Monthly Archives: September 2016

FL CLE: Late Reporting or CLER Non-Compliance

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Every three-years Florida attorneys must complete at least 30 total FL CLE credit hours, including 5 credit hours of legal ethics.[1] Florida Bar members are also required to report compliance with the FL CLER (continuing legal education requirement) every three years.[2]  If you fail to complete and report the required 30 Florida CLE hours, then you will be deemed delinquent. All Reporting Affidavits will be reviewed to determine compliance with the FL CLER and if you are deemed delinquent you can be suspended from the practice of Florida law.

FL CLE Noncompliance Includes:

Incomplete reports

Unexecuted reports

Failure to timely file a report

Failure to report sufficient FL CLE credit

The Board of Legal Specialization and Education (BLSE) will prepare and serve notices of delinquency to attorneys that are determined to be in noncompliance with the FL CLER.[3]  If you are notified and deemed to be CLER delinquency, then you will be suspended from the practice of Florida law. Florida attorneys are allowed to complete all 30 required CLER credit hours through on-demand online and offline CLE courses.[4] For more information about Attorney Credits Florida CLE courses and the CLER in Florida please click this link: Florida CLE.

[1] Courses in professionalism, substance abuse, or mental illness awareness also qualify for legal ethics credit.

[2] Each member of The Florida Bar is assigned a three-year reporting cycle, chosen at random by a computer program. If you fail to complete and report the required FL CLE hours you can be suspended from the practice of Florida law.

[3] Notice will be considered effective if it is in writing and served at the attorneys address on file with The Florida Bar or last known address.

[4] The Florida Bar allows the entire CLER to be fulfilled via streaming video, audio & video download and CD courses.

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New CLE: Top 10 Most Common Employer Mistakes

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Many entrepreneurs, business owners and employers are super stars when it comes to starting, running and/or growing their businesses. Unfortunately, while they may be great at business, they are not always great at legal compliance with labor & employments law and businesses are served with lawsuits from former employees every day in this country. Fortunately, there are some common mistakes that employers can easily recognize and remedy that will decrease the odds of getting hit with a lawsuit.

This is a hyper technical area of the law that is frequently mishandled by employers. Advising your business clients in few key areas could possibly prevent employment related lawsuits and save your clients millions of dollars.

In this CLE course, Douglas Clifford discusses the top ten most common mistakes that employers make that lead to labor and employment lawsuits. The top 10 areas that Doug covers include: wage & hour, vacation pay, avoiding inconsistent treatment amongst employees, commission plans, alternative workweeks, the employee/independent contractor distinction, exempt vs. non-exempt (overtime) employees, at-will employment, investigating harassment complaints, inattention to DFEH/EEOC complaints and reasonable accommodations for employees.  To access the course please click here: Employment Law: Top 10 Most Common (or Worst) Employer Mistakes.

Additional areas covered include:

  • Non-compliance consequences for employers
  • Treating employees consistently
  • Drafting commission plan agreements
  • Document it!!!
  • Penalties for violations
  • Test to determine employees/independent contractors
  • Key overtime errors committed by employers
  • Specific problems for specific industries
  • Firing employees legally
  • Using outside investigators to investigate harassment complaints
  • Working interactively with employees
  • Holly D. v. California Inst. Of Tech., 339 F.3d 1158, 117 (9th Cir. 2003)
  • Velez v. Thermo King de Puerto Rico, 585 F.3d 44 (1st Cir. 2009)

Douglas Clifford is the founder and owner of Clifford Law Office, PC. Doug has represented large and small businesses in all aspects of labor and employment litigation, including suits for wrongful termination, defamation, discrimination, wage and hour, and workers’ compensation discrimination.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in California and around the country. For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: CA CLE.

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TX CLE: New Texas CLE Courses Added

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Our goal at Attorney Credits is to bring you the most current and relevant CLE programming that will make you a better attorney. We try to create about 4-8 new CLE course each month to constantly expand and diversity our CLE library. These are the latest CLE courses that we have added for Texas attorneys:

  • Bankruptcy, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing
  • Digital Asset Landscape: Preparation for Changes in Legislation
  • Discharging Taxes in Bankruptcy
  • Ethics in Jury Selection
  • Hot Topics and Emerging Trends in Cannabis Litigation
  • Keep Calm and Drone On: Regulation and Liability
  • Obtaining a Green Card Through Marriage
  • Securities Crowdfunding in the Age of Kickstarter
  • The Indian Child Welfare Act
  • Top Tech Tools for Lawyers
  • Will Bias Cost You Your Next Case?

