Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Long Nights, Legal Cases, and Nootropics

The following is a post by Eric Balaster a friend of mine, he is the co-founder of Pure Nootropics, where he writes extensively on the subject of nootropics through his company blog.

In the law profession, there is down time contrasted with extreme workloads. Some cases require late hours, clients call late at night needing assistance, and generally the profession can become quite tiresome. A lot of people in the legal profession are moving towards nootropics as a way of handling their stressful and demanding jobs. Nootropics are a special type of compound that help to enhance cognitive abilities. By improving memory, attention, focus, or even reasoning, these smart drugs can help lawyers to handle the rigors of the profession without falling off the edge. What follows is a great overview of nootropics for lawyers looking to improve their performance.

Mental Fatigue Nootropics

There are a lot of people who struggle with issues of mental fatigue, which explains the millions of people who drink coffee on a daily basis. However, there are methods of using coffee and other related stimulants to get a much better effect for your brain.

Caffeine + L-Theanine

If you have ever heard of L-theanine, it is an active agent in green tea that makes it easier for you to calm down and relax. Yet, when paired with caffeine, it actually helps you to avoid getting too jittery and makes it easier to focus on the task at hand. Typically, caffeine can make people too anxious and hyper focused on the wrong things. L-theanine brings you back down to earth so you can function properly and seem a lot sharper.

Modafinil (Provigil)

Speak with your doctor before taking Modafinil, but this is a prescription drug that can be utilized for a higher quality focus and attention than you've ever experienced before. It is far more powerful than caffeine and it will improve your ability to work exponentially. Just make sure that you research the drug beforehand and speak with a doctor to get the best dosage information for you.

CILTeP

CILTeP stands for chemically induced long term potentiation and it is a newer formulation based on studies from 2004. The active ingredients are artichoke extract and forskolin with added acetyl-L-carnitine and L-phenylalanine for protection. Altogether, this makes for a natural substitute for Modafinil, but it should be used with caution just as Modafinil. It will not work for everyone, but it does have a strong effect.

Memory Retention Smart Drugs

There are a few higher quality drugs that pertain to memory that can help any lawyer to remember more legal precedences, landmark cases, and facts. With some of these memory enhancing options, you can easily improve your practice.

Piracetam

This is one of the first nootropics utilized for cognitive enhancement in the early 1970s. Since then, numerous studies have shown just how powerful the drug can be for improving memory in animals and humans. Numerous human trials show that it is an effective drug for improving memory in young college-age students, but also in older individuals who are more memory prone.

Aniracetam

A similarly structured drug, aniracetam, is a more potent racetam than piracetam. It was synthesized around the same time, but the low bioavailability makes most of the drug avoid getting metabolized. The little bit that does work will help to provide a stimulant as well as improve your overall cognitive abilities. A lot of people that take aniracetam notice it not only has memory effects, but also improves the ability to feel less anxious and perform under pressure. For lawyers with important trials, this could be the drug of choice. You can buy aniracetam online in the United States without a prescription.

Choline

By itself, choline is a great cognitive enhancing substance. It is just a precursor for acetylcholine and thus is very useful in providing the building blocks for the neurotransmitter. It is best to utilize choline with the piracetam or aniracetam for the most effects. The best sources of choline in our diet are typically not utilized, which is why supplementing with alpha GPC or CDP choline is probably a good idea.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Which type of bankruptcy is right for me?

As a New Mexico bankruptcy lawyer, I'm often asked which type of bankruptcy is the best. The real question is which type of bankruptcy is best for the particular individual's situation. Here are a few thoughts about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the most common because it gives people a fresh start. A Chapter 7 case usually takes between 4 to 6 months to complete from beginning to end. The discharged debts from Chapter 7 bankruptcy are permanently gone.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the second most used type of bankruptcy for individuals. The requirements for a Chapter 13 is that you make payments towards your debts for the next 3-5 years. Filing under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop home foreclosure proceedings; although you will still have to make timely mortgage payments that come due during the course of the Chapter 13-bankruptcy plan.

You can use Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings to eliminate a second mortgage while maintaining possession of your home, if your home has declined in value to point where the second mortgage is wholly unsecured (or in other words where the lien holder would receive nothing in foreclosure).

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also used because an individual is in a high income bracket, as higher income individual may not qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on the means test. Chapter 13 is also chosen if the individual has a lot of assets or filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the last 8 years.


