If You Play A Wrong Note, The Entire Orchestra Now May Pay The Price — Be Aware Of New Partnership Tax Audit Rules That Take Effect On January 1

In 1985, the “participatory journalist” George Plimpton worked as a temporary percussionist, playing sleigh bells, triangle, bass drum, and most notably, gong, with the New York Philharmonic. During a performance, he once struck the gong so hard and created such an overwhelming sound that Leonard Bernstein, who was conducting at the time, burst into applause.  Although one of the world’s most famous orchestras was playing, it was Plimpton, not the orchestra that received the credit…
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Making “Best Efforts” to Play in Tune or to Comply with Real Estate Contract Covenants

It is difficult to play a violin in tune.  For one thing, unlike with a guitar, there are no frets or markings on a violin fingerboard to tell the violinist where to put his/her fingers.  The fingers must move up and down the fingerboard and from one string to another, always hitting the perfect spot.  Even a millimeter difference in finger placement can be the difference between an in-tune and out-of-tune note. It is particularly…
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Sexual Harassment Claims: Beyond the Rich and Famous

In the last few months, allegations of sexual harassment against famous entertainers and high-profile politicians have flooded the news headlines.   However, sexual harassment in the workplace is not limited to Hollywood and “inside the beltway” politicians.  In the wake of these recent claims of sexual harassment, now is an appropriate time for all employers (big and small) to reflect on their own workplace culture and policies to make sure that the work environment is free…
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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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