Wealth

Help your Attorney Win your Case by Following some Simple Rules

Help your Attorney Win your Case by Following some Simple Rules

Many people who find themselves face to face with the U.S. justice system for the first time are at a loss about what they can do to maximize their odds of a favorable outcome (or to at least minimize the odds of an unfavorable outcome). Whether you are involved in a civil or criminal proceeding, keeping a level head and following a few simple rules can give you (and your lawyer) the edge needed to achieve a favorable settlement or ruling:

  1. Don’t wait to hire your lawyer – Each day or week that you wait to hire a lawyer is time that you might be arguing or representing yourself – and making a mistake. It is important to hire a legal professional who have expertise and can view the matter objectively. Also, time is often of the essence in a potential legal case. If you delay consulting with an attorney, not only has valuable time passed, but you also run the risk of missing crucial legal deadlines. A good lawyer will also tell you whether you can resolve the dispute without resorting to litigation. Finally, if you have been accused of a crime, you need to contact a lawyer right away.
  2. Find a lawyer that fits your needs – Choosing the right lawyer is first important step. Friends and associates may give you recommendations, but it is better to get a referral from the local bar association or another lawyer. Find out if you need a specialist. Many lawyers specialize in one particular type of law. Find out if a small or large firm is right for you. Larger firms may have more resources for complex cases, but small firms take on fewer cases and may devote more time to you. Before you hire a lawyer, have brief meetings with several lawyers. Get a sense of their experience and personality, and determine whether their legal style is a match for your approach.
  3. Follow your lawyer’s advice – You paid for good legal advice. Don’t waste it. If you follow your own “instincts” or that of your friends, then you are squandering your lawyer’s expertise, as well as your own money. If for some reason you don’t trust your lawyer’s advice then as a last resort, talk to another lawyer.
  4. Keep your lawyer informed – Your lawyer understands the law, but he or she only knows the facts that you – the client – are presenting. Make sure to tell your lawyer everything about your case, whether or not you think it is significant. Even minor details may be important for developing a legal strategy. Also make sure to update your lawyer if things change, so that he is not working from outdated information. Finally, make sure to tell your attorney unfavorable facts. That way he or she is prepared to deal with it before going into trial or settlement negotiations. It is not good if the other side surprises your lawyer with information you already knew! Bad facts are not uncommon, but they will not away simply because you hide them.
  5. Communicate your expectations – Your attorney needs to know what your expectations are. What is the best result you hope for? What is the worst you expect? Your lawyer needs to know what to aim for and what the minimum you’ll agree to. Also, communication is a two-way street. Make sure your lawyer explains to you all the possible outcomes. That way you know what “winning” actually means in concrete terms, and also what might happen if you don’t.
  6. Be open to settlement – About 97 percent of civil cases are settled before trial, or dismissed without a trial. That means one of two things almost always happens: both sides eventually agree to resolve the case on their own, or a judge decides that a case is not worthy of going to trial. In either situation, it is your advantage to listen to any offers the other side may make. In the first situation, you “win” when you agree to a good outcome earlier than later, saving both time and money. In the second situation, you “win” because taking an offer is a better result than having your case dismissed.

These simple rules can give you the edge you need to win your case. Take them to heart and give your attorney the assistance he or she needs to best serve you.

Written by Shannon Kraight for the law offices of Lakeman, Peagler, Hollett & Alsobrook, LLC. Each Birmingham DUI lawyer is committed to your case and a favorable outcome. A free consultation is just a click away.


