Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

The Small Business Heath Care Tax Credit is designed to help small businesses offer health insurance coverage.  If you provide health insurance coverage to your employees, your law firm may qualify for the small business health care tax credit.  Can you answer yes to these two questions?

  • Does your firm have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees that earn an average wage of less than $50,000?
  • Does your firm pay at least half of the cost for your employees’ health insurance premiums?

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, talk to your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) about your firm’s eligibility.  Click here to read the IRS’ tips regarding this credit.

Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP
Director of Finance and Administration

Let There Be Life

Let There Be Life

 

Employee benefits are something every working American looks at when considering a job. Retirement plans, health insurance, dental insurance, paid sick days and so on. Offering these benefits can be a big deciding factor when they choose to work for you. When I took my last job, all of these were things I considered. But, there was also something else that pushed me toward the position.

Life insurance.

Sure, it’s not something many employers give much thought. Standard health insurance, paid days off and a 401k are obviously three of the big benefits potential employees look for. But offering your employees life insurance makes for a nice icing on the cake.

If you are wondering if it could cost your firm a lot, check out, Offering Life Insurance to Your Employees, an article on Yahoo Small Business. It covers the basic benefits of offering life insurance to your employees, including how paying for a group rate can be cheaper than you and them paying individually.

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

How To Use Networking To Grow Your Law Practice

In today's video, Attorney John K. Zaid of John K. Zaid & Associates shares with Author and Educator, Michael J. Swanson how he used networking to grow his law firm from a solo practice to a firm with over 50 employees.

Michael J. Swanson About Michael J. Swanson

Mr. Swanson has over 13 years of senior executive level experience in trial law firm financing. He is the published author of How David Beats Goliath: Access to Capital for Contingent-Fee Law Firms and has given lectures at seminars and CLE programs nationwide, educating trial lawyers about financial management. Mr. Swanson is also a member of the PILMMA advisory board and ASTC.

Investing in Employee Development

Investing in Employee Development

 

Invest in your employees, and they’ll invest more effort into your business.

One of the things small business owners often over-look is employee development. This is understandable, since time and job duties are limited to a small number of employees. If you allow your employees to better their current skills and learn new ones, your business with often reap the benefits of doing so. This can be just as true for the paralegal who’s been working in your office for ten years as well as the office manager who has been tirelessly filing away your documents for the past two weeks.

Why? It’s quite simple really. When you invest a few resources into bettering an employee, that employee will often come to two conclusions:

  1. You actually care about their personal careers.
  2. They want to make use of their skills to better your business.

Once they take what they learned from the training, they’ll use it to better themselves in their job duties. This increase in efficiency helps operations at your firm, Freeing up more time for you to do more case-related tasks. Not to mention you’ll be increasing your employees’ loyalty and desire to come to work.

Granted yes, there is always the chance they’ll take the new training and then find a job somewhere else. You should know it does not happen nearly often as people think it does.

Want to hear it from an expert? Check out Forbes contributor Victor Lipman’s article, Why Employee Development Is Important, Neglected and Can Cost You Talent.

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Providing the Right Health Insurance

Providing the Right Health Insurance

 

Health insurance is a very big deal, especially for small business owners. With all that has developed over the past few years, business owners have had to quickly adapt to legal changes and provide health coverage for their employees. The rush to find employee insurance in order to avoid penalties has undoubtedly lead to some poor decisions when choosing a health insurance provider.

If you happen to be a small law firm owner who rushed into the decision, or you are starting up a small firm for the first time, I came across an article that may be able to assist you in making the right choice. Choosing the Right Health Plan for your Employees, an article on FindLaw.com, covers some helpful things to consider when choosing a health insurance provider, such as;

  • What Type of health Insurance
  • Whether you should use an insurance broker
  • Finding a better deal
  • The way to evaluate a policy
  • Doing your homework on the provider

To check out the article for yourself and gain some helpful advice, click here.

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

New Year, New Social Security Wage Base

New Year, New Social Security Wage Base

 

A new year means new beginnings. Well, maybe not, but it does mean a new Social Security wage base. The Social Security Administration announced there will be an increase from $117,000 to $118,500 for the 2015 wage base.

Social Security’s Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) 2015 tax rate will be 6.2 percent for both employees and employer. This in turn would make the maximum contributed per individual to be $7,347. The individual’s employer will pay the same amount. For those who are self-employed, the OASDI tax rate is 12.4 percent.

You can learn more about this by visiting Social Security’s Contribution and Benefit Base page of their website.

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

William H. Barker

William H. Barker

Mr. Barker provides consulting services to business owners and corporate leaders to ensure the proper selection, development and retention of high performing employees, with additional emphasis on development of sales skills. Following 20 years of service at the corporate level of human resources, since 1998, he has been a principal consultant with PI Midlantic, a firm specializing in the utilization of a proprietary behavior and motivating needs assessment survey called Predictive Index, and a sales assessment survey titled Selling Skills Assessment Tool. Mr. Barker obtained his graduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, and undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland.

William H. Barker

William H. Barker

Mr. Barker provides consulting services to business owners and corporate leaders to ensure the proper selection, development and retention of high performing employees, with additional emphasis on development of sales skills. Following 20 years of service at the corporate level of human resources, since 1998, he has been a principal consultant with PI Midlantic, a firm specializing in the utilization of a proprietary behavior and motivating needs assessment survey called Predictive Index, and a sales assessment survey titled Selling Skills Assessment Tool. Mr. Barker obtained his graduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, and undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland.

