Author Archive: Brian Sanchez

Donald Trump raises prospect of keeping ties to his firms


Bloomberg News



President-elect Donald Trump speaks as his sons Eric Trump, right, Donald Trump Jr., left, and his daughter Ivanka Trump listen during the grand opening ceremony of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26, 2016.

Donald Trump indicated Tuesday he was unlikely to disentangle himself from his business empire as fully as he previously suggested, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest while president.

Trump and his representatives said during the campaign he would have nothing to do with his businesses if he became president, promising a “total and complete separation.”

But since the election, Trump has met with foreign business partners and involved daughter Ivanka Trump in such discussions, even though he has said his children will run his companies during the presidency as a way to separate their operations from the White House.

On Tuesday, Trump told the New York Times that “the law’s totally on my side” and that “the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”

Trump’s comments came after the Republican contended with other concerns overhanging his transition. Trump University disclosed a $25 million settlement Friday to resolve litigation involving allegations of fraud at the defunct organization. And Trump’s charitable foundation said in a tax filing that it had engaged in self-dealing in 2015 and prior years that resulted from payments to “disqualified persons,” or foundation insiders.

An expanded version of this article appears on WSJ.com.

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Autumn Statement 2016: Less fuel tax, better roads, and fewer regulations…the wishlist of North Wales firms

Conservative Chancellor Philip Hammond will have his first moment in the spotlight today when he unveils his plan for the British economy.

It is an important Autumn Statement because it is Mr Hammond’s first and is also the first budget announcement since Brexit.

On the wishlist for businesses in North Wales were cuts in fuel tax, infrastructure investment and targeted support for small and medium sized firms.

Rubicon Garden Rooms managing director John Lyon wants the Chancellor to show that he is on the side of small businesses.

When is the Autumn Statement 2016 and what might it mean for YOUR finances

He said: “I’d suggest making business rates relief a permanent fixture for small and micro businesses, including town-centre based retailers, funded by a levy on big supermarkets and out of town shopping parks.

John Lyon of Rubicon Garden Rooms
John Lyon of Rubicon Garden Rooms

“The Chancellor could also remove the apprenticeship levy on small and micro businesses, which acts to discourage the employment and training of young people.

“He could possibly provide start-up businesses with relief from Corporation Tax, for the first three years of their existence, if turnover is below say, £250k, as this is the time when fledgling businesses are most likely to fail.

“Likewise, reducing employers’ national insurance and the cost of red tape would be of great benefit.

“It would help myself and others involved in the construction trade if VAT on building work was removed – national house builders already enjoy VAT freedom for new builds.

“Also, measures to improve broadband to the fastest possible speeds everywhere, by removing BT Open Reach’s monopoly is key to ensuring flexible home working is achievable for all by removing mobile phone signal not-spots.

“In addition, my team and myself are on the road every day, visiting our clients and it’s obvious that the major road network, here in North Wales and across the border, such as the M56 and M53, need investment for improvements to alleviate the constant jams.”

Tony Parry and Simon Walker, joint managing directors of delivery company Delsol, based in Caernarfon and Deeside, would like to see a cut in fuel duty to reduce the burden on their industry.

Tony said: “Here in the UK we currently have one of the highest rates seen across the EU, making us less competitive in moving imports and exports.

“We would also like to see Westminster invest in road and rail infrastructure to allow our industry to flow and deliver goods in a safe and timely fashion.

Delsol director Tony Parry
Delsol director Tony Parry

“That includes funds to improve road surfaces, repair potholes, reduce road noise and create a safer environment for vulnerable road users – with dedicated cycle lanes where possible.

“As an industry, we have little influence on the road infrastructure, so government should be responsible to ensure better standards are available.

“As part of this, there needs to be improved driver facilities across the road networks.

“Our drivers are required by law to take rest breaks and are yet not adequately catered for, with suitably serviced areas to rest where they can feel secure from truck related crimes.”

