Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tax Attorneys: Helping the rich pay less taxes

Amongst the wealthy, the secret to keeping most of your fortune away from the wrath of taxes is to have an excellent tax attorney.  Tax attorneys, especially those that specialize in estate planning and wealth management, can find loopholes to avoid paying large income taxes and estate taxes after death. These attorneys charge large fees, but these fees are often justified with the amount saved.

Another function of tax attorneys is to help people negotiate back taxes with the IRS when a large sum is owned. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Do You Really Need a Lawyer?

In cases where you're getting charged with a crime or getting sued, it's a no-brainer that you'll need a lawyer to advise you with your situation.

Your lawyer will be able to listen to your situation, make the recommendation to proceed, and aid you in fighting for the most beneficial position for you. When faced with a crime or lawsuit, some people decide to represent themselves, but most of the time the outcome isn't as favorable compared to that when an attorney is present.

In other situations where you have a brush with the law, you might not need an attorney. For example, if you get a moving violation (i.e. speeding) while driving, it's common not to require the help of a lawyer. Also, if someone is taking you to small claims court for $200, the price of a lawyer might outweigh losing the case.

When considering whether or not to enlist the services of a lawyer, you must ask yourself, "What's at stake?" If your finances or liberties are at stake, then consulting with an attorney is the smart thing to do. For example, if your financial situation is so dire that the best option is to file a Chapter 7 of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, then you should seek the help of a bankruptcy attorney to aid you through the process and file the correct paperwork so that the bankruptcy process and eventual discharge occur in the shortest period of time possible.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Term "Lawyer Up"

"Lawyer up" is a term associated with hiring the services of a lawyer or attorney at the first sight of trouble.  While, this is a good strategy for people who have more money, it's not always the best case scenario.

There are a number of legal matters that you can handle yourself, such as incorporating or an asset and children free divorce.  However, bankruptcy, messy divorces, criminal cases, etc. are important, life-changing events that require the services of a good attorney to not only give you the best advice but also provide the best shot at a reduced impact on life.  Attorney services cost a lot of money, but you do get what you pay for.

If you want to avoid attorney fees, the best thing to do is stay out of trouble (Captain Obvious to the rescue!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Case of Excellent Attorney Work: OJ Simpson Trial

On October 3, 1995, OJ Simpson was ruled not guilty by jury in a court of law for the murder of his ex wife and her boyfriend.  Based on the evidence, it was apparent that OJ was guilty, but his excellent team of attorneys managed to poke holes in the Prosecutors' case and essentially bail OJ out of a crime he apparently committed.

Whether you think he was guilty or not, this job by OJ's attorneys was a classic case of talent winning out. OJ totally got bailed out

Friday, November 12, 2010

Attorney vs. Bail Bondsman

Yesterday, I talked about having your attorney help you in a criminal case before going straight to the bail bondsman to make bail.  Essentially, a good criminal attorney can help you get released on your own recognizance so that you don't have to post bail.  Obviously, this is the cheapest situation.

In lieu of that, I present you one of the more famous criminal attorneys, Gloria Allred, and one of the more famous bail bondsmen, Dog the Bounty Hunter:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Need to Make Bail? Your Attorney Can Help Before a Bail Bondsman Can

If you get arrested and charged with a crime, you will be required to post bail before the police will let you go.  A judge sets bail to guarantee that when the defendant is released, he or she will appear when required.  The more dangerous or more likely the person will flee, the higher the bail will be.

If you have an attorney, he or she can convince the judge to release you on your own recognizance, which means you're free to go without buying a bond or posting bail.  Since you'd be charged with a crime, you would need an attorney anyway, so this is the first step.

If you do need to post bail, you can do so by just paying up front.  When you return for your appearance, the court will give you the money back.  In cases where the bail is so high that you need to get a bail bondsman to help, you do so by paying the bondsman around 10% of the total bail amount (while securing the rest with collateral such as a car or a house).  When you return to court, the bondsman gets the all the bail money back and keeps your 10%. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The First Steps to Becoming an Attorney

The US Supreme Court

If you want to become an attorney, you will have to complete a few steps before you step into the courtroom.  I'll talk about the general process to become an attorney in the United States.

The first thing you have to do is get your bachelor's degree from an accredited university.  It can be any major, but some majors are preferred over others when applying into law school.  Next, you need to take the LSAT exam and do fairly well on it.

Harvard Law School

Once you have your degree and LSAT exam scores, you can apply into law school.  A full time law school program takes 3 years to graduate.  After you graduate, you have to study and pass the state bar exam, and after you do that, you're officially an attorney. 

By that time, you should already know what niche you want to practice law in.  There are criminal, bankruptcy, copyright, environmental, immigration, etc. attorneys, and it's best to pick an area that you are passionate about so that you can help your clientele in the best way possible.