Connect:email

William H. Barker
PI Midlantic
105 Eastern Avenue, Suite 101
Annapolis, Maryland 21403
www.pimidlantic.com
(O) 410-295-0771
(C) 410-322-2255

Which Deposition Service to Choose

Which Deposition Service to Choose

 

Are You Having Trouble Choosing Between Deposition Services?

With the number of deposition services out there, at times it can be a bit overwhelming choosing which service to go with it, and which company to choose for those services. It’s easy to simply pick one without giving it much thought, such as simply choosing a court reporter. One must remember that reaching a decision too quickly can sometimes have a negative impact, and a negative impact on a deposition can prove costly during trial.

Deposition Services: How to Choose the Right Provider, an article by Sarah Ballentine, contains a few things to consider when choosing a deposition service provider. They are:

  • The provider’s location.
  • The technologies they offer.
  • The way they screen their employees.
  • The number of attorneys they can supply.

To view the full article, click here.

Copyright : Sommai Larkjit

Content Conversion for Legal Blogs

Content Conversion for Legal Blogs

How to Use Your Legal Blog Content to Convert Readers into Clients

 

By Yvette Valencia

Convert readers into new clients for your law firm by understanding what topics will draw their interest. Whether you’re a lawyer flying solo with your own single-employee law firm or a partner of a multi-attorney firm with several staff members, getting to know your customers is key to content conversion.

The first step is to pay attention to interactions between your business and your existing clients. It’s here where you can do a little investigative reporting to uncover the hot topics that really grab clients’ attention.

Ask Your Employees about Their Day-to-Day Customer Interactions

When you run a medium to large law firm, you may not find yourself meeting directly with clients as often as your legal assistants, paralegals and case representatives. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be in the dark about what’s on your clients' minds.

Make it a part of your weekly or monthly routine to meet with the staff members who have the most direct interaction with your clients and pick their brains for the latest hot topics. For example, family law attorneys in a state where the ban on gay marriage was overturned recently may see a surge in same-sex couples seeking help in preparing prenuptial agreements. Personal injury law firms in states with harsh winters may notice more slip and fall cases at shopping malls during the winter shopping months.

Your employees can keep you abreast of what kind of cases or situations are most commonly brought to your office so you can tailor your legal blog content to really get in-depth about those topics. Ask your employees to keep track of the most commonly asked questions they hear on a regular basis – these questions are excellent for bulking up your FAQ section.

Solo Attorneys: Analyze Your Customer Interactions for Content Opportunities

Attorneys with solo practices can use the same techniques to develop ideas for new blog posts. Because you are working directly with your clients, the rapport you build with them can be used to test different blog ideas. For example, if you have a good working relationship with a car accident client, see if he or she would be willing to do a short interview with you to get some information from the client’s perspective on the injury claims process.

Your client’s answers to the following questions can help you generate blogs explaining the kind of information they learned or wish they had known prior to their accident.

  • How much did you know about the injury claims process before your accident?
  • What was the most shocking thing you learned about the injury claims process?
  • What did you wish you had known about injury claims before your accident?
  • What advice would you give to someone who has just been in an accident?
  • What do you think is the biggest myth about the injury claims process?

These article ideas will fulfill a necessary role of your legal blog: It will help you write entries that answer common client questions and alleviate fears and misconceptions about their legal rights and their case. During your questioning, keep your ears open for repeated terms – these can become your keywords for your blogs.

We Do Web Content Writes the Legal Content Your Potential Clients Want

The writing team at We Do Web Content knows how to think like a potential client and write to their needs and interests to help transform readers into customers. To get started, give us a call or fill out our contact form to speak with our sales manager about all of the services we offer to help grow your business through Internet and SEO marketing: 888-521-3880.

CVS in Bed with Big Pharma?

A recent article in Bloomberg News gives an overview of a recently filed lawsuit wherein CVS Caremark Corp., the largest U.S. provider of prescription drugs, was sued over claims it used confidential prescription information to push products on behalf of pharmaceutical makers.

The drug store chain is being accused of violating the privacy and rights of its customers by sending letters to customers’ physicians promoting specific medications, according to the lawsuit. CVS allegedly identified customers by name, date of birth and medications taken by drawing on information obtained via CVS pharmacy services.

The suit was brought by Richboro, AP resident Arthur Steinberg and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Health and Welfare Fund. “While touted as an ‘RxReview Program’ by defendant CVS Caremark, in reality the physician communications were nothing more than a profit-making opportunity,” Steinberg said in the complaint.

There is a history of CVS showing poor judgment with regards to customer privacy issues. In February, 2009, the company agreed to pay $2.25 million to settle federal charges its employees compromised customer privacy by throwing prescription bottles and records into open trash dumpsters. This payment settled civil charges that CVS violated HIPAA.

According to a spokesperson for CVS, they have not yet been served with the claim and can’t comment. They have said, however, that, “CVS Caremark places a high priority on protecting the privacy of our customers and members.”

The suit seeks unspecified damages and class action status for the case. It is styled as Arthur Steinberg v. CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS), #110300253 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.