Friday, February 17, 2017

5 Great Things about Being a Paralegal


A career as paralegal (also known as a legal assistant) can be a wonderfully fulfilling profession. Paralegals perform legal­, regulatory­ and business­-related research for lawyers working at their organization. Most of the time paralegals work for law offices, corporations' legal departments or courts. These professionals also provide legal support services to attorneys. They assist lawyers in filing materials such as motions, memoranda, pleadings and briefs in various court systems, as well as accompany lawyers to see clients and/or to go to court. Here are 5 great things about being a paralegal:

1. Rise In Pay
Paralegal compensation has risen steadily in the past decade, despite a bump in the road in the depths of the 2009-2010 recession. As paralegals perform a broader and more complex range of tasks (paralegals even represent clients in court in certain countries and administrative tribunals), paralegal earnings continue to rise. The average paralegal salary hovers at around $50,000 per year but paralegals often make more through bonuses. Overtime hours can also add significant cash to a paralegal's paycheck.

2. Explosive Employment Outlook
The paralegal field is one of the fastest-growing professions on the globe. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, predicts the employment of paralegals and legal assistants to grow 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Among the factors driving this growth is client demand for cheaper, more efficient delivery of legal services. Since hourly rates charged by attorneys are typically double or triple the rates of paralegals for the same task, law firm economics mandates the increased use of paralegals to minimize costs. As a result, a paralegal career is one of the hottest non-lawyer jobs in the legal industry.

3. Easy Career Entry

Unlike lawyers who must complete seven years of formal education and pass the bar exam to practice law, you can become a paralegal in as little as a few months of study.

4. Intellectual Challenge
Paralegal work is intellectually challenging and involves a range of high-level skills. The most successful paralegals are problem-solvers and innovative thinkers. Paralegals must become subject matter experts in their specialty area and master legal procedure, research, drafting and other skills. They must stay on top of ever-changing laws and new legal trends and developments while interfacing with attorneys, opposing counsel, vendors, staff members, clients and others. The work is varied and each day brings new challenges.

5. Rising Prestige
As paralegals perform more complex and challenging work, paralegal prestige is rising. Paralegals are no longer simply lawyer's assistants; they are assuming management roles in corporations, leadership roles in law firms and entrepreneurial roles in independent paralegal businesses. Over the years, paralegals have transcended the image of glorified legal secretary to become respected members of the legal team.

A career as a paralegal can be rewarding professionally and personally. A  career as a paralegal offers a unique opportunity to help others. These opportunities vary, depending on the paralegal's practice area.Paralegals in the public interest sector help poor and disadvantaged segments of the population with legal issues ranging from protection from domestic abuse to assistance preparing wills Ready to take the leap? Visit www.freeparalegal.org


Monday, February 13, 2017

Unpaid Taxes? The IRS Moves to Revocation or Denial of Passports

If you have seriously delinquent tax debt, IRC § 7345 authorizes the IRS to certify that to the State Department. The department generally will not issue or renew a passport to you after receiving certification from the IRS.  

Upon receiving certification, the State Department may revoke your passport. If the department decides to revoke it, prior to revocation, the department may limit your passport to return travel to the U.S.

Certification Of Individuals With Seriously Delinquent Tax Debt
Seriously delinquent tax debt is an individual's unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax debt totaling more than $50,000 (including interest and penalties) for which a:
  • Notice of federal tax lien has been filed and all administrative remedies under IRC § 6320 have lapsed or been exhausted or
  • Levy has been issued
Some tax debt is not included in determining seriously delinquent tax debt even if it meets the above criteria. It includes tax debt:
  • Being paid in a timely manner under  an installment agreement entered into with the IRS
  • Being paid in a timely manner under an offer in compromise accepted by the IRS or a settlement agreement entered into with the Justice Department
  • For which a collection due process hearing is timely requested in connection with a levy to collect the debt
  • For which collection has been suspended because a request for innocent spouse relief under IRC § 6015 has been made
Before denying a passport, the State Department will hold your application for 90 days to allow you to:
  • Resolve any erroneous certification issues
  • Make full payment of the tax debt
  • Enter into a satisfactory payment alternative with the IRS
There is no grace period for resolving the debt before the State Department revokes a passport.

