How to Place a Bid on Legal Bistro

Bid-for-Placement: what does it mean? Why do we need it?

A bid is a sum of money that a lawyer offers for the opportunity of talking to a client, to receive his contact information and discuss his case (the minimum amount you can bid on is 6 law dollars).

It’s important to remember that a lawyer’s bid on a case determines where in the list of competing, “bidding” lawyers their profile will be displayed to the clients, who posted the case. The profile with the highest bid will be displayed first and the lowest, respectively, the last.

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Detroit – The Largest Municipal Bankruptcy Filing in U.S. History – What happened?

On July 18, 2013, the City of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy making it the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history as measured by the amount of outstanding debt.  Detroit is estimated to owe $18-$20 billion in debt over 10,000+ creditors, 100 discrete bond issuances and 50 labor bargaining units. Prior to the Detroit filing, Jefferson County, Alabama’s $4 billion filing in 2011 had been the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in the United States.

So where did things go so horribly wrong?  The above video is the first in a three part series on the Detroit bankruptcy filing. Video #1 concentrates on The Economics of Failure. The video begins with an illustration of demographic trends for the following three major U.S. cities:

  • Dallas – People are solidly moving into Dallas due to limited taxes; limited benefits and reduced regulation;
  • Los Angeles – While the climate of Los Angeles still attracts people to the state, high state income tax and the most restrictive environment regulations in the country are driving many people out of the state of California;
  • Detroit – There is a massive population exodus from Detroit with virtually no immigration due to the city drowning in debt from more than 50 years of democratic mayors running the city. The video cites cronyism, incompetence and crime as some of the major contributors.

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Legal Bistro Elevator Pitch for Lawyers

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An “Elevator Pitch”, also known as an elevator speech or statement, is a short summary used to quickly define a person, product, profession or organization and its Value Proposition.  The name “elevator pitch” conveys that the person who is delivering the message has about the same time that it takes the typical elevator to go from the ground floor the top floor to convince their audience about their proposal.  A well designed elevator pitch should be between 30 and 60 seconds.

How to Write a Good Elevator Pitch

The “Elevator Pitch” on Legal Bistro is five lines (500 words maximum) of text that are displayed to potential clients in what we call the “Short Profile Preview”.  This is the very first thing that a potential client will see about you and your law firm so you should give a lot of thought to what you would like to say.

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Why Consumers Love Legal Bistro

 Do you need a lawyer but are intimidated by the legal process?  Are you concerned that professional legal services may be financially out of reach?  Perhaps English is not your native language and you are having trouble finding a qualified attorney with whom you can effectively communicate.  Don’t worry, if you answered yes to any of these questions you are not alone.

We built Legal Bistro because we were inspired by the contribution that Lending Tree made to the process for finding a mortgage lender.  Lending Tree used the power of the Internet to bring online competition in the mortgage application process. Equally important is that Lending Tree’s website has helped consumers to better understand the process of applying for a home loan. We hope that Legal Bistro can achieve similar results in the legal services market.

When Lawyers Compete, You Win!

The single biggest reason why consumers love our service is because Legal Bistro facilitates lawyers competing online to serve the client.  Our Company motto is that When Lawyers Compete, the Client Wins! Frankly, we believe that both lawyers and consumers win when the competitive playing field has been leveled.

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Why Lawyers Love Legal Bistro

    

Are you happy with the current Return on Investment (“ROI”) for your online legal services marketing dollars?  Are you spending too much of your time qualifying leads? wasting time imagesDo you know anything about the visitors to your law firm’s website besides their IP Address and the date and time of their visit?  More specifically, are you being provided with case specific  facts that will help you evaluate their legal needs?

If you have answered yes to some or all of these questions then perhaps you will appreciate why lawyers love Legal Bistro.

YOU ARE IN CONTROL

You decide what cases you see based on the Practice Groups, Case Types and Tag or Key Words used when defining your Areas of Practice.

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California Court Strikes a Blow to Piece Rate Employment

 

Piece work is defined by Wikipedia as any type of employment in which a worker is paid a fixed piece rate for each unit produced or action performed regardless of time. Piece rate work is the oldest form of performance related pay.

A California appeals court ruled Tuesday that a class of auto mechanics paid on a piece-rate basis were also entitled to minimum wages for time spent waiting during their shifts and that their employer could not average their compensation to show minimum wage compliance.

The case involved a Mercedes Benz dealership called Downtown LA Motors LP.  The dealership employed a practice whereby it paid technicians well above minimum wage for the time spent working on repairs, ensured that a worker’s pay never fell below this minimum threshold by supplementing the technician’s pay if it did.

The issue at stake was whether an employer who compensates its automotive service technicians on a piece rate basis for repair work must also pay those technicians a separate minimum hourly wage for the time spent during their work shifts waiting for vehicles to repair or performing other non repair tasks during their downtime.

The dealership sought to use an averaging method (i.e. above hour minimum wage while  working to repair vehicles and no wages while idle) to determine an employer’s minimum wage obligations under California State law.  The second District Court used the 2005 ruling in Armenta v. Osmose Inc. to determine that the dealership had violated California State law by failing to pay the technicians minimum wage for the hours they spent waiting to repair cars during their shift.

The court rejected the argument presented by the dealership that it was not required to pay the technicians a separate hourly minimum wage for the waiting time because it used a formula to insure that the compensation paid to that technician for the total hours spent at work always exceeded the minimum hourly wage required under California State law.  This was achieved by supplementing a technician’s pay anytime that the total pay fell below the minimum hourly wage requirement for the total time period spent at work.

The Appeals Court upheld the lower court’s award of $1.5 million that was to be paid to the technician class and added another $237,840 in penalties for the dealership’s willful failure to pay wages.