The Smarter Way To File Your Taxes

The Smarter Way To File Your Taxes

Did you know that the average refund distributed during tax season is almost $3,000? Most of the time, that refund will go right into a savings account, but there are other ways to spend a tax refund that can boost your refund for next year, and no, it doesn’t include going on vacation or a shopping spree. The ways to super charge your tax refund are discussed in Cheap Sally’s The Smarter Way To File Your Taxes. Cheap Sally goes in depth into various topics about taxes, such as reasons to hire a tax pro, three online tax preparation services that are worth looking into, the estimated time burden needed to file your taxes, as well as deductions that are commonly missed each year. Filing your taxes just got easier with this helpful guide, and with proper preparation and organization, you’ll have your tax return filed in no time at all! CheapSally.com recommends using a coupon code when shopping online. Get the embed code here.

taxes


The History of the Stock Exchange

The History of the Stock Exchange

Today the stock market is an integral part of our economy, and it is hard to imagine a time when it didn’t exist. That time was over 300 years ago. But, towards the end of the 17th century, when trading started in Jonathan’s Coffee House, situated near the Exchange Alley in the city of London, things began to change. In 1698 businessman and coffee drinker John Castaing issued a document called The Course of the Exchange and other things‘ which was essentially a list of goods which could be bought or sold. Of course, people have always traded goods for thousands of years but this is first official record we have of any sort of organised and premeditated buying and selling.

The word spread fast and soon people were flocking to Jonathan’s Coffee House to do business. This carried on for a few years until men were regularly being thrown out for fighting and so the trading filtered down into many other coffee shops in the city. By the end of the 17th century there were over one hundred companies buying and selling stocks in the city of London with more popping up at an alarming rate. John Castaing, who was a Huguenot broker, was now publishing his document on a Tuesday and Friday and this was used for pricing and exchange rates. Coffee shops and traders relied on this for years and he became the industry leader, possibly due to his connections with the shipping trade.

In 1748 Jonathans was burnt down by a huge fire which swept through Change Alley, burning down many of the coffeee shops which hosted stock trading. The stockbrokers, now with no where to go to trade, funded the rebuild of numerous coffee houses including Jonathans which was aptly renamed The Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile in America, which was, surprisingly, slightly slower than us to catch on, was waking up and smelling the coffee literally. The first stock exchange was the Philadelphia Stock Exchange but when the New York Stock exchange opened it quickly superceeded Philadelphia and soon became the most powerful in the world. By this point trading was spreading like wildfire and in 1801 what was formally Jonathan’s Coffee Shop, where it all began, started a membership scheme and, unless you were a member you couldn’t offically trade.

By 1836 the stock market was already an integral part of the worlds economy with several exchanges in American and England. At this time a rule book was also written up and more and more stockbrokers were trading officially within an exchange. After WW1, the economy was becoming stronger and stronger and business with foreign countries was becoming more and more frequent. Measures were put in place so that dealing with overseas clients was easier and countries such as Brazil and Chile were trading with the UK daily.

However, with this new emerging foreign market comes the possiblity of fraud and over the last fifty years foreign exchange fraud has become rife. It works by scammers convincing traders that they can make a fortune by trading in the foreign exchange market. There are many many schemes but they all work in a similar way; traders are promised a huge return for an initial investment of normally between $5,000 – $10,000. They happily stump up the cash but never see the returns. By this point the scammers are away with their money.

With trading becoming more and more sophisticated as the years go by, and organisations attempting to whittle out fraud, the stock market is stronger than ever and will continue to be one of the most important aspects of the modern world.


4 Things Our Grannies Taught Us

4 Things Our Grannies Taught Us

For the forty somethings out there, you’ll probably remember (especially if you live in the UK) quite a few things which your granny or granddad taught you which you don’t have the time or inclination to do nowadays… Stay with us while we have a stroll through some of these things and discuss if what Granny taught us is worth reviving!

1). Brilliant Money Saving Granny Tips – Wine and Preserves

Nowadays, most of us get our wine and jam from the Supermarket, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll have grown up with every summer being an orgy of fruit picking, brewing and pickling, which had a two-fold benefit over the modern consumerist approach: Doing these things yourself saves heaps of money, it creates food which is much, much better for your insides and of course there is the real pleasure of creating something which tastes far better than anything you can get from a supermarket!

Of course, wine-making and the creation of preserves and pickles requires a whole heap of knowledge, but if you’re the sort of person who loves ‘getting your hands dirty’ this is one way to both save money and give real meaning to your food. There’s nothing better than having a glass of your own home-made wine with a nice crusty loaf and some of your own jam or preserves. What’s more, if you use something like elderberry or wild redcurrants then the actual fruit is available for free… you just have to track down a source!

