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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.