Revisited a Year Later: The Montgomery County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law Turns One

A year ago, Montgomery County became one of the first counties in the nation to require that employers provide employees with paid sick leave. In general, under the Montgomery County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law employees must be allowed to earn a minimum of 56 hours of paid sick and safe leave each year.  If the employer has few than five employees, then the employee must be allowed to earn at least 32 hours…
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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Coming up in October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. There are a number of programs available to help victims of domestic violence, including Family Justice Centers in both Montgomery and Prince George’s County. In Maryland, a victim of abuse can obtain a protective order 24 hours a day from the District Court Commissioner. This would be an interim order, which would require a hearing for a temporary order shortly thereafter. To obtain a final protective…
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Three Items to Check when Updating an Employee Manual

Every 12 months it is a good idea for employers to review their Employee Manual to make sure that their employment policies are up to date, both with the employer’s current protocols and with any changes in the laws in the various jurisdictions where they do business. Here are three items to check when reviewing an Employee Manual. First, an Employee Manual should make clear that all employees are at-will employees, which means that either…
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Avoiding Bad Divorce Settlements

You probably already know that the vast majority of family law issues are settled before trial. Sometimes that is a fairly quick process when the issues or assets are limited, and on the other hand, it could be a multi-year process assisted by attorneys, mediators, financial advisors, accountants, and other professionals. It is quite common for one or both of the spouses to wonder if they reached the elusive “good deal.”  It is also common…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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