The Basics of Taxation and How a Tax Planning Lawyer Can Help

With all the different types of tax, it’s no wonder people would regularly consult with a tax planning lawyer to help them strategize how to minimize their tax liability. In Canada, taxes, tariffs, and duties are collected by different levels of government to fund their programs and services. The three levels of taxation include Federal, Provincial/Territorial and Municipal. Understanding the differences and which types apply to you as a regular working citizen or as a business owner is very important. This is where tax management and strategizing becomes truly helpful in terms of making things easier and complying with provisions of tax laws and its allied rules.

The most common type of tax is the income tax which is derived from a person’s salary or from the revenue of a specific business. Most of us are familiar with this type and in most cases, a corporation will withhold an employee’s income tax to ensure it is filed regularly.

Another type is the consumer and excise tax which is for the production, sale or consumption of goods and services. This is a form of indirect tax. Excise taxes are collected by the producer or retailer and not paid directly by the consumer, and as such often remain “hidden” in the price of a product or service, rather than being listed separately.

Property taxes are charged on the sale and transfer of ownership on different kinds of properties or assets. In general, properties are classified under land, improvements to land (fixed assets like buildings), personal property (moveable assets like vehicles), and intangible property. Many provinces levy property tax on real estate based upon the current use and value of the land. This is the major source of revenue for most municipal governments. While property tax levels vary among municipalities in a province there is usually common property assessment or valuation criteria laid out in provincial legislation.

Another common type of tax is import/export tax. Import duty and taxes are due when importing goods into the country whether by a private individual or a commercial entity. In addition to duty, imports may be subject to other taxes such as GST (General Sales Tax), PST (Provincial Sales Tax), or a combination of both known as HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) depending on the type of importer and province. The amount of duty and taxes due depends on the place of residence of the importer rather than on the location where the goods enter the country.

These are just some of the basic types of taxes people normally pay in Canada. It can get confusing and even overwhelming when you start calculating and even detailing all the different taxes a person needs to pay. This is why it is advisable to consult with a tax professional and seek their assistance in both managing and strategizing how to pay and minimize your taxes. This is not in any way evading your taxes. You are just making sure you do not need to pay anything over and above what you are required to pay. This is where a tax planning lawyer can be of great help.

DSF was founded in 1964 and is now one of the largest law firms in Toronto today. DSF is considered to be a trusted adviser and advocate for corporations, individuals, and small businesses. With over 50 lawyers in their firm, they are able to provide a wide range of services including corporate law, family law, tax planning, employment law, mediation,and many more. DSF is a full-service law firm in Toronto that has fostered relationships with individuals and businesses and provided expert legal services throughout the years.

Choosing the Best Lawyer for Your Small Business

If you own a small business, it is important to choose the best lawyer to represent the interests of your small business. A strategic business lawyer can help you with your start-up and ongoing strategies, help you with critical business planning, review leases and contracts, and negotiate for you. Your attorney must help you comply with a myriad of regulations from employment issues to zoning.

You must research carefully to find just the right legal expert. You do not want a lawyer who does not take an interest in or learn about your business. You can ask accountants, bankers, other small-business owners, and friends for referrals. You can check with your state Bar association to find out if they have attorneys who specialize in representing small businesses. You can ask for and check the lawyer’s references. You can also look in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.

You should not make your final decision based on referrals or other sources. You must interview the lawyers that you believe would suit your business. You should be aware that many attorneys charge a consultation fee of $150 or more. That is a small amount to pay to be sure that the lawyer you choose can meet your needs and will really do a job representing your business.

The following are a few points to keep in mind when you interview the attorney. First, be sure that the lawyer does not rush through the interview and gives you his or her full, undivided attention. Be sure that the lawyer you choose understands your business and your industry including its processes. The lawyer you choose must be willing to take as much time as needed to explain every legal issue that may arise and its consequences. Finally, the lawyer must be available to you whenever you need help, and it is not acceptable for the lawyer to turn you over to the legal assistant after your retainer is paid.

There may be other things that are important to you, and you should not hesitate to demand the type and quality of service that you deserve.

Be Your Own Lawyer

In today’s complex society, there is no shortage of legislation that spews from parliaments all around the world. To avoid the pain and expense that comes from burying your head in the proverbial sand, you’ll want to learn how to be your own lawyer.

Let me be clear

What do I mean by becoming your own lawyer?

I certainly DON’T mean that you should go and study a law degree… unless of course you really want to. I have found it a fruitful career and believe you might too if this interests you.