2). Fix Your own Clothes – Darning Socks

We’ve all been there – you have socks which you wear from year to year. Eventually, with all the wearing and washing, socks have a tendency to develop holes in the toes. I can remember my granny spending hours darning socks – basically using wool and a needle to fix the holes. This meant that the socks took on a sort of life of their own, became almost organic in nature and changed over the years. Actual equipment to achieve this feat is very low tech and consists of a large needle and some appropriate thread or yarn, but the results speak for themselves with long-lasting socks which never need replacing. Perhaps not one for the fashion conscious, but for those who value their cash more than fashion a great one to remember!

3). Use Every Part of the Animal

It always staggers me that supermarkets today offer such a small range of the choicest cuts of meats and tend to shy away from offering any of the less attractive parts of an animal. You’ll see meat laid out all shiny and red (mainly because these cuts of meat are sprayed or painted to make them look enticing!) but you very rarely, unless you go to a specialist butcher, see things like heart, kidneys or brain. These parts of the animal can, ironically, produce some of the tastiest food, yet because of modern culture we’re not offered these parts of the animal. Nowadays, with meat costing so much, it makes sense to use these cheaper parts of the animal – try liver and bacon casserole and tell me it isn’t delicious!

4). Learn To Knit!

Most of our grannies were all well versed at knitting, infact it was positively encouraged during the war years. It’s something which the normal person in the street wouldn’t have the first clue about now, yet this most practical of hobbies gives so much whilst allowing the creation of totally unique clothing… and of course the cost savings are enormous over actually buying knitted clothes! For the price of one knitted jumper from a high street fashion shop you can create three jumpers yourself – all that’s required is time and patience and some nice yarn, a couple of needles and a knitting pattern. Once you know the basic steps required to knit you can knit whilst watching TV, relaxing or in bed. Perfect!

Pack Lane Wool offer a large range of knitting yarns from Noro Yarns, crochet equipment and a whole host of materials for all sorts of crafts.


Interesting Ancient and Old Currency

Interesting Ancient and Old Currency

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the ancient barter trade of times gone by, but did you know there used to be very real old currency that was used in trades. Sure it wasn’t the paper and plastic that we have today, but then again with contemporary problems in place with the world economy we may be using barter for trading soon enough – although I hope not. The old money currency systems that used to exist seem bizarre or even alien today, but they are compelling to say the least. Let’s take a look as some of the strangest old currency exchange and values of yesteryear.

African Potato Mashers

Bafia potato mashers were used to, surprisingly, mash potatoes; they were also used as old currency. In ancient Cameroon, these heavy potato mashers weren’t in supply by the large and were therefore reserved for affluent members of the community. That is why it was perfect for trading power and currency. In fact a Bafian wife would set you back approximately 30 Bafia potato mashers; which begs the question, “Any potato mashers left for the kitchen?” In all seriousness though, the value of old currency is still quite measurable using a bit of research in anthropology. As a bonus, relatively nearby Mali used to use copper and metal snakes as old currency which I would imagine would scare any potential wife you’re in the market for away.

Asian Knife Collections

Meanwhile in Asia, if a mugger ever attempted to rob someone he would have a much harder time making a clean getaway. The first ever form of old coins and currency in China came in the form of knifes; a great defence against an impoverished mugger would be a wallet full of weapons I would imagine. One such knife looked like a barber’s razor which can only give new meaning to the phrase ‘slashing prices.’ Less dangerous was the Egyptian form of old currency exchange which was quite simply jewellery. If you wanted to buy a chariot or Nile raft, all you needed to do was produce a necklace or gold ring with which to give in exchange. Not quite old British currency, one could only imagine how many pyramids one could buy with the Crown Jewels.

