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Practical COVID-19 Finance Tips from a CFO

Fear and uncertainty are what most people are dealing with emotionally and financially these days.  Control over many aspects of life has been taken away or changed.  There are not a lot of options at this point, other than to abide by directives from the government and do our part.  Your financial situation may have changed, and you could be wondering what to do now, or maybe it hasn’t changed and you’re wondering if your emergency reserves will hold up. If you’re one of the many that has found themselves unemployed, look to see if Fannie Mae or Freddy Mac own your loan.  You can possibly get your payments deferred for up to 12 months.  If they do not own your loan, talk to your lender to see what your options would be. Ideally, you should have enough in cash reserves to last several months.  However, reality is that many Americans do not.  Below is a list of a few practical things to help build up cash reserves during this time:  Hit pause on your goals to make sure you’ve got enough in reserves.  Reallocate dollars you were putting towards these goals into your cash reserves.Pay minimum payments on everything in order to build up cash reserves.Research to see if you can put your student loans on deferment if you get to the point where you need to.Cancel unnecessary subscriptions.Look at ways to lower your fixed expenses.Eat lessShop for better insurance, cell, and internet rates Many people go into panic mode and make decisions...

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Innovating on an Ancient Tradition

It would be unwise to go to a surgeon that was trained using the 1900's methodologies. But most of us don't give a second thought to the reality that the delivery of legal services has not changed significantly since at least 1900. The world has changed a great deal in the last 120 years, and we believe that so should the way legal services are delivered. At White Law Office, we are working hard to carry forward our value of innovation inside the archaic tradition of law. From creating satellite offices to having legal forms available online, to making virtual consultations a reality, White Law Office is seeking out innovative ways to deliver legal services to our clients, where they are. On top of creating innovative access to legal services, White Law Office knows that there are two significant stressors when it comes to hiring a lawyer. First, we know that the price point of engaging a lawyer can create anxiety because it isn't always clear how much legal services will cost. That is why White Law Office is developing a suite of flat-rate services inside our most commonly requested areas of practice. Our goal is to make sure you know how much it will cost you when you engage us as your attorney in those areas. Second, we know that just as important as knowing cost is, knowing how long it is going to take us to complete our work matters. Because of this, White Law Office is also studying how long it takes to complete our standard matters. The goal is for our clients to be able to trust our estimate of when...

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The Days of Cheering on the Tribe

Several months ago, my dad was diagnosed with a form of dementia known as Lewy Body Dementia or LBD. Looking back, we should have recognized many of the signs that are often associated with this debilitating disease. However, as is often the case in medical diagnoses, we simply didn’t recognize the symptoms, until we knew what we were looking for.  If you are not familiar with LBD, it can be like Alzheimer's or other forms of Dementia in which the patient loses their memory, but may also have visual hallucinations and many cognitive changes.  For my dad, this has been especially debilitating and we recently had to move him to a special care facility as he is no longer able to care for himself. I wish I could say that my dad and I have always been incredibly close. Instead, we have both had to work hard at understanding each other’s point of view in many areas of life. Whether it was our generational differences, or that we were too much alike, each of us felt misunderstood by the other. This is not to say that we would often argue with each other, instead, it was more a feeling that we lacked the intimacy to disagree with each other. In many ways, our relationship was like sitting next to a stranger on an airplane, we could always exchange pleasantries, but after a while, we were both ready to reach our destination. As a child, our home did not have a...

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What is the White Law Office Annual Small Business Conference?