I also DON’T mean that you should not consult a specialist lawyer in your area of concern. This is a prudent step you should take in almost all circumstances to avoid potentially suffering enormous losses.

But what I DO mean is that you should get yourself up to speed on various areas of law that affect what you do day to day.

Examples of what to learn

What you should learn will depend on what you do each day and what exposure you have.

For example, if you operate a construction business, you absolutely must learn the fundamentals of:

contract law
employment law
negligence law
business law
tax law
asset protection

Why? Because a small blunder in any one of these areas could cost you thousands and thousands of dollars or even wipe out your business or your career.

Am I being a little too melodramatic? I don’t believe I am. You see, in my practice I regularly have clients come to me with problems that started off small and have then blown out of all proportion very quickly. In some cases, the problem could have been solved very easily in its early stages but when left to fester for months and years, ultimately destroyed years of hard work. Unfortunately, however, they didn’t know what to do and didn’t know they had a festering problem in the first place.

If you operate a construction business, you need to know the fundamentals of contract law so that you know the elements that make up a contract and can ensure that you have certainty about your terms of trade with your clients. If you don’t have, for example, a good contract that you use religiously on all your projects you will end up with one or more clients (one day) deciding not to pay you. You will then be forced to spend thousands of dollars on legal fees to argue that you did have a contract and the terms of that contract were what you believe they are to be. Of course, because you don’t have it in writing, the “client from hell” will have an easy time delaying your case or more simply, making it so uncommercial for you to chase your money that you will be forced to give up, or lose thousands and thousands fighting just to make sure that “client from hell” doesn’t get the better of you. Either way, they win and your lose.

Save thousands by becoming you own lawyer

When you invest your time in doing some “light” reading of the law in each of the above areas you will be “light years” ahead of your competition and your clients.

This will help you:

speak confidential when dealing with clients and subcontractors
ensure your fundamentals are in place so you can drastically diminish your exposure to rogue clients and subcontractors
strategically manoeuvre your business development and project management to ensure you will always have both the legal and commercial “high ground” making any rogue client or subcontractor quickly decide they’d better pick on an easier target and leave you alone (believe me, I’ve helped many a client achieve this even when it seemed too late, but it would have been much cheaper for them if they had done so before coming to see me or any other lawyer)
minimize significantly the cost of engaging legal advice because you will not waste it on being taught the legal fundamentals by your lawyer (as you will already know them) and you will also know how to work more efficiently with your legal expert to get to the resolution quickly and more cost effectively.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Grab a good book on a relevant topic to your field of endeavor (preferably one that is not written for lawyers but written for the professional in that field of work) and study it. I suggest that you buy the book so that you can highlight its contents and make notes in the margins as you please. But if this is not feasible for you financially, don’t hold back. Borrow the book from your nearest library (or get them to borrow it for you from another library if they don’t have it) and make sure you study it.

Studying these topics doesn’t mean you need to spend 50 hours reading and recording notes on each topic. Not at all! I suggest you spend about 3-6 hours on each topic (assuming you have a good book) and extract for yourself notes about critical areas that, if you were to fall foul of the relevant legal principle, it would be costly to you or your business. Then invest another hour on updating your business systems so that you implement strategically what you have learned.

If you apply the above principles to your profession (regardless of whether you own and operate your own business or are an employed professional) you will be leaps and bounds ahead of your competition and you will succeed in avoiding the many costly legal headaches that your competition will face.

Find Out Your Options to Stop Foreclosure – Thinking About a Strategic Default? Read This First

In this report, there are five powerful strategies to stop foreclosure in as little as 48 hours or less and two complementary strategies that take a little longer but are also effective. Be sure to read each strategy in detail to see which will be the best solution for your situation.


Reinstatement occurs when the loan is brought current by paying the total amount due with all the interest and fees. You have the absolute right to fully reinstate your loan with your bank within 90 days after receiving a notice of default from them. If you are now able to make the mortgage payments or your income is returned to its previous level, you can negotiate with the bank or lender to bring your loan current by paying the arrears(principle, interest, and fees). A loss mitigator (name of the personnel at the bank who works on reinstatements) at the bank may be able to provide an increase in monthly installments until the loan is brought current. This means that every month you add the extra money (determined by the Bank and the loss mitigator) for the normal price per month until the amount of delayed payments has been repaid. If you are able to show the bank that you can continue the payments, and that the balance can also be done either in a lump sum or over a short period of time (12-24 months), you can restore your mortgage to being current and maintain your ownership in your home. Terms are usually payment of half the arrears as a down payment and monthly payments 1/2 until the loan is paid up current, but this is all negotiable and will be determined by you and your lender. Legal fees and additional expenses could be rolled into this agreement if a mortgage company began the foreclosure process and incurred fees due to this. Many loan holders require certified funds when reinstating your loan so be prepared to do that if needed.


