Paralegal 101: How to Find and Retain an Expert Witness

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an expert witness checking on blood samples in a labCourts use testimonies from an expert witness in a wide array of cases. These experts are usually scientists, doctors, and industry insiders who could make or break a case. As a paralegal, it’s your job to find the right expert witness for a case and coordinate with them. You could make the entire process simpler and more efficient for everyone involved with the following guidelines.

Finding an Expert Witness

First, you could ask for recommendations from people in your firm, bar associations, and paralegal groups. You could likewise search online and scour paralegal forums. If you want more options, you could also use an expert search company.

After narrowing down your search and shortlisting around three to six prospective witnesses, make copies of their CVs and hand them out to the litigation team involved in the case. If a prospective witness’s CV or resume doesn’t expound on a case testimony they previously testified to, request more information. Once your team has chosen an expert witness, don’t forget to run a conflict check to avoid issues later on.

Negotiating Expert Fees

Fees could differ significantly depending on experience, field of expertise, records needed for the case, and the specific types of testimony your team requires, explains a top instructor of The Center For Legal Studies, which offers online paralegal programs. When asking about fees, make sure to ask about the hourly rate, including hours spent researching, preparing, and reviewing records, as well as travel and accommodation needs. Make sure to pay close attention to the terms of the contract, specifically due dates and prepayments.

Obtaining Consent from the Client

To formally retain the chosen expert witness, you need to get client approval. Arrange a conference call or meeting with the team’s lead lawyer and the client to discuss everything about the witness. Remember your main goal — to gain the client’s consent.

Your efforts to find and retain an expert witness could be very critical to the results of the case and throughout the mediation, deposition, and trial. To that end, you need to establish a great working relationship with the expert witness and be ready to provide assistance should they need it.

Investigators: The Legal Profession’s ‘Ace in the Hole’

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Sherlock Hat and magnifying glass on Old Wooden tableMany people in the United States dream of becoming a part of the legal industry. Many of them fail to realize these goals though, and for many reasons. These include the prohibitive costs of a law degree and its notoriously rigorous training.

The good news is, there are numerous alternatives to becoming a lawyer, one of which is getting a certification as a legal investigator. You can enjoy a very satisfying and rewarding career, all without having to worry about the challenges mentioned earlier.

What a legal investigator does in the first place

Note that although legal investigators do not have the same title as lawyers, they operate in the same legal system that lawyers navigate every day. In a manner of speaking, lawyers and legal investigators have different skill sets, the latter more on legwork.

A law firm may have, in its arsenal, a group of investigators that help lawyers win cases. They play major roles in making a solid case and boosting its chances of winning. They are sort of “ace in the hole.”

In fact, they are the ones responsible in jump starting the development of a case: they also analyze the law appropriate to the case, gather evidence, review materials, and collect any other relevant pieces of information that will give their firm the greatest odds of achieving favorable results.

Training and education

A common misunderstanding when it comes to legal investigators is that many think that they need first to undergo almost the same type and extent of knowledge as those pursuing a career as a lawyer or attorney. This is not necessarily the case, nor is it a prerequisite.

Although some may have started out as law school students, know that many others completed a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and even journalism.

What is important to remember though is that for you to achieve success in this area of the legal realm, you need to have the right skills, which includes strong analytical and investigative skills.

The Only Reason You Need to Conduct Estate Planning ASAP

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probate attorney at a real estate propertyMany property owners in Denver, when planning for their and their loved ones’ future, only consider their financial situation while still alive. Many of them forget or even intentionally steer away from the subject of estate planning. While it’s understandable — seeing that it brings about thoughts of death, which is never a happy subject — it’s an aspect of future planning that you shouldn’t keep delaying.

The last thing you want is to leave your loved ones with more problems, like dealing with the distribution of your estate themselves. As early as now, consider working with a Denver probate attorney.

