Advent of Foreign Law Firms in India

The opening of a legal firm by a Nigerian in Delhi has not only lawyers up in arms against the unauthorized practice but has also revived the decade-and-a-half-old debate over the more important question – should foreign lawyers be allowed entry into India?

It is often asserted that India has the potential to become one of the world’s great legal centers in the 21st century, alongside London and New York. It has innate advantages in its common law traditions and English language capability. But until very recently India had not recognized the role that advisory legal services have to play in attracting foreign investment and developing a broader-based services economy.

India being a signatory to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) which is an organ of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is under an obligation to open up the service sector to Member Nations.

“Services” would include any service in any sector except services supplied in the exercise of governmental authorities as defined in GATS. “A service supplied in the exercise of governmental authorities” is also defined to mean any service that is supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition with one or more service suppliers.

Legal profession is also taken to be one of the services which is included in GATS. With the liberalization and globalization policy followed in India, multinationals and foreign corporations are increasingly entering India. Foreign financial institutions and business concerns are also entering India in a fairly large number. Their business transactions in India are obviously governed by the Indian law and the foreign law firms (FLF’s) and foreign legal consultants (FLC’s) being not fully conversant with the Indian legislation require the assistance of lawyers enrolled and practicing in India. This has led to the idea of entry of foreign legal consultants and liberalization of legal practices in India in keeping with the guidelines evolved by the International Bar Association (IBA) and the GATS. If this idea is to be put into practice, the Advocates Act, 1961 which governs legal practice in India needs to be amended.

Legal “practice” is not defined in the Advocates Act but a reading of Sections 30 and 33 indicates that practice is limited to appearance before any court, tribunal or authority. It does not include legal advice, documentation, alternative methods of resolving disputes and such other services. Section 24 (i)(a) of the Act provides that a person shall be qualified to be admitted as an Advocate on the State Roll if he is a citizen of India provided that subject to this Act a national of any other country may be admitted as an Advocate on the State Roll if the citizens of India duly qualified are permitted to practice law in that other country.

Section 47 of the Act provides that where a country specified by the Central Govt. in this behalf by a notification in the Official Gazette prevents the citizens of India from practicing the profession of law subjects them to unfair discrimination in that country, no subject of any such country shall be entitled to practice that profession of law in India.

The basic principles set out by IBA on the question of validity of FLC’s are fairness, uniform and non-discriminatory treatment, clarity and transparency, professional responsibility, reality and flexibility. The guidelines laid down by the IBA are as follows:

“Legal consultant means a person qualified to practice law in a country (home country) and who desires to be licensed to practice law as a legal consultant without being examined by a body or an authority to regulate the legal profession in a country (host country) other than a home country, such a person has to apply to the host authority for a license by following the procedure for obtaining a license subject to the reasonable conditions imposed by the host authority on the issue of licenses. This license requires renewal. A legal consultant has to submit an undertaking alongwith his application not to accept, hold, transfer, deal with a client found or assigned unless the legal consultant does so in a manner authorized by the host authority to agree and abide by the code of ethics applicable to host jurisdiction besides to abide by all the rules and regulations of both the home and host jurisdiction.

It is open to the host authority to impose the requirement of reciprocity and to impose reasonable restrictions on the practice of FLC’s in the host country, that the FLC’s may not appear as an attorney or plead in any court or tribunal in the host country and the FLC’s may not prepare any documents or instruments whose preparation or performance of other services, is specifically reserved by the host authority for performance by its local members.

Many experts have given their views on entry of FLF’s and FLC’s in India pursuant to GATS. They are not opposed to the idea but it is suggested by them that some restrictions, adequate safeguards and qualifications should be provided for besides reciprocity.

The restrictions, if any, will have to be reasonable. Obtaining Indian law degree and practicing Indian law for a period to be stipulated for entry may be the only reasonable restrictions. Canadian model of University training, examination and articleship administered through a joint committee accreditation may be a viable solution. To follow the principle of non-discrimination, it may not be possible to impose any onerous restriction limiting the clientele, the nature of legal work, the fees to be marked, the form of fees (Rupees or foreign currency) etc. So far as reciprocity is concerned level playing field and uniform code of conduct will have to be worked out. Many western nations allow their lawyers to advertise whereas in India the lawyers are not allowed to do so. In California the FLF’s were only permitted to deal in laws not specific to California. Even in countries like Singapore, Hong-Kong and Japan the FLC’s are restricted to servicing only foreign firms. The treatment meted out to FLC’s and FLF’s in other countries and the rules, regulations made to govern their practice in the foreign country should be thoroughly scrutinized before allowing the entry in India.

Even if reciprocity were allowed, no Indian firm would go abroad to conduct legal business not because it has no talent, competency or efficiency but economically it would not be a viable proposition. The Indian lawyers have no resources to set up an establishment in a foreign country nor will the Indian Government render any assistance to them to promote their business in a foreign country. Even the large population of non-resident Indians would not desire to patronize the Indian lawyers even though they may be experts in their own field because the resident lawyers having full knowledge of the law of the country would be available to them at reasonable price because for the legal experts from India apart from the fees charged for the legal consultancy/service they may have to spend on their traveling expense also. The legal service by calling Indian experts would be very expensive for the non-resident Indians and they may not get full effective service since the Indian legal consultants may not be very conversant with the laws applicable there. It is only if any Indian party is concerned in a dispute and the question relates also to Indian law that Indian legal Consultant would be invited to a foreign country and not otherwise. Such occasions will be rare. The picture is different in case of foreign firms who do business across national borders, due to globalization. They demand foreign lawyers since they like to rely on the services of professionals in their own country who are already familiar with the firm’s business. If the foreign firms carrying on business in India require advice here on home country law, that can be made available to them by the Indian law firms or the Indian legal consultants. They can also prepare the legal documentation or provide the advisory service for corporate restructuring, mergers, acquisitions, intellectual property rights or financial instruments required by the foreign firms. These aspects will have to be seriously considered while considering the principle of reciprocity. Reciprocity should therefore be clearly defined and must be effective. It should be ensured that the rules and/or regulations laid down should be strictly complied with otherwise as is the experience, the rules remain on paper and what is practiced is totally different. The authorities either do not pay any heed to the violations or they overlook or ignore it as in the case of the Foreign law firms in India in the Enron deal, the permissions for such law firms to set up liaison offices came from the RBI which reports directly to the Finance Ministry. When these law firms violated the very conditions of being liaison offices the RBI overlooked or ignored it.