If you are unable to make your monthly mortgage payments, the mortgage company can extend forbearance by agreeing to suspend payments or accept partial payments for a limited period until the bank will be able to start a repayment schedule. Forbearance is a formal written agreement between you and the bank to reduce or suspend monthly payments for a specified period. This means that for a period, you will be paying only a part of your regular mortgage payment or not make any payments at all. At the end of the agreed period, you will be asked to resume regular monthly payments and pay additional funds to offset the amount due. During the time that payments are suspended or reduced, you would be able to solve the economic problems you face. This agreement will lead to the restoration of the loan.

There is no maximum, but the majority of delinquencies due are not to exceed 12 months in arrears of principal, interest, taxes and insurance. The Bank may consider this option if you have recently suffered a loss of income due to unemployment or illness. Banks may decide to wait for legal action against you, and you can process the repayment plan that is convenient for you.


If the property is worth more than the amount due on your mortgage, a cash fast buyer can help you avoid foreclosure, and all the problems involved in foreclosure. Cash buyers are usually real estate investors who buy your house “as is” condition, and sometimes you can negotiate a move away day of your choice from the buyer, giving you time to find a new home. The impending foreclosure should be discontinued as soon as the title is transferred, which means that your credit score will not be as hard hit. This is really the only option if you have capital available in the property. For homeowners who are working with limited time, selling their house for cash may offer the reliability and security that is necessary to meet their time allotted, which in turn minimizes the stress and worry normally involved in the sale process.

Selling property with a real estate agent can take an uncertain amount of time and at the same time selling a property at an auction almost always results in a sale, the price obtained is almost always much less than market value. By selling your house to a cash buyer may provide the certainty that the sale will close and the certainty of knowing exactly how much money you will receive at the closing.


A short sale is when a lender agrees to discount the banks debt against your house or your loan balance due to economic or financial difficulties of the borrower (you). This negotiation is done through communication with the Department of loss mitigation of the particular lender. To sell your property for less than the outstanding loan balance, and put the funds to the lender in full satisfaction of its debt is the goal of a short sale. The lender has the right to approve or reject a proposed sale. There are many circumstances that influence whether a reduction of the bank loan balance will be made. These circumstances are usually related to the current real estate market and its financial situation. A short sale is typically executed to prevent a foreclosure of your home. Often, a bank chooses to allow a short sale if they believe that this will result in less financial loss than other option of them foreclosing.

For a home owner, the advantages are the prevention of a foreclosure of their credit history and the partial control of the monetary deficiency. In addition, a short sale is usually faster and cheaper than foreclosure.

Short sales are nothing more than negotiating with lien holders to accept less than they are owed on a piece of real estate.


The Law on Bankruptcy Reform of 2005 changed the whole picture of bankruptcy as they used to know it. Today, most bankruptcy lawyers need at least 3 weeks before a big event as a date of public auction in order to adequately prepare a bankruptcy petition and present it in court. Homeowners who have waited too long to deal with the foreclosure often find that there is little an attorney can do to help with a bankruptcy. The law still allows people to file their own bankruptcy petition in a pro-se (to represent themselves). Bankruptcy is a temporary solution and should always be an option of last resort. Most owners have the opportunity to present two types of bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a simple reorganization of debts, and Chapter 7 is a discharge of debt.

Bankruptcies can generally only prolong the situation. Only in rare cases, the owner can be successfully used the Chapter 13 bankruptcy as a tool for restructuring all their other debts where they are then able to release enough money to make their payments, such as house payments. Less than 10% of all people who file Chapter 13 bankruptcy ever managed to survive the end of the bankruptcy.

The filing of a bankruptcy is the only adverse reaction that continues in the credit report of a person from a foreclosure action. To file a bankruptcy, you will may have to hire a lawyer, and participate in all the different kinds of debt counseling before filing bankruptcy. In cases where the owner knows he can not make their mortgage payments because of their financial situation has changed for the worse, it would be prudent to wait to file chapter bankruptcy after the foreclosure process reached a definitive conclusion and you should seek competent legal counsel to find out.

