Down with legal fees!

I am a lawyer.  Many of my close friends are lawyers.  I like lawyers. 

That said, I hate paying legal fees.  It is one of my goals, with my work in my community and in this industry, to help smart business folk be smart and efficient consumers of legal services.  That is why I spend so much time writing articles and speaking and generally talking about geeky law topics.

It’s not that I have an anti-income business death wish, it is that I want my clients to feel as good as they can about my invoices.

With this in mind, I will share my favorite, client-helping legal resources.  While these resources are not a substitute for good legal counsel, they provide a solid understanding of basic concepts and can help answer day-to-day questions, and can help make those conversations with YOUR lawyer more painless.  Even legal concepts drenched in Latin terms do not need to be… latin.

General business smarts:  Sometimes, ECE providers have questions about the nature of their industry – early education.  Sometimes, they have smart questions about running their business.  When you have questions, go to the experts – the Small Business Administration.  http://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center

Posters:  Employers need to post certain information under certain Federal and State statures.  Here is a great summary of what the State of Colorado thinks you should post: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=CDLE-LaborLaws%2FCDLELayout&cid=1249907618881&pagename=CDLEWrapper

Minimum Wage:  Calculating minimum wage can be more complicated than it seems.  Here is a summary of Colorado’s interpretation.  http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDLE-LaborLaws/CDLE/1248095305416

Overtime:  Paying employees overtime requires calculating the rate of pay.  It also requires weekly calculations as well as daily calculations.  Here is one summary of that process.  http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDLE-LaborLaws/CDLE/1248095305395

Great summary of a number of employment laws:  Wondering where to start this process?  Here is one place to being your journey of legal compliance.  http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251840343375&ssbinary=true

Youth employment:  As summer approaches, employing teachers who are under 18 makes perfect sense.  This website outlines some issues to consider.  http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251840342191&ssbinary=true

Licensing:  I once had an attendee of one of my lectures ask where she could learn what was new at the state.  She complained that she did not have time to read articles or time to attend classes or the money to hire a lawyer.  I empathize.  A good start?  The website maintained by licensing.  The resources and opportunities there are fantastic.  http://www.coloradoofficeofearlychildhood.com/

The Americans with Disabilities Act:  Working with kiddos entitled to protections under the ADA is a rewarding challenge.  This website answers some frequently asked questions: http://www.ada.gov/childq%26a.htm.

The Fair Labor Standards Act:  The FLSA is the Federal Statute that governs the payments of minimum wage and overtime.  This sounds simple, but is complicated.  Here is the Federal Department of Labor’s view of the intersection of ECE and the FLSA. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs46.pdf

Mandatory Reporting:  Reporting child abuse, neglect and maltreatment is required by Colorado statute and is a crucial part of an early childhood educators’ responsibilities.  If you have questions about those responsibilities, this website may provide a jumping off point:  http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDHS-Main/CBON/1251633944381

I could go on.  The Internet can provide countless pieces of useless information and misinformation.  It can also provide great, basic information that will help you ask smarter, more efficient questions.  To disregard this amazing tool is to miss a great learning opportunity.

Laura J. Hazen is a co-founder of the law firm of H&K Law, LLC.  In her employment practice, Hazen provides day-to-day advice and coaching to public and private companies on various employment matters.  She also has an active litigation practice where she concentrates on representing business in all aspects of complex business and employment disputes.  You can contact her by email at lhazen@hklawllc.com or by phone at 303.749.0649.

This article is intended as a general discussion and information on the topic covered, and is not to be construed as rendering legal advice.  If legal advice is needed, you should consult an attorney.  This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in any manner without prior written permission of the author.

© 2014 H&K Law, LLC.  These materials may not be reproduced in any way without the written permission of H&K Law, LLC.