FindLaw Insider - The News Blog

May 2009 Archives

FindLaw Announces Its Consumer Legal Blogs

FindLaw (a Thomson Reuters business) today formally announced the launch of its nine consumer legal blogs.

The new blogs; written by FindLaw's in-house team of attorney authors, editors & producers; offer commentary on common legal issues and current events. "There is a little something for everyone" says lead attorney editor, Stephanie Rahlfs. "By utilizing blog technology we are able to bring the legal world down to earth, expose need-to-know legal developments and the more entertaining side of the law in real time."

Consumers can subscribe to any of the blogs for free via RSS.  

Top 5 Employment Issues

Employment rights and work laws are among the most searched legal topics on FindLaw these days. Not a surprise when you take a look at the national and regional unemployment rates. But workers today are not concerned solely with lost jobs.


Here are The 5 most Popular Employment Topics on FindLaw:


WSJ: Being Your Own Boss Takes Work

Wall Street Journal referenced FindLaw's recent survey release that had found that 61% of Americans have either started or considered starting their own businesses. The article provided real-world career advice and typical characteristics successful entrepreneurs possess when they venture out on their own after years in the corporate world.

The key is the right mindset says WSJ contributor Alexandra Levit. "Self-employed professionals", she writes, "are known for being optimistic, competitive, creative and organized. They tend to have a head for business, understand what their customers want and act with integrity. And if they're passionate about their venture, they work as many hours as it takes to get results." Read her entire article for more tips and advice to understand if you are cut out to go it alone.

For more on this topic, check out the previous FindLaw Insider post: Hate Working for the Man? How about Working for Yourself. Or go straight to FindLaw's Small Business Center for information, tips and even low-cost forms to startup your business.

I can get a DUI on my Boat?

With the Memorial Day Weekend upon us, many people begin planning for those relaxing summer days recreating outdoors. Boat related activities are some of the most popular ways to escape the heat in regions with lakes, rivers and oceans; And for many, a lazy day on the water includes an alcoholic beverage or two.

But those who own or operate a boat or water craft must be aware that there are stringent laws that regulate alcohol consumption while doing so. Just like a DUI/DWI for someone driving a car illegally, boat owners and operators can face serious consequences including being cited, arrested, and even convicted under Boating Under the Influence (BUI) laws. To learn more about Boating Under the Influence, the legal consequences of a BUI conviction, or to find a BUI attorney, check out FindLaw's new BUI section:

The Basics
State-by-State Blood Alcohol Limits (BAC) for Boating Under the Influence
Also check out our previous blog post with tips to avoid a BUI
Don't Let Boating Under the Influence Spoil Fun on the Water 

Thumbnail image for 5_27_09WebinarLP.jpgGoogle, and other search engines like Yahoo! and MSN, have pulled ahead of printed Yellow Pages as the leading source for local business information. Today, three out of four Americans use the Internet on a regular basis as the starting point for researching and evaluating professional services such as attorneys.

FindLaw is offering free one hour Lawyer Marketing webcasts in May and June to teach the basics for marketing your law firm. The session will provide insights and practical examples from real-world legal professionals and marketing experts on how to maximize your firm's online marketing efforts. 





In this webcast you will learn how: 

• Consumers are using the internet to search for attorneys
• To evaluate different marketing options available and their return on investment (ROI)
• To identify and leverage critical components of a Web site.


Register Today to Attend this Free Educational Webcast

May 21, 2009
9:00 a.m. PST/Noon EST 
Register for this Webcast


1:00 p.m. PST/4:00 p.m. EST Register for this Webcast


June 3, 2009
7:00 a.m. PST/10:00 p.m EST
- Register for this Webcast


Noon PST/3:00 p.m. EST - Register for this Webcast



Joseph Klest
Klest Law Firm Managing Partner
Chicago, IL

Joseph Klest is the Managing Partner at Klest Law Firm with locations in Chicago, Schaumburg, and the suburbs of Chicago. Mr. Klest has over twenty-eight years of experience representing clients in a variety of personal injury claims, including motor vehicle accidents, dangerous products, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, sexual abuse, and other accidents. Mr. Klest has spoken at several conferences and has numerous published articles related to his areas of practice. Mr. Klest earned his JD from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL.