Repayment plan. (Ch. 13)
Reform Act of 2005 was Chapter 13 of the most common form of bankruptcy. In essence, a Chapter 13 repayment plan under the supervision of the court and court-supervised the debtor provides the court with a list of all debts and budget for their monthly needs. All the extra money is applied each month to pay the arrears of debt. One of the advantages of a repayment plan in Chapter 13 is that many outrageous fees, interest rates and fees can not be applied to such debts. The typical rebate program usually lasts between 48 and 60 months.

The vast majority of chapter 13 repayment plans falter and eventually fail. Plans can falter even where the debtor gets a “grace period” from the Court for additional time to try and catch up for missed payments to the trustee. The typical Chapter 13 plan sends the debtor wages to the Court appointed trustee who pays all of the creditors according to a plan presented by the debtor and agreed to by the creditors.

After the bankruptcy reform act of 2005, chapter 13 repayment plans also include partial repayments in what used to be a complete discharge. Chapter 13 bankruptcies can be filed again within a shorter period of time after the last plan, either failed or terminated. However, to prevent abuse, if a chapter 13 plan is dismissed by the Court due to the debtor’s noncompliance, the debtor cannot file a new chapter 13 for at least one year.

Many of the new rules are in force and who abides automatic reclassification, are: the automatic stay expires after 30 days in the petition filed by an individual under:

First, Chapters 7, 11 or 13, if the dispute within a year before were released other than dismissal redeposited in 7078, may continue if the court finds that the reclassification of good faith.

Second, No automatic stay applicable in cases filed by individual chapters 7, 11 or 13, if two or more cases in one year before going to refuse to not re-filed under the dismissal of less than 70, the court may impose a residence is established as a result of storage in good faith.

Third, Stay automatically terminates 60 days after sec. 362(d) motion filed in case filed by individual under 7, 11, or 13 unless there is an extension or final decision

Often people do not understand how your house payment works and can leave it out in Chapter 13 plan. This is often the result of individual preferences of the lawyers hired to represent them, and the characteristics of the trustees appointed by the Probate Court to administer the Chapter 13 plans. Even if a house is not included in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, bankruptcy does not protect the home by filing a stay of foreclosure and remain in effect until the owner received and updating the house payments.

Discharge debts (Ch. 7)
Chapter 7 bankruptcy that the total discharge of debt and a settlement. Because of this powerful tool, you are able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy every eight years. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, people can list their home and the mortgage as a debt they seek to fulfill. If so, and it is clearly stated that they have to abandon all hope of saving the property. If a person chooses not to include in their home a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, because they still intend to keep the house, they must stay current with payments on the house while the remaining debts are discharged.

Many people think that if you are able to run other debts, then you have enough money on hand to get caught up in their house payments and keep up to date. More often than not, they are mistaken. Even if the house is not included in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filing bankruptcy stay applies to the Mortgage and foreclosure. If the house will then be able to bring a mortgage current, then the foreclosure process will go away. Most of the time, even if the home owner is not able to carry or keep the existing mortgage and the bank files the motion of relief of stay. The chapter 7 is a valuable tool and a homeowner who realizes that they are going to lose the house may be better to wait after the Ch 7 case has been completed, or a short sale takes place, and then use chapter 7 bankruptcy to wipe anything which may remain.

HOHO (Hope for Home Owners)

In July 2008, the U.S. Congress and President Bush signed a law, commonly called “Hope for the owners”. In the Land of acronyms, got the nickname HOHO. HOHO has certain characteristics that every owner who is thinking about it first needs to know before they try and access the guaranteed $ 300 billion loan designed to help homeowners who are underwater to refinance their homes. The phrase “under water” refers not Katrina or any of the recent flooding, but the fact that people are now owe more than their home’s are value at.

Under HOHO, homeowner who now owe more on their home than its worth may enroll in the program and receive a depreciation in the value of their mortgage for 90% of its current market value. In addition 90% of the current market value, then there is a rate of 3% added to the FHA refinance which goes on the new mortgage amount. The new mortgage would then come into the market for current interest rates of about 6.5% from the date of this writing, plus a 1.5% annual reduction rate of 8% from today’s writing. This interest rate is clearly not competitive on the market with other mortgages.

Finally, the Back-end is the kicker HOHO. When a house in the program finally makes some appreciation of the value because the market is changing, when a homeowner refinances from a high interest rate of 8%, or sells the property, HOHO takes half of all equity. The following illustration with some numbers to it will help you understand better.