They also called on the Chancellor to announce plans to tackle the expected shortfall of HGV drivers, with 60,000 needed across the industry in the coming year. Simon said: “The current cost of getting an HGV licence is prohibitive to young people and many others wanting to enter our industry.

“To encourage more people to begin a career we’d like see the student loans system extended, so people can get the vocational qualifications they need to land a well-paid job, outside the present college system.”

Tony added: “We’d also like to see a further reduction in corporation tax and more effective recovery of tax from those multinational companies that seek to avoid paying their dues in the UK tax system.”

Research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking found almost half of the region’s SMEs (49%) in Wales put reducing the burden of bureaucracy at the top of their Autumn Statement wish list, with the same number arguing for Corporation Tax cuts.

Allan Griffiths, regional director for Wales at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Despite moves by the Government, red tape is clearly still a burden for SMEs in Wales.

“They are calling on the Government to ease the regulatory pressures that they say are holding them back, as well as slashing Corporation Tax, incentivising foreign investment and tackling fraud.”

Mike Stott, corporate tax specialist and partner at chartered accountants DSG, had these predictions for the Autumn Statement. He said: “This is the Chancellor’s first opportunity to change what he inherited from George Osborne – that said, I think it would be welcomed by business if he used the Autumn statement to set out his road map, rather than taking the opportunity to make changes.

“Retaining economic stability in the UK will be key, given the post-Brexit nervousness. The economy is faring better than everyone expected but the heart monitor is still on. With this in mind, wholesale changes to the tax system would not be welcome.

“I think we might see an increase in the Annual Investment Allowance – essentially the amount a business can spend on an item of equipment and obtain 100% tax relief in the year of expenditure.

“Cars don’t qualify for this relief but I wonder if, once we have ‘Brexited’ and are potentially no longer subject to EU rules, he might allow 100% immediate tax relief for cars manufactured in the UK.

“We might also see an increase in the scope of relief/support offered to businesses in Enterprise Zones to encourage overseas investment. Any changes would have to comply, at least until Brexit, with EU State Aid rules.

“I also anticipate an update on the reduction in benefits available for salary sacrifice, alongside a possible announcement on his roadmap for pensions, and further enhancements to the apprenticeships scheme.”

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Business Plans for Law Firms

Good business plans keep law firms on track.

Good business plans keep law firms on track.

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

The founders of a new law firm should view the business plan as a road map for the firm’s first three to five years of operation. As they write the plan together, the founders have the opportunity to decide on the practice areas they will enter, how they will acquire clients, how they will attract professional talent and how they will finance the firm’s startup. The business plan is an important management tool and it should remain a part of the firm’s ongoing planning process.

Executive Summary

When outsiders, bankers for example, view a law firm’s business plan, they often do not read beyond the executive summary. For that reason, the summary should be an engaging snapshot of the business plan, containing its essential elements. Writers of the business plan should remember that the job of the executive summary is to impress the reader and encourage him to read the entire plan or pass it on to staff analysts for close study.

The Firm

The section following the executive summary should be an overview of the law firm. It should describe the firm’s premises and provide photographs of the firm’s building, offices and common work areas. It should include information about the size and makeup of the staff, the various skills covered and the number of lawyers in the firm who are engaged in services for clients in the firm’s practice areas, such as corporate law, wills and estates, criminal law and banking and finance.

Marketing

The marketing section should contain in-depth discussions of the firm’s practice areas. Each area being described should contain market information that justifies the way the firm is organized. For example, if the firm is planning a large corporate law area, the business plan should contain a serious discussion of the potential revenue from corporate work. It should state how many potential corporate clients are in the area and note whether they are large corporations or small businesses. It should estimate what market share the firm can reasonably expect and evaluate whether the firm has the right number of lawyers in each practice area.

Biographies

The biographies section should contain biographical summaries of all lawyers in the firm. The logical order is alphabetically, by rank. For example, begin with the managing partner, then the partners and associates. Each summary should present the lawyer’s educational background, legal experience, special qualifications and notable civic activities.