Payment Of Taxes
If you can’t pay the full amount you owe, you can make alternative payment arrangements such as an installment agreement or an offer in compromise and still keep your U.S. passport.
If you disagree with the tax amount or the certification was made in error, you should contact the phone number listed on Notice CP 508C. If you’ve already paid the tax debt, please send proof of that payment to the address on the Notice CP 508C.
If you recently filed your tax return for the current year and expect a refund , the IRS will apply the refund to the debt and if the refund is sufficient to satisfy your seriously delinquent tax debt, the account is considered fully paid.

In Trouble with the IRS?
You don't have to go it alone. There's help. There's hope: the Professional Tax Law Firm og Figeroux & Associates. Call us now at 855-6taxguy or 855-682-9489.

 

Friday, February 10, 2017





Government Contracting: Do You Qualify as a Small Business?




You may take it for granted that your company is a "small business." The distinction is important if you wish to register for government contracting as a small business. To be a small business, you must adhere to industry size standards established by the U.S. Small Business Administration. As you register as a government contractor in the System for Award Management (SAM), you will also self-certify your business as small.

The SBA, for most industries, defines a "small business" either in terms of the average number of employees over the past 12 months, or average annual receipts over the past three years. In addition, SBA defines a U.S. small business as a concern that:

    Is organized for profit
    Has a place of business in the US
    Operates primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through    
    payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor
    Is independently owned and operated
    Is not dominant in its field on a national basis

The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or any other legal form. In determining what constitutes a small business, the definition will vary to reflect industry differences, such as size standards.
Size Standards

Because all federal agencies must use SBA size standards for contracts identified as small business, you need to select NAICS codes that best describe your business and then determine if the business meet size standards for the selected NAICS codes. Once you have determined you are indeed a small business, you can then certify your business as small by registering as a government contractor.

Want to learn more? Attend our seminar: Doing Business with the Federal Government: An Introduction.

Register at: http://mynacc.chambermaster.com/events/details/doing-business-with-the-federal-government-an-introduction-3118

Monday, January 30, 2017



Our Paralegal Certificate Program - An Introduction to a Career as a Paralegal



A Paralegal earns an average salary of $44,579 per year. A skill in Legal Compliance is associated with high pay for this job. The paralegal profession has grown tremendously since its introduction in the 1960s. Now there are more than 256,000 paralegals working in the United States. Additionally, paralegal jobs are projected to grow by 18% from 2010-2020. 1


Job Description
Paralegals perform legal-, regulatory- and business-related research for lawyers working at their organization. Most of the time paralegals work for law offices, corporations’ legal departments or courts. These professionals also provide legal support services to attorneys. They assist lawyers in filing materials such as motions, memoranda, pleadings and briefs in various court systems, as well as accompany lawyers to see clients and/or to go to court. 

Paralegals may have to interview clients either by phone or in person prior to referring them to their organization's lawyers; they may have the authority to accept or reject potential clients. Paralegals also edit pleadings, technical papers, briefs and other documents, helping review legal documents to make sure that relevant facts are included. They may have to travel to various courts to accompany their organization's lawyers, and they may have to train and coach new or more junior paralegals.

An associate's degree or certificate in paralegal studies is generally needed in this position; some employers require that paralegals have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Previous experience as a paralegal is often required or preferred as well. Paralegals should have excellent written and oral communication skills, know relevant legal terminology and principles, be able to work in a team environment and be proficient with basic computer programs such as the Microsoft Office suite. Additionally, they must be knowledgeable about legal citation rules, legal libraries, various court systems’ rules and relevant filing requirements. 

Paralegal Tasks
  • Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions and legal articles, codes and documents.
  • Prepare affidavits or other documents, maintain document file and file pleadings with court clerk.
  • Prepare legal documents, including briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts and real estate closing statements.
  • Investigate facts and law of cases to determine causes of action and to prepare cases.
  • Assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts or preparing legal documents.

Popular Skills for Paralegal and what effect each skill has on pay:

      Legal Research - $42,000
·       Document Management - $44,000
·       Document Preparation - $42,000
·       Client Interaction - $41,000
·       Case Management - $42,000
     
      Source: payscale.com

To sign up for our Paralegal Certificate Program, visit www.freeparalegal.org


1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Paralegals and Legal Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm (visited March 05, 2013).





Thursday, November 3, 2016

Your Vote Can Make A Difference!

