Thursday, October 27, 2011

MyElderLawPlanning Social Security Lawyer

The Michigan Elder Law Attorneys of the Jordan Balkema Elder Law Center offer services for the elderly such as Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning, Guardianship & Conservatorship, and Probate & Trust Administration. 
These Top Elder Law Attorneys have assisted hundreds of families who need legal assistance with Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning, Guardianship & Conservatorship, and Probate & Trust Administration in Michigan.
Elder law is becoming more important as baby boomers approach their golden years. Elder law is a distinct practice, designed to assist the elderly in protecting their assets from probate expenses, federal estate taxes and nursing home expense.
The Elder Law professionals at Jordan Balkema Elder Law Center (JBELC), are dedicated to providing intelligent, compassionate and timely information about estate planning, probate, Medicaid and all other issues pertaining to elder law.
These are the areas of service that the Jordan Balema Elder Law Center provides:
Estate Planning  — Throughout the years you have built up an estate and achieved success. Now your focus shifts from accumulation to preserving these assets for your care and eventually distribution to your loved ones upon your death. That is what estate planning is all about.
Medicaid Planning — Do you have a loved one in a nursing home or hospital? Or are you thinking long-term care may be inevitable? The professionals at Jordan-Balkema Elder Law Center can assist you with planning for long-term care costs.
Guardianship & Conservatorship  — Guardians and conservators are appointed by the court for persons who lack the physical and/or mental capacity to care for themselves and are found to be incapable of caring for themselves or their property. At the Jordan Balkema Elder Law Center we help you understand the laws and in setting up the proper course of action for your need.
Probate & Trust Administration  — The attorneys of the Jordan Balkema Elder Law Center have provided assistance to hundreds of families who have required the legal knowledge necessary to manage the probate procedure maze. MyElderLawPlanning will make the probate process as easy as possible by giving detailed explanations and by promptly addressing any concerns you may have.
For more information on how an Elder Law Attorney can help you, visit

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Alabama Immigration Laws Cause Students to Miss School

Story first appeared in the Traverse City Record-Eagle

Court disallows provisions of law on immigration.

According to a Belize Immigration Lawyer, in a blow to Alabama’s toughest-in-the-nation immigration law, a federal appeals court sided with the Obama administration Friday when it blocked public schools form checking the immigration status of students.

The decision from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also said police can’t charge immigrants who are unable to prove their citizenship, but it let some of the law stand, giving supporters a partial victory. The decision was only temporary and a final ruling wasn’t expected for months, after judges can review more argument, claimed a Raleigh Immigration Attorney.

Unlike crackdowns in other states, Alabama’s law was left largely in effect for about three weeks, long enough to frighten Hispanics and drive them away for the state. Construction businesses said Hispanic workers have quite showing up for jobs and schools reported that Latino students stopped coming to class.

A Philadelphia Immigration Lawyer said that while the long-range implications of the decision remain to be seen, immigrants celebrated the judges’ ruling. Word spread quickly through the state’s Hispanic community as Spanish-language radio stations aired the news.

The judges let stand part of the law that allows police to check a person’s immigration status during a traffic stop. According to a Panama Immigration Lawyer, courts also can’t enforce contracts involving illegal immigrants, such as leases, and it’s still a felony for an illegal immigrant to do business with the state for basic things like getting a driver’s license, the judges ruled. Their 16 –page decision contained very little discussion about their ruling.

The appeals court blocked part of the law that required school officials to verify the citizenship status of students enrolled after September 1. According to a Raleigh Immigration Lawyer, it also barred enforcement of a section that let police file a misdemeanor charge against anyone who is in the country illegally and doesn’t have federal registration papers.