A Potluck or Potlatch

Finally, North American Indians seemed to have an old currency of their own long before the first settler hit the east coast. A potlatch ceremony would be similar to a church fete in that people would bring old junk and go home with new junk. The exchange of everything from Orca teeth to hawk beaks would happen as rarer items had stronger values attached to them. One could argue this was simply bartering but there was real value attached to individual items so it was more or less systematic thereby transcending the traditional bartering. Old currency may have been more fun to exchange than paper or coins, but it would take a marketing genius to figure out any sort of Forex system attached to a single Orca tooth.


Save Money Booking a Flight

Save Money Booking a Flight

Save money alwaysSome of us can remember the times when we would go to the travel agent up the street  if we wanted to fly somewhere. It was quite simple. The only real decision you had to make was which travel agency to use if there were more than the one in the same area. On most occasions you didn’t even have to make that decision as travel agencies were well scattered around the suburbs and major country towns. It was only in the cities where any real competition occurred. The way of purchasing airline tickets was soon to change.

For example, loyalty was more common in the past. When you went for a drink in the bar of a hotel you would usually be confronted with a large picture of an aeroplane, or an airline hostess inside a large frame, telling you the phone number of your favourite carrier. You would never make enquiries about the prices charged by any other airlines. You only travelled on the one carrier and that was that. It was a time proven system and the airlines themselves were never challenged, they advertised on their safety record on not the prices they charged.

Things all changed when the internet came along. All of a sudden the airlines had to compete against one another on prices. Passengers threw loyalty out the window and flying suddenly became less expensive. Former competitors merged with each other and previously unknown airlines from foreign countries began flying in looking for customers. The internet shopper became very sophisticated and when armed with a credit card, he or she found they could snap up a bargain on the spot. The airline didn’t matter all that much, it was the seat price that your decision was based on.

However, the major carriers were not to be beaten. They went about reviving the long held tradition of loyalty and introduced loyalty rewards programs. The more you travelled with the one specific airline, or one of its partners, the more rewards points you earned and these points could be cashed in at a later date for cheaper travel. If you flew frequently you could even grab a freebie every so often. Rewards points became so popular that you could even earn them while doing your grocery shopping in supermarkets.

How to Save Money When Booking a Flight

Once in the market the internet was too big to be dominated by any one airline company and it still remains the one true vehicle for finding the cheapest airline tickets, no matter what the different airlines tell us in their glossy advertising brochures. When it all comes down to dollars and cents nothing can beat the ability of an airline customer sitting down in an airport lounge comparing prices. This is particularly valuable if the airline is soon to leave and it still has many seats to fill. If you are not a naturally stressful person and your itinerary is flexible you can save quite a lot of money by being a last minute traveller.

There are many sites on the internet that specialise in cheap airline tickets. These sites keep an up to the minute eye on ticket price movements and can be quite a valuable tool in your armoury when seeking the cheapest flights. For instance, in spite of the advice that the cheapest flights can sometimes be arranged in airport lounges at the last minute, it is not an appropriate way to take your family around the world, especially during the holiday season when most flights are fully booked out well before departure time. It is therefore much safer to have your passage fully arranged as early as possible.

The best and safest approach is to book your seats at least three months out. This will give you plenty of time to look around to make sure you get the best deal possible. When you are sure you will be travelling and what routes you will be taking, start looking around for the cheapest flights. When you book early many airlines will allow you a refund if you have paid any extra fees. Other airlines will give you an option of being able to reuse the tickets on a later date as a part of their standard fare. Whatever you do make certain you understand what the ticket covers, especially in the event of something occurring that you had not planned for. Reserving your seats early can often save you a lot of money in that the airlines generally increase their prices 21 days out, then 14 days, seven days and even as close as three days. If you are flying internationally it is advisable to book as early as six months out to get the best deals.

The biggest advantage you have by being able to use the internet is that you have the ability to shop around from the comfort of your home. You no longer have to walk around the various travel agencies, nor do you have to spend hours on the phone waiting for someone in a call centre to finally get to talking to you. However you must never book the first offer you come across. There are many cheap airline ticket agencies online. Check them all out. While doing so you will be gathering information about the flight you are after, such as which airlines dominate each specific route, what the average fare is and if someone is offering any specials. If it all seems a bit dear, don’t panic, leave it for a few days and look around again. If one of the airlines feel the seats are filling too slowly they might drop their price a little and this could start a rush with the others doing likewise.