By Melissa Mark-Viverito. District 8 - NYC Council Speaker

With this year’s tight and controversial presidential race, and with anti-immigrant sentiment at a peak, we can take nothing for granted. This is why I am urgently calling to those among New York City’s more than 1.5 million naturalized citizens, if you are registered to vote, to go to the polls on November 8. Every single vote counts.

The right to vote is not a given. Some of you have experienced undemocratic governments in places where voting is riddled with fraud, doesn’t happen at all or can put you at risk of reprisals. But as a U.S. citizen, your right to vote ensures your participation in the democratic process that gives you a voice in the decisions that shape your life.

The electorate has never been so ethnically and racially diverse. According to a Pew Research Center 2016 report, this year 31 percent of the eligible voters are Hispanic, Asian, black or other minorities. In New York City, the Campaign Finance Board confirms that naturalized citizens lead in the gains made in voter registration, and their turnout rates equal or outpace native-born citizens. Yet, New York City hit a historic low in overall voter turnout in the 2014 midterm elections, when barely 20 percent went to the polls. This has to change.

It is important we understand what is at stake here. In 2013, immigrant workers accounted for $257 billion in economic activity -- that’s nearly one third of the value of all finished goods and services produced here. Immigrants represent almost half of the City’s workforce. Over 80 percent of dishwashers, nannies, garment workers and taxi drivers are immigrants. Seventy percent of medical and life scientists; 60 percent of civil engineers; 58 percent of registered nurses; and more than half of our dentists, mechanical engineers, tax preparers, and pharmacists are foreign-born. And one in four CEOs in corporations with a presence in our City are immigrants. Clearly, the economic contribution to the City is tremendous.

So, casting your vote could be a YES to protecting the economic investment made for your children and their children, and to ensuring an enduring opportunity to work. A YES to keeping the doors open for others like you, who want a better life, and whose enterprise keeps our City and this country vibrant and growing. And a YES to protect the right to educate your children, without fear, who will carry on our immigrant tradition.

Your vote could also be a NO to racism, discrimination and hate.
It’s time to rally family, friends, and community members to vote. Remember your vote can help speak for those who are not eligible to go to the polls in November, but whose investment and commitment to their American life is just as strong as your

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Green Business Summit 2016: An Opportunity to Do Good










New York, NY: The New American Chamber of Commerce  in partnership with the African-American International Chamber of Commerce (AAICC), and the Hispanic-American InternationalChamber of Commerce (HAICC) is presenting its 2 nd Annual Green Business Summit (GBS), on Thursday, October 13, 2016, BNY Mellon, 101 Barclay Street, from 8:30am-3:00pm. GBS is a new international, annual, broad-level forum committed to progressing sustainable development and the green economy, by engaging citizens, business, finance, government and other leaders to find solutions for industries, cities, regions and nations.

The three pillars of sustainability are: People, Planet and Profits. This Summit offers the unique opportunity to do good for oneself, mankind, the environment and their bottom line. As business owners, we are profit-driven. This Summit offers ideas, products, inspiration, motivation,discussion and solutions to impact the future of our organizations and communities in a meaningful and responsible way. This Summit is a key initiative for our chamber coalition: NACC, AAICC and HAICC for our economic development plan.
 
The GBS features a Welcome VIP Breakfast, over 10 Breakout Sessions, an Exhibiting Hall, and a Networking Luncheon. Last year's breakfast keynote speaker was presidential candidate for the Green Party, Dr. Jill Stein who discussed her party's Green agenda. This year's morning keynote speaker is Congresswoman Hon. Yvette D. Clarke who will be speaking on the Green Initiatives of Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Several faith, business and community leaders will receive congressional citations for their corporate responsibility, work to save the environment and sustainability efforts. Our Luncheon keynote speaker is Jason Safford, who will be speaking on the topic: 'Developing a Green Mind'. Mr. Safford is an author, lecturer and environmental leader.
For more information and registration, please visit: www.greenbusinesssummit.nyc.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

September is National Preparedness Month



HOW PREPARED ARE YOU ?


National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
PREDICTS  

HURRICANE SEASON TO BE ACTIVE

               

BUSINESS INTERRUPTION / PREPAREDNESS

Don't let predicted severe weather kick you and your business down.

Follow these five steps to insure business continuity during a weather-related business disruption:

1. Do a risk assessment

2. Make a communication plan with your team

3. Do an assessment of your key partners and vendors

4. Make sure you have strategies for working in another facility

5. Charge up your technology & battery backups