We are constantly working hard to bring you the best CLE courses and the best CLE presenters. We are not limited by geography like many city and state Bar Associations. We bring you the best presenters and CLE content at your fingertips, available at any time of the day or night. For more information about Texas CLE, please click here: TX CLE.

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IL CLE: Late Reporting Deadline is September 30

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The deadline to complete the Illinois MCLE requirement for Illinois attorneys (last name A – M) was June 30.[1] Illinois attorneys must complete a minimum of thirty (30) IL CLE credit hours every two years in order to complete the IL MCLE requirement, including 6 hours of Professional Responsibility.

IL CLE Reporting Group

  • Last Name A – M
    • Report in 2016
  • Last Name N – Z
    • Report in 2017

If your last name begins with A-M and you have not yet completed and reported your required IL CLE, you must finish your CLE hours and report by September 30. You will be subject to late fees, but you will still be able to practice law in Illinois. For more information about the IL MCLE requirement and deadlines, please click the following link: IL CLE.

[1] Please note that your IL MCLE reporting period depends on the first letter of your last name (as it appears on the master roll of attorneys with the Illinois ARDC).

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NY CLE: Self-Report New York CLE Compliance

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We often get calls from attorneys around the country asking about New York CLE course reporting. Usually, the attorney that calls want to know if we report their course completion to their State Bar or CLE Commission. The short answer is…. it depends. It depends on what state. In some states, providers are required to report and in other states attorneys must report.

NY CLE Reporting

New York attorneys must self-report NY CLE compliance on the attorney registration form every two year compliance period.

New York is a self-reporting CLE state.  That means that providers do not report your completed NY CLE courses to the New York CLE Board.[1] In fact, New York attorneys don’t even have to report the completion of their individual NY CLE courses. In order to fulfill the reporting requirement, you must file your attorney registration form and indicate that you have completed your New York CLE requirement within 30 days after your birthday on alternate years. For more information on New York CLE please click here: NY CLE.

[1] We do maintain a record of all your completed courses and you can access your certificates of completion at anytime from our website.

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CA CLE: Group 3 MCLE Compliance Date is February 1

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California MCLE (Minimum Continuing Legal Education) refers to the approved continuing legal education that is required of California attorneys. California attorneys must complete a total of 25 hours of approved CA CLE credit every three years. Of those 25 required hours, 4 hours must be completed in legal ethics, 1 hour in competence issues and 1 hour of elimination of bias.[1]

CA MCLE Group 3 (N-Z)

  • Deadline: 2/1/2017

California attorneys that are in Group 3 (Last names N-Z) must complete and report CA MCLE compliance by the February 1 CA CLE reporting deadline. California attorneys beware: the State Bar of California has been conducting thousands of California MCLE audits each year. Please remember to properly complete your required California CLE! For more information about the CA MCLE requirement please click the following link: CA CLE.[2]

[1] And don’t forget to complete at least 12.5 hours of participatory credit!

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CLE on QDROs and Retirement Benefits in Divorce

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Mistakes in drafting a judgment of divorce/dissolution and drafting a QDRO (qualified domestic relations order) are very common and can be extremely costly for your client. Practitioners that fail to appreciate the key nuances of QDROs may commit errors that can result in loss of significant benefits to the non-employee spouse. Considering the prevalence of pitfalls, the potential impact of errors and the high liklihood that divorce actions will involve a QDRO, practitioners must anticipate and avoid mistakes in drafting the judgment of divorce/dissolution and the QDRO.

The value of pension and retirement benefits in this country is estimated to be over $15 trillion dollars and covers over half of the American workforce. These retirement savings now represent the bulk of many clients’ assets and dividing retirement accounts is often one of the most important aspects of divorce proceedings.

In this CLE course, Joshua D. Ferraro provides numerous practice points about QRDOs, defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans and cash benefit plans so you can avoid making key mistakes with your client during divorce. When you are done viewing this course you will be able to: navigate ERISA & the laws that govern retirement assets, recognize the different types of retirement assets and how they work, understand the procedures & substance of how these retirement benefits are divided, valuate plans & distinguish marital versus non-marital components and avoid common pitfalls. To access the course please click here: Understanding How Retirement Benefits Are Divided in Divorce.

