everything from criminal proceedings to divorces, but the common thread in every type of court case is that it can have lasting repercussions on your life.

If you fall apart during your court proceedings, then there’s a significant chance that your life may be less than perfect. You may need to avoid certain places, stay away from certain people, submit yourself to GPS monitoring, or spend a portion of your life behind bars.

The good news is that your court proceedings will generally go better if you keep yourself composed. Here’s four strategies designed to make every type of lawsuit easier to tackle.

  1. Acquire Evidence as Soon as Possible

No matter if you’re the defendant or the plaintiff, you’re going to need evidence to provide proof as to the validity of your legal claim. This process could be lengthy, involved and require acquiring numerous expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.

For example, consider the costs associated with discovery in a class-action lawsuit. It could require millions of documents to be reviewed by attorneys for validity, which could cost several millions of dollars. Even using e-discovery could still cost $250,000 or more.

Smaller cases may have similar figures. This is why acquiring evidence sooner will reduce your overall expenses and reduce the amount of legal problems your lawsuit might encounter.

  1. Avoid Complications

In a lawsuit, there is plenty of room for complications. Trying to contact the party you’re suing because that party is your soon-to-be ex-wife could result in complications that lead to harassment countersuits, defamation of character accusations and other situations that could weaken your legal case.

The best way to prevent these complications is to avoid them entirely. Acquire legal representation and allow your counsel to do the talking with the other party in a lawsuit. This protects you while significantly reducing the number of problems you might encounter.

  1. Stay Calm

Lawsuits can be incredibly stressful. You have so much on the line to win or lose that you may be prone to frantic worry concerning every single detail of your case.

The problem with this is that worrying can create numerous extra problems while stressing you out far more than you need to be stressed. This can result in poor decision-making, which in turn can potentially hurt your chances of winning any given legal case.

The thing you need to do is to keep calm. This will help you think with a clear head, which in turn will greatly increase your odds of winning your case.

  1. Acquire the Right Legal Aid

Each type of lawsuit is different. This is where hiring the right legal aid that has the skills to represent you in a lawsuit is imperative to winning.

For example, consider a lawsuit that involves domestic violence. You would want an attorney capable of representing you to the fullest extent and one that has an adept understanding of local regulations to represent you. Firms like the Law Office of Byron Roope excel in defending people charged with domestic violence.

The difference between hiring a generalized attorney and one specializing in your type of lawsuit can be astounding. It could mean the difference between lengthy prison sentences and proper representation that gets the charges dismissed.

Staying Strong During Your Lawsuit

While there are countless details that must be meticulously watched in any type of lawsuit, the four strategies listed above will make handling any lawsuit much easier. You should be able to rely on your legal representation for the remainder of your needs, which makes hiring someone you trust as your attorney even more important.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica Oaks loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Criminal Defense: Understanding What To Do After Being Charged With A Crime

Criminal Defense Understanding What to do After Being Charged with a Crime

Most often, one charged with a crime is arrested, but that is not always the case. In some circumstances, for example, a judge may issue an arrest warrant as a result of a court hearing. In other situations, an individual has been the focus of an investigation that has been conducted for some time and seems destined for an indictment. In any scenario involving criminal charges, it is imperative to retain legal counsel as soon as possible.

Thorough Investigation
It is important to realize there is a difference between what a police investigation entails and how a criminal defense attorney approaches defending a criminal charge. Evidence tends to become more difficult to uncover and witnesses’ memories fade with time. The sooner a criminal defense attorney is on the case, the better the defendant is served.

Placing the Prosecution on Notice
The presence of a criminal lawyer on the scene will most certainly attract the attention of the district attorney. He or she will understand that this case is one that will be contested at each stage of the proceeding and important Constitutional rights must be honored as the case is prosecuted.

Dos and Don’ts
Clearly, if you have been charged with a crime you are experiencing great anxiety at the very least. Nonetheless, it is imperative to move forward with your life and be certain to give yourself the best opportunity to achieve a positive result in the case. In that regard:

• Resume your normal life as much as possible. Go to work, care for your children and do what you typically do.

• Do not reoffend. This may seem obvious, but the pressure some people feel when under investigation creates enormous stress.

• Stay in contact with your lawyer. There will be the need for the regular exchange of information and the court must always know your whereabouts.

• Do not talk about the matter to anyone. Of course it is the most natural response to wish to speak to others of your plight; resist the urge. Nothing good, and often a negative that may compromise your defense will occur with unnecessary conversation about your legal situation.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney for Legal Advice
The full weight of law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office is against you; level the playing field by retaining experienced criminal defense counsel. You have legal rights; protect them.