Some are of the view that instead of being perceived as a threat to lawyers, this should be seen as a move to raising standards within the profession but with reciprocal arrangements. The legal profession as it was practiced years before by the legal stalwarts did have a very high standard. However, today that standard of profession is nowhere to be seen or experienced. Legal profession has also become totally commercialized with no human or moral values. The standard has gone down considerably. However, the fees charged have tremendously increased, disproportionately to the service rendered to the clients. No effort is being made in any corner to set the wrong or malpractices which have crept in in the legal profession. On this background, what would be the “raised standards”? If at all the standards are raised, would the entire class of legal practitioners in India benefit or will it be only a small section of the legal practitioners who would be able to take advantage of the new situation? In that case, can this move be said to be in the interest of the legal practitioners? The situation so far as the FLC’s are concerned would be completely different since all the FLC’s who aspire to come to India will get equal treatment whereas the Indian legal practitioners would be deprived of equality in profession. Besides the FLC’s will have foreign clients and even though they are allowed to practice in India with a reasonable restriction of obtaining law degree in India, for some time definitely they will need Indian lawyers to get their work done. With the resources at their end and with the higher exchange rate in currency, they will be able to hire and retain young lawyers with substantial pay packages, though as compared to their fees in their country it would be much lower, with the result that good reputed Attorney’s/Solicitor’s Firms in India would lose their good hands and their work may suffer. Law Firms in U.S.A have funds equal to the annual budget of the State of Maharashtra. With such resources, in a short time, such FLF’s would do away with the existing law firms in India. On this background would our law firms withstand the competition and the quality of service, is an important question to be examined.

The U.S and some other advanced countries have large law firms operating on International scales which are primarily business organizations designed to promote commercial interest of their giant client corporations. The size, power, influence and economical standards of these large international law firms would definitely affect the legal system of our country adversely. We cannot match howsoever far we may stretch it, their size, power and most importantly economical standard. There is a limitation here on the number of partners in an Attorney’s/Solicitor’s firm. The number is restricted to 20 under the Partnership Act, which restriction is non-existent in a foreign law firm. To bring uniformity this limitation will have to be removed allowing for more partners, increasing of funding and manpower.

Moreover the FLF’s have “single window services” meaning services which not only include legal but also accountancy, management, financial and other advice to their clients. The multidisciplinary partnerships will cater to the needs of the clients in the above-mentioned different fields. Such partnerships may endanger the ethics of the legal profession as confidential information may be passed out within the partnership to the non-lawyer professionals. This would prejudicially affect not only the clients but also the lawyers since the independence of the lawyers would be compromised. Once the FLF’s and FLC’s are allowed entry into India the Bar Council of India will have to make rules and regulations also for such multidisciplinary partnerships or single window services. The multidisciplinary partnerships may look attractive but the crucial question is whether the quality of services and accountability of systems can be maintained? The code of ethics needs review to bring international legal practice under its purview.

The Foreign law firms may seek license for full and regular legal practice like that of Indian lawyers or they may come for a limited practice of consultancy for foreign partners on home country laws. Accordingly the rules and regulations will have to be framed to meet both these situations. The FLF’s who intend to come for regular legal practice may have to be subjected to immigration and citizenship laws. Those who seek limited practice may enter into partnerships with the home country law firms without any scrutiny from the organized legal profession. It is therefore necessary that a transparent, fair and accountable system be evolved to regulate and control the internationalization of legal practice.

With the globalization and liberalization policy not only foreign businessmen have come to India for investment but even the foreign goods and products such as agricultural products and other goods have entered the Indian market. The Indian goods and products have to face a tough competition with these foreign products which are cheaper though may not be better in quality. The result is that the Indian agriculturists and merchants are seriously prejudiced in their business. We also have the example of Enron which was in news where the Indian law was modified without probably realizing the adverse effect it would have on the electrical companies in the State. The agreements signed with Enron do not appear to be in the interest of the State or the Nation. However, such matters are thought of only later and not when the actual action is taken. With the present experience, it is felt that we should not be carried away with the idea of raising our standards or of being on par with the other developed countries where the guideline of reciprocity may be followed and the FLC’s and FLF’s would be allowed to enter the country. We have to be very alert and watchful and think well in advance to do away with any lacunas or loopholes in the rules and regulations that may be introduced to safeguard the interest of the lawyers in our country.
One more point which may need consideration is about the countries who would be interested in India. Would these countries be the members of the World Trade Organization or would even the non-member countries be allowed to enter India? If the entry is restricted to only the members of the WTO and if any non-member country desires to enter India, would the entry be denied merely on the ground that it is not the member of the WTO or whether the non-member would be allowed entry to show our fairness and equality of treatment? Thus many countries may be interested in coming to India due to the liberalization; globalization and privatization policy followed in India but the chances of the Indian firms going out of India to enter any foreign country would be remote. The principle of reciprocity may be introduced on paper but may not be effectively followed.

It may be mentioned here that the “Lawyer’s Collective” has filed a public interest litigation before the Mumbai High Court questioning the phrase “practice the profession of law” under section 29 of the Advocates Act. The respondents in their petition include some of the FLF’s which had set up their own liaison offices in India. It is needless to point out that all the above points may be discussed and examined in the above petition, the result of which is awaited.

The Indian legal profession has, in recent years, undergone a significant change, emerging as highly competitive and ready to move along with the ongoing wave of globalization. The interest of foreign law firms to open shop in India therefore is hardly surprising, since India offers a full range of legal services, of comparable quality, at literally a fraction of the price that would otherwise have to be paid. The rather conservative and if one may use the word, “protectionist” stand of the Bar Council of India on the matter has, however, prohibited foreign law firms from operating in India. A number of the more established ones, perhaps unable to resist the immense potential of the Indian legal markets, and in anticipation of the “globalization of legal services” under the aegis of the WTO, are slowly (and quite discreetly) establishing their presence in India, this in a considerable number of cases taking the form of their entering into associations with Indian firms, and in the process, literally operating in India indirectly, despite the prohibitions against the same. An issue that has therefore started to attract the attention of not simply Indian lawyers, but also law school grads, is the likely consequences of the entry of foreign firms in India. Shall this help an already growing Indian legal market, or shall it only mean a job loss for Indian law grads?

California Law for Real Estate Investors – Including Forclosure Issues

Probate Issues

One mistake that California real-estate investors make is signing a purchase contract too soon when a probate is required.

Some real-estate investors try to buy properties when the deceased left real estate to family members or friends who cannot make the monthly loan payments. If the deceased had a trust, generally there is no problem: The current trustee has the power to sell the property.

It is different, though, if the deceased either had only a will, or had neither a trust or a will. In that case there has to be a probate unless there is a will leaving everything to a surviving spouse. (There is also an exception if the assets of the estate, without subtracting any loans, is less than $100,000, but that is very unlikely if real estate is involved.) With a will leaving everything to a surviving spouse, it is often possible to bring a “spousal petition” in the probate court to transfer full title to the surviving spouse without having to go through an entire probate.

Otherwise, usually a probate must be filed or there will not be clear title to the real estate. Basically a probate is a court procedure where the will (if any) and a listing of the assets are filed with the Probate Court, a person representative (executor) is approved by the Court, creditors and heirs are given a chance to submit claims, a representative of the Court frequently determines the value of the estate, and ultimately the Court issues an order directing how the money and property in the estate are to be distributed. The whole process can take eight months or so, although the time depends on the complexity of the matter.

Real-estate investors should understand that an executor has no authority to sign contracts for the sale of real estate until that executor is approved by the Probate Court as the personal representative for the estate. Also, unless the petition for the probate asks that the personal representative be given “full authority” (and the Court grants it), any sale of real estate from the estate must be specifically approved by the Court. If the Court has to approve the sale, it may be sold for no less than 10% below the fair market value determined by the Court representative who values estate property. Sometimes executors try to handle the probate themselves without the help of an attorney; few know to ask for “full authority” when the initial papers are filed – and if it is not requested initially, the Court frequently will be reluctant to grant it later. On the other hand, once a personal representative has been approved with “full authority”, any agreement signed with that personal representative regarding the purchase of real property should be binding.