The Obama administration and immigrant advocates sued the state of Alabama after the law was passed in June. A BVI Immigration Lawyer commented that a federal judge upheld much of it late last month, and the Obama administration and groups appealed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Story first appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

In a ruling that could have a far-reaching impact on lawsuits seeking money for Bernard Madoff's victims, a federal judge threw out the bulk of claims by a court-appointed trustee who sought to recover about $1 billion from the owners of the New York Mets baseball team, according to a Moscow Bankruptcy Lawyer.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff limited—though didn't eliminate—possible financial ramifications from the epic Ponzi scheme for one of Major League Baseball's most valuable franchises.
Beyond making it harder for trustee Irving Picard to recover the owners' principal investment in the Ponzi scheme, the ruling indicated that he would only be able to take back money withdrawn in the last two years of the fraud, a decision that could also benefit others against whom he had launched so-called clawback suits.
Judge Rakoff's decision comes after nearly a year of contentious legal wrangling between Mr. Picard and the team's owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz. Mr. Picard has accused Messrs. Wilpon and Katz of ignoring warning signs of the Ponzi scheme. According to a Bucharest Bankruptcy Lawyer, in his ruling on Tuesday, Judge Rakoff handed the Mets owners, who have denied any wrongdoing, a partial victory by tossing out nine of 11 claims Mr. Picard made in his 373-page complaint.
The judge, rejecting the Mets owners' request to dismiss the entire lawsuit, said Mr. Picard could continue to pursue less than half of the $300 million of alleged false profits and $700 million of principal he had originally sought. He said Mr. Picard could seek $83.3 million in allegedly false profits and $301 million in principal. But Mr. Picard would have to meet a high standard of proof to seize any of the Mets owners' principal investment—showing that the owners were "willfully blind" to signs of the fraud and ignored red flags that would have uncovered it had they investigated, the judge said.
A Cherry Hill Bankruptcy Lawyer not involved in the Mets lawsuit said Tuesday evening that could be a very difficult burden for the trustee to meet. Judge Rakoff's decision is a significant step in the process of properly protecting innocent Madoff victims from the trustee's overreaching clawback efforts," said David Bernfeld, a lawyer who represents Madoff investors.
Iit appeared from the ruling that Judge Rakoff appeared skeptical about the validity of Mr. Picard's willful blindness claims and called it "very remote" that he could recover the principal.
With the threat of the lawsuit hanging over them, Messrs. Wilpon and Katz reached an agreement with hedge fund manager David Einhorn last spring to sell a stake in the team, but the deal collapsed this month, leaving the owners still searching for a capital infusion into the debt-laden enterprise.
In a statement, partners at Sterling Equities Associates, the real-estate firm run by Messrs. Wilpon and Katz, said they were pleased that the court today dismissed nine of the 11 counts in the Trustee's complaint" and that Mr. Picard could only seek money going back two years. A person close to the team's owners said they believed it would be impossible for Mr. Picard to prove willful blindness.
A Hong Kong Bankruptcy Lawyer said he heard the trustee and his counsel are aware of the District Court opinion and order and are in the process of reviewing the decision.. The judge ordered the parties to come to court Wednesday to lay out a schedule for the lawsuit. He has set a trial date for March.
The ruling limited the Mets owners' exposure by eliminating claims the trustee made under New York law to recover alleged false profits from six years prior to the Ponzi scheme's collapse. Judge Rakoff said Mr. Picard could make claims only under federal bankruptcy law, which allows him to go back only two years. In a footnote, though, the judge said without explanation that Mr. Picard might still be able to recover false profits from the entire period of Messrs. Wilpon and Katz's investments with Mr Madoff. According to the judge, the last two years of their profits amounted to $83.3 million, while they received $295.5 million in profits over the course of their entire investment.
The judge also threw out Mr. Picard's claims to recover principal withdrawn within 90 days of the Ponzi scheme's collapse. The trustee has made similar claims against many other investors. While Tuesday's ruling is not binding on other judges, it is likely to have an impact on other cases.
According to a Madrid Corporate Bankruptcy Lawyer, Judge Rakoff in his ruling also rejected Mr. Picard's attempt to block requests the Mets owners filed with him to be repaid for $160 million in principal they lost in certain of their accounts with Mr. Madoff. But he said the trustee can give their claims a lower priority than those of other investors if he can prove they were willfully blind to the fraud.