An attorney can analyze which type of bankruptcy is best for you, or if bankruptcy is necessary in your situation. Be sure to contact a local bankruptcy attorney to assist you with your financial situation. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Battered Woman Syndrome

The following is a post by my law partner Keith Findlay. Keith is an Albuquerque divorce lawyer, that handles various family law issues for clients throughout Albuquerque and New Mexico.

Women have had and do have in parts of the world substantially less power over their lives, are subject to being treated as subhuman, and are
often forced to confront extreme violence in their daily lives. The idea of such conduct at this day in age in the US is met with disbelief and insensitivity over its existence in a civilized world. Such a social reaction can often lead to women not reporting incidents because of lack of support. The issue of violence towards woman and men in a relationship is too real a thing, and should not be ignored.

 In the late 70's, the term “battered woman syndrome” was coined to explain the coping mechanisms of a battered woman and the intense emotions they feel as a result; now the term battered person syndrome is more appropriate, as this syndrome can be found in male victims of domestic violence too. The concepts behind battered person syndrome once were highly debated but now are widely accepted.  Some states have even made them into law.

The three stages in a typical battering relationship: 


  1. increased tension due to small problems; 
  2. an explosion of violent conduct; and 
  3. a cooled down period where the aggressor tries too apologize, makes false promises, and usually denial by the victim of reality of their circumstances.  
This cycle of violence results in the victim trying to minimize or deny the batterer’s abuse out of self blame, shame, fear of the aggressor, and often because of a belief the aggressor can and will change. Even when a victim comes forward, the legal system can be a deterrent just by virtue of its daunting nature and procedural challenges. Pursuing relief against the aggressor can be even harder for a victim that has experienced substandard service from police or other local authorities.  

There is no specific set of symptoms for a victim of domestic violence that has developed battered person syndrome. Each situation is must be considered contextually. Basically, the premise behind battered person syndrome is that the effects of battering go beyond psychological, sexual, and physical abuse. Victims of domestic violence that have battered person syndrome often take action to minimize the affects of the violence, an example would be covering bruises or other signs of physical abuse. Victims also tend to have or develop low self esteem. Often victims will not press criminal charges against the aggressor; even when charges are filed, some victims fail to follow through with their case for various reasons. Many victims, leave the relationship temporarily only to return to the same abusive relationship. Physiological symptoms are similar to that of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and can be far-ranging including a heightened sense of danger; intense emotions of fear, vulnerability, and anger; denial; self-medication with drugs or alcohol; sleeping disorders; and physical symptoms of stress such as chronic fatigue and an impaired immune system.  

It is important to understand the effects of fear on a battered woman.  It can cause the victim to deny the battering or retract police reports. Fear can lead to the battered woman avoiding reality and blocking out painful memories. These effects worsen as the abuse becomes more severe.  This can lead to the victim becoming dangerous.

Psychological testing has been used to identify symptoms of BPS and their severity, and assess the credibility of battered women.  All of the psychological tests support Battered woman syndrome being substantially similar to PTSD. It is important to understand this when dealing with such a victim. if you have questions about getting a victim help you should contact an attorney and a doctor. A doctor can provide with advice about how to help the victim, and a New Mexico family law attorney can provide you with advice of how to get the battered woman help.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Maintaining Limited Liability - New Mexico Business Attorneys


You may be in danger of personal liability should you or the business fail to comply with the regulations that pertain to your company's operations.  The following are some key criteria in maintaining limited liability standing. This list is not exhaustive, so if you're looking to form a New Mexico LLC and are concerned about the potential pitfalls, then be sure to contact a New Mexico business lawyer.

Individual Guarantees for Business Obligations

One of the major advantages of organizing an limited liability company is the protection it offers for individual assets.  The managers, members, and officers can be held personally liable for the LLC's obligations and debts in some circumstances, however.  Unless you sign a personal guaranty agreement, a lot of lenders will not offer credit when you begin a company.  Signing such an statement will make you personally liable for the debt or obligation secured.

By taking certain actions you could also take on individual responsibility for the organization's debts or obligations.  An adverse party might be able to “pierce the corporate veil” and make you personally liable for the LLC's obligations if you blend your personal interests or assets with business assets or if you neglect LLC rules and regulations.

In addition to this, it is crucial to diligently review all leases, credit agreements, contracts and equivalent written documents before signing them to be sure that they don't incorporate unseen personal liability representations or indemnification agreements.