Because probate is complex and non-attorneys who try to handle a probate themselves frequently run into problems, if you are dealing with a probate situation as a potential purchaser, try to get the executor to retain an attorney who can handle the probate. This does cost some money (although the attorney is only paid at the end of the probate), but otherwise the property may be lost to foreclosure. This is particularly true since, while many lenders will stop the foreclosure process if they are given proof that an attorney is handling the probate, frequently they will not stop the process if no attorney is involved.

Preforeclosure Sale Requirements

Another mistake that real-estate investors make is not following the requirements when purchasing residential property in California if a notice of default has been recorded by the lender.

California has a detailed set of statutes setting out requirements for contracts for residential preforeclosure sales. (Civil Code §§1695-1695.17.) These statutes apply to any residential real property consisting of one-to-four family dwelling units, one of which the owner occupies as his or her principal place of residence, and against which there is an outstanding notice of default. These statutes require, among other things, that the contract:

Spell out all terms of the agreement (including, for example, buyback rights).

Contain certain notices that meet certain size and bolding requirements.

Allow the seller to cancel, usually up until midnight of the 5th business day after signing.

Be accompanied by a Notice of Cancellation form in duplicate.

Also, until the cancellation period ends, the buyer cannot:

Have the seller sign a deed or deed of trust.

Record any deed or deed of trust regarding the property.

Transfer any interest in the property to a third party.

Pay the seller any money or other consideration.

In addition, the purchaser cannot make any untrue or misleading statements regarding the value of the residence in foreclosure, the amount of proceeds the seller will receive after a foreclosure sale, or any other untrue or misleading statement concerning the sale of the residence.

Moreover, purchasers are forbidden from taking “unconscionable advantage” of the seller. This applies if the seller is incompetent or does not understand the transaction (for example, if the seller is not fluent enough in English), and may apply in other situations as well. If “unconscionable advantage” is taken, the transaction may be rescinded at any time within two years of the date of the recordation of the conveyance of the residential property.

If any of these provisions are violated, the seller may not only be able to rescind the agreement but also recover actual damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and exemplary damages in an amount equal to the greater of three times actual damages or $2,500. Fraud or deceit may additionally be punished by a fine of $25,000, by imprisonment in the county jail or in state prison for not more than one year, or by both for each violation. Other remedies may apply as well.

Any provision of a contract which attempts or purports to limit the liability of the purchaser is void and, at the option of the seller, renders the purchase contract void.

Moral of the story: If you are going to be purchasing preforeclosure residential property, you should have an attorney review your forms.

Restrictions on Giving Foreclosure Advice

California also has specific statutes regarding residential foreclosure consultants. (Civil Code §§2945-2945.11.) Part of these statutes are directed at those who charge an owner for helping the owner obtain any money remaining after a foreclosure sale, although the statutes cover more than just that. “Foreclosure consultant” basically is defined as any person who makes offers to perform for compensation or who performs for compensation any service to:

1. Stop or postpone the foreclosure sale.

2. Obtain any forbearance from any lender.

3. Assist the owner to exercise a right of reinstatement.

4. Obtain any extension of time for the owner to reinstate his or her obligation.

5. Obtain any waiver of an acceleration clause.

6. Assist the owner to obtain a loan or advance of funds.

7. Avoid or ameliorate the impairment of the owner’s credit.

8. Save the owner’s residence from foreclosure.

9. Assist the owner in obtaining any remaining proceeds from the foreclosure sale.

With the exception of the last item, there are exceptions for licensed real-estate brokers and agents, accountants, licensed residential mortgage lenders and servicers, etc.

The owner has the right to cancel such a contract until midnight of the third “business day” after the day on which the owner signs the contract.

The contract must be in writing and, among other things, must:

Fully disclose the exact nature of the foreclosure consultant’s services.

Fully disclose the total amount and terms of compensation.

Contain a specific notice in a minimum size and with bolding.

Have a Notice of Cancellation form attached in duplicate.

Only after the 65-day period following any foreclosure sale, may the foreclosure consultant enter into a contract to assist the owner in arranging the release of funds remaining after the foreclosure sale. This agreement also must contain a specific notice in a minimum print size in bold.

Among other things, it is a violation for the foreclosure consultant to:

1. Receive any compensation until after the foreclosure consultant has fully performed.

2. Receive any fee or other compensation which exceeds 10 percent per annum of the amount of any loan which the foreclosure consultant may make to the owner.

3. Take any wage assignment, any lien of any type on real or personal property, or other security to secure the payment of compensation.

4. Receive any consideration from any third party in connection with services rendered to an owner unless that consideration is fully disclosed to the owner.

5. Acquire any interest in a residence in foreclosure from an owner with whom the foreclosure consultant has contracted.

6. Take any power of attorney from an owner for any purpose.

7. Induce or attempt to induce any owner to enter into a contract that does not comply with the foreclosure consultant statutes.

8. Enter into an agreement to assist the owner in arranging the release of surplus funds prior to 65 days after the trustee’s sale is conducted.

Note that (e) means that someone cannot both be paid as a foreclosure consultant AND also purchase some or all of the property.

A foreclosure consultant is also liable for the acts of any representative that he/she uses.

Any waiver by an owner of the statute is void, and any attempt by a foreclosure consultant to induce an owner to waive his/her rights is a violation of the statute.

If a foreclosure consultant violates any of the statutes, the owner may receive a judgment for actual damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, and appropriate equitable relief. The court also may, in its discretion, award exemplary damages and must award exemplary damages equivalent to at least three times the compensation received by the foreclosure consultant in violation of certain provisions, and three times the owner’s actual damages for any violation of other provisions, in addition to any other award of actual or exemplary damages. The owner may bring the action up to four years after the date of the alleged violation. In addition, there may also be criminal penalties of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and/or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or in the state prison.

If you are going to receive any type of compensation for acting as a foreclosure consultant, you should have an attorney review in advance the agreements you will be using.

Predatory Lending Law

California’s predatory lending law (Financial Code Sections 4970-4979.6) applies to certain loans secured by a lien on a residence.

Basically, the predatory lending law applies where there is a “consumer loan” (defined below) in which the original principal balance of the loan does not exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000), adjusted upwards every five years after 2001 in accordance with the California Consumer Price Index, in the case of a mortgage or deed of trust, and where one of the following conditions are met:

1. For a mortgage or deed of trust, the annual percentage rate at consummation of the transaction will exceed by more than eight percentage points the yield on Treasury securities having comparable periods of maturity; OR

2. The total points and fees payable by the consumer at or before closing for a mortgage or deed of trust will exceed 6 percent of the total loan amount.