Five Things You Didn’t Realise You Could Claim Compensation For

Five Things You Didn’t Realise You Could Claim Compensation For

Claiming compensation is a tricky social issue. Some people feel that anyone can claim compensation for any piece of bad luck these days. But the fact remains that negligence is everywhere and if you are seriously injured, you deserve to be adequately compensated. So here are five things that (in the UK) you can expect recompense for that you may not have known:

Accidents Caused By Uninsured / Untraced Drivers

Being in an accident involving a vehicle is sufficiently traumatic. But when you’re involved in an accident with someone too cowardly to own up to causing the accident, or someone sufficiently stupid enough to be driving without insurance, things will seem excessively horrible. Where is the money going to come from? Well, in the UK at least, the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB. Nothing to do with aliens, unfortunately) has you covered. However, it does come with a hefty excess of £350 plus legal fees.

Bus and Taxi Crashes

Whilst we all typically expect compensation in accidents in public places, accidents related to public transport often slip by us less because we don’t know that we can claim, but because we’re afraid to claim, or convinced that it is impossible to claim. To be sure, getting witness statements to back up your claim can be difficult (unless you’re on a service you take daily with the same group of people). But considering the standing state of my passengers and the severity of injuries that can result in a crash or emergency stop situation, bus companies do come under intense scrutiny from the police and from passengers alike if there is an accident, and witnesses are more willing to come forward than you’d think.

The British High Speed Rail 2 Link

A passionate point of debate in the UK at the moment is the forthcoming High Speed Rail 2 link between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Intended to improve international links to the midlands and northern England, concerns have been aired about the noise, pollution and the basic need for such a project. Of course, people living in the path of the route will be hit by compulsory purchase orders and forced to relocate, with compensation.

But what about those who are stuck next to the construction work and the noise, smell and danger of a high speed train? Well compensation will be offered through the government’s Exceptional Hardship Scheme. However, this will only be offered to those who have to move urgently at a time when the price of their houses has been dramatically reduced (for reasons including divorce, unemployment or serious illness). There is also some ambiguity over the precise route, until early April 2012.

Vibration White Finger / Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Despite being a rather descriptive malady, knowledge about, Vibration White Finger (VWF) or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) isn’t exactly mainstream. Yet, around 1 in 10 people who use vibrating power tools will suffer from this industrial disease. VWF is caused by restricted blood supply in your extremities whilst using vibrating power tools, as well as working in extreme cold temperature. The intensity and duration of work with vibrating equipment matters: even a small vibration over an extended period can be as damaging as using an intense tool for a short amount of time.

You may be entitled to compensation if you were a) improperly trained, b) forced to use poorly maintained, poorly designed, high intensity equipment. In the UK, tools have an exposure limit value (ELV) which you should not be forced to exceed.

Military Accidents

The Ministry of Defence has a duty to its employees, just as any other employee does, but people are still often surprised to hear that an occupation where danger is certain is involved in the whole compensation game. In the UK at least, compensation for injuries at work came about because of the high numbers wishing to claim over the use of asbestos in dockyards, among other situations in which injuries were the result of MoD negligence rather than enemy action.

The same array of possible negligence claims exist in a military context, and it shouldn’t be unusual that a soldier is able to claim for injuries in a car accident, for injuries caused by repetitive action, inadequate training and so forth. And actually, since 2005 claims for injuries sustained in combat may be made via the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). Those who are medically discharged from the military are automatically compensated via the scheme.


Five Gadgets That Reduce Your Household Bills

Five Gadgets That Reduce Your Household Bills

One of the biggest drains on our personal finances, our household incurs numerous upkeep costs. As economic conditions have worsened, the vast majority of Brits have been left facing a crippling amount of monthly bills with very little income.