A person who bought a $ 200,000 home five years ago and made a 5% down payment and received five years of interest-only $ 190.000. The house has now declined 25% to $ 150,000. With this program the property will be refinanced to 90% of the market value which is $ 135,000 plus 3% of the refinance for FHA bringing it to $ 139,050. Let’s say that in five years the house goes up to $ 165,000, when they sell their property, they would then have to split the $ 26,000 profit with the federal government.


The deed in lieu of foreclosure allows a mortgagor in default, that are not eligible for any other loss mitigation option to sign the title of the house back to the mortgage company. An owner may be better to sign a deed in lieu instead of letting the process of foreclosure happen. This is because, with the signing of a deed in lieu the borrower voluntarily gives the house to the bank. Although non-performing loans payments will be recorded on your credit report, it may not do the damage of a foreclosure would. Foreclosures usually stay on your credit report for at least 7 years. You can also avoid the time and stress involved in a fight against foreclosure, which in the end the lender is usually sure to win.

The lender (a mortgage servicer) can pay up to $ 2,000 compensation to the creditor (you, the home owner), but $ 2,000 is paid to after you release the property. Compensation must be applied to any junior lien(s) connected to the property.

An act must be initiated in a deed in lieu of foreclosure within six (6) months after the date of default, unless the mortgagee qualified for an extension at first to try an alternative loss mitigation or another extension approved by HUD prior to the expiration of the time required. Deed in lieu if following a special agreement or failed pre-foreclosure sale, must be completed or foreclosure initiated within 90 days after a failure.

A deed in lieu can occur only when you have 1 mortgage on the property. If you have a first and second, you can not do one. There may be tax consequences due to a Deed in-Lieu of foreclosure so make sure you consult a tax professional.


Loan modification includes changing the initial conditions of the mortgage and there are a variety of methods in which banks do this. This option provides a permanent change in one or more terms of the loan, which allows the loan to be returned to current and requires payments you can afford. If the you have an adjustable loan, the lender might freeze the interest rate before it increases or change the interest rate so the rate may be more manageable for you. The creditor may also extend the amortization period. This is called a loan modification. The changes of the principle are rare, but possible. Loan modification can be any of these things:

• A permanent change in interest rate
• Capitalization of back principle payments, interest, or escrow items.
• Extension of the loan period.

The use of three of the above will result in reamortization of the loan. The interest rate adjustment to current market price plus 150 basis points is common, although, at the discretion of the mortgagee, interest rates may be reduced below market too. All or part of the of PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) may be capitalized (added) the balance of the mortgage. Foreclosure costs, fines and other administrative costs may be capitalized as well. The creditor can collect legal and administrative fees (resulting from the cancellation of the pre-foreclosure action), that will not be reimbursed by HUD, and collect it via a lump sum or through a separate payment plan with the agreement modification.

Using Lawyers Effectively: 5 Good Legal Habits of Successful Businesses

Do you see your lawyer as a key member of your strategic business team?

Do you feel that you can sound them out about commercial and strategic issues, without fear of the cost?

Or, is your lawyer the last person that you call when a problem has got so bad that there is no alternative?

Successful businesses are well supported by specialists in all the management disciplines, such as production, operations, strategy, HR and finance as each specialist has expertise in generating growth or reducing risk.

Sadly, legal advice is not always taken in advance of strategic decisions in the same way that most businesses would consult with their accountant or HR manager. Consequently, problems can arise down the line, for example when a contract does not protect you in the way that you envisaged.

Successful businesses make the most of their legal adviser and typically display the following 5 good habits:

1. Choose a legal adviser that understands your business

When selecting a new legal adviser, consider how interested they are in the businesses and whether they understand the issues that your business faces. For example, a bio-tech business will need to ensure that their adviser is familiar with regulatory and intellectual property law relating to their sector.

Do they ask about your personal and business objectives? This is particularly important if you are thinking of an exit strategy in the future.

2. Include your lawyer as part of your strategic business team

Whilst lawyers can advise you on your regulatory obligations and compliance, a good commercial lawyer will advise you on the commercial implications of strategic decisions. Keep your lawyer in the loop. Keep them apprised of your business strategies so they can identify legal risks at an early stage of your strategy and give you proactive solutions.

A lawyer who understands your business can provide you with innovative business structures that help your business grow and protect your market position, as well as identifying risks.

3. Provide a clear brief and feedback

Provide clear instructions, agree budgets and provide any information promptly. Consistent communications are vital especially where there are critical deadlines. Provide feedback to your lawyer, especially if you feel that you are not getting the level of service that you require.