“Consumer loan” is defined to mean a loan that is secured by real property located in California that used, or intended to be used or occupied, as the principal dwelling of the consumer that is improved by a one-to-four residential unit. “Consumer loan” does not include a reverse mortgage, an open line of credit, or a loan that is secured by rental property or second homes. “Consumer loan” also does not include a bridge loan, which is defined as any temporary loan, having a maturity of one year or less, for the purpose of “acquisition or construction” of a dwelling intended to become the consumer’s principal dwelling.

What this means is that if the loan is for an amount greater than $250,000 (and is secured by a mortgage or deed of trust) or the term of the loan is a year or less AND is for acquisition or construction, then the predatory lending law does not apply.

If the law does apply, a number of complex requirements come into play. Among other items, there can be no prepayment penalty for the first 36 months, any other prepayment provision must meet specific requirements, the interest rate cannot increase on default, the originator must reasonably believe the borrower will be able to make the scheduled payments, acceleration cannot be based on the lender’s sole discretion, there are restrictions on payment of home-improvement contracts and there must be an identifiable benefit to the borrower. In addition, a person who originates a covered loan cannot make a covered loan that finances points and fees in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or 6 percent of the original principal balance, exclusive of points and fees, whichever is greater. Because of the complexity of the statute, if you are going to be making loans covered by the statute, you should seek an attorney’s services.

If the person violating this section is licensed, the licensing agency can take disciplinary action, including suspension or revocation of the license. In addition, any person who willfully and knowingly violates this law is liable for a civil penalty of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) in an action brought by the licensing agency.

Whether licensed or not, a person who fails to comply with the law is civilly liable to the borrower in an amount equal to any actual damages suffered, plus attorneys fees and costs. For a willful and knowing violation, the offender is liable to the borrower in the amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) or actual damages, whichever is greater, plus attorneys fees and costs.

A court may, in addition to any other remedy, award punitive damages to the borrower upon a finding that such damages are warranted.

While the City of Oakland had an even stricter predatory lending law, the California Supreme Court struck it down as preempted by the State law in American Financial Services Assn. v. City of Oakland (2005) 34 Cal.4th 1239.

Usury Law

Usury is governed by Art. 15, §1 of the California Constitution, although some exemptions to it are scattered throughout the California statutes.

Subsection (1) governs loans primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, BUT Subsection (2) applies to all other loans. The latter limits interest to the higher of 10% OR 5% plus the then-current Federal Reserve rate.

A lender may charge a borrower an extra and reasonable amount for additional incidental expenses in negotiating, brokering, making, and securing the transaction without such charges being treated as interest. To determine this, you probably look at the points commercial lenders are charging for this size loan (at the same interest rate and same length of loan) at the time the loan was made. To the extent that points are in excess of that amount, those points count towards the usury limit.

There are a number of exemptions. The primary one is for any loans made or arranged by any person licensed as a real estate broker by the State of California and secured in whole or in part by liens on real property, assuming that the broker is compensated (however little) for doing so.

There is another exemption for “industrial loan companies” that are licensed by California, and an exemption for licensed finance lenders.

In addition, there is an exception for shared-appreciation loans.

If there is a violation and the interest has not been paid, the interest provision is void and the lender recovers only the principal, although the borrower could seek punitive damages as well. If the interest has been paid, then an uncodified law allows treble damages.

f you are going to pay a licensed real-estate broker to arrange the loan, it is strongly recommended that you have a brief written agreement in place with that broker as evidence.

Licensing for Making Residential Mortgage Loans

You cannot be engage in the business of making residential mortgage loans in California without being licensed in some way. (See, e.g., the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, California Financial Code Section 50000 et seq.) This means that either you will need to obtain a license or involve a licensed real-estate broker or some other appropriately licensed person for such loans. For more information, see the California Department of Real Estate’s page at [http://www.dre.ca.gov/faqs_mlb.htm] (“FAQs: Mortgage Loan Brokering in California”).

Other Limitations on Real-Property Loans

The California “Real Property Loans” statutes puts restrictions on late charges and on prepayment penalties. (California Business & Professions Code §10240 et seq.)

Any late charge imposed for late payment of an installment due on a loan secured by a lien on real property cannot exceed an amount equal to 10 percent of the installment due, except that a minimum charge of five dollars ($5) may be imposed. No charge may be imposed more than once for the same late payment of an installment, and no late charge may be imposed on any installment which is paid or tendered in full within 10 days after its scheduled due date.

Also, only a prepayment made within seven years of the date of execution of such mortgage or deed of trust may be subject to a prepayment charge. An amount not exceeding 20 percent of the unpaid balance may be prepaid in any 12-month period. A prepayment charge may be imposed on any amount prepaid in any 12-month period in excess of 20 percent of the unpaid balance which charge shall not exceed an amount equal to the payment of six months’ advance interest on the amount prepaid in excess of 20 percent of the unpaid balance.

There are additional requirements that apply if the loan is a first trust deed with a principal of less than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or is a junior lien with a principal of less than thousand dollars ($20,000). Such small loans seem unlikely.

Trusts to Avoid Transfer Taxes and Due-on-sale Clauses

A land trust (at least in California) is just a trust that has a piece of real property as the trust asset. (Some states have specific land-trust statutes, but California does not.)

Virtually all fixed-interest loans secured by a residence have a “due-on-sale” clause that allows the lender to call the loan when the property is sold, transferred, etc. Some purchasers have the property put into a trust so that the lender does not discover that a transfer of the property has been made that would trigger the due-on-sale clause. More specifically, what they do is have the original owners set up a trust and transfer the property into it via a deed. Then when sale occurs, the beneficiaries and trustees in the trust are changed to the new owners; no deed to the new owner is recorded. Some take it step further and when they re-sell the property they again change the beneficiaries and the trustees to the latest new owners.

Lenders, though, have a variety of ways by which they learn that a transfer has taken place (for example, the signature of the trustee changing on the checks). As a practical matter, a year or two may go by, but the lender almost always seems to find out eventually. Some lenders are governed by regulations that require them to exercise the due-on-sale clause if they discover that a transfer has been made.

Probably the most a lender would do is call the loan and not actually sue anyone, but taking this approach seems to constitute inducing the original owner to breach the due-on-sale provisions of the loan agreement and might even be considered fraud. There are also Prop. 13 issues in California in that normally a transfer of real property (except to certain family members) triggers a reappraisal of the property at fair market value. That could also expose a purchaser to liability in this situation.

There are legitimate uses of a land trust, including preserving privacy and avoiding – legally in some cases – some transfer taxes. If a piece of property is only going to be owned for a few weeks before resale where a deed is used with the last buyer, a land trust may be OK, since the lender and the county are notified of that sale. Outside of that situation, using a land trust to avoid the due-on-sale clause or reappraisal may expose the purchaser to liability.

Top 3 Things to Consider When Hiring a Law Firm Marketing Consultant

What should I consider when hiring a law firm marketing consultant?

When you hire a law firm marketing consultant, there are specific things you need to keep in mind. As lawyers, we know that there are rules we must abide by in our marketing and advertising efforts. These restrictions don’t apply to other service professionals. Working with a consultant that is not aware of these things can result in the loss of money and time and grave consequences including losing your State bar license.

With that in mind, here are three essential questions you should ask yourself when hiring a legal marketing consultant.