Health Care Law To Be Reviewed by High Court

Story first appeared in USA TODAY.

The Obama administration on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of a requirement that most Americans buy health insurance by 2014, paving the way for a ruling in the middle of the 2012 presidential election campaign, said a Winston-Salem Health Care Lawyer.
Separately, 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, which have challenged the mandate as exceeding federal power, urged the justices to intervene and strike it down.
The new filings all but guarantee the justices will review the law that is at the heart of President Obama's domestic agenda and that has become a flashpoint in the race for Republican nomination, commented an Albany Healthcare Lawyer. All the major Republican presidential candidates have vowed to overturn the law.
The justices, who open a new term on Monday, would likely act on the pending appeals this fall and hold oral arguments in early 2012.
Justice Department lawyers have appealed a decision by an Atlanta-based appeals court that said the individual-insurance mandate went beyond Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. The lawyers and a Des Moines Health Care Lawyer say that appeals court decision, which conflicts with two appeals court rulings rejecting challenges to the law, undermines federal efforts to tackle the "crisis in the national health care market." The administration said the appeals court ruling "denies Congress the broad deference it is due … to address the nation's most pressing economic problems."
The requirement that most Americans buy insurance or face a tax penalty is the centerpiece of the health care law passed by Congress and signed by Obama in March 2010. The law was the most significant change in the nation's health care system since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 and extends insurance coverage to 32 million Americans, said a Peoria Healthcare Lawyer.
The administration says people without insurance incur billions of dollars in costs that are passed on to the insured. It contends that creates a substantial burden on interstate commerce that is within Congress' power to address.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit disagreed as it declared that forcing people to buy insurance represents an "unbounded assertion of congressional authority."
The 26 states and business group won major portions of their challenge, but the 11th Circuit rejected claims that the law's expansion of Medicaid encroaches on the states and that if the mandate is unconstitutional, the entire law is void. According to a Sacramento Healthcare Lawyer, the states and business group have asked the justices to reverse those findings.

Did Cragslist Lobby Against EBay?

Story first appeared in Bloomberg Law.
EBay’s lawyer said Craigslist Inc. may have lobbied for a criminal subpoena issued in a federal probe into allegations the online auctioneer stole confidential information from Craigslist. A Boston Intellectual Property Lawyer reviewed the case.
The criminal subpoena issued last week and served on EBay means the exchange of documents and information in Craigslist’s lawsuit against EBay should be put on hold, EBay lawyer Mark Lambert said at a hearing yesterday in state court in San Francisco.
The online classified company claims in the lawsuit that San Jose, California-based EBay used proprietary information from Craigslist to start a competing online ad site when the two companies were negotiating over EBay buying a stake in Craigslist. After winning two rulings that the case can proceed, Craigslist is seeking to move ahead with discovery, where the two sides exchange documents and interview witnesses. This is standard practice according to a Leeds Intellectual Property Lawyer.
Ebay believe they lobbied for the subpoena and put it in newspapers yesterday. It names lots of individuals and creates tremendous uncertainty.
This is something that they took to the authorities, it’s of their making. A Nashville Intellectual Property Lawyer claims that this is a game changer.
‘Alleged Criminal Activities’
The Sept. 7 grand jury subpoena to Craigslist seeks information pertaining to “incidents where EBay employees engaged in alleged criminal activities and misconduct focused around the misappropriation of proprietary/confidential information from Craigslist.”
It lists a February 2005 incident in which EBay founder Pierre Omidyar allegedly requested information from EBay and instructed employees to use Craigslist metrics to compare its growth rates with those of EBay’s competing website called Kijiji.
Anyone named in the subpoena may want to hire a Salt Lake City Intellectual Property Lawyer and may be unwilling to respond to civil subpoenas in the case, Lambert said.
Michael Clyde, an attorney for Craigslist, told Kramer that the criminal subpoena should have no impact on the civil case.
The subpoena will not cause complete cessation of anything. It will be taken into account in fashioning a discovery plan. The judge scheduled the next hearing in the case for Oct. 18.
According to a Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Lawyer, he heard that EBay said Sept. 13 that the company is cooperating with the U.S. Justice Department investigation.