This has made budgeting and financial control far more important for the average household and finding ways to reduce these bills is now a priority. Luckily, recent advances in technology have developed a number of fantastic gadgets offering consumers many ways to reduce their household bills.

1. Smart Plugs

According to figures from the BBC, un-plugging chargers when they are no longer in use would save enough electricity to power 115,000 homes each year. This makes latent energy consumption one of the main causes of large household bills.

To address this problem there are many things which consumers can do. Alongside adapting how you charge and use your appliances you could also invest in Smart Plugs. These operate by cutting the flow of electricity to devices or appliances when they are not in use, preventing you from wasting energy and money.

2. Draught excluders

One fifth of all energy lost in a home occurs through poor ventilation and draughts so these simple products are an easy way to keep your home warm and energy efficient. Draught excluders are available in numerous forms, ranging from the humble curtain to a letterbox cover.

3. Rechargeable batteries

A product which has been around for years, rechargeable batteries are now more popular than ever. Traditional cylindrical cell batteries (such as AA and AAA) can be purchased in this form and whilst the initial cost may be higher than standard batteries you should save money in the long run. Lithium-ion batteries used in cameras, laptops and mobile phones are also a type of rechargeable battery.

4. New condensing boiler

Boilers generate more than just hot water and are responsible for 60% of our annual energy bill. Making sure they are running efficiently is the easiest way to drastically reduce your bills and modern condensing boilers are the best option.

These have a 90% efficiency rating and equate to an average saving of £150 a year for a typical semi-detached home. Protecting piping with a water cylinder jacket can also save you £20 a year after costing just £12 to purchase paying for itself in just over six months.

5. Energy control app

There are numerous apps available to help lower your bills, covering everything from energy price comparison to energy monitoring. According to The Daily Telegraph using energy monitoring devices can reduce bills by as much as 5% – which is great considering many of these apps are free.

Julia Stevenson is a mother of two and a regular blogger. In charge of her household’s budget, Julia offers advice on how to lower bills by changing daily habits and conducting an energy price comparison. She regularly hunts for the latest low-cost items to help make her home more efficient.


What an Economics MBA can do for you?

What an Economics MBA can do for you?

Economics MBAs in have numerous benefits for prospective students who seek a better understanding of markets, and how they affect differing businesses and industries. The volatile international economic environment of the last five years has led more and more MBA candidates to concentrate their focus on economics.

Studying economics can be both difficult and fulfilling. The coursework is some of the most rigorous of any MBA concentration. Yet, earning a degree in economics will set you apart from your business school counterparts. Understanding economics will help you properly evaluate profits, provide accurate forecasts, and set the prices of your company’s goods or services. You will learn subjects such as game theory, the elasticity of demand, and how the business cycle works.

However, studying economics will not only help you hone your abilities and understanding of the business world, but improve your understanding of topics that arise in your everyday life. MBA in Economics candidates concerned with public policy and how their local and national governments make decisions can gain significant insight into these processes by studying economics.

Due its difficulty and importance, it is not surprising the Econ grads are among the best-compensated business school graduates. According to BusinessWeek, Economics MBA graduates typically earn a salary within a range of $80-120k in their first year out of school. Graduate degree holders are in high demand in the energy, finance, retail, and technology sectors.

Regardless of your area of concentration, economics should be a central focus of any MBA curriculum, as all business decisions managers and directors essentially come down to basic economic elements. Topics such as break-even profits, equilibrium pricing, and simply supply and demand are crucial subjects for a business professional to master.

Basically, there is an inadequate supply of goods and services within an economy. Economists must determine how both public policy and business decisions will impact the way in which resources are allocated among members of a society.

These subjects are important to everyone, especially business leaders. Understanding economics will help you efficiently allocate personal resources, manage time, and grasp the real value of goods and services. As a business owner, it will help you know when to hire and terminate employees, create effective budgets, and price your products to perfection. It will provide you with a background that will help you run your business more efficiently and profitably. And last but not least, it will help you earn a higher income, and wisely invest your savings!


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