Is the consultant a lawyer as well? If they are, then you’ll know they are keenly aware of where you are coming from. They have first-hand experience of your stress, issues, concerns, and daily work at the firm. Working with a law firm marketing consultant who is also a lawyer also gives you the peace of mind of knowing that they are familiar with the advertising rules of your State Bar and will abide by them. Law firm marketing is a completely different deal than general business marketing. Not only do you have to abide by the State rules on advertising but you also have to work with the public perception already in existence of lawyers and legal services… which is very different to other service professionals.
Is the law firm marketing consultant flexible in payment structure? While the majority of legal marketing consultants charge for their services on an hourly basis, there are others that will do so based on a flat fee. Flat fee billing gives you the information you need to budget for your law firm and the peace of mind of knowing what you’ll pay for at the end of the day. As an alternative to hourly billing and per project billing, there are some consultants that charge for their services on a monthly retainer fee. For one flat fee per month, they work with you on specific services ranging from website creation and content development to production of podcast episodes and webinars, to establishment of public speaking engagements and strategic alliances on the internet and your local community.
Does the law firm marketing consultant consider your personality and personal preference? There are thousands of marketing techniques available. You can attract clients by doing direct marketing, blogging, a podcast series, public speaking, and a variety of other activities. However, your personality and comfort level must be considered for your marketing efforts to be effective and profitable. If your marketing consultant creates a marketing plan for you based on a boilerplate format, odds are that you’ll execute about half of the plan (if that). You must be completely comfortable with your marketing activities, feel that they resonate with your values, and of course be in congruence with your State Bar rules. This way, you’ll follow through with the marketing efforts from a place of integrity.

The three elements to get people to hire you are to: know you, like you, and trust you. You can achieve this in a wide variety of ways. The key is to find the ones that resonate most with you personality, business goals, and preferred communication style.

Make sure that the business development or legal marketing consultant you choose is aware of these criteria and works to position you as an expert in your legal field in a fashion that inspires your potential clients to hire your law firm and refer people to you.

Designing Small Outdoor Spaces in Your Hospitality Business

Every outdoor area, no matter how small it is, deserves to be treated with attention. This need amplifies when it comes to restaurants, hotels, cafes and resorts. So hospitality businesses should be extra careful when designing a small outdoor space like a balcony or even a limited terrace.

In order to turn a narrow area into an attractive place to hang out, two steps must be applied: choosing the right outdoor furniture and installing them effectively.

How to choose the furniture?

Selecting small furniture

When you have a narrow area, you can still furnish it with small items that fits. For example, instead of cramming the balcony with a single sofa, use a couple of chairs and a round coffee table so guests can enjoy a relaxing morning. Don’t forget to take measurements, here a few centimeters can make a difference.

Using multi-functional outdoor furniture

A small area limits the use of several furniture to suit all needs. Therefore, an effective solution would be to use multi functional patio furniture for your restaurant, hotel, resort or cafe. A modular outdoor setting allows you to have a minimum of items with the most uses possible. For example, if a daybed and living set don’t fit together next to the pool, replace them with an outdoor furniture piece that gives you both. In that case, Skyline Design’s Bishan can be an appropriate way to combine the two, as it can be used as a daybed or a sofa set.

Going vertical with decorations

One of the latest garden design trends is the adoption of the vertical space in the outdoors. In other terms, exploiting placing decoration accessories or even plants on the walls surrounding the outdoor living area. In addition, due to this new “wave”, brands are now creating items for vertical use. For example, the famous French brand, Maiori, produced chic planters that can be placed on top of each other, in order to save horizontal space.

How to design the small space to make it look wider?

Designating a focal point

Installing outdoor furniture in a small area can be messy. A bit of organization will turn a chaotic setting into a comfortable and relaxing spot. One of the first steps to take is to focus all the outdoor chairs and sofas to one direction. A focal point can either be external like the sea, the garden or a specific landscape, as well as internal like an outdoor lounge or a hanging chair. You can add accessories according to your needs, but make sure that you still have only one focal point.

Paving the path and the living area

Another way to embellish a small outdoor space is to pave the path and the living area. However, this is a delicate task that can either break it or make it. How? Applying geometrical designs in the pavement can make the outdoor area look smaller. And most probably, that’s not what restaurants and resorts are looking to accomplish, on the contrary.

Keeping it simple with only the needed furniture

One of the main issues in small areas is the lack of space for people to move around. This is mostly due to decoration items that can be dropped out. Therefore, removing all unneeded elements, like decorations and plants, will make the small area more spacious, allowing people to be more comfortable.

Designing a small outdoor space is definitely a challenge for any interior designer or hospitality furniture company. However, choosing the right outdoor furniture, and efficiently designing the area will transform your small outdoor space into an endless paradise. So don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Best Accounts Payable Processing Practices

When it comes to working in accounts payable, there are a dozen things that can happen to cause a good day to become a bad one – and these things are often actions that took but a second or two to happen. These mistakes often occur not because of a lack of training or due to faulty practices but often because people are unaware of ways to improve the work situation.

Thankfully, there are many actions that can be taken to ensure that your business is using the best accounts payable processing practices available. By doing this, you can minimize the risk and exposure that result from not having a totally secure system and effective recovery process. While there are many different steps you can take, one of the most important things is that you track a number of elements in the accounts payable processing department.

· Keep up with the number of invoices that come into the accounts payable department in given period of time. The larger your company the more of these there will be. Tracking these will give you a baseline and make it easier to track other items within your department.

· How many invoices are processes as a percentage of the total number of invoices during a specific amount of time. Tracking this helps measure how effectively and efficiently your department is getting the work done. If you feel that the work being done is not enough, then sit back and determine what can be done to make your department more efficient.

· Pay attention to the rate of wrong payments as a percentage of total payments. You need to be aware of any over or under charges. Using a HER program can minimize occurrences such as these.

· Figure out how much it is costing you per invoice processed. Be sure to note things such as software costs, IT support, hardware, and any other types of overhead. There are a number tools that can help you be effective and yet still keep the bottom line in the black.

· Track how many invoices are electronic versus paper. It is cheaper to process an electronic invoice than a paper one. In addition, the electronic invoices require less time to process. Hence, the more electronic processing and information storage is a better way to improve your budget and work efficiency.

Having the best accounts payable processing steps in place, you can be certain that you are doing all you can to protect your business. Talk to a team of business management specialist and learn how you can begin to better protect your company.

A Perfect Sales Training Coach

Even though there isn’t any formal education required to be a bigwig in sales, it is true that most of the people are involved in selling products and services. One can find several people performing sales tasks and each and every one of them are trying to complete with one another. In order to stand a class apart from others, it is important to acquire some excellent selling skills, determination and the perfect mindset. It is very important to move along with the change, as the environment keep on changing. So, it is essential to think out of the box, as it helps to stay ahead of the business rivals. So, it is essential to stay equipped with some of the effective sales tips by availing the services of a sales coach. Only those who are well trained to perform such tasks must perform the task of sales. This task should be performed by the experts in sales training. When you are in search of an expert, you must know that there are several speakers across the globe who claims to be the sales coach. However, make sure that you choose a perfect person offering useful sales tips programs to enjoy the maximum output. You must consider certain aspects while selecting the perfect sales training coach to save your money and time.