4. Invest in proper legal documentation processes

A successful business will have efficient systems for purchasing, quality control, accounts, and HR. Yet few businesses have efficient legal systems and this often causes problems as a deadline for contract renewal can be missed or it can cause unnecessary delays when preparing a business for sale. Without proper documentation, evidence can be difficult to find when disputes arise and oral evidence is only allowed in limited circumstances so the written word remains paramount.

5. Budget for legal advice

Budgeting for legal advice is no different than budgeting for accounting or HR costs. You may also be able to insure against certain legal costs.

Written by Francesca Lee © Cresco Legal Solicitors 2010 []

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Learn How to Strategically Speak

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Expert Author Nicholas Dean

When the phone rings Monday and you’re not really thinking about things you might get excited when Stacy calls you who is one of the opposing counsels that’s in one of the cases that you have. Without even thinking about it you decide to jump in and share what information you have because you already know most of the details regarding the case.

After the conversation is over you think about things and wonder “why did I just do that?” Lawyers make this mistake almost every day. Before you prepared yourself strategically you agreed to speak and talk with Stacy.

Instead of getting excited about giving out information you should have told Stacy “I am busy right now. Can I call you back later or can we book up an appointment?” This will give you time to think strategically and prepare yourself.

Lawyers are always in the process of negotiating. It is just not lawyers that do this but businessmen, doctors and other people who might have knowledge about something and would like to share it without thinking first about the consequences.

In order to avoid that from happening let’s go over a few tips to help you with thinking strategically.

1. If you want more power then get information. The more you talk and give out your secrets then the less power you will have. Instead, don’t say much and listen to what the other person is saying. Let them be the one to later get upset about sharing so much information. You will be able to negotiate a lot more if you sit back, learn and listen. This applies to everyone in life regardless of what job you might have.

2. Always be clear when it’s your time to talk. Once it is time for you to talk don’t get nervous or stutter. Talk with confidence and talk clear. Avoid mumbling. If you have a hard time with talking clear then practice at home in front of a mirror. See if other people can help you with being able to speak crystal clear. This way you can demonstrate things easier and communicate better.

3. Learn keywords and topics that might sizzle. Here is one example. Instead of just talking about weight loss use words and topics such as “The Sexy Side of Weight Loss and The Dirty Secrets About How Fat Can Kill You.

4. Become a story teller. What message is it that you are trying to tell your friend, co-worker, audience or even just your boss? How can you make that message stronger and more exciting? Try and help people to visualize what you are saying. When the conversation is over they should go home thinking about that picture you presented. Make it memorable. Telling stories is the best way to help with creating a visual. Visualization is a powerful tool and when done just right it can change your future.


Always make sure that you call people back and don’t blow them off. You still want to be polite towards them even if they might be trying to take advantage of the information that you know. Get ahead of their game but in a nice way. Once you start strategically speaking then you will be amazed as to how things get better for you.

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Accountants / Lawyers Do Yourself a Favor – What do Your Customers Want?

In my day to day practice in strategic human resource management I often come across customers looking for a ‘good’ accountant or ‘good lawyer’. As an accountant myself the common thread for a ‘good acountant or lawyer’ seems to be ‘I want someone who can explain things in plain english without the jargon’. This simplicity of service and communications can grow your business and ensure that you never need to look for more work! And the sad fact is that there are many practitioners that just don’t deliver.

So what makes a ‘good accountant / lawyer’? People from all walks of life are looking for someone they can trust with their hard earned money and that gives advice that can be understood. They aren’t interested in Part IVA, debt defeasance, estopel and other industry terms or jargon and they are willing to pay for the service.

From Professionals to Blue Collar Workers it is a common question that I am asked ‘Where can I go for common sense advice, where can I go and who can I trust?

Sadly, even amongst the largest service firms to the private practitioner there appears to be a dearth of pratical practitioners.

More information at

Where are they you ask? Where indeed!

The sad fact is that many hide behind their memberships and qualifications. Before you think this is all esoteric may I remind you that I am a qualified accountant and a beleiver in the profession having worked in banking, finance and commerce for 20 years before strategic human resource advising.

Here are some points to ponder and ask yourself if you are in the accounting or professional field ?

1. What do my customers really want? – In my experience, most customers want reassurance, want to be listened to and feel that you are there to help them and they will pay for this service.

2. Do you care? – you show you care by how you resond to their questions and to how you remember even the small things that are important to them.

3. Do you give them time? – we are all working at a hectic pace today, however customers want your time and will pay for it.