Your family’s welfare should outweigh your fear of the subject

Estate planning involves factoring in what happens when a property owner passes away, and this is indeed a touchy and depressing matter. It’s vital to get it done as early as possible, however, as you can never predict the occurrence of a life-threatening or even fatal accident. The thought alone of leaving your family with more problems than a stable future should be enough to make you realize the importance of making arrangements for your properties and assets.

What probate entails

Probate, at its core, is the official or legal method of settling estate distribution and transfer of ownership when the original owner passes away. Under the court’s supervision, the surviving spouse or an adult child receives an appointment if no Will exists. As soon as the court lays the appointment, they will receive the title of “executor,” or “Personal Representative.” This gives them the rights to have the estate valued, take care of bills and payments, and carry out the asset distribution to beneficiaries or heirs.

One thing to remember is that, although a probate attorney isn’t always a requirement for handling estates, it’s always wise to have the guidance of one, seeing as the probate process itself is very complicated.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Transfer on Death Deeds (TOD)

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Lawyer talking to his clients about the transfer on death deedsWhen people draft a will or last testament, they can define particular assets or several portions of the estate. They must also ensure that these go through transfer on death deed (TOD). For individuals who own an estate that has many heirs, it is important to develop an estate plan way before they die.

Nevertheless, it is also essential that they know the advantages and disadvantages of these TOD deeds. This requires conducting research and getting the service of a Denver real estate attorney. Miller & Steiert, P.C. shares more information about this matter.

Advantages of TOD Deeds

Most estate owners arrange what will happen to their property, monetary assets, real estate and other holdings. When confirmation may be a problem with their dependents, they can transfer some items using a TOD deed. This way, the estate owner would be able to avoid probate, the courts, and the extended procedure that their dependents may go through if they die.

If an heir does not have another home or is facing eviction, then a TOD deed will be ideal for this particular dependent. The owner generally considers this, which is why they will most likely require a TOD deed for their primary residence. Moreover, the lack of tax is a great benefit for both parties.

The Drawbacks

Nevertheless, this move can be the reason a TOD deed will flop when a will would actually work. Errors frequently happen in different forms and need assessment before they can be forwarded to the proper officials. If not handled correctly these could lead to joint tenancy instead of passing the estate to the heir.

To avoid the probate process, the property owner can appoint a beneficiary via a transfer on death deed. Now that you are aware of the advantages and disadvantages, you will be able to plan effectively with the help of your estate attorney.

3 Ways to Prepare Emotionally Before Talking to Your Divorce Lawyer

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Couple Talking To A Divorce LawyerBased on figures, there were only 21,483 divorces filed in Colorado in 2013, which marked the lowest in a decade since 2004. While this might sound new to you, there are still many couples who choose to part ways. If you’re planning to divorce your partner or talk to a divorce lawyer, you need to prepare yourself emotionally.

Keep these things in mind before you see a divorce attorney in Denver, CO:

Consider divorce mediation

Cutting ties with your spouse is always a messy thing, no matter how amicable you both feel about the divorce. But the process isn’t always that complicated. Divorce mediation is a more peaceful route you can take to avoid the messy stages of the process. If you and your current partner agree to a divorce and are willing to talk like responsible, sensible adults, try this option first.

Learn how to keep your emotions outside the door

When you’re wronged, it’s hard to keep your emotions bottled up. The frustration, anger, disbelief, shock, and other negative emotions will always find a way to get out of your system. What’s important is that you don’t let them out at your divorce attorney’s office. After all, your divorce lawyer is neither your psychiatrist nor your marriage counselor. It is difficult, but you have to learn how to treat the divorce process as you would a business transaction or negotiation.

Talk to a psychiatrist or talk to a friend if you need to

Speaking of emotional support, it is important to find someone or a group of people who will help you through the process. The goal is not to lash out at them or divulge dirty secrets. After all, if you and your partner end up not separating or if you get back together after a few years, it would be impossible for those friends and extended relatives not to feel bad towards your ex, knowing what they already do. The goal is to surround yourself with friends and supportive people who will not make you feel alone in the battle you’re going through.