Financial

The financial section should contain the firm’s current balance sheet — a statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. There should be a projection of income over the next three years. The firm’s independent accountants should participate in creating the income projection. The firm can add historical balance sheets to this section in future years. If the firm intends to apply to a bank for some form of startup financing, a summary of the financing needs can appear in this section.

About the Author

Charles Crawford, a former commercial banker, has been a business writer in New York since 1990. He has produced marketing materials for an executive outplacement firm, written the quarterly newsletter of a medical nonprofit organization and created financing proposals/business plans. Crawford holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in international affairs from Florida State University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

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Law firms fighting de Blasio probes will cost taxpayers over $10M

The two high-powered law firms tapped to represent the city in the string of federal and state investigations swirling around the de Blasio administration have quietly received no-bid contracts expected to cost taxpayers at least $10.75 million.

The city’s Law Department agreed to pay out $10 million through the end of the 2017 fiscal year to the law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, which has representing Mayor de Blasio and his operatives for months regarding investigations into Hizzoner’s fundraising activities.

The Law Department also negotiated another contract awarded last month without competitive bidding with the law firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn. It calls for $750,000 in payments through Fiscal 2017 for representation related to the scandalous Rivington House nursing home deal in which the city mysteriously lifted a deed restriction allowing the Lower East Side property to be sold for a $72 million profit.

Both contracts also allow additional payments by taxpayers assuming the investigations extend beyond Fiscal 2017. When asked whether the city expects to spent beyond the $10.75 million allocated, de Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips said, “We have no idea how long the outside reviews will last. We budget prudently.”

A copy of the Carter Ledyard contract, obtained Monday by The Post through a Freedom of Information Law request, refers to the legal services being provided as the “John Doe Investigation (Rivington). Although the contract was officially awarded in October, the law firm began providing its services in April and has already earned $410,000 in work.

Hourly rates include $750 for G.Michael Bellinger and $600 for the firm’s other partners.
None of the 94 pages of documents provided to The Post by the city Comptroller’s office mention de Blasio by name.

But Samuel Moriber, the Law Department’s chief contracting officer, said in an October 27 letter to Bellinger that the legal services are related “to investigations being conducted by the US Attorney’s Office… , the New York City Department of Investigation … and perhaps other entities into the lifting of deed restrictions on a property located at 45 Rivington Street.”

Moriber said the firm “may be asked to represent New York City employees who may be interviewed by any investigative body or subpoenaed to give testimony to a grand jury.”

De Blasio said Friday he has not been questioned in any of the investigations.

His aides on Friday said the city expects to spent $6.5 million in legal fees through year’s end related to the probes.

A spokesman for Comptroller Scott Stringer, whose office approves most city contracts, declined comment when asked if the spending is justified.

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[HERALD INTERVIEW] Free economic zones to foster closer networks between foreign, local firms


When it comes to attracting foreign direct investment, people often assume that foreign-invested firms would be most interested in exclusive incentives in free economic zones for the purpose of lowering their labor and capital costs.

However, foreign firms actually would prefer to partner with Korean firms here to tap into the growth potential of the Korean market and demand of consumers here, according to the head of the planning office of the eight free economic zones.

“A variety of incentives is, of course, necessary and effective in attracting foreign investment. But, based on what we have researched, what’s more important is to help them establish close networks with important local partners to do something exciting,” Kwon Oh-jung, director general of the Planning Office of the Free Economic Zones, said in an interview with The Korea Herald on Thursday.

“So, there should be more incentives for Korean firms who are willing to do business with foreign firms within the FEZs,” he said.

Kwon Oh-jung, director general of the Planning Office of the Free Economic Zones, speaks during an interview with The Korea Herald in Sejong, Thursday. (Kim Yoon-mi/The Korea Herald)

More than 63 percent of foreign-invested companies said their investments in Korea were to make inroads into the local market, Kwon said, citing a recent survey by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency. Another 16 percent was for stake investment and 10 percent for making use of Korean technologies and infrastructure.