Voters Rights Act Under Scrutiny

Story first appeared in USA TODAY.

A federal court in Washington upheld the part of the Voting Rights Act that requires states with a history of racial discrimination to get advance approval from the Justice Department before changing voting laws. This has prompted some to take anti discrimination training.
The ruling comes as the Justice Department is being deluged with applications from states and localities asking for pre-approval of new boundaries for congressional, state legislative and other voting districts, which are being redrawn after the 2010 Census. As of last week, the Justice Department had 794 "pre-clearance" cases pending.
In the court case brought by Shelby County, Ala., county officials argued that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires the advance approval, has cost "significant taxpayer dollars, time and energy" — and that the county had to delay at least one election while it waited for approval.
Judge John Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in a 151-page opinion that the modern existence of intentional racial discrimination in voting justifies the 2006 decision by Congress to extend the Voting Rights Act through 2031.
Nathaniel Persily, a Columbia University law professor whose work was quoted in the opinion, has said the Voting Rights Act is living on borrowed time.
This decision is a shooting of the starting gun in the race to have Section 5 declared unconstitutional. It is expected that the case will reach the Supreme Court, which upheld the Voting Rights Act in 2009 in a case that largely avoided the constitutional issues raised in the Shelby County case.
The case could have political ramifications as states prepare for 2012 congressional elections.
This decision comes out at a time when the Department of Justice is flooded with pre-clearances over redistricting. The Obama administration has been very reluctant to deny pre-clearance to redistricting plans and voting changes because they know the Supreme Court is looking over their shoulder.
The decision, however, comes the same week Attorney General Eric Holder signaled his intent to fight proposed new congressional districts and state House districts in Texas, which Justice Department lawyers said would diminish the ability of minority voters to select a candidate of their choice.
The Justice Department is scheduled to examine six other redistricting plans in the next six weeks, including congressional maps in Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Frank Ellis, the Shelby County attorney, could not be reached. Bert Rein, the Washington lawyer who argued the case for the county, declined to comment.
The Project for Fair Representation, a non-profit group that supports legal challenges to race-based voting and affirmative action laws, said it would continue to support the lawsuit if it goes to the Supreme Court.
Edward Blum, the project's director, said the court failed to consider why some states are on the pre-clearance list while others are not.
Nine states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — must seek approval of any voting change. Parts of seven other states must do so.
It makes no sense in 2011 for Shelby County, Ala., to be covered by these provisions, but not Shelby County, Tenn. If the Voting Rights Act needs to be in place to protect minority interests, it should be done coast to coast, and not just in places where there were bad actors 30 years ago.
Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa applauded the court ruling and said the Justice Department will continue to defend the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act, which she noted has overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.

Immigrant Screening by Homeland Security under Scrutiny

Story first appeared in USA TODAY.