The White Law Office Small Business Conference (SBC) began eight years ago with the idea of connecting local business owners, their teams, and entrepreneurs with local resources. We, at White Law Office, firmly believe in the potential of the small business community. We also believe that we have a wealth of talent and resources in our communities that can help small businesses succeed. As navigating the legal, financial, risk management, and regulatory environments around small businesses have become more complicated, we saw a need to provide education and empowerment to local small business leaders. What began with thirty people in a conference room hearing from a handful of speakers eight years ago, has grown into several hundred owners, leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs gathering yearly to hear from a dozen local speakers, teachers, and service providers that have the goal of making their business as successful as possible. The reason we choose local resources to speak and teach at the SBC is because of observations we made attending other business conferences. So many times, we go to a large conference and hear from a recognized speaker, and we feel inspired to make a change. But when we turn to implement the change and have questions, we can't access that speaker. They live halfway across the country, have an entourage of public relations people, and we don't know where to start to reach out to them with our most basic question. The reason we choose local resources is we want attendees of the SBC to know they can...

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Is a Carrot and a Stick the Best Way to Motivate Employees?

I’ve often thought that in order to motivate people into doing the behavior you want, the most effective way to do that is by hanging a giant carrot from a stick and say, “go for it!” However, after quite a bit of research, I am learning that is not always the case.  According to Daniel Pink and his mass amounts of social studies, a carrot and a stick works for people who push a button or turn a crank. But for people whose jobs require even a little critical thinking, a carrot and a stick not only doesn’t work but it can even impair success. So, what does motivate people when they have to use critical thought?  According to Daniel Pink, it is Autonomy (the ability to do a job when and how they like to do it), Mastery (the ability to learn how to do a job and do it well), and Purpose (Does this align with my values and what I believe in?).  So, what does this mean?  It means that people like the ability and freedom to explore ideas and find out the best ways to do it and to also do the job when they have the most energy.  They enjoy exploring those ideas and becoming the best at it and they enjoy working for a company that is bigger than itself.  They enjoy a company that is bigger than their own ego.  So, my question for you is, do you have a lot of turnover?  Are your employees...

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A Virtual Attorney in a Changing World

What is a Virtual Lawyer? As I write this I am at a legal technology conference in San Diego with the speaker proclaiming the virtues of virtual lawyers and virtual law firms. As a traditionally trained lawyer, the concept of “virtual” law was at first daunting for me. “Virtual” sounds like a lawyer existing on a Star Trek holodeck. What I discovered was much different, but we need to first define virtual law. We live in a world that is leveraging technology at an increasingly rapid pace. I remember as a young lawyer marveling at the IBM Selectric’s ability to backspace and erase what I had just typed. It seems like yesterday, but technologically, it was in the Stone Age. Simply put, a virtual lawyer is a lawyer who is able to use technology to efficiently and economically provide services to the client. As technology changes, legal services need to become more efficient and economical for the client. If you think about it, lawyers have been using technology to serve clients virtually (not face to face in a law office) for about a hundred years through the telephone. Most of my conferences with clients are not in person, they a phone calls. But phone calls are only one way of attorneys and clients communicate. For instance, most of our correspondence with clients is by email. This is much quicker than regular mail in communicating and allows us to send documents instantly. An emerging use of technology that many of our clients enjoy video conferences. The internet has...

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Social Media and the Law

We are in a social media-driven day and age. On average, internet users spend about 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social networking platforms. Saima Salim, How much time do you spend on social media? Research says 142 minutes per day. With such a significant amount of time spent on these sites, it is wise to be aware of some of the legal issues you could face. There are many aspects where social media and the law collide. Privacy First of all, consider the privacy of the information you post online (or the lack thereof). How often do you put something online and consider whether you would want a judge or prosecutor to view the evidence? Courts are seeing social media used in cases more and more often, especially in divorce cases. If you post something online, it is very possible that it can be used against you in court. Social media sites are built to collect data from you. That is one of their primary goals. They are fueled by companies who advertise to your specific needs and wants. They use a multitude of tricks to get you to give them information, and anyone – including the government – can be collecting this data from you. As the ABA eloquently put it, "In Europe, Canada, and other countries across the world, protection of each citizen's private information is considered to be a human right, secured by statute and enforced by the government and private causes of action. In...

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