Negligence (not to mention willful or intentional torts) might also result in the loss of liability protection for that individual.  If an officer, member, manager, employee or other representative of the Limited Liability Company engages in negligent conduct that hurts someone else they might be determined to be personally liable. Limited Liability Companies should think about carrying liability insurance coverage to safeguard against these types of risks.

Federal Taxes

An Employer Identification Number can be supplied by the Internal Revenue Service when you organize a Limited Liability Company.  Withholding and FICA taxes have to be reported, collected, and paid to the state and federal government as required by law.  The individuals responsible for keeping and paying for these various taxes may be held liable separately from the Limited Liability Company.


Distributions by the Company

Distributions from an LLC to its members are typically disallowed if they would render a company insolvent or when the company's assets are lower than its liabilities. In certain cases, improper distributions may be recovered.  Therefore, it is a smart idea to see whether or not a distribution will be lawful before making one.


Always Use the Entire Company Name for Business Transactions

When conducting business, it is imperative that you use the LLC name precisely as it's specified in the articles of organization.  Accordingly, all letterhead, stationery, receipts, and invoices should be made using the full and genuine LLC name.  A complete title ought to be added beside the signature when signing on behalf of the LLC to make sure that it will be clear the individual is operating as a representative of the Limited Liability Company rather than in his or her individual capacity. If you sign a contract and fail to list your relationship to the LLC near your name in the contract, one could argue that you should be held individually liable as a party to the agreement.

In a similar fashion, if you fail to state your connection with the Limited Liability Company when engaging in banking transactions or signing credit agreements you can be held individually liable for those obligations. The same protocols must be followed when leasing equipment, office space, furniture, vehicles, etc.

Recording and Approving Significant Transactions

Authorization from a manager may be necessary for any important transaction (the operate agreement of the LLC should cover these types of issues). The officers should follow the guidelines of the operating agreement. Alternatively, resolutions could be approved and recorded granting approval. Entering into a financial transaction without the blessing of the LLC might result in individual liability.

This is intended merely as a short overview, and it's certainly not meant to deliver an exclusive checklist of every way a company's limited liability standing could be jeopardized. Never depend on a brief overview on its own when determining the right way to run your company.  If you have any concerns you may want to speak with a business attorney for legal advice.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Effect of Pre-Existing Injuries on your Personal Injury Claim


Below is an article by Keith Findlay of Baca, Findlay, & Dziak, LLC. Keith handles a variety of legal issues, but focuses heavily in personal injury. If you've been injured, Keith is the right Albuquerque personal injury attorney to help with your case.

The Effect of Pre-Existing Injuries on your Personal Injury Claim

The law does not hold a person responsible for injuries that existed prior to their supposed act of negligence that led to their being liable for such damages. Said another way, if you have a “trick knee” from an old skiing accident and one day you suffer a personal injury due to a treadmill malfunction, you can sue the gym or treadmill manufacturer for your injuries and expenses but you cannot reasonably expect to recover for a surgery to completely repair your previously injured knee. The law will only require that a defendant (or tortfeasor) compensate the plaintiff or injured party for the expenses associated with the injuries that stem directly for their act of negligence.
An area within New Mexico personal injury law that the concept of exclusion of recovery for pre-existing injuries is very active is that of injuries involving soft tissue damage. It is common to have whiplash, back strain and other such soft tissue injuries in car accidents. While injuries such as broken bones are easily attributable to a specific event, soft tissue damage is far more difficult to reliably pin point as far as date of injury is concerned. If the plaintiff in such a case has a documented history of previous neck or back problems, it suddenly becomes far less clear when the specific injury to the neck or back actually took place. This creates significant “wiggle room” for defense lawyers to attempt to minimize the damages attributed to their client.
Naturally, there are varying shades of grey in this concept for attributing liability only for direct injuries caused. If, say, the plaintiff had a history of back problems but had not needed treatment of any kind for many years prior to the event in question the connection between the event and the injury is more clear. However, if the plaintiff had been seeing a doctor regularly for the months immediately preceding the event, then the causation of the back injury is put in question. Perhaps this plaintiff was injured in the car accident, but they are trying to get extra money to treat an injury they had previously suffered. 
The issue of pre-existing injuries in personal injury cases can further be muddled if you consider that many people suffering from such soft tissue injuries can go long periods without feeling pain or needing treatment, only to later find that their injury had caused significant degeneration of the tissue and even greater injury, only much delayed. Even if the plaintiff had not been suffering pain or undertaking treatment immediately prior to the accident, it does not mean that they did not have such degenerative tissue problems from their previous injury, and thus, they may not be compensated for injuries to their neck or back. Because the injury pre-existed, even though it had not been treated for years, means that it was not legally “caused” by the event and thus the plaintiff cannot recover for that soft tissue injury.
It can be treated as a general truth that an injured party will not receive full, 100% compensation for damages relating to their complaint if there existed previous injuries or damage because the defendant would no longer be directly and wholly liable. The practical effect of this is that most personal injury cases that involve at least some pre-existing injuries will settle, or even be adjudicated, at a percentage of the total damages suffered by the plaintiff. If you’ve been injured in an accident, of virtually any kind, do not delay. Speak with your local personal injury lawyer about your situation and learn more about your possible recovery/compensation options. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt


Its been a while since I've posted any new articles, fortunately we've been busy at the law firm but here is an article written by my law partner, Keith Findlay:

As a Albuquerque Criminal Defense Lawyer we are frequently asked what “beyond a reasonable doubt” really means. Essentially, reasonable doubt is the standard of evidence that applies in criminal cases (as opposed to a “preponderance of evidence” standard which is applicable in civil cases).

In order to find someone guilty of criminal charges, the prosecuting side must convince a jury (or judge in certain circumstances) “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the person is guilty of the crime they are charged with. The term “reasonable” gives the evidentiary standard some leeway, as the existence of doubt itself is not enough to get away with the committing of a crime. It has to be doubt in the mind of a reasonable person (i.e. claiming “an alien did it!” would not suffice for a reasonable person). New Mexico statutes defines reasonable doubt as: “a doubt based upon reason and common sense - the kind of doubt that would make a reasonable person hesitate to act in the graver and more important affairs of life.”

Generally speaking, a person charged with assault and battery in both a civil (tort) matter and a criminal matter will have a harder time defending against the civil case because the standard the evidence must satisfy is lower in civil cases; an example of these differing standards in action can be seen in the OJ Simpson murder cases. In the criminal case, he was found not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and acquitted, but in the civil case he was found liable for the murder and forced to pay the family damages under the preponderance of evidence standard.

The rationale behind this important standard of evidences makes sense as the United States is a country that is premised on the notion of “innocent until proven guilty.” The other important consideration is that with criminal charges the stakes are usually considerably higher because people view life and liberty as inherently more valuable than the money that is commonly at stake in civil legal actions.

Just because the standard of evidence is higher in a criminal case does signify that one should take any criminal charges lightly (because, again, the stakes are so high). I always recommend that someone charged with a crime be sure to discuss their case with a local (as the law can vary from place to place) criminal defense attorney to assure the best representation possible.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Mexico Probate Change 2012

Albuquerque Probate Lawyer on 2012 Law Change

In a recent article we published something regarding the New Mexico Small Estate Affidavit and how it works in New Mexico. One of the important changes to the New Mexico Probate Code here in 2012 increases the amount that the Estate must be under in order to make use of a Small Estate Affidavit. It used to be $30,000, but that amount has increased to $50,000 for people who die in 2012 or later. This change will make it so that families with small estates will not have be burdened by the expenses associated with probate to transfer items of personal property. Again, a Small Estate Affidavit is a useful tool in being able to wrap up a deceased loved one's affairs, but it cannot be used to transfer real estate.

The fact that the deceased person may have owned property at death does not necessarily mean that a probate proceeding will need to be commenced to transfer that property.  In New Mexico there are several ways that land can be transferred so that probate is not required. A Albuquerque Probate Lawyer can tell you if a particular piece of real estate will have to go through probate to transfer ownership.

Of course the key to avoiding probate is talking to an Albuquerque Estate Planning Attorney, who can help you setup your estate in such a way as to avoid probate. With regard to transferring property, an Estate Attorney can advise you how to do so without having to go through probate. Hiring an estate planning attorney that is local is important because where you die controls part of your property, but with regard to real estate, the property (and mechanisms to pass title of that property) is controlled by the State's laws in which it resides. Good planning will help cut down the costs associated with probate, but often more importantly, good planning can cut down on the time factor that a probate proceeding inherently adds. Some transfers of real estate can be setup to happen automatically, which can be important for the heirs in trying to administrate the deceased person's estate.