A program that checks the immigration status of all people booked into local jails needs systemwide changes and may need to be suspended until its problems are worked out, according to a review conducted by the Department of Homeland Security's advisory council.
The program, called Secure Communities, allows Homeland Security to review the fingerprints of people arrested by state and local law enforcement agencies against federal immigration databases.
The program has been criticized because some people arrested for minor crimes, or on charges that are later dropped, are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, sometimes resulting in deportation. This people may seek a Raleigh Immigration Lawyer.
That runs contrary to Homeland Security's stated goals of concentrating on illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes or pose a threat to national security, according to a Shanghai Immigration Attorney.
The apparent 'disconnect' between the Homeland Security documents describing a tight focus on dangerous criminal offenders and the actual operation of Secure Communities has led to criticism of the program and is a key reason for opposition to the program in a number of cities, counties and states. A Philadelphia Immigration Lawyer agrees.
That opposition has resulted in distrust of local police, as victims and witnesses of crimes are now afraid to speak with police out of fear of being deported, the report found.
Since its inception in 2008, Secure Communities has been activated in half the nation's law enforcement jurisdictions, and it continues to grow, with the goal of nationwide activation by 2013. About half of the members of the task force that conducted the review for the advisory council suggested halting that expansion, or suspending the program entirely, until the problems are worked out.
Arturo Venegas was the first of five task force members to resign, saying the recommendations didn't go far enough and calling Homeland Security irresponsible for continuing to expand the program when so many problems are clearly apparent. 

A Panama Immigration Lawyer would also like to see the program reviewed.

The report suggested that Homeland Security better train its officials to focus on dangerous criminals, adopt more oversight to ensure those policies are being enforced and consider ignoring illegal immigrants booked into local jails for minor crimes and traffic offenses.

The report will be given to Homeland Security leadership, who then can adopt any or all of the recommendations — although it is under no obligation to do so, add a Belize Immigration Lawyer.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Top Law Firms Go After Video For SEO