4. Do you follow up with them? – I recently engaged a firm of lawyers for a customer of mine. They rang me after seeing the lawyer and said how impressed they were. Why? – they hadn’t seen the principal (this firm had 30 partners), however the principal had rung the next day to see whether they were being looked after. The firm now has a client for life.

5. Be practical – send a card, ring occasionally and you factor this in to your pricing.

In a world of rapid change the one thing that people appreciate is the personal touch. Your business, accounting, law or other services business can be exciting, inspiring and profitable.

Its’ really not that hard – it just takes some effort, kindness and a customer focussed outlook.

You can build your practice and enjoy the journey and the fruits of your labor. The choice is mine, the choice is yours.

Philip Lye is Director of Biz Momentum Pty Ltd providing professional services in strategic human resource management, training your people to work with you and grow your business, and ‘coaching you’ to be a better executive.

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Philip holds qualifications in Accounting, Leadership, Human Resource Management & Industrial Relations and is a qualified accountant.

Philip started his working career as the ‘postage clerk’ in banking and finance rising through various business opportunities to CEO and CFO of two companies before leaving to start his own business in 2002.

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Key Pointers of Hiring an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

Getting entitled to a justified compensation for the accidental injuries is the best solution to overcome the severe aftermath of an accident. Filing for an injury lawsuit in the court helps to get a legal verdict of the suffered damages. However, ascertaining the amount of compensation is a crucial task and for doing that, it is ideal to take professionalized help. Hence, as the ideal course of action, hiring a reputed lawyer enables the injured person to deal with the court proceedings in the systematic way.

Estimating the Compensation Amount

While calculating the compensation amount, a skilled lawyer minutely examines all the expenses and damages suffered by the victim. The key points related to it are:

• Medical Expenses: This kind of expenses mainly includes the ambulance fees, doctor visits, hospital visits, cost of medicines, in-home care services and many more.

• Pain and suffering: It includes the physical and mental distress due to the injuries.

• Lost wages: This includes any kind of lost work or wages because of the accident and health-care appointments.

• Loss of earning capacity: It refers to the loss of ability to work in the future because of prolonged impairments suffered by the victim.

• Special damage: It covers all the monetary losses due to occurrence of the accident.

The lawyer details about every aspect of the case and depending on the severity and proceedings of the case. They offer adequate legal counsel to the clients and educate them about the possible outcome of the case. However, not all lawyers have the same skill and knowledge and thus, before hiring a lawyer it is beneficial to note certain valuable points.


The most crucial point while hiring a lawyer is to check that whether the hired lawyer have specialized knowledge in the particular line of work. Retaining a lawyer who has relevant experience in resolving critical aspects of truck accident cases is the right choice to file a personal injury claim.


The hired attorney should have sound experience in dealing with personal injury lawsuits related to truck accident cases. Seek for a lawyer who has a good track record in offering successful resolution to the victims of such cases.

Strategic Focus

A skilled attorney must apprehend the case with a strategic focus that leads the case to a proper direction. Hiring a lawyer who suggests a range of alternative strategies to present the case is beneficial to secure the interests.

There are a lot of complications involved with truck accident law. It might involve legal theories related to negligence, product liability and personal injury. Hence, taking specialized consultation from a legal expert helps the victim to prove the legal standpoint.

Rajib KR Saha is a phenomenal writer who has great skills to present highly informative write-ups to the readers on various topics related to legal framework of the state. He guides his readers to take beneficial legal services of a skilled truck accident lawyer in Georgia.

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The Makings of a Divorce Lawyer

A listening ear

Couples that are on the edge of extinction do not only need a divorce lawyer but to rant their hearts away too. They do not need another bossy voice telling them that they are making the wrong decision. On the other hand, they also do not need another semi-sympathetic pat on the shoulder and a clichéd oh-that’s-too-bad. They want to throw all their problems and negativity to someone who will listen? Why cannot that someone be you? Of course, they would have to pay you extra for your hours. But let’s just call it catharsis. And anyway, you are not only there to listen.

An understanding mind

Yep. You are also with your client to help discern their problems and find a solution later on. You have to digest everything you have learned from your client’s rant. Of course, you have to leave out all the whining and the crying and the snot. Leave all the drama out and get to the very core of the issue. A divorce lawyer can’t do that without understanding the situation. This is also necessary to delve further into the issue at hand. A divorce lawyer has to make a lot of thinking and strategizing before his or her day is over.

