When it Looks Like a Stradivari Violin but Isn’t: Protecting Yourself from Wire Fraud in Your Real Estate Transaction

Fine violins do not have serial numbers, but they do typically have a label inside identifying the maker and frequently the year and location where the violin was made. Many violin makers, or luthiers[i] as they are known, like to copy well-known instruments, sometimes even down to the label inside the instrument, and the most famous violin maker, Antonio Stradivari, is also the most frequently copied. Usually, the luthiers do not try to pass their…
Read More

How Your Real Estate Transaction is Like an Orchestra (And Why You Need a Conductor)

Recently, while in the midst of a managing a complicated commercial real estate closing, I took a few hours off to attend an orchestra concert. During intermission, while orchestra took a break, a string quartet played in the lobby. The quartet, which has only four musicians, each playing his/her own part, played beautifully together and created a unified musical expression without an obvious leader.  The orchestra, which had about 75 musicians playing at least 15…
Read More

Can I get my child a passport?

Typically, both parents must appear for a child to get a passport (along with the necessary proof of citizenship, photos, application and fee.) If both parents don’t apply together in person, one parent may sign the consent before a notary and provide to the parent who will be applying. Quite simple, unless the parents do not agree on whether the child will receive a passport, who will hold onto the passport and when travel overseas…
Read More

Freelancers are taking over the workplace!

According to one recent 2016 study, 55 million Americans are working as freelancers (which is 35% of the US Workforce). The use of freelancers by businesses raises all sorts of legal questions, but most significantly is the issue of worker misclassification.  Businesses routinely classify freelancers as independent contractors, not employees.  Is this correct?  It depends on a variety of factors.  In general, if the freelancer is truly independent (meaning that the business does not control…
Read More

Divorce in the DMV

The Washington DC metro area is a curious creature. Generally, it includes Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, but it’s not unheard of for people to commute here from their homes in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware (as Joe Biden did during his time in Washington). While these are all separate jurisdictions, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia (“the DMV”) do share a similar culture.    The area is notorious for its high cost…
Read More

Taking Your Real Estate Investments “On Tour”

Consider that you are a professional violinist who lives in Maryland. To build your career as a solo violinist you are planning your first tour to Pennsylvania and Ohio, and you need to attract local audiences in those states.  How would you connect with potential concertgoers?  Newspaper ads, Internet advertising, and mass mailings all could be effective in attracting individuals in Ohio and Pennsylvania who would be interested in hearing you perform. It would be…
Read More

Minimum Wage in Montgomery County Set to Increase Again

While is seems like the minimum wage in Montgomery County, Maryland was just increased to $10.75, employers are now less than 90 days away from the next increase. On July 1, 2017, the minimum wage will rise to $11.50 per hour.   While this increase is not a surprise, as the legislation approving this lift in the minimum wage rate was passed several years ago, the fact remains that Montgomery County will have the highest minimum…
Read More

The “Tourte” of a Real Estate Investment

Most people have heard of Antonio Stradivari, who likely is the most renowned violin maker of all time. Few outside of the violin world, however, have heard of Francois Tourte, who developed the modern violin bow and has been called the “Stradivari of the bow.” People understand that a quality violin can make a huge difference in the quality of sound produced. Students will spend weeks trying different violins to find the one which is…
Read More

Do you have an advanced health care directive?

Do you have an advanced health care directive? If not, you have plenty of company as only 30% of Marylanders have an advanced health care directive in place. An advanced health care directive allows you to name an individual (and often a backup) to make health care decisions for you if you were unable to communicate your decisions to a health care provider. Many people are familiar with the term “living will” as well. Health…
Read More

Employers Need To Be Aware Of Potential Retaliation Claims

Most employers are well aware that they cannot make employment decisions based upon a person’s race, disability, sex, age, national origin, religion and other classes protected under federal, state or local law. However, many employers seem to run afoul of the employment discrimination laws not because they engage in discriminatory conduct based upon a person’s membership in a protected class, but rather by retaliating against the individual for raising a possible discrimination issue.  In fact,…
Read More