Choosing the Right Lawyer for Your Business

Anyone in the midst of opening up their own business will eventually come across a situation that will require legal representation. Issues such as manufacturing, leasing, and contract disputes are a perfect example of the everyday legal issues that business owners find themselves in. Therefore, it is only right to begin looking for a lawyer to represent your business before these issues arise. However, it can be quite daunting for new business owners to begin the process. The last thing you want is to retain a lawyer who is only self-serving, inexperienced, or difficult to work with. Read on to learn some of the things to look for when choosing the right lawyer for your business.

Understand the Type of Lawyer You Need

One of the most common mistakes made by new business owners is not hiring the right type of lawyer. You might be thinking, don’t they all practice law? The answer is yes, but much like doctors, some lawyers specialize in specific areas of law. If you have a complicated issue involving product branding and trademarks, then your best bet is to hire a lawyer who specializes in the fields of trademarks, copyrights, and LLCs.

Big or Small Firm?

Having a large firm with many resources at their disposal can seem like a sure-fire way to show strength and confidence when facing legal issues. However, ask any experienced business owner, and they will tell you that large firms often don’t have the best track record of making you their top priority. Since they manage so many clients, it can seem like you’re simply a number to them. Thus, it is recommended to seek small to medium-sized firms to represent your company. Note that you should still make it an effort to research each firm. Every business is different, take the time to find what’s right for you.

Invested In Your Business

The mark of a good business lawyer is one that invests in your company’s services. No, we’re not talking about investing in terms of funds but rather a knowledge of exactly what you do. The best way for a lawyer to help your company is to understand exactly what you do and what your goals are for the future. Therefore seeking a lawyer who consistently demonstrates this attribute is your best bet of hiring the right lawyer for your business.

Career Options for Lawyers Seeking a Change

There’s no doubt about it; becoming a lawyer is one of the most sought-after careers in the country. This, however, has also increased the number of firms that exist today. Oversaturation of the market is one of the biggest reasons why younger people with new law degrees tend to stray away from the industry after only practising a few years.  

There are also plenty of seasoned law professionals who may simply feel the time has come for a career change. This is when having a law degree can be incredibly beneficial. While law school is obviously tailored for those wishing to pursue a high-level career in law, it also prepares students for a number of non-law careers.

Those with degrees in law have proved themselves to be hard-working, industrious, and highly intelligent. Therefore, there are actually a variety of options available to them outside of the courtroom. The following list includes some of the more popular alternative careers for people with law degrees.

Journalism

Law students spend years writing essays explaining the ins and outs of a particular court case. This is exactly why journalism can be a great alternative career path for a person with a law degree. Not only are you already experienced in writing from a factual standpoint, but your credentials can actually help gain authority. Furthermore, lawyers are equipped with the right tools and mindsets to be skilled in performing research and investigations, the foundations of journalism. It can be a little difficult to start, but with enough practice and continual writings, you may be able to attract the attention of a professional publication.

Teaching

Perhaps you’ve enjoyed your time as a lawyer, however, you feel as though your career is stagnant. Would you like to learn more about law and teach others what you already know? Teaching is a wonderful alternative career for lawyers or newly graduated law students as it’s incredibly rewarding. Not only do you get to experience a new type of role, but you can also pass on your knowledge, experiences, and passion to the people that you teach. Inspiring and teaching a classroom filled with the next generation of lawyers can be exhilarating.

Project Manager

There’s a reason why so many companies choose to have someone such as a lawyer to lead their most important projects. Lawyers are focused, organized, and can see issues before they arise. If you like a real challenge and can work well with others, becoming a project manager is a great career path to follow.

Freelancer

Today you have multiple businesses out there who are eager to receive advice from a lawyer but don’t have the funds to keep a professional on retainer. Through the act of freelancing, you are able to provide these services on a one-off basis. You may also provide these companies with the ability to better understand the legal side of their business, thus building credibility for them. 

Becoming a Judge or Magistrate

Pursuing a career as a judge or magistrate offers tremendous opportunities for advancement. You can even specialise in the types of cases you’ll oversee by choosing civil, family, or criminal law. This overview provides a brief understanding of what it takes to become a judge and what your responsibilities will be in that position.

How Do You Become a Judge?

In order to qualify to become a judge or magistrate, you’ll need to have an education in law. Since becoming eligible to sit as a judge requires a thorough understanding of the practice of law, it makes sense that most judges first spend several years working as lawyers. Spending time working as a lawyer provides experience in developing another skill that’s essential to becoming a judge: communication skills. You should be able to express yourself coherently through oral speech and written text since your thoughts and decisions will affect the lives of the people in your court.