To help foreign companies team up with local ones, the government is seeking a law revision to allow foreign-invested companies to lease leftover office space to local partner firms within the FEZs, Kwon said.

“Many vacant offices were left unoccupied due to the strict banning of leasing by foreign firms, who have been telling us that they could work with Korean companies more efficiently if they are nearby,” he said.

Corporate tax reductions are currently allowed only for foreign firms in the FEZs. However, such incentives can be extended to their local partner companies for a certain period of time “if it doesn’t hurt the purpose of the FEZs,” Kwon said.

Foreign-invested firms doing business in the FEZs benefit from 100 percent exemption of corporate tax for five years. An additional 50 percent reduction is offered for the following two years, on the approval of the trade minister-chaired committee of the FEZs.

Korea started to designate FEZs in 2003 to attract foreign investment and promote balanced regional development.

Currently, there are eight FEZs in Korea: Incheon, Busan-Jinhae, Gwangyang Bay, Yellow Sea, Daegu-Gyeongbuk, Saemangeum-Gunsan, East Coast and Chungbuk, accommodating more than 2,100 companies and 96,000 employees, as of 2015.

According to government data, the eight FEZs received $13.2 billion of promised foreign direct investments between 2004 and August 2016, accounting for 7.3 percent of the country’s total foreign direct investments over the same period.

By sector, 34 percent of foreign companies in the FEZs were doing business in tourism, followed by 33 percent in manufacturing, 16 percent in construction and 3 percent in logistics.

Kwon admitted that some of the FEZs such as the East Coast have seen delays in the development of projects.

Since being designated as a FEZ in 2013, East Coast FEZ has had difficulty in finding a foreign investor for projects in the Okgye District for three years. With a Chinese company recently vowing to invest in the district, the expiration date for East Coast’s Okgye development has been extended to December 2018 from February 2017.

“The government is witnessing the need to restructure development projects in the FEZs. If a project is being delayed for too long, it should be scrapped,” Kwon said.

Although there were “some demands” from Incheon for the expansion of the FEZ, it is not the time to discuss such expansion when the government is pushing restructuring in the FEZs, he said.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)

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Laying down the law

While it is challenging to help creatives understand the legal processes, it is also the most rewarding part for Affendy. – Sunpix by Adib Rawi Yahya

Affendy was in legal practice for two years before assisting local fashion brand designer Tengku Mohamed Syahmi then taking the helm of legal manager at MyCreative Ventures. – Sunpix by Adib Rawi Yahya

FASHIONABLE kids are typically the cool kids, but when it comes to law, it’s not popular to be in fashion. Not here and not yet, at least. Unlike environmental and human rights, fashion law is virtually unheard of in Malaysia. But on the forefront of a movement to raise awareness on the need of legal support within the local fashion scene and creative industry, is Affendy Ali.

“In most major cities in the west, they have law firms that advise retailers, fashion brands, emerging designers, and in the United States, the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America),” Affendy highlighted. Sure enough, law schools in that part of the world offer fashion law programmes that educate aspiring barristers on intellectual property, business and finance, international trade and government regulation, as well as consumer culture and civil rights.

The University of Malaya graduate did not set out to make fashion law his niche; rather it was a calling that he chanced upon, one that also happens to complement his own dedication for sartorial excellence.

Prior to his current stint at government investment arm MyCreative Ventures Sdn Bhd, Affendy operated behind the scenes for Tsyahmi. For a year since the fashion label’s inception, he managed its legal affairs, public relations, business development and even (casually) photography. When the opportunity arose to transition to a corporation that “aims to spur the country’s creative industry”, it made perfect sense to make the switch.

“At the back of my head I thought, why help one entity when I can expand and help the creative industry as a whole?” the 28-year-old legal manager recounted.

Essentially, MyCreative Ventures invests in viable Malaysian creative businesses – their nature of which varies from performing arts, creative technology, to literature and of course, fashion and design – via equities or loans. Affendy’s role comes in at the contractual stage.