About Choosing the Right Sales Training Coach
It is important to consider the right kind of issues prevailing in your business to get the perfect solution immediately. There might be many areas in your business that require improvement. Generally, your sales managers would need you to enhance the performance of their team. So, it needs you to redefine the current sales process and the way through which it is executed. So, make sure that you hire the services of a best sales training coach who can improve the sales strategies as well as the selling skills of your workforce.

Top qualities of a sales training coach
The sales training coach whom you are choosing must have the following qualities to prove that he is a sales pro.
1 Highly experienced: The sales training coach whom you approach must be the one who has immense years of experience to handle the sales process. Observe the training coach’s path of career and check his achievements in the career timeline. Choose the person who has a lot of professional experience is the proof that this sales coach is reliable and credible.
2 Interaction with sales team: The expert sales training coach must know the secret of winning the trust of your sales team. He should have handled several sales teams in his career and must be able to interact with them in a positive fashion. This quality of a coach can help your sales build the trust on the tips for selling he teaches them.
3 Should provide intelligent coaching: The sales coach must hold intellectual sales training sessions that have activities which can kindle the sales skills of your work team. The training sessions or coaching classes that the coach conducts should be related to the specific industry of your business to improve the sales wing of your business. The sales coaching should be aimed at helping your work team members become experts in their related field.

The sales training program that the coach offers should have several components that are essential for the growth of the organization. So, it is important for you to avail the services of a sales coach like. We to give your sales team the much needed push.

A Virtual Assistant

In this year and age, everything is related to the internet. From shopping, banking, bills payment, social interaction, communication and every bit of actions we humans do nowadays was somehow linked to the use of the internet. For several years I had been working a very traditional job in retail. However, personal circumstances made me re-think my current situation. A part of me always feels that traditional jobs here in the Philippines are very time-consuming. With a standard 48-hour work and a 1-day off per week, quality time with family and peers seems unlikely. So if work schedules are eating much of our time, is it after all worth it? This question bugged me for a lot of months. Then one day I came across KOM Academy’s Facebook posting for a free seminar on “How to be a Virtual Assistant.” Curious, I immediately inquired and pre-registered for this event. That’s when I realized that there are a lot of opportunities outside the traditional work environment.

What is a Virtual Assistant by the way? These are smart individuals offering administrative, creative and technical skills to remote clients. So what made me think this virtual job is kick-ass better than my old job? Reason number 1, “I am my boss”! As VA, as they call it, you work as an independent contractor to the client. Which means that you don’t work for a company or an employer, but instead they outsource you to render them the services they require. About this, you are not limited to work for a single client. Hence, the second reason – more clients, more income. By this I mean you can are not limiting yourself to only one source of income. You have the control to expand your financial gains as you deem fit. The third reason, it is home-based. What is not to love working at the comforts of your space? No hassle from commuting, dealing with worsening traffic situation of the city, increased transportation expenses, annoying amnesiac office mates who always borrow your things but never bothers to return them are just a few to mention.

If there is a convenience in the environment, work schedule is something that is flexible as well in this industry. That is the fourth reason why I considered engaging into this business. The chance to be given a schedule that is favorable to your liking is something that is highly unheard of in traditional jobs. Often you must be employed a full-time job to get a decent salary. Whereas in VA, even part-time jobs can still get you good pay. Mainly because you are paid based on the quality of your work output and not just merely on the number of hours you spent. Furthermore, output-based jobs present more opportunity for workers to get promoted as evaluation is real-time.

The fifth reason I seriously consider is that this job is never boring. As mentioned earlier, VAs provide different service from administrative, to creative and even technical for those highly-skilled individuals like the programmers. Thus, this job can present you wide range of tasks that you can explore and hone your skills.

These things cited above are just a few of the factors why I considered becoming a Virtual Assistant. To have the convenience of time and place in your hands is a privilege that an ordinary worker won’t be able to experience in a traditional work setting. As I go along my journey into this business, I am looking forward to discovering more things to love and enjoy.

To be successful in business, sometimes the wisest move to make is to ask for help. Remember that you don’t have to do it all alone. Get a co-worker from a distance!

The Dangers Of Overhead Power Lines Best Practices

Every year people at work are killed or seriously injured when they come into contact with live overhead electricity power lines.

If a machine, scaffold tube, ladder, or even a jet of water touches or gets too close to an overhead wire, then electricity will be conducted to earth. This can cause a fire or explosion and electric shock and burn injuries to anyone touching the machine or equipment. An overhead wire does not need to be touched to cause serious injury or death as electricity can jump, or arc, across small gaps.

One of the biggest problems is that people simply do not notice overhead lines when they are tired, rushing or cutting corners. They can be difficult to spot, eg in foggy or dull conditions, when they blend into the surroundings at the edge of woodland, or when they are running parallel to, or under, other lines. Always assume that a power line is live unless and until the owner of the line has confirmed that it is dead. This guidance is for people who may be planning to work near overhead lines

where there is a risk of contact with the wires, and describes the steps you should take to prevent contact with them. It is primarily aimed at employers and employees who are supervising or in control of work near live overhead lines, but it will also be useful for those who are carrying out the work.

Types of overhead power lines

Most overhead lines have wires supported on metal towers/pylons or wooden poles – they are often called ‘transmission lines’ or ‘distribution lines’. Most high-voltage overhead lines, ie greater than 1000 V (1000 V = 1 kV) have wires that are bare and insulate but some have wires with a light plastic covering or coating. All high-voltage lines should be treated as though they are uninsulated. While many low-voltage overhead lines (ie less than 1 kV) have bare insulate wires, some have wires covered with insulating material. However, this insulation can sometimes be in poor condition or, with some older lines, it may not act as effective insulation; in these cases you should treat the line in the same way as an insulate line. If in any doubt, you should take a precautionary approach and consult the owner of the line.

There is a legal minimum height for overhead lines which varies according to the voltage carried. Generally, the higher the voltage, the higher the wires will need to be above ground. Equipment such as transformers and fuses attached to wooden poles and other types of supports will often be below these heights. There are also recommended minimum clearances published by the Energy Networks Association.

What does the law require?

The law requires that work may be carried out in close proximity to live overhead lines only when there is no alternative and only when the risks are acceptable and can be properly controlled. You should use this guidance to prepare a risk assessment that is specific to the site. Businesses and employees who work near to an overhead line must manage the risks. Overhead line owners have a duty to minimize the risks from their lines and, when consulted, advise others on how to control the risks. The line owner will usually be an electricity company, known as a transmission or distribution network operator, but could also be another type of organization, eg Network Rail, or a local owner, eg the operator of a caravan park.

Preventing overhead line contact

Good management, planning and consultation with interested parties before and during any work close to overhead lines will reduce the risk of accidents. This applies whatever type of work is being planned or undertaken, even if the work is temporary or of short duration. You should manage the risks if you intend to work within a distance of 10 m, measured at ground level horizontally from below the nearest wire.