You would also have to develop an understanding of legal ethics. Your actions will affect people in significant ways, so you must exhibit a good moral character. People who are successful as judges have good characters, an understanding of common sense, and an ability to make decisions that are impartial and fair.

What Does a Judge or Magistrate Do?

It may seem like a judge, or a magistrate, doesn’t do much, but most people don’t see what goes on outside of the courtroom. Before they can make a decision on any plea, or motion, they must review the documents submitted in court by the lawyers. This involves reading each document, reviewing past cases that are similar, and reviewing the relevant laws. They can spend several hours doing legal research before making a final decision.

Even after a judge makes a decision and settles an issue in court, they still have work to perform. They must write a summation that describes their decision, including the factors that influenced that decision. This helps other judges and magistrates understand why that decision was made, so they can use the information to help them settle their own legal issues, appeal requests, etcetera.

A lawyer spends years in school and, even after they begin practising law, they still continue to learn about new cases and laws. The same dedication to work and learning is required by judges and magistrates. While this can be a rewarding career, allowing you an opportunity to help others, it also entails long hours of work and study.

Common Legal Mistakes to Avoid in Business

Operating a business is much more than simply making a transaction and telling the customer to have a great day. There is so much work that goes into creating a business that entrepreneurs and new business owners often primarily focus on getting their business off the ground. In doing so, however, many of the important legal aspects are overlooked or not considered with enough diligence.

Here are some of the most common legal mistakes businesses should avoid.

Refraining From Using a Lawyer

Many businesses, regardless of whether they’re established or just starting out, receive complaints but simply shrug them off. However, if a complaint becomes legal these businesses are left scrambling, and possibly not knowing what to do. Smaller businesses would rather represent themselves in court rather than hire a lawyer. This is most likely due to the business not having a big enough budget, which is understandable.

Businesses that are just starting out may not have the resources to feel comfortable retaining a lawyer. However, hiring a lawyer is recommended for all businesses. They have the knowledge and experience to handle legal issues if one ever arises. Even if your start-up is brand new and the budget is very small, consider networking so that you know who you can count on if or when legal counsel is ever required.

There Are No Terms and Conditions

When someone goes on a website, they will receive a notification about the “terms and conditions” of that company. It is a form of agreement that customers must abide by. This agreement is what lays out everything for what the products are intended for. Not having this agreement puts the entire business at risk of a lawsuit. If a new business is taken to court, it can hurt its reputation for the future.

Not Complying With Tax Laws

Some businesses may not want to report income and avoid filing their taxes. While some do this out of greed, others may feel like it’s too much of a hassle. However, there are a number of benefits when filing taxes on time.

It not only keeps the business out of trouble, but it also boosts their reputation. If maintaining business taxes seems overwhelming, simply hire a business lawyer and keep them on standby.

Making a legal mistake is not uncommon. It’s mostly due to businesses still being relatively new and needing to learn the ropes of entrepreneurship. However, when it comes down to it, legal mistakes are something to have an understanding of and avoid at all costs.

What to Expect in Australian Court Proceedings

If you’ve never been to court before, then attending a proceeding can be intimidating. That’s to be expected if you don’t know how, exactly, it works, especially if you’re a new migrant or just visiting. Knowing what to do and expect once you arrive could help ease your nerves and make the day go a lot smoother than anticipated.

What to Wear

It’s important to dress appropriately when going in for your court case. A suit and tie aren’t necessary, but you should aim to keep yourself neat and tidy when going in for your hearing. It could be several hours before you’re seen, so wearing comfortable clothes will make the wait more bearable.

Before the Hearing

Expect airport-style security when entering the courthouse. You and your belongings may be scanned before you’re allowed to enter the courthouse, and any prohibited items, like knives, will be confiscated. Once inside, you’ll need to find the courtroom your hearing will be taking place in. A list should be printed and displayed in the foyer and will have your case name and room number. If you can’t find the room, approach a court officer to ask for directions. Court officers wear either a red badge or a uniform and assist with the case.

Once you get to the appropriate courtroom, let the court officer there know you’ve arrived so you can be told where to wait for your case to be called. If you have a lawyer representing you during the hearing, find where they are and discuss where you’ll be waiting instead. The judicial officer will approach your lawyer at the bar table when your case is ready to be heard, or you will be called by the court officer to speak to the judicial officer if representing yourself. If you plan to leave the area, notify a court officer so your case isn’t heard without you being there.

During the Hearing

Courts have a formality to them. Some people may bow when they enter or leave the courtroom as a show of respect to the court, but bowing isn’t a requirement of anyone. While in the room, note the judge, who’s dressed in a red, black, or purple robe with a traditional wig, and the magistrate, dressed in black robes but no wig. 

