Freelance Lawyers and Some Facts

To any person who is actually not very familiar with the intricacies of law, the term freelance lawyer may bear an uncanny meaning. You must have frequently heard about freelance writers or reporters, but freelance lawyer is a term which is rarely heard.

In this article I have tried to share some information with my reader friends about this topic.

Freelance lawyers are the contemporary description of contract attorneys, temporary attorneys or independent contractors.

With the emergence of legal outsourcing, one new aspect of law profession or to say more precisely, the overlooked part of law profession that has come into limelight and that is freelance lawyers.

According to ethic committee it is ethically proper for any temporary lawyer to work for any employing lawyer or law firm on temporary basis or even getting involved in the legal outsourcing companies.

Ethic committee instructs the employing attorneys that involvement of any freelance(temporary) lawyer requires consent of the client, otherwise it will be considered as a void contract. The duty of the retaining attorney increases with the involvement of the temporary lawyer on contractual basis to disclose this fact to the client.

But according to the opinion 284 of Ethic committee the disclosure of involvement of a freelance lawyer depends upon the following factors:

o Relationship of the retaining attorney with the temporary attorney or the freelance lawyer.
o Nature of legal work to be performed.
o Clients’ reasonable expectation regarding the work.

The employing attorney has the authority to supervise directly the freelance lawyer and it is not necessary for him to disclose the client that how much remuneration is paid to the temporary lawyer. The employing (retaining) lawyer may bill the client for the service on behalf of temporary lawyer according to the mutual understanding with one another. A temporary lawyer can object to any unreasonable billing against the client charged by the retaining attorney.

The motive behind engaging a freelance lawyer is to attain highly supple and lucrative contractual terms in the outsourcing industry as there has been ample scope of employment arrangement between law firms and temporary lawyers.

Criminal Justice Set to Change in Scotland – But Are Community Sentences Too Expensive to Work?

Changes in community sentences planned by the Scottish National Party’s Kenny MacAskill have come under fire due to the unprecedented cost they will take to implement. But at a time when criminal justice at community level is clearly due for reform (according to the government at least), are the proposed plans really too expensive to work?

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) argue that they are. COSLA was established in 1975 in order to be the representative voice of Scottish local government, whilst it also acts as the employers’ association on behalf of all Scottish councils. Subsequently, if there is a cause for common concern, COSLA is forum in which it can be discussed, acting as a mediator between local councils, Scottish government and Brussels.

According to the Scottish Sunday Mail (online), a spokesman for COSLA, Harry McGuigan, spoke out against MacAskill’s and the SNP’s plans. He said: “This legislation is wrong, costly and MacAskill is living in fantasy land if he thinks he can up conjure up the cash to fund this dangerous pie in the sky plan. I do not think the bill will work if the necessary resources are not in place.”

The newspaper upheld this criticism, highlighting that 14,686 jail sentences of six months or less were given between 2006 and 2007. The average price of each community order proposed by MacAskill and the SNP is said to be £2,184 meaning that if the equal amount were to be given under the new plans the overall cost would be £32 million.

However, a spokeswoman for the Scottish government commented: “We’ve made a reasonable assumption of a 10-20 per cent increase in community sentences, provided an extra £2million to bolster criminal justice social teams who deliver community sentences and intend to further boost funding – but this isn’t a job for government alone. It’s for all agencies to grasp this opportunity and ensure less offending.”

The success of the change in Scottish criminal justice remains to be seen. The plans also follow recent reports of high levels of organised crime in the country, where 25 significant gangs were said to be operating in the north.

Business Laws For Small Businesses

Talking about business laws in microscopic detail would need a couple of months of your time! There is indeed a plethora of legislation that governs small businesses, ranging from state to county laws. Some are relevant to your business even today whereas others are outdated and have not been enforced since the early part of the last century!

It is not possible for any single entity, including your local law enforcement department to know them all. Yet, it is vital that you are familiar with at least the most important laws that pertain to your business. As usual we’re here to help.

Business laws fall into certain categories as listed below:

o Business formation laws – these laws pertain to the structure of the business. For example a sole proprietorship is regulated very differently from a corporation.

o Tax laws comprise laws pertaining to all taxation issues, whether it is the filing of returns or the payment of sales tax, corporate tax and other similar levies.

o Employment laws – these govern recruitment and retrenchment of employees, wages & workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, workers’ rights and related issues.

o Trademark and patent laws – these laws pertaining to ownership of intellectual property such as inventions, trademarks and patents.

o Environmental laws – Companies engaged in the recycling of material and the discharge of hazardous waste must comply with environmental regulations.

o Consumer protection laws – these protect the consumer from fraud or unfair business or advertising practices.

Headache, already? Here are a few tips to help you deal with it.

One size doesn’t fit all. We just talked about some of the important legal categories under which you will find regulations that affect most businesses. In addition, specific laws may apply depending on the type of activity involved. If, for example, you are selling company stocks you will need to adhere to the Securities Law, but for a medical practice, there’s an entirely different set of rules that come into play. State laws may also dictate how contracts and legal documents are to be written and enforced.

Start at the beginning. Just as you craft a business plan in stages, look at the whole legal puzzle bit by bit. Begin with the laws pertaining to the basics of starting a business. Do you need a business license or a special permit? Are you planning to hire employees or will you go it alone? If your business sells goods, it will need to pay sales tax. Look at each business aspect carefully to understand which category of laws apply to it.

Know only what you need to. If you are in business by yourself, for example, you won’t need to bother with laws governing workers and staff until you are ready to hire additional people. Likewise, if you are in a service business, you typically won’t need to bother yourself with removal of hazardous waste.

See the bigger picture. As your business grows, so will the number of applicable laws. Always examine the legal angle when you plan new projects and initiatives. Also, discuss all potential significant legal matters with your advisor.

Ensure compliance. Be unafraid to ask questions of your legal advisor and do not assume something is legal just because it is a common trade practice. Also talk to the local Chamber of Commerce or other business owners to make sure you are on the right side of the law.

Make amends. Finally, should you find that you’ve contravened a law without intending to, take remedial measures. The law is quite lenient with first time offenders – of course, it also depends on the nature of the violation.

Having to deal with laws and legislation may seem a drag, but there’s no denying their importance. Taking adequate steps to ensure that you have to run into them only as much as you need to!