I Wish All Lawyers Did These Basic Things I Do for My Legal Clients

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I don’t talk about myself much on Law Soup, because it’s not about me, it’s about providing helpful legal and civics information for people. But part of that information consists of how you can get legal services, and what you can and should expect from lawyers and law firms.

So I want to let people know how I do things in my law practice which helps people with small business, freelance, and tax issues, and how this differs from how most lawyers do things. Spoiler alert: quite different!

You may not be surprised about this, but unfortunately many lawyers don’t…


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I’m truly feeling love in a time of Coronavirus. My passion has grown over the last few years, and in the last several weeks it has reached a fever pitch (and no, I don’t have COVID-19). I need to shout it from the rooftops: I. Love. Federalism!

That’s right, I have strong feelings towards that political concept of the states as possessing their own powers, independent of the federal government. While federalism and “states’ rights” have traditionally found more support among conservatives, such as in their detestable fight against civil rights, liberals are now finding themselves in support of the…


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Rube Goldberg’s Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin (1931) [Public Domain]

Ever heard of a Rube Goldberg machine? It’s a concept meaning an unnecessarily complicated system. And wow, is the new legal framework for determining who is a freelancer in California unnecessarily complicated!

For starters, you need to use one of 2 different tests to determine whether you are an “independent contractor” (aka freelancer) or an employee: (1) the “Borello test” and (2) the “ABC test” (aka “Dynamex test”). How to know which test to use? Well, another test, of course. Yes, a test to determine which test to use! The way it works is that if you meet certain criteria…


Bad Voting is Like Second-hand Smoking: Bad for All of Us

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This is an intervention: Americans need to quit their bad voting habits. We must quit now before it’s too late.

There’s an election Tuesday, November 5, 2019 in many cities and states around the country. These include races for governor, mayor, and special elections to vote for a replacement for an official who left office early. But more importantly, there’s another election coming in less than 1 year: November 3, 2020. That’s the big one, which doesn’t leave us much time to develop healthier voting behavior.

Democracy is hard, as I’ve written about here, here, and here. Voting is quite…


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Demanding More from Ourselves

Note: This is Part 3 of a 3-part series exploring the Power of the People in our system. (Start with Part 1.) These are excerpts, adapted for the series, from the new book Law is Not for Lawyers (It’s for Everyone): Empower Yourself with the Basics of Law and Civics.

The Founders of the United States weren’t sure we were up to the challenge of governing ourselves in a democracy. The reality is that the founders did not trust The People. …


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What Would a More People-Powered Constitution Look Like?

Note: This is Part 2 of a 3-part series exploring the Power of the People in our system. (Start with Part 1.) These are excerpts, adapted for the series, from the new book Law is Not for Lawyers (It’s for Everyone): Empower Yourself with the Basics of Law and Civics.

Maybe it would split the difference between a unanimous vote and a simple majority. Perhaps this is what the Founding Fathers were going for when they said an amendment would require approval of ¾ (75%) of the states. That particular numerical threshold was the right idea. …


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Whose Law is it, Anyway?

Note: This is Part 1 of a 3-part series exploring the Power of the People in the American system. These are excerpts, adapted for the series, from the new book Law is Not for Lawyers (It’s for Everyone): Empower Yourself with the Basics of Law and Civics.

The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution starts with three words: “We the People.” It’s clear: we are at the top of the food chain. Our leaders work for us, not for themselves, or anyone else.

This begs the question: Who are The People, exactly? While one answer may seem obvious — all 100%…


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A group of some of the largest companies in the country recently declared for the first time that they will consider the effects of their decisions on workers, customers, suppliers, and communities, in addition to shareholders. This announcement by the Business Roundtable could be considered a major turning point in American capitalism.

Historically, and legally, the purpose of a corporation (and other business types such as LLCs) is to maximize profits to the shareholders (owners and investors of the company) above all other concerns. This is known as “shareholder primacy.” …


There’s an Affordability Crisis in Legal Services, but You Have Options

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Average income in the U.S. for 2019 is around $46,000. About 40% of Americans say they would be unable to easily come up with $400 for an unexpected expense.

Yet hiring a lawyer to defend you in a simple car crash case can cost a minimum of $17,000 in legal costs, and basic things like getting a proper will & estate plan, or file for bankruptcy or divorce can cost an average of $5,000.

The numbers just don’t add up for most people.

As a result, over 80% of the civil legal needs of lower and middle income individuals are…


7 Reasons Why a Chatbot Will Be Your New Best Friend

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Have you heard?

The chatbots are taking over. Much like apps, soon they will be everywhere and used for everything. And it’s going to be amazing.

Chatbots are designed to simulate having a conversation with a human, which can and will be a major improvement in our lives, for reasons I will get to. But many people worry that we will soon no longer be able to distinguish between humans and chatbots. For example, people were pretty freaked out by Google’s demo of its new Duplex chatbot product.

It can be a scary prospect to not know who is even human anymore, but…

Tristan Blaine

Not your average lawyer. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Law Soup, https://lawsoup.org

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