Turn off your cell phone and sit quietly while in the courtroom, and do not interrupt the proceedings for whatever reason. Do not eat or drink, take photographs, or make audio or video recordings, and do not approach or speak with any member of the jury. Being caught with your phone out can lead the judicial officer to think you’re doing something illegal, which would result in you either being asked to leave the court or arrested. Video and audio recording is prohibited unless permission is gained beforehand. 

When your case is up, you’ll be led to either stand at a microphone or sit at the bar table. Stand when you speak and address the judge and magistrate as “your honour” when speaking to them.

Studying Law in Australia

Obtaining a law degree is a rather popular choice to make. By getting a law degree, students not only have a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities, but they gain self-confidence and exercise their critical thinking, persuasive reasoning, and analytical skills both in the classroom and out in the field. Practising law offers financial stability and a position to shape the world as well, so why not go into the field? There are so many high-class institutes to attend that give their students quality education, but no country can quite beat out what Australia has to offer law students.

Why Australia, though? Other than the fact that the University of Melbourne ranks at #6 on a list of top law schools in the world and the University of Sydney ranks at #12, many international students choose to pursue their education in Australia due to the high quality and internationally prized status of degrees obtained there. 

At the undergraduate level, students will receive a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) after completing a four-year curriculum, while those who get the Juris Doctor (JD) will get their degree after three years. Most students obtain an additional degree either during or before their law curriculum, and specialization programs are offered to students to give them a more well-rounded knowledge of national and international law.

Most schools with a law program have a core curriculum that teaches students concepts such as torts, criminal law, and property law. Electives dive further into learning about international law, jurisprudence, and all students have to satisfy a language requirement.

Upon graduation, students often go on to be barristers or solicitors for private practices or the government. Since most countries recognize the degree, they can take their knowledge outside of Australia if they wish. Since a law degree in Australia has such a broad focus on interdisciplinary skills, graduates don’t necessarily have to go into practising law like they studied, as they can also apply their degree to fields such as journalism, business, and technology.

As with any university or degree, students should consider costs when choosing their school. They should also consider the curriculum taught, the school’s reputation, its location and climate, the size of the student body, and the international student demographic for the school. 

Law students are always needed, and Australia provides high-quality education needed to succeed in the field. Some may ask, “Why attend law school in Australia?” when the question should be, why wouldn’t you?

Famous Australian Court Cases

The similarity in many historic or famous court cases is that a law has been interpreted differently than ever before. These cases can influence future cases of the same nature and stir up a lot of controversy. 

Here is a breakdown of a few of the most famous cases in Australian history.

Chamberlain vs. the Queen

In 1984 this murder trial was widely broadcast and the public was torn. The case was centred on the death of an infant that died while camping with her family on holiday. The prosecution’s claim was that the baby was murdered by her mother, while the defence argued that she was actually killed by a dingo. At the time, the eyewitness testimony was not strong and backed the defendant. Furthermore, blood testing was questionable. However, at the end of the trial the mother, Chamberlain, was found guilty. This case is a good example of an inference of guilt because the prosecution’s case was circumstantial and depended on forensic evidence. Many believed the prosecution did not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In 1986 new evidence emerged, indicating that the infant may have actually been killed by a dingo. Chamberlain was released and eventually acquitted.

Mabo vs. Queensland

This court case took over a decade to reach a conclusion. The plaintiff’s were Meriam people, arguing that they were entitled to the Mer Islands and sought a possessory title because of long possession. Queensland government believed that when the Crown’s dominions settled into the territory the law of England became the law of that colony, giving the Crown ownership of the land. The high court’s final decision was that all laws imported from England to new land did not apply in situations where inhabitants were already present. This case rewrote the national law land and recognized Indigenous Australians as the original inhabitants. The ruling allowed Indigenous people all over Australia to claim traditional rights to land and overturned the doctrine of terra nullius.

Commonwealth vs. Tasmania

This case ended in an environmental victory and became a constitutional landmark. In 1983 the issue arose from the construction of a hydroelectric dam. Tasmanian government wanted the legal right to build the dam while the Federal government cited the World Heritage Convention as a reason to oppose construction. The Federal government won in High Court with a majority, 4:3 and preserved a large part of Australian wilderness.

These three examples are a few influential cases that showcase how law and the interpretation of it evolves. In most circumstances cases follow precedents, however, there are always exceptions.

Hiring the Right Employees

Employee recruitment is an essential part of a business. It can make or break your business. As a leader, you have the stress of constantly being judged for your decisions. Hiring is one of those decisions. Like many other choices, who you hire may not be popular among all of your employees but you cannot please everyone. You must search for specifics in every person you interview to ensure they are the right fit for your company.