Informational Credit
Information for this article was provided by attorneys from Keyser Law in Minnesota.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

Featured Link — Thesaurus.net

logo_thesaurus.net

Most people know that lawyers basically make our livings with words. And sometimes we need a little help so that we don’t keep using the same word too often in a brief or a jury argument. That’s when our old friend the thesaurus comes in handy.

One good online thesaurus site is Thesaurus.net. From the site:

The Thesaurus.net project started in 2011 as an online dictionary of synonyms. During the past several years, our team has constantly improved and increased the quantity and quality of the content, adding more synonyms and also providing new data layers, such as antonyms, rhymes, pronunciation, usage examples, definitions, quotes, and idioms for different words. We base our work both on contemporary data sources and on classic dictionaries which are now included in the public domain.

Our efforts were rewarded with great appreciation from our website audience, which resulted in an increase in the number of monthly page views from 4,000 at the beginning of 2011 to more than 1,000,000 by the end of 2014.

Our mission is to provide the most comprehensive, useful and user friendly online dictionary. We keep working on adding new awesome features and new useful data to help people with their research.

Five Things That Future Personal Injury Lawyers Should Know

Future Lawyers

Personal injury lawyers deal with cases related to physical and psychological injuries, like those caused by accidents or medical malpractices and negligence etc. It is their responsibility to ensure that the rights of their clients are protected and that they receive a reasonable compensation for the injuries caused.

The work hours are usually long and personal injury lawyers often need to travel to meet clients and others related to a case. While there are potentials for higher income for private practices, the work itself can be very stressful at times. In fact, there is so much you need to know as a personal injury lawyer, especially when starting out.

Lawsuits related to personal injury largely involve civil litigation caused by injuries resulting from animal attacks, burn injuries, car and motorcycle accidents, back and neck injuries, broken and fractured bone injuries, work related injuries, medical negligence, brain injuries and more. Besides, wrongful death falls under personal injury lawsuits.

In 2012, almost 37.4 million injuries occurred to people throughout the country that required a doctor’s care, according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics. It further indicated that four leading external causes related to injury episodes include falls, overexertion, being struck by a person/object, and transportation. All these made personal injury a growing field in law and the demand of skilled attorneys dealing with such cases are also increasing at a steady rate.

Here are 5 things every future personal injury lawyer should know.

  1. Practice Thinking Outside the Box

As a personal injury lawyer you need to fight for projecting your client’s rights in order to seek fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. But there is a high supply of lawyers out there and it is greater than the demand and everyone is willing to work really hard and put in long hours. It is therefore essential to differentiate yourself otherwise it will become difficult for you to look for jobs or establish yourself as a partner one day. But the question remains: How?

The key lies in thinking outside the box. Trial law makes an excellent career niche but not a lot of legal professionals know how to try a case properly in court. In fact, if you study closely you will find even the top litigators from the top law firms haven’t tried a case in the court very recently.

This is where you should begin. Learn to be a real trial lawyer and start trying cases. There is no greater satisfaction than persuading a jury in favor of your client.

  1. Start Networking and Join the Conversation

To become successful in legal profession you need to start building your network, the sooner the better. Join the e-mail list serves and actively participate in legal forums to establish online relationships with fellow lawyers from all across the country. You can share ideas, motions, and strategies with these lawyers who also face the same issues like you. This will not only save you long hours of work but also help you build a strong support network.

You can join several trial lawyer list serves and forums for dedicated niche of personal injury lawsuits such as car accidents, traumatic brain injuries, truck accidents, and so on. In addition, participate in groups of doctors and lawyers to exchange ideas and insights to gain tremendous competitive advantages.

You must also maintain a digital rolodex of your contacts and keep in touch with them via regular emails exchanging ideas and articles etc. to establish a strong professional relationship.

  1. Keep the Court Conversation Simple

Law students often become distant and guarded and forget interacting like a normal human being. Although you are a lawyer and need to deal with a lot of things at a time, your juries are still normal people and not law school professors speaking in strenuous and complex legal terms. So instead of talking like a lawyer, join in the conversation like you would do with an average Joe. Avoid complicated sentences and use simple terms instead of big words.

Besides, jurors like people they understand and favor whom they like. The common touch therefore will help you to win over them in the long run.

  1. Accept Failures, At Times

Finding humor when things go wrong is one of the great traits of a legal professional. In fact, the old saying is that you cannot be a real trial lawyer unless you win a case which you should have lost and lose the one you should have won.

In today’s legal landscape there are numerous examples where a trial lawyer lost his/her case even though it was a just and deserving client. He/she may have ruled out the arguments provided by the opposing counsel throughout the phases of trial and still lost it at the end. The judge can often forget to read that important motion you have spent days preparing. And you out of all should know life isn’t always fair and accept it or better, laugh about it and look for ways to help your client get a fair compensation.