Remove the risk, the most effective way to prevent contact with overhead lines is by not carrying out work where there is a risk of contact with, or close approach to, the wires. Avoiding danger from overhead power lines. If you cannot avoid working near an overhead line and there is a risk of contact or close approach to the wires, you should consult its owner to find out if the line can be permanently diverted away from the work area or replaced with underground cables. This will often be inappropriate for infrequent, short-duration or transitory work. If this cannot be done and there remains a risk of contact or close approach to the wires, find out if the overhead line can be temporarily switched off while the work is being done. The owner of the line will need time to consider and act upon these types of requests and may levy a charge for any work done.

Risk control

If the overhead line cannot be diverted or switched off, and there is no alternative to carrying out the work near it, you will need to think about how the work can be done safely. If it cannot be done safely, it should not be done at all. Your site-specific risk assessment will inform the decision. Things to consider as part of your risk assessment include:

the voltage and height above ground of the wires. Their height should be measured by a suitably trained person using non-contact measuring devices;
the nature of the work and whether it will be carried out close to or underneath the overhead line, including whether access is needed underneath the wires;
the size and reach of any machinery or equipment to be used near the overhead line;
the safe clearance distance needed between the wires and the machinery or equipment and any structures being erected. If in any doubt, the overhead line’s owner will be able to advise you on safe clearance distances;the site conditions, undulating terrain may affect stability of plant etc;
the competence, supervision and training of people working at the site.

If the line can only be switched off for short periods, schedule the passage of tall plant and, as far as is possible, other work around the line for those times. Do not store or stack items so close to overhead lines that the safety clearances can be infringed by people standing on them.

Working near but not underneath overhead lines – the use of barriers. Where there will be no work or passage of machinery or equipment under the line, you can reduce the risk of accidental contact by erecting ground-level barriers to establish a safety zone to keep people and machinery away from the wires. This area should not be used to store materials or machinery. Suitable barriers can be constructed out of large steel drums filled with rubble, concrete blocks, wire fence earthed at both ends, or earth banks marked with posts.

If steel drums are used, highlight them by painting them with, for example, red and white horizontal stripes.
If a wire fence is used, put red and white flags on the fence wire.
Make sure the barriers can be seen at night, perhaps by using white or fluorescent paint or attaching reflective strips.

Avoiding danger from overhead power lines

The safety zone should extend 6 m horizontally from the nearest wire on either side of the overhead line. You may need to increase this width on the advice of the line owner or to allow for the possibility of a jib or other moving part encroaching into the safety zone. It may be possible to reduce the width of the safety zone but you will need to make sure that there is no possibility of encroachment into the safe clearance distances in your risk assessment.

Where plant such as a crane is operating in the area, additional high-level indication should be erected to warn the operators. A line of colored plastic flags or ‘bunting’ mounted 3-6 m above ground level over the barriers is suitable. Take care when erecting bunting and flags to avoid contact or approach near the wires. Passing underneath overhead lines, if equipment or machinery capable of breaching the safety clearance distance has to pass underneath the overhead line, you will need to create a passageway through the barriers, In this situation:

keep the number of passageways to a minimum;
define the route of the passageway using fences and erect goalposts at each end to act as gateways using a rigid, non-conducting material, eg timber or plastic pipe, for the goalposts, highlighted with, for example, red and white stripes;
if the passageway is too wide to be spanned by a rigid non-conducting goalpost, you may have to use tensioned steel wire, earthed at each end, or plastic ropes with bunting attached. These should be positioned further away from the overhead line to prevent them being stretched and the safety clearances being reduced by plant moving towards the line;
ensure the surface of the passageway is leveled, formed-up and well maintained to prevent undue tilting or bouncing of the equipment;
put warning notices at either side of the passageway, on or near the goalposts and on approaches to the crossing giving the crossbar clearance height and instructing drivers to lower jibs, booms, tipper bodies etc and to keep below this height while crossing;
you may need to illuminate the notices and crossbar at night, or in poor weather conditions, to make sure they are visible;
make sure that the barriers and goalposts are maintained.

Avoiding danger from overhead power lines

On a construction site, the use of goalpost-controlled crossing points will generally apply to all plant movements under the overhead line. Working underneath overhead lines. Where work has to be carried out close to or underneath overhead lines, eg road works, pipe laying, grass cutting, farming, and erection of structures, and there is no risk of accidental contact or safe clearance distances being breached, no further precautionary measures are required. However, your risk assessment must take into account any situations that could lead to danger from the overhead wires. For example, consider whether someone may need to stand on top of a machine or scaffold platform and lift a long item above their head, or if the combined height of a load on a low lorry breaches the safe clearance distance. If this type of situation could exist, you will need to take precautionary measures.

If you cannot avoid transitory or short-duration, ground-level work where there is a risk of contact from, for example, the upward movement of cranes or tipper trailers or people carrying tools and equipment, you should carefully assess the risks and precautionary measures. Find out if the overhead line can be switched off for the duration of the work. If this cannot be done:

refer to the Energy Networks Association (ENA) publication Look Out Look Up! A Guide to the Safe Use of Mechanical Plant in the Vicinity of Electricity Overhead Lines.2 This advises establishing exclusion zones around the line and any other equipment that may be fitted to the pole or pylon. The minimum extent of these zones varies according to the voltage of the line, as follows:
– low-voltage line – 1 m;
– 11 kV and 33 kV lines – 3 m;
– 132 kV line – 6 m;
– 275 kV and 400 kV lines – 7 m;
under no circumstances must any part of plant or equipment such as ladders, poles and hand tools be able to encroach within these zones. Allow for uncertainty in measuring the distances and for the possibility of unexpected movement of the equipment due, for example, to wind conditions;
carry long objects horizontally and close to the ground and position vehicles so that no part can reach into the exclusion zone, even when fully extended. Machinery such as cranes and excavators should be modified by adding physical restraints to prevent them reaching into the exclusion zone. Note that insulating guards and/or proximity warning devices fitted to the plant without other safety precautions are not adequate protection on their own;
make sure that workers, including any contractors, understand the risks and are provided with instructions about the risk prevention measures;
arrange for the work to be directly supervised by someone who is familiar with the risks and can make sure that the required safety precautions are observed;
if you are in any doubt about the use of exclusion zones or how to interpret the ENA document, you should consult the owner of the overhead line.

Where buildings or structures are to be erected close to or underneath an overhead line, the risk of contact is increased because of the higher likelihood of safety clearances being breached. This applies to the erection of permanent structures and temporary ones such as polytunnels, tents, marquees, flagpoles, rugby posts, telescopic aerials etc. In many respects these temporary structures pose a higher risk because the work frequently involves manipulating long conducting objects by hand.

Avoiding danger from overhead power lines. The overhead line owner will be able to advise on the separation between the line and structures, for example buildings using published standards such as ENA Technical Specification 43-8 Overhead Line Clearances.1 However, you will need to take precautions during the erection of the structure. Consider erecting a horizontal barrier of timber or other insulating material beneath the overhead line to form a roof over the construction area – in some cases an earthed, steel net could be used. This should be carried out only with the agreement of the overhead line owner, who may need to switch off the line temporarily for the barrier to be erected and dismantled safely.