 

Commitment

A person who shows commitment to their career is a candidate you should consider adding to your team. You don’t want an employee who switches careers frequently searching for a higher salary. You want a candidate who is searching to further their development as well as helping the company they are joining. 

 

Confidence

Anyone can look good on a resume. Their true character can come out during an interview in how they hold themselves. You want an employee who answers your questions confidently and depending on the position you may have them show their abilities. This could be an analytical or writing test or you could have them bring in a portfolio of their previous work. 

 

Compatibility

A candidate can have all the needed skills and extensive experience in your field but still may not be a good hire. You want to check if they’re compatible with your company’s culture. Have them interact with current employees and managers to test their social skills. 

 

Social Media

A large percentage of companies will look up their hiring candidates online before bringing them in for an interview. This can help you get a feel for the person’s life and whether or not they would be a good fit in your company. It also helps avoid the awkward personal questions during the interview process. You will also find that more companies are listing their job openings on social media. Everyone is using it, might as well use it to benefit your business.

 

Hiring is not a minimal process. There are many steps that go into hiring the right employee. When you hire, you want to retain these employees for years. It saves on the time taken to train new employees. Take these steps to help determine if your next interviewee is ready to join your company.

 

Protecting Your Online Business From Lawsuits

Legal liabilities and lawsuits are some common worst fears that can easily crumble a business if not prevented or managed. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your online business is well protected against potential cases that can easily damage the business’s reputation. 

 

Uphold information security

Your online business, most likely, holds customers’ data, such as names and social security numbers. Safe data handling practices, including safeguarding client’s data and protecting financial information from illegal disclosure, ensures that your clients do not file lawsuits against you for potential mishandling of their data.

 

Proper communication with customers

Business-customer communication is a constant process that should be properly regulated to ensure that the kind of information disclosed is accurate and relevant. The kind of information that you display on your business’s website, including potential advice to web users and information relating to products and services should be well regulated to ensure accuracy. This can prevent a possible situation where customers feel defrauded or misled by the business.

 

Compliance with industry practices

Every business investing within a particular industry or area of investment is governed by specific as well as universal standards and practices. Among the crucial standards thereof is the need for businesses to ensure that all products and services are within the quality specifications and standards. Releasing products and services out there that do not meet the industry standards will most likely land your online business in legal trouble.

 

Insurance 

Online businesses are increasingly focusing on adding insurance to their operations and products against potential risks and damages. Such protection is crucial, especially since the products are normally handled by multiple persons before they finally get to the customer. Obtaining insurance for your products gives customers the peace of mind that the product will be in good working condition as described within the e-commerce site.

 

Child protection

Different jurisdictions have different requirements for child protection when it comes to online businesses. In the US, your online business will be required to obtain parental permission when collecting data and information from children under the age of 13 years. It is, therefore, upon you to exercise due caution and put in place mechanisms ensuring that you have an accurate overview of each client who visits your business.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

Tips on Protecting Your Business from Online Attacks

To be competitive, every business today has invested in establishing an online presence. The rising trend of cyber threats is, however, an important issue that every business must consider to address. To remain secure across the web and prevent itself against online threats, your business must put in place strong cybersecurity measures. 

 

Work with a secure hosting platform

Your business’s website should be hosted on a secure and certified web hosting service provider. Among the factors to consider when selecting a hosting service provider include the provider’s compliance with the international PCI standards as regards to security and data protection. This guarantees that every online activity that your business will be engaging in from your website will be secure.

 

Ensure that you use https

All your online and web communications should be based on a Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (https) channel. The https protocol is more secure for your website and web service as it provides added layers of security that are necessary to prevent potential siphoning and eavesdropping into your business’s communication.

 

Training your employees

Untrained employees are highly likely to compromise on any layer of digital security that you put in your business. To ensure that everyone within your business is cybersecurity-competent, it is important to train the workers on the broad concept of digital security, cyber threats, and how they can contribute actively towards making the workplace digitally secure. Progressively training your employees on the evolving thresholds of cyber threats to your business ensures that they do not compromise unknowingly.

 

Use appropriate software

As an added layer of digital security in your business, it is important to use protective software, such as anti-malware and antivirus programs. These programs should be regularly updated to ensure that they can competently detect and ward-off any potential cyber threats.

 

Back up your data

Exposure to some of the modern-day cyber threats can lead to an abrupt loss of organizational data or a compromise on the data’s integrity. Such an eventuality can cripple the business and bring its operations to a standstill. To be on the safe side, it is important to consider backing up your data daily.