Additional issues discussed in this CLE course:

  • How to value defined contribution plans
  • How the pre-marital share is divided
  • How to calculate defined benefit plans
  • The Qualified Joint Survivor Annuity (QJSA)
  • Frozen vs. unfrozen pension accounts
  • How the interest will be assigned in a defined benefit plan
  • Survivorship benefits
  • Military qualifying court orders
  • IRAs

Joshua D. Ferraro assists attorneys and individuals with Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs). He assists clients throughout Florida with claims arising from personal injury and wrongful death as well as those involved in intra-family disputes involving a contested will or trust. In addition to his litigation practice, Josh continues to advise family law attorneys throughout Florida and the country on the process of distributing retirement benefits in compliance with federal law. Outside of his law practice, Josh donates a substantial amount of time to working with local charitable organizations.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in Illinois and around the country. For more information about CLE in Illinois please click the following link: IL CLE.

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CLE on Dealing with Homeowner Associations (HOAs)

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An HOA (Homeowners Association) is a nonprofit corporation or unincorporated association that manages a common interest real estate development.  Most of us have a good idea of the tasks that HOAs perform – but what are the limits on an HOAs power?

According to Community Associations Institute, over two million people in the United States serve on HOA boards or committees!

Presented by attorney Jay Brown, this class will provide a primer for lawyers regarding basic homeowner association (HOA) functions, rights, and responsibilities. The main issues discussed by Jay include where to start when dealing with HOAs, key governing documents, the function of the Board of Directors, communication with members and current issues. To access the course please click here: Homeowner Associations: Recurring Issues and Common Difficulties.

Additional topics that are covered in this CLE course:

  • Key legal resources
  • HOA laws
  • Judicial attitudes
  • Common area maintenance
  • Exclusive Board control
  • Budget
  • Investigating complaints
  • Members opportunity to be heard
  • Dispute resolution
  • Assessments
  • Fines
  • Pets
  • Notice
  • Enforcement
  • Insufficient reserves
  • Smoking
  • Short term rentals

Jay J. Brown, J.D., has been with Feist, Vetter, Knauf and Loy, APC since 1991. A 1990 graduate of California Western School of Law, Jay served as the Chair of the Real Property Section of Bar Association of Northern San Diego County from 1996-1998 and served on the Board of Directors from 2000-2003. He frequently speaks to legal groups and associations on homeowner association issues and landlord-tenant law.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in Illinois and around the country. For more information about CLE in Illinois please click the following link: IL CLE.

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CLE on Authentication of Handwriting in Legal Cases

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Have you had a case where the authenticity of a signature on a document was at issue?  Cases that involve contracts, wills (even graffiti!!) and other important ‘writings’ often turn on whether it was written by a certain person.  This CLE presentation details the scientific methodology used by forensic handwriting examiners in order to determine the authenticity of handwriting and signatures.

When the veracity of writing is at issue, attorneys frequently turn to an expert – a trained forensic handwriting examiner.

Mike Wakshull of Q9 Consulting provides an excellent introduction to the tools and the trade of the forensic document examiner. In this highly informative presentation Mike teaches the basics of handwriting analysis, describes natural variations in handwriting, explains the forensic document examiners role, highlights case examples where the authenticity of handwriting is at issue and provides an objective framework for handwriting analysis & authentication. To access the course please click here: Authentication of Handwriting in Legal Cases.

Additional topics covered in this CLE course:

  • The Zodiac case
  • Inter-writer variability
  • Intra-writer variability
  • Handwriting identification techniques
  • Reasons for special cause variation
  • 21 key elements for handwriting identification
  • The tools used to examine documents
  • Generally accepted methods of examining documents
  • Handwriting comparison
  • The difference between simulated writing and disguised writing

A court-qualified forensic document examiner, Michael N. Wakshull has been involved in the Forensic Document Examination arena since 1983 and belongs to a number of Document Examination Associations. Mike has been qualified as an expert witness in California Superior Courts and Federal District Court, testifying in cases involving contract disputes, will contests and others. A treasure trove of information, Mike frequently presents to legal groups and associations around the country.

This CLE course is offered in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

Attorney Credits offers CLE for attorneys in California and around the country. For more information about CLE in California please click the following link: CA CLE.

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