Susan Richards
FindLaw Senior Client Development Consultant
Chicago, IL

Susan Richards is a Senior Client Development Consultant with FindLaw. Ms. Richards works in Chicago, Illinois, and surrounding suburbs consulting with clients to develop customized Web marketing solutions that fit their needs and their budget. She assists law firm with various marketing needs, from one-page Web sites to fully developed Web properties, these solutions include the most recent innovations in marketing for law firms. Her clients Web sites incorporate Web marketing strategies developed specifically for law firms.



Tim Monsees
Monsees, Miller, Mayer, Presley & Amick
Founding Attorney
Kansas City, MO

Tim Monsees is the Founding Attorney of Monsees, Miller, Mayer, Presley & Amick, a Kansas City Missouri firm specializing in personal injury cases. In over 20 years of practice, he has worked for law firms specializing in defense of insurance companies and product manufacturers. He now uses this experience to better know his opponents while restricting his practice to representation of victims of wrongdoing. Mr. Monsees is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Columbia where he attended both undergraduate and law school.


Dennis Ensor
Senior Client Development Consultant
Kansas City, MO

Dennis Ensor is a Senior Client Development Consultant with FindLaw. He has been assisting lawyers in Missouri for more than five years with their client development strategies. Mr. Ensor has worked with all sizes of firms, from solo practitioners to firms with many lawyers. These law firms have all had success with their Web sites in all practice areas, ranging from Personal Injury and Criminal Defense to Family Law, Estate Planning, Business Transactions and even Defense Firms. Mr. Ensor specializes in tailoring online marketing solutions to law firm's needs.  


FindLaw Partners with Reuters on new Small Business Resource

Reuters today announced the launch of Reuters Small Business; an online news resource for entrepreneurs providing the latest knowledge and features to help entrepreneurs "innovate and grow their businesses", according to Reuters Entrepreneurial blog writer Adam Pasick. The section -- which is part of Reuters Business & Finance -- provides news, blogs, video, and column features from Reuters' own world class news team.

Reuters has also partnered with others small business industry experts like Entrepreneur, BNET, Wired and to provide holistic small business knowledge and resources to its audience. 

This is the first small business syndication partnership for

The FindLaw Small Business Resources Center for Reuters offers an abundance of useful information on key small business legal topics:

  • Starting a Business
  • Incorporation & Legal Structures
  • Employment Law & HR
  • Finance & Taxes
  • Insurance & Liability
  • Operations
  • Small Business Lawyer Directory

To see Reuters Small Business go to:

Note: FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters business

Each month, throngs of legal professionals return to in search of the legal court cases and codes they need for their work. You would probably expect the most publicized legal topics, unusual criminal cases, or important landmark issues of our day would be the most popular. Occassionally however, an unexpected or unheard of case can have far-reaching implications on the daily practice of law.

Here are FindLaw's eight most searched US Supreme Court Cases so far this year:

1. District of Columbia v. Heller (2007)
Topic: Gun Control, Second Amendment, Right to Bear Arms

2. Abdus-Shahid M. S. Ali v. Federal Bureau of Prisons (2007)
Topic: Federal Tort Claims Act, Sovereign Immunity, Law Enforcement Officer

3. Tum v. Barber Foods (2005)
Topic: Compensable Time, Fair Labor Standards Act, Portal-to-Portal Act, Employment Law

4. Grutter v. Bollinger (2002) 
Topic: Affirmative Action, Equal Protection, Fourteenth Amendment, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

5. Arizona v. Gant (2007)
Topic: Criminal Law & Procedure, Fourth Amendment

6. FCC v. Fox Television Station (2008)
Topic: Communications Law, Broadcasts, Profanity, Federal Communications Commission, Administrative Law, 18 U.S.C. section 1464

7. Board of Education of the City of New York v. Tom F. (2006)
Topic: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Tuition Reimbursement, Special Education

8. Meddelinn v. Texas (2006)
     Topic: Capital Cases, International Law, Presidential Authority, State Courts


Related Supreme Court Topics:
Who are the US Supreme Court Justices? (FindLaw)

History of  the Supreme Court (FindLaw)

More than Half of us Know a Victim of Foreclosure

As the bleak economic climate lingers, more Americans are being forced into foreclosure on their homes. FindLaw today released data from its latest survey that found a staggering one on three (31%) Americans know someone who has lost their home to foreclosure, and another 27% who are in the process of foreclosure.