  1. Attend Seminars & Workshops

While there are a lot of lawyers graduating out of law schools each year, only a few make to the top law firms and even less become celebrated litigators in future. For a legal professional, it is essential to comprehend that the real learning and development begins beyond the classroom. Start attending legal seminars and workshops.

This is a great way to enhance your knowledge as well as to build networks. A bonus: you can always find new mentors or even better, potential employers in one of those seminars/workshops you are attending.

But the real cause for attending legal seminars, workshops, lectures and other events should be to learn more. In fact, you can gain more knowledge in a week compared to what you have learned in those three years of law school. From tips to persuade juries and real life examples of trial advocacy to cutting-edge techniques implemented by the best trial lawyers of the country, these seminars cover almost all aspect of court room trails, making them a great learning opportunity.

Also, maintain a journal of every piece of advice or knowledge bestowed upon you through these seminars or otherwise and chronicle them. Even better, put that knowledge into action not just in court room but also in form of a blog or discuss them in the dedicated forums you participate actively.

Conclusion

Building your career as a personal injury lawyer would need more than graduating from your law school or clearing the Bar exam. This is a law field where you need to help victims who are seriously hurt by no fault of their own. If it is truly your passion, follow it by all means. This field of law is more than a job; something that’s hardly suitable for clock watchers. It is a lifestyle where overtime and late hours are usually self-induced.

Author Bio: Rachel Oliver is a thought leader in laws dealing with personal injury and related niches. Updated with the latest happenings in the legal world, she shares her experiences and anecdotes through her write-ups on various websites. Interact with her through her Google+ profile.

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Friday Fun

Next time you complain about your commute to work, think how bad it would be if you had to drive on one of the most dangerous roads in the world.

Business Law Basics: What Your Start-Up Needs To Know

What Your Start-Up Needs To Know

Starting a business can be a worthwhile and profitable venture. However, there are many legal and regulatory issues that you may need to be aware of before you begin operations, while you are in business and even if you decide to dissolve the company. Let’s take a look at six legal issues that you and your partners should be aware of while operating a business.

Incorporate Before You Start Doing Business

The first thing that you should do is look to incorporate in the state where you intend to do business. While you may be advised to incorporate in a state such as Delaware or Nevada, you will also have to incorporate in your home state to do business there. When you incorporate, you can choose the corporate structure or form a Limited Liability Company and ask state and federal tax agencies to treat your business like a corporation. Creating an entity that is separate from its owner is important because anyone who files a lawsuit against the company can only go after company assets as opposed to the owner’s personal assets.

Determine Ahead of Time How a Partner May Leave the Company

If you have partners, there is a chance that they may want to leave the company at some point. Therefore, it is a good idea to spell out what happens to that partner’s equity, what it will be valued at and if other partners have any right to stop that person from leaving. Its’ important to have a lawyer to help with situations such as this.

Apply for Trademarks and Patents Before You Need to Use Them

Intellectual property is one of the most valuable assets that a new company has. However, if there are no trademarks or patents on that property, other companies may take it and use it as their own. Working with professionals may make it easier for small business owners to get trademarks and patents and make sure that an idea hasn’t already been trademarked or patented elsewhere.

Put All Deals In Writing

It is critical that all contracts and other important deals be put into writing. This is because putting a deal in writing makes it easier to enforce and makes resolving disputes easier when both sides know what is expected of them. Operating agreements, customer contracts and employment contracts are all examples of documents that should in writing and kept on file at all times.

Going to Court Isn’t Always in Your Best Interest

Resolving a dispute with a customer or employee outside of court is always a desirable outcome. This is because it takes less time, costs less money and allows the two sides to settle their dispute amicably. While you shouldn’t be afraid to go to court to enforce a deal if you have to, it can often cost more in terms of time and financial resources than it is worth even if you win.

Always Be Aware of Liability Risks

One of the most important things that your company needs to be aware of is anything that it may be legally liable for. For instance, if a customer slips and falls on company property or is injured while using a product that the company sold, it could be liable for damages related to any injuries suffered. Therefore, it should have adequate insurance from the beginning to make sure that the business is financially protected if an accident occurs.

The law doesn’t care if you are a starting your first company or have been in business your entire life. If you are liable for an accident or don’t have a formal contract with a customer, it could cost your business money that it may not have. Therefore, it is a good idea to know the basics of business law and know where you can go for help if you need it.

Informational credit to Doré Law Group.

This article is courtesy of Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver who often writes about home, family, law and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.