It is advisable to come to the divorce attorney’s office with an organized set of files they can use for the proceedings. But it’s more important to come emotionally prepared. Use these tips to keep yourself together when you feel like breaking.

A Guide to Choosing the Best Building Supplies

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Contractors planningWhether you are a first-time builder or someone who has years of experience in construction, knowing where to source your building materials is critical. With a lot of available building supplies on the market, it may seem intimidating to start because of the variety of products available and the specifications readily on hand.

Ask yourself these three questions to ensure that you are getting the best building supplies in Australia:

What are my needs?

The most important step in determining the best supplies to get is determining your needs. What type of building do you have in mind?  Are you going to build a high-rise or a mid-rise building? These are among the first questions that you need to answer, as your building supplies are dependent on the type of project you have. You need different construction supplies for specific building elements. These include the structural frame, partitions and floor construction.

What is my budget?

Once you know the exact type of building that you need, it is time to think about your budget. Building an establishment does not come cheap and quality building supplies do cost more. It is wise to take your time and save up for the quality materials than hurry and buy cheap and substandard supplies just to save money.

Who am I talking to?

Reliable supplier will be glad to answer your queries and provide the information you need.

Choosing the best building supplies should not be too difficult. Take the time to answer these three questions and you are sure to get high-quality building supplies that fit your needs.

How Your Business Benefits from Finance and Accounting Outsourcing

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Man Computing On Calculator And Writing On His NotebookTo streamline their finance and accounting (F&A) processes without having to hire a full staff of accounting personnel, many companies are turning to business process outsourcing companies.

For a better appreciation of finance and accounting outsourcing (FAO), here are some benefits associated with it.

Better results

All outsourcing companies are customer-centric. This means they put the satisfaction of their clients above all else so that you can enjoy better results at a faster turnaround time.

Get access to a team of experts, top-of-the-line system and tools

Because of the fierce competition in the outsourcing industry, a company that offers financial outsourcing service will have the latest and best software and tools, as well as a team of highly trained experts.

Reduced costs

Your F&A processes are a vital part of your business, yet staffing an entire department will involve costly recruitment and training processes, which you may not have the budget for. You can avoid such expensive operating costs by simply outsourcing your accounting functions, whether in part or as a whole.

Avoid costly mistakes

Failure to understand fully all the processes involved with finance and accounting leads to expensive mistakes. By outsourcing your accounting processes to a team of experts in the early stages of your business, you can avoid such unnecessary problems.

Focus on your business’s core competencies

Outsourcing your accounting processes can actually free you and your staff from additional work, which gives you more time to focus on the core competencies of your company.

Flexible and scalable

Another key benefit of FAO is its scalability. You can easily get a bigger team when you expand your business or cut down on people when you want to cut back on expenses. Outsourcing companies are flexible enough to meet all your needs.

FAO is a viable option for startups and even established businesses that do not want to spend a lot on operating costs and want to focus on their core competencies. There are many FAO companies to choose from.

However, you need to get to know these companies so you know which one will be able to meet all your needs.

Three Concrete Reasons Every Hotel Needs a Website

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Online hotel booking

Online hotel bookingLeisure travelers who know very little about your area will mainly rely on online information to find the best hotels. This remains one of the key reasons why establishments that offer accommodation, entertainment, food, and beverage must have websites. With your site, you could efficiently express your ideas and see to it that your business is well represented. Below are three concrete reasons why you need hotel website design services.

Ensure the Best Representation of Your Hotel

You will be the main boss who calls the shots as your site is being designed. This means that you can pick the finest hotel visuals and even throw in a few ideas about concepts that should be covered during content creation. In short, your story can be told using your own words, visions, and objectives. This could ultimately see you attract more guests and get more bookings per day.

Reap the Benefits of Online Visibility

A properly designed website would do more than just increase your website traffic. It would have the ability to lure masses of prospective clients. Using proven SEO efforts, you could keep your online visitors engaged and eventually persuade them to try out the services you could offer. Professionals in web design ascertain that the sites they create are user-friendly to arrest the chances of having a huge bounce rate.