Story first appeared in the Law Practice TODAY.
Viewing video on the web is nothing new.  We’ve all laughed at Charlie biting his brother’s finger, the sneezing baby panda, and a host of other entertaining clips.  However, in the past year, video has evolved from a novelty into a mainstream method for executives to receive business information  in association with Google, of more than 300 senior executives at U.S. companies with $500 million-plus in annual revenues).  The study found that younger executives are more inclined to not only view video, but to also create it and share it over the business-oriented “social” web.  The inference is that as these young execs advance in their careers, their influence within corporate America is likely to make business-related video even more prevalent in the coming years.
More importantly, these execs are not just passive viewers.  Those surveyed appear as willing to take action based on viewing a video as they do reading an article.   As moves corporate America, so must the companies that serve them – or certainly their marketing departments; as the trend continues, law firms will not be exempt. 
An informal survey on YouTube reveals that the majority of videos by law firms are by those who provide services for individuals, such as personal injury, family law, personal bankruptcy, etc.  There are a few larger firms with their own channels providing a handful of useful and informative videos, but the number is still small.  While YouTube isn’t necessarily the harbinger of business video on the web, it’s probably the best known and that’s because it makes it easy to post and host video on the Internet.
Did you know that people are 95% more likely to make a purchase after they see a video of the product they are considering?  Lawyers may not be selling products per se, but they are selling services. Video can add a personal element, foster trust and compel potential clients to pick up the phone.  Our curiosity led us to do a Google search on “top law firm” to see how many clicks it would take to find video used by a law firm.  Not surprisingly the top results were ranking lists, but in fifth place was “a global relationship law firm.”  Not to pick on this global, prestigious law firm, but wouldn’t a potential client be more engaged if they could see and hear their people epitomize what a “relationship law firm” does?
Ten clicks later and we found John C. Buchanan, president of Primerus, “an international society of the world’s finest independent boutique law firms,” explaining what Primerus is and does.  The video is concise and to the point.  Moreover, we understand what the organization offers and when Primerus says it is driven by innovation, we believe it.
Still unconvinced of the power of video? 
From a 2010 report : 30% of Internet traffic is video.  By 2013, 90% of Internet traffic will be video.  And, by 2014, Advanced Internet Video (3D and HD) will increase 23-fold to represent 46% of Internet video traffic.  In the same timeframe, online video ad spending is expected to swell from $1.97 billion to $5.71 billion. 
Video on the web is serious business and it’s a requirement for any organization that aims for effective – and efficient – communications, both within and outside the organization.
Ready to get started?
Crafting the perfect video may be more complicated than a Flip of your family’s summer vacation, but it needn’t be daunting.  Here are some guidelines:
First, identify your subject.  Are you doing an overview of the firm for recruiting purposes?  Partner profiles to highlight your expertise and practice areas?  Discussing a new hot topic to educate your clients?  Or all of the above?
If it’s all of the above, you may want to hire someone to shoot your videos in a single day so that it’s more cost effective.  Either way, make sure that your videos are well lit, with clear sound and no background noise.  Ideally, use a high-definition camera and aim for top-quality production.  Make sure that you have someone who knows about lighting and someone who can identify a good take. A plane passing overhead may be cause to try again.
To script or not to script?  It helps in the editing suite if you have a strong idea of how you want to relate your story, especially if it involves multiple people, b-roll, etc.  However, don’t get stuck on exact verbiage as this can make people nervous when they’re already anxious about being on camera.  A script can also help keep you on track with timing; you don’t want a video that’s longer than three minutes.  Shorter is better.
Remember that you want your video to be engaging.  Just like a movie, have a beginning, middle and end.  And, you don’t have to say everything; use text and subtitles to provide necessary but mundane information such as phone numbers.  In fact, graphics and sound effects can add dazzle and polish to your product.
Now to that all-important SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Google already factors in the presence of video on a page when determining where the page ranks in its search results.  If you want to get ahead of the curve and beat out other firms competing for those top positions on search engine results, start using video now!
You can submit your video to a number of outlets, including YouTube.  Use the code that the site of your choice provides to embed the video on your home page -- and elsewhere on your site.  Make sure that you give the video a meaningful title using keywords to help prospects find you.   And, don’t forget to choose a thumbnail to represent your vide as well as tags and descriptions that are search-engine friendly.
Practical tips: How to get the most of your online video marketing campaign
  1. Make sure it looks professional.
    -You want to establish credibility and trust, so be sure to find a personable, engaging interviewer and a top-notch production crew.
  2. Put the video on the front page of your site.
    -Online video is an effective selling tool, so make sure it's front and center. Embed it on the homepage, so every visitor (and search engine) will see it.
  3. Submit your video to other online outlets.
    -Although YouTube is the clear leader, there are many other video-sharing sites worthy of consideration. Here are some you will want to check out:
  • Google Video
  • Yahoo! Video
  • Daily Motion
  • MySpaceTV
  • MetaCafe
  • Revver
  • Veoh
  • Blinkx
  • Break
  1. Link back to your site.
    -When placing videos on the sharing outlets, put your URL near the top of your video’s description. You’ll get a higher search ranking and potential clients will quickly see where to go for more information.
  2. Research search terms and put them in the title.
    -Find out what words people in need of your services are typing into search engines, and use the most popular ones in your video’s title. If you don’t know what those terms are, get professional help or use some of these free resources:
  • Wordtracker
  • Google AdWords
  • Keyword Discovery
  • KwMap

  1. Be mindful of tags and descriptions
    -Most video-sharing sites let you tag videos with keywords and post a short text description, so get the most out of these by sprinkling in the search terms you’ve identified.
  2. Include a flattering thumbnail shot.
    -A thumbnail is a still shot from your video that appears along with search results. Don’t waste this chance to present yourself in the best light possible—choose a key moment from your video, preferably one where you’re smiling.
  3. Monitor and respond to viewer comments.
    -Most video-sharing sites also allow viewers to post comments. Use this as an opportunity to answer questions, respond to comments and further promote your practice.
  4. Consider a pay-per-click campaign.
    Natural search engine optimization, while effective, takes time to bear fruit. You might want to jump-start the process with a pay-per-click campaign that gives you a sponsored search listing. You can learn more at Google AdWords or Yahoo! Advertising.
  5. Add new content - often.
    Search engines look for it, and so do potential clients. Keep your content fresh and up-to-date. Make your firm standout by maximizing your online presence with video.
Remember, the technology is there. Use it to your advantage.