What’s interesting is that this particular case is only one of several cases related to piece rate pay and commission pay that are pending in the State of California. These cases are estimated to affect close to 2 million employees in the State of California.

Interesting Attorneys – Jonathan Plaut – Chardon Law Offices

In the first of what we expect will be a long term successful series of Blog Postings of Interesting Attorneys, Legal Bistro is pleased to present Jonathan Plaut of Chardon Law Offices.  Our goal for this series is to highlight lawyers who are doing interesting things in their personal lives.

Besides being a highly skilled litigator and criminal defense attorney, Jon is also an accomplished musician.  He is the lead singer and base player in a band called The Learned Hands.  His musical influences include Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Dan Bern, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Michelle Shocked, Rush, Van Halen and AC/DC.

Jon recently played rhythm guitar at the BB King Blues Club in Manhattan backing up Carmine and Vinnie Appice (of Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck fame), and played viola for the great troubadour rocker Michelle Shocked during seven of her shows in New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine and Massachusetts.  He has played at various rock venues throughout the Northeast.

Jon speaks and writes Japanese, and he has represented numerous Japanese citizens and businesses in a variety of matters including corporation formation, civil lawsuits, criminal defense and governmental investigations.  He served as a foreign legal associate at the firm of Anderson Mori in Tokyo, Japan where he represented numerous multinational corporations.

Jon has taught courses in criminal law and environmental law at Tufts University and Boston College.  Jonathan has also taught spoken and written Japanese at several secondary schools including Choate Rosemary Hall and the Kent School.

For additional information about Jonathan Plaut, please visit Jon’s complete Legal Bistro Profile.

Talking Politics At Work Can Get You Fired

During the presidential elections political disagreements can easily arise in the workplace at any time. Usually such conversations can be heated and it does not matter whether you are on “red” or “blue” side or you consider yourself in the middle. The fact is that many private employers restrict political speech in the workplace.

In other words, sharing your opinion at work can get you fired. Susan Adams noted in Forbes that the Society for Human Resources reported 25% of employers maintained written policies. Some of these policies restrict having conversations about politics at work. Only a handful of states have laws that strictly prohibit private employers from discriminating against employees.

At least 80% of workers believe that they have a “free speech” right to have conversations on politics. They are absolutely wrong. The Fourth Amendment protects employees only from government interference but not employer interference. And maybe it is a high time to take a closer look at your employers’ written policies.

Some people believe if there is not any written policies at their company they can have a possibility to wear political buttons, T-shirts or they can outlaw political posters and instigate a conversation about hot-button issues during the lunch time. The answer to this question is NO.

The good news is that most employers are tolerant. 2/3 of the employers allow their workers to have a political discussion in their workplace as long as it does not interfere with work. And, of course, the employees remain respectful for that.

Do you think employers should be allowed to restrict the political speech of their employees? Please, share your opinion in the comments section below. 

More information can be found here: http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/09/12/why-you-shouldnt-talk-politics-at-work/

Violation of the California labor law, isn’t it?

 

Jane Mundy discusses in his recent article entitled Busted for Pot: California Labor Law Violation? a  violation of the California labor law. Brad (not his real name) from Monterey, CA was fired from his job a few months ago because he was caught by the police with a small amount of marijuana. Brad claims that his former employer has taken advantage of the incident and refuses to pay Brad his final two weeks of pay.

Brad asked the former boss for $1,200 for 83 hours work and 72 hours vacation time. The boss said he was not going to pay. The former employer refuses to give Brad a reason and he does not return his calls. Moreover, the former boss rejects to give Brad a pay stub to reflect his hours over the final two weeks.

Brad worked for an interior house plant design company for 10 years. His duties were to install and set-up house plants at residential and commercial properties.

Brad was arrested when he was on his employer’s premises -and that is one of the reasons he needs an attorney.

He was charged and spent two weeks in jail. Brad claims he was not even smoking. Someone could smell marijuana on him and called the police.

After Brad’s release he tried to contact his boss but his attempts were unsuccessful. So he called the California labor board. The California labor board told him to bring in any documents that will help his case, including evidence of working those last two weeks and his vacation time. When one is terminated in the state of California, he is also entitled to vacation pay. Brad has previous pay stubs showing that he was getting vacation time and not getting paid under the table.

Brad does not have testimony from his former co-workers or customers that he worked with those last two weeks but he intends to get documentation and statements from them beforehand. «If I get an attorney, I am sure they will advise me of any further documentation I need to ensure I get my rightful pay.» says Brad.

Recruiters Expand Their Use of Social Network Sites for Job Candidates

 

In a recent CNET article written by Lance Whitney entitled: Heads up, LinkedIn users: 93% of recruiters are looking at you, A recent survey from Jobvite found that 93 percent of job recruiters tap into LinkedIn to find qualified candidates, up from 87 percent last year and 78 percent in 2010. FaceBook and Twitter also realized similar growth rates.

Overall, 92% of employers and recruiters are already using or plan to use social network sites as a source for locating job candidates.  Of the recruiters polled, 73% reported that they had hired someone who was either found or introduced through a social network. An astonishing 89% found someone through LinkedIn while only 26% and 15% respectively were found through FaceBook and Twitter. Kudos to LinkedIn!

So what’s the bad news?  Job candidates beware! When preparing your resume, it’s important to keep in mind that what you say and how you say it will be available to millions of social network users.  Everything from simple grammatical mistakes to more serious resume embellishment will now be on stage for the world to see.  Yes, visibility comes at a price so it’s critical to put the time and effort into developing a resume that is both accurate and professional.

Although not addressed in the article, the obvious question seems to be will recruiters and employment agencies someday be displaced or dis-inter mediated by the social networks?  Only time will tell.