“My job is to advise the company on our investment and financing related matters. Basically, I vet through the terms of the financing agreements and make sure that the interests of MyCreative Ventures are best protected in all aspects in its contractual relationships with clients and external parties we have collaborations with,” he divulged.

Apart from that, the Kota Kinabalu native also takes care of the interests of MyCreative Ventures’ clients – when they enter a consignment contract with a retailer, for instance. Some of MyCreative Ventures’ clients in the fashion category include Pearly Wong, Nelissa Hilman and Off The Rack Asia.

The challenge is helping these creatives understand the necessity of undergoing certain legal processes, but Affendy assures that it is also the most rewarding part of his job.

“When I was in law school, my lecturers would always say that one day we’ll become lawyers, judges, or work for the Attorney-General’s Chambers, but to never forget to contribute to society. So I feel very much obliged to make people understand the law and legal jargons because it’s important, especially for people without a business or legal background,” he reiterated.

Practising law in the creative industry may not be as lucrative as in construction, oil and gas, or logistics and transportation, but Affendy believes that the former needs just as much support. Like any industry, the creative trade thrives on a dynamic ecosystem.

“In fashion, it doesn’t end at the designers – there are manufacturers, retailers, PR agencies, stylists and the media. MyCreative Ventures fills in the gap that fashion designers have, which is financing.

“I’ve got lawyer friends who are for human and environmental rights, and I respect them for it because those are causes. But I also tell budding lawyers and law students that there’s an untapped industry that really needs professional attention, not only from lawyers but accountants, finance experts and so on,” said Affendy.

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Free access to SA legislation for small law firms

Via its South African National Legislation service (NetLaw), Sabinet provides users with instant online access to SA legislation. This service is free to small law firms with three or fewer practising attorneys, enabling them to stay up to date with the national legislation currently in force.

“For smaller firms with limited resources, one of the biggest financial commitments they face is for information, moreover, keeping up to date with frequent changes to legislation,” says Rosalind Hattingh, managing director at Sabinet.

These small law firms face the challenges of managing cash flow, retaining and growing a client base, navigating the economic climate and staying up to date with their profession. In addition, they have to spend more on technology and access to information to enable them to stay abreast of ever-changing legislation in order to continue being able to competently represent their clients.

  See also

   

Challenges felt particularly by small law firms include being under increasing pressure to do more for less and facing greater fee negotiation from clients than ever before. Furthermore, their service offering is being eroded as non-legal practitioners are able to provide certain legal services, such as drafting wills.

While staying on top of technology, two-thirds of small law firms already carry out their legal research online. Free and easy access to all the information they need is a piece of good fortune in the current economic situation.

Sabinet provides free access for over 300 small law firms nationally, via its free NetLaw offering – an online system that covers updated and consolidated South African Principal Acts from 1910 to date, and delivers timely and accurate updates on new legislation or amendments to existing Acts.

Easy to navigate, quick to access and containing all the legal information any lawyer could need, NetLaw levels the playing field for many legal practitioners.

“We believe that we can make a difference with this free offering to the legal profession and assist small law firms to meet the demands of the legal landscape – allowing them to spend less time collecting information and more time providing insight and analysis,” concludes Sanet Vos, manager, Information Services.




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UBS Puerto Rico Muni Bond customers can get help from Mark Tepper law firm



FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — As individual investors continue to feel the financial pain of Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis, the Mark A. Tepper law firm is offering a free consultation to UBS clients who lost money in Puerto Rico municipal bonds, recommended by a UBS broker.

Individual investors may call attorney Mark Tepper at (954) 961-0096 to determine if they have a viable claim for recovery. 

“Many individual investors with Puerto Rico municipal bond investments may have suffered losses. If you are a UBS client who has lost money in Puerto Rico municipal bonds, recommended by a UBS broker, you should seek advice about your legal rights,” says Attorney Mark A. Tepper, former Chief Trial Counsel at the New York Attorney General’s Bureau of Investor Protection and Securities.