Boost Your Social Media Influence

When promoting your hotel on social media, you could get outstanding results if you have a website. This means you can direct your fans to your site and make it easier for them to find additional information about your hotel. Likewise, you could direct website visitors to your social media platforms, where they could check out some of your promotions and client reviews. In short, you will have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Having a hotel website is good. It is equally important for you to consistently maintain your site to ascertain maximum output all year round. Aim at finding professionals who could lend a hand with the designing of your site and its maintenance, too.

4 Ways to Build Your Website’s Credibility

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Business owner checking his business' website

Business owner checking his business' websiteThere are billions of websites on the internet. This means there are also billions of pages competing for the attention of the 3.2 billion people connected to the world wide web.

Websites are in direct competition with each other, even when they have different niches. One way to stand out is to boost your website’s credibility. The following tips from, Denver’s SEO services expert, will be able to help you do just that:

Integrate SEO into Your Website

Be searchable on Google and other search engines. It is a way your website can reach more readers and viewers. Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the steps you can take to achieve this. What SEO does is put your website on top of search results. People usually search keywords on search engines before anything else. As such, SEO services will be able to bring internet users to your website.

Always Update Your Website

People constantly need new information in real time. Additionally, new posts on social media should lead them to check out your website. If you already appear on the top of Google search pages, there is a bigger chance that your new posts will appear on the search engine as well.

Publish Easily Verifiable Information

The credibility of your website also depends on the information you publish. You can convince readers that your site is legit if you fact-check information. Linking to authority websites will also boost your site’s credibility.

Add a Live Chat Feature

Want to make your website more memorable? People tend to remember the sites that were easy to navigate. Additionally, they remember those that were very helpful in their search for information they need. Put up a feature that enables quick responses to viewer’s questions. It will make your website a fan favorite.

Building your brand’s credibility is not easy. It will take time. Taking proactive steps, however, can help make that dream become a reality a bit faster.

Australian Marine and Coastal Environments Face Threats from Oil Spills

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Scuba Diving With Fishes And Coral ReefsOil and other commercial spills are a constant threat to Australian marine wildlife, workers and local homeowners. Approximately 5,000 tonnes of oil spills were reported from 2001 to 2012 alone.

In April 2010, Chinese coal carrier ShenNeng 1 collided with the Douglas Shoal of the Great Barrier Reef. The ship leaked up to four tonnes of fuel oil into the ocean, damaging around three kilometres of the Reef.

A more recent incident happened in 2015, when a freight train derailed in Queensland, spilling sulphuric acid and severely contaminating surrounding bodies of water.

Measures like shoreline flushing, booms, vacuums, sorbents and bioremediation agents are some of the more common methods for onshore oil spill response. Many companies use high-grade spill control kits, which include large marine booms, pads and granular absorbents.

With increased access to oil spill response methods, commercial and residential property owners can better arrest the dire effects of spillages.

Effects of Marine Oil Spills

Oil spills on marine and coastal environments can have both short or long-term impacts. Spills can lead to immediate physical damage and loss of foreshore and marine habitats, as well as a long-term negative impact on the health, diversity and viability of coastal eco-systems.

The contamination of coastal infrastructure also affects tourism and other recreational activities, resulting in economic losses at both the regional and national level.

The Cleanup Process: A Messy Business

No two oil spills are alike, but one thing they all have in common is a messy cleanup. If a ship sinks or an oil pipeline breaks, the goal is to contain the oil source by preventing more oil from leaking, and by stopping already spilt oil from spreading.

However, ocean currents and weather conditions may overwhelm booms and other offshore cleanup methods. This is why oil escapes to shorelines from the initial spill and wreaks havoc.

Take note that all response options have potential trade-offs. This means considering the impact of the cleanup strategies and examining their nuances. An assessment of the oil spill would require information on the specific oil type, shoreline habitats, local environmental conditions, shore access and other logistical and safety considerations. These factors determine the most suitable cleanup method and avoid making a bad situation even worse.