In response to these types of findings, and the increasing numbers of FindLaw visitors seeking ways to avoid home foreclosure, has launched a new online section called Foreclosure and Alternatives at

The new section offers free and helpful information the topic of home Foreclosure and related, including:

  • Foreclosure Basics - What is foreclosure?
  • Understanding loan modification and other options for avoiding foreclosure
  • Understanding your mortgage
  • Avoiding foreclosure & loan modification scams
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • State-specific foreclosure assistance and information.
  • Podcasts, videos and other tools for avoiding and surviving foreclosure

Click here to see the full press release with key foreclosure tips and to learn more about the FindLaw survey.

More Information on Foreclosures, Debt Management and Real Estate:

BusinessWeek Small Business Column Quotes FindLaw Editor

BusinessWeek quoted FindLaw attorney editor Stephanie Rahlfs in a recent Smart Answers column titled The Stockholder Who Wouldn't Sign. The May 4th segment was a Q&A on the topic of small businesses and stockholder agreements. In the piece, a reader who owns shares in a small business inquires if she is legally required to sign an amended stockholder agreement if presented with one; and the repercussions of refusing to do so. Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein replies that the issue depends on the amount of ownership the shareholder has in the company.

Rahlfs points out "If your approval would be required to gain such a majority, and you withhold that approval, then the amendment would simply not go into effect. On the other hand, if the amendment is approved by the majority of shareholders and the original agreement includes a "drag-along" right, you'd likely still be bound to it whether you sign it or not."

Click here to read the full BusinessWeek piece.

Other resources on small business structures and shareholders:
Corporate Shareholders to Directors Structure (FindLaw)
Business Content: The Lowdown on Business Loans (FindLaw)

Hate Working for the Man? How About Working for Yourself?

In many a career professional's life there comes a time when the idea of being self-employed becomes far more appealing than punching the clock for someone else. If such thoughts have crossed your mind, you're not alone. A recent FindLaw survey found more than 60% of Americans have considered or started their own businesses.

Interestingly, many who end up on the road to self-employment do so out of necessity - to pay the bills after unemployment benefits run out, for example - or from a deep desire to be their own boss or promote that great business idea. No matter the motivation, the rewards and risks associated with forming a business or going freelance can make the decision to go solo a scary one. 

Do you have what it takes to go independent? Check out Entrepreneur's 25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs to find out.


How to Find Home Foreclosure Help

The FDIC has compiled a list of compelling statistics that bring home the depth and breadth of the current foreclosure crisis. Did you know?

  • Every three months, 250,000 new families enter into foreclosure.
  • One child in every classroom in America is at risk of losing his/her home because their parents are unable to pay their mortgage.
  • More than 6 in 10 homeowners delinquent in their mortgage payments are not aware of services that mortgage lenders can offer to individuals having trouble with their mortgage.

This week FindLaw launched a new consumer section on the topic of Foreclosures and Alternatives to help inform consumers about their options and rights, the process, and alternatives available. 
Many experts in the mortgage industry want consumers to understand that they may have options and choices in preventing foreclosure if they take action early.  For example, the federal government and large lending institutions are becoming more flexible in renegotiating home loans for those who are current on their mortgage and meet certain criteria. In some cases a qualified professional such as an attorney who specializes in mortgages and foreclosures may be able to help, too. 

Other Helpful Foreclosure Resources
Foreclosure Prevention Resource Center -- Mortgage Bankers Association
Help for Homeowners Facing the Loss of their Home (HUD)
How to Renegotiate a Mortgage -- The