Current and former customers of UBS, who purchased Puerto Rico municipal bonds or bond funds recommended by UBS brokers, can also email attorney Mark A. Tepper at askmark@marktepper.com to discuss their legal rights.

If you have information on any Puerto Rico municipal bonds or a potential claim for recovery, contact the law firm of Mark A. Tepper P.A.

Puerto Rico defaulted on July 1, 2016 on $1 Billion dollars of triple tax free Puerto Rico municipal bonds sold in all fifty states or overseas. The default included $819 Million in principal and interest on General Obligation (G.O.) bonds. Puerto Rico previously defaulted on certain other Puerto Rico municipal securities on January 1, 2016.

About Mark A. Tepper, P.A. (www.MarkTepper.com)            
Attorney Mark A. Tepper is the former Chief Trial Counsel at the New York Attorney General’s Bureau of Investor Protection and Securities. He has earned the reputation of “Investor Advocate” while practicing law for over 35 years representing individual investors. FINRA arbitrators have upheld stockbroker fraud claims filed by Mr. Tepper against many brokerage firms. A member of the Florida, New York and California Bars, Mr. Tepper is peer-reviewed for 16 consecutive years, AV PREEMINENT® for ethical standards and legal ability, the highest rating of lawyers in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Mark Hopkinson, NewsMark Public Relations
561-852-5767 mhopkinson@newsmarkpr.com

www.newsmarkpr.com       

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161121/441627 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ubs-puerto-rico-muni-bond-customers-can-get-help-from-mark-tepper-law-firm-300366622.html

SOURCE Mark A. Tepper, P.A.

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Big tobacco firms appeal landmark Quebec judgment in class action suit

The judge who ordered three tobacco companies to pay more than $15 billion in damages to Quebec smokers for damaging their health created his own law in the process, a lawyer for the companies argued at the Quebec Court of Appeal. 

Simon Potter was the first lawyer to make arguments Monday in what is scheduled to be an unusually long five-day hearing before the appellate court. 

Potter argued that Superior Court Justice Brian Riordan’s decision in June 2015 contains “clear errors of law” and a “new standard of causation” that does not exist in Canadian law. 

Riordan found Imperial Tobacco Canada, JTI-Macdonald Corp. and Rothman, Benson Hedges Inc. liable for disease and addiction suffered by more than one million Quebecers over a nearly 50-year period. Potter argued the decision did not offer evidence that the people included in the class action were unaware of the risks involved with smoking before they developed health problems.

“Cause isn’t found through common sense. Cause is found through evidence,” Potter told the five judges who are hearing the appeal. “It’s difficult to parse out what standard of causation the judge did use.

“Our clients are stuck with a liability that is based on conjecture.” 

Potter also criticized the methods Riordan used to determine how many people should be eligible to receive damages. 

“We’re in a situation where we have an enormous net and there are a lot of people who shouldn’t be in it,” Potter said. 

Riordan’s decision involved two class-action suits. One group involved 100,000 smokers and ex-smokers who had developed lung cancer, throat cancer or emphysema. The other group represented 918,000 addicted smokers, but only those who developed disease will get a financial award.

Related

Mario Bujold, the director general of the Conseil québécois sur le tabac et la santé, a plaintiff in the class action, said outside court the delay caused by the appeal is preventing people who have serious health problems from having access to what the court awarded them.   

“That’s the sad part of it. We’re talking about victims of the products of the tobacco companies who have been waiting 18 years for justice to be rendered, and all they can do is wait again. I’m sad for that because those are sick people who have been waiting too long.”

“The tobacco companies are saying we didn’t have evidence to prove that if the companies gave more information (on the risks involved) to the customer there would less smokers. They refuse to admit there is a fault there. But at the same time when you look at how they react to having to issue every new warning, you can really see how that has an impact. The type of warning has an impact on smokers. That’s the heart of the whole trial.”

Lawyers for the Conseil québécois sur le tabac et la santé will make their arguments later this week.  

pcherry@postmedia.com

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