A quick mind

Speaking of thinking and strategizing, a quick mind is in need in order for your party to come up with favorable solutions and divorce conditions for the client. A quick mind. That’s what a clients of the divorce needs. Because of course, he or she is dying to leave the marriage-at least that’s the common situation. A client will want a solution as soon as possible, especially when he or she is in deep conflict with his or her spouse with (I don’t know) money or property or children. Or maybe all the above.

A strong reasoning

Naturally, lawyers supposed to become very good debaters. Their reasoning must become above average. But divorce lawyers have to focus their energies on the matters of the family. they have to do two things with the other party’s lawyer too. One is to debate (that’s a given) and number two is to compromise. I mean, come on. We can’t get everything we want. Divorce lawyers know that, and they have an arsenal full of deals and offers. Clients often end up discussing and bargaining money and property for a long time before agreeing on a condition.

An iron will

This kind of iron will refer to the divorce lawyer’s goal to leave his or her client in a most favorable situation. The client’s original conditions might be contested, but a divorce lawyer must fight to meet most of the proposed conditions. Of course, determination alone is not enough. Brains, cunning, and (for some cases) charisma are in need to back that determination up. Also, they do not readily back down in a fight. And divorce is a battle-a battle of wits and which spouse has the most stamina. Divorce lawyers are sort of clients’ stamina.

A tough Maryland divorce lawyer is all a couple needs to get through their journey to separation. Clients can certainly get one from Wise & Donahue. Visit Wise & Donahue to know more about its services.

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Settle With Insurance or Get a Lawyer? Strategies For Minor Personal Injury Cases

Every day, hundreds of people in California are involved in car accidents. Often times these are mild rear-enders, or “fender benders.” People often ask me whether it’s worth it to get a lawyer in such circumstances.

You may be surprised to hear this, but it’s not always worth it to get a lawyer! If you find yourself in this type of situation, you have two main options – either retain a lawyer to handle your case, or try to deal with the insurance companies directly.

First, let’s look at what usually happens if you deal with the insurance companies directly.

The Insurance companies will want to evaluate your injuries, so they will usually ask you for the following: 1. A recorded statement of what happened, 2. Copies of your medical bills and records, 3. Signed medical releases so the insurance company can obtain all of your medical records and bills, 4. Signed employment releases so the insurance company can determine how much work you missed.

Once the insurance company has all of these things, they will evaluate your case, and usually they will either offer to settle with you for a certain amount of money, or reject your claim, if for instance, they think the accident was your fault.

Now let’s look at what happens if you get a lawyer.

Usually your lawyer will recommend that you DO NOT give a recorded statement, and that you DO NOT sign any releases. Instead, your lawyer will usually gather the relevant information, and send the insurance company a “demand packet” explaining 1. What happened 2. Whose fault it is 3. What your injuries are 4. How much time you lost from work, and 5. a demand for settlement.

The advantage to this approach is that the lawyer will do most of the work, allowing you focus on healing. In addition, since you won’t have to do a recorded interview, you don’t have to worry about saying something that may hurt your case. Also, your lawyer will only send the insurance companies your relevant medical records, so you don’t have to worry about disclosing private medical histories.

These are all nice services, but most people’s main concern is How much is this going to cost me?

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that they will receive a percentage of your ultimate recovery – usually somewhere from 25% to 40% depending on the attorney and on the case.

The advantage to the contingency fee is that you don’t have to pay your lawyer an hourly fee. The disadvantage, is that it will ultimately reduce the amount of money that will end up in your pocket.

On the other hand, often times insurance companies will be more likely to settle, or willing to settle for a higher amount once you retain a lawyer. This can balance out the attorney’s fee, or sometimes even result in you receiving more money that if you had settled directly.

So to review, both options have their pros and cons.

Settling with the insurance directly
Pros: Often faster, you don’t have to pay attorney fees.
Cons: More work, you may disclose private records.

Retaining a lawyer
Pros: Easier, protects your privacy better, can increase value of your case, resulting in more money for you.
Cons: Often slower, you will have to pay the attorney a percentage of your recovery.

In the end, each case will be different. Luckily, most reputable attorneys will offer a free consultation. If you have a case that you are not sure about, you can always go in for the consultation, and then decide to go it alone. Many people don’t realize it, but many attorneys prefer not to spend their time and effort on small cases anyway. If you have concerns that you may be better off on your own, ask the attorney during the consultation! Most reputable attorneys will be honest with you, and let you know when you would be better off alone.

This article is not legal advice.

If you have a moderate to serious injury, you should always consult a personal injury lawyer.

Noah Schwinghamer is a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento, California.

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