Ideally, work should not take place close to or under an overhead line during darkness or poor visibility conditions. Dazzle from portable or vehicle lighting can obscure rather than show up power lines. Sometimes, work needs to be carried out near uninsulated low-voltage overhead wires, or near wires covered with a material that does not provide effective insulation, connected to a building. Examples of such work are window cleaning, external painting or short-term construction work. If it is not possible to re-route or have the supply turned off, the line’s owner, eg the distribution network operator, may be able to fit temporary insulating shrouds to the wires, for which a charge may be levied. People, plant and materials still need to be kept away from the lines.

Emergency procedures

If someone or something comes into contact with an overhead line, it is important that everyone involved knows what action to take to reduce the risk of anyone sustaining an electric shock or burn injuries. Key points are:

never touch the overhead line’s wires;
assume that the wires are live, even if they are not arcing or sparking, or if they
otherwise appear to be dead;
remember that, even if lines are dead, they may be switched back on either automatically after a few seconds or remotely after a few minutes or even hours if the line’s owner is not aware that their line has been damaged:
if you can, call the emergency services. Give them your location, tell them what has happened and that electricity wires are involved, and ask them to contact the line’s owner:
if you are in contact with, or close to, a damaged wire, move away as quickly as possible and stay away until the line’s owner advises that the situation has been made safe:
if you are in a vehicle that has touched a wire, either stay in the vehicle or, if you need to get out, jump out of it as far as you can. Do not touch the vehicle while standing on the ground. Do not return to the vehicle until it has been confirmed that it is safe to do so;

Avoiding danger from overhead power lines, be aware that if a live wire is touching the ground the area around it may be live. Keep a safe distance away from the wire or anything else it may be touching and keep others away.

Maximize the Potential of Your Business Presentation

Business presentations are a collateral reflection of who you are. A glimpse of your personality could be seen in the ways and the content of your presentation.

The way you carry yourself, the way you speak, deliver your sentences, tackle tricky questions with confidence and successfully convey your message, speak volumes about your personality.

Still, there are much more ways in which you can support your business presentation to reach its maximum potential.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR SUPERPOWER

A positive way to keep your audience attentive to you is to show them that you are worth their time and trust. Rather than speaking about your achievements and future goals, speak about your credibility because if even little points will exist with which the crowd will not feel connected to then the tables will instantly turn.

Talk about your goals within the first few minutes of the presentation

Choose your presentation design which corresponds with your goals, which should be introduced to your audience as early as possible. This will help your audience to correlate what you are expressing with the ‘why’ and ‘what’ you want to achieve.

Never underestimate the impact of a powerful image/quote

A business presentation is usually a collection of fertile ideas, knit together as one to illustrate a larger picture. So, the smart use of different images/quotes to introduce different ideas will supply more power to your presentation. Vocalizing the quotes or speaking few important words out loud will bring your presentation to life, especially if the presentation has numerous bar graphs, bullet points, and pie charts.

GIVE YOUR AUDIENCE THE POWER TO BRAINSTORM OVER YOUR QUESTIONS

One of the unbeatable ways to make your presentation more interactive is to begin it with a question which you, yourself will answer. Like you can start with “I asked myself what all can my team will be able to do and contribution for making this project a success?”. So, based on this question you can build up your presentation. Be alert to all the questions from your audience as they are icebergs of curiosity. The more you will suffice your audience, the stronger their trust will grow in you.

Be ready to tackle tough questions

Always be confident and logical at answering the questions from the audience. There will always be questions whose responses if given without solid facts and coherence, will put your image down in your crowd’s eyes. If you know your topic as well as you’re your audience, then always keep your business binary clean and do not ever shelve any question from the audience.

KEEP YOUR OWN QUESTIONS READY IF NOBODY ASKS YOU ANY

It could be a possibility that your audience is shy or somewhat hesitant to ask you questions about your presentations. Always remember, if you face this kind of a situation, then always compose a question to yourself because ‘zero curiosity’ turns into ‘zero interest’ overnight.

Take your crowd on a final journey

Always take your crowd on a final journey before you wrap up the presentation. Highlight all the important points and tell the crowd how they will be productive if given proper attention by the appropriate crowd.

Keeping the immense support in mind which we get from the PowerPoint presentations, one should also be able to support her/himself equally well during the closing moments of the presentation because humans invented the PowerPoint and not vice versa.

Writing For Professionals

Having a great resume is the first step to landing that ideal job. Resume writing can be the most stressful part of the job search. But it is also the most effective way to share your experience and qualifications. The purpose of your resume is to create enough interest that the employer will want to see you for a more in-depth face to face interview. Those resumes receiving the most attention are structured with the following components:

Value Proposition Statement

This section should state to the employer the immediate value you will bring to their organization. If you are a business development professional with successful experience working with companies in the medical industry you should have this listed in this section. An example of this statement would be “an experienced business development professional with established existing relationships in place with key regional medical equipment companies. These established relationships will allow me to gain immediate access to key decision makers early within the sales cycle”. The value proposition statement allows the employer to visualize you in this position and as an immediate contributor to their organization.

Keywords In Resume Writing

Effective resume writing should be done in a way that allows you to stand out from the crowd. One of the most effective ways to do this is to make sure you use the appropriate keyword (s) for the job posting. So we know that most companies are using parsing software in reviewing resumes. This software is designed to filter for keywords from the resumes they receive. This software will look through resumes for these keywords.

So simply put keywords are those words that easily describes the position you are applying for. In the example above the position is business development professional. So what words immediately come to mind with this position? Correct, business development. Therefore you will want the keywords to be the words business development. To tell your story you should use these keywords in a natural story telling manner.

Highlight Your Experience

Many professionals have a wealth of valuable relevant experience to share. The key is how much of this experience should you share on your resume? Resumes are parsed and if selected will be reviewed by the employer for about 20 seconds or less. In resume writing it is totally acceptable to construct a 2-3 page resume if you are applying for an executive level position. All other positions 1-2 pages are common. Remember most employers know that the average job seeker has three plus jobs in their career. The length of the resume is not as important as the use of keywords and highlighting your relevant experience and qualifications. The only experience you should highlight are those experiences that apply to the job. As mentioned above you should naturally tell your story using keyword and relevant job experience.

Having a great resume is easily accomplished and doesn’t require fancy words, design or layout. There are many free resume writing templates on the internet that can help you with layout etc. Because this document is so important in getting you closer to your new job we encourage you to devote the necessary time to get it right. Most importantly before you send your resume to a perspective employer you should have a trusted person review it and provide feedback. Be sure to use spellcheck and look for grammatical errors etc. Remember you only get one chance to make a great first impression.

Resume Writing Made Affordable

Many professionals choose to write their resumes and with tremendous results. But if you feel the need to use a professional service know that these companies and professionals fees range in price from $300-$1500 based on the required technical copy writing skills. In other words if you are applying for an IT or Medical position you would want a resume writer with that level of experience to write impact copy or content on your behalf.

You are now closer to securing that position that most fits your skills and qualifications. Wishing you the very best

We hope this article clarifies some of the confusion in the use of keywords and value proposition statements. Resumes are designed to gain the attention of the prospective employer. Take some time in listing your qualifications and skills. With this article you are now equipped to tell a great story about your qualifications and experiences.