Archive for the ‘Virtual Paralegal Services’ Category

Arbitration

November 19th, 2014 By Virtual Paralegal Services

No one wants to think their relationship with another party will deteriorate; however, things do often fall apart, for a variety of reasons. Therefore, for those who are accustomed to entering into long-term contractual arrangements, having an arbitration clause in the contract is a good tactical move and will allow the parties to prepare for the worst.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a faster, less expensive, and private process by which all parties agree, in writing, to submit their disputes to one or more impartial persons authorized to resolve the controversy by rendering a final and binding award.

Arbitration is guided by relatively informal procedures. Traditional courtroom rules of evidence are not strictly applicable. There is an informal discovery procedure. However, the arbitrators must make a final decision once all relevant information is present.

The Agreement

The written agreement is used to resolve any future dispute by the use of impartial arbitration. It is the key in a contract for resolution of future disputes; through the contract, the parties have come to an agreement to submit to arbitration any dispute, if and when it arises.

Another key benefit to having an arbitration agreement is it settles disputes over the locale of the proceedings. When the parties disagree, locale determinations are made by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) as the administrator, thereby precluding the need for intervention by a court.

The standard arbitration clause may also include reference to the American Arbitration Association’s optional rules for emergency measures of protection, before an arbitrator is sleeved, and for expedited arbitration. If the parties wish, standard clauses may also be used for negotiation and mediation. There are also standard clauses for use in larger, more complex cases. The AAA rules generally provide that any administrative fees be borne as incurred, and the arbitrators’ compensation be allocated equally between the parties. Fees and other costs can be dealt with in the arbitration clause.

Who are the Arbitrators?

The AAA maintains a screened and trained pool of available experts. Arbitrators are impartial and knowledgeable neutrals parties that are chosen to serve. Neutrality is a crucial part of being an arbitrator. Under the AAA rules, an arbitrator can be disqualified for showing any bias.

Usually, there are three arbitrators per dispute. Each party will choose one arbitrator, and the two will then select the third. They are selected for a specific case because of their knowledge of the subject matter; they are viewed as experts. Based on their experience, arbitrators will render an award grounded on thoughtful and informed analysis. The parties can request a reasoned award, and the arbitrators will provide conclusions based on law.

Confidentiality

Arbitration is a private dispute resolution method. Unlike court cases, whose judgments are public, the arbitral award is not released to the public.

Except as may be required by law, neither a party nor an arbitrator may disclose the existence, content, or results of any arbitration without the prior written consent of both parties.

Arbitration is great method of resolving conflicts between parties. Contact us today to learn how to utilize arbitration as a conflict resolution tool to meet your needs.

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New Report Finds that Legal Outsourcing Improves Services & Reduces Costs

October 31st, 2014 By Virtual Paralegal Services

A recent report based on research of U.S.-based law firms revealed that nearly 9 out of 10 large law firms and approximately 60% of mid-sized firms outsource one or more office functions. In addition, roughly 33% indicated that they planned on engaging in additional outsourcing opportunities within the next two years.

90% of firms reported that their services improved with legal outsourcing

Outsourcing a particular aspect of legal services, whether it be document review, paralegal services, legal research, or due diligence, means that one particular aspect of a practice is being handled by a company that specializes in the service that a firm needs assistance with. While it may be the first time a firm has had a case requiring a copyright search, an outsourcing company who provides that service will have staff with years of experience handling that task. This translates to faster, more efficient service and cost savings for law firms.

Law firms are often busy places where staff members’ attention is pulled in many different directions. When a particular aspect of, i.e., litigation is outsourced, law firm staff have one less item to concentrate on. With less to worry about, staff can concentrate on performing their core tasks at a higher service level. Therefore, not only is the work that is being outsourced done more efficiently, but law firm staff can perform their core duties more effectively.

89% enjoyed access to industry best practices

To remain competitive and best serve their clients, outsourcing firms must pay attention to best practices in their industries. They must pay attention to trends, new technology, changes in the law, and remain on the cutting edge of industry.

Law firms who outsource have access to industry best practices through their association with outsourcing firms. Law firm staff can concentrate on their core job duties and count on a reputable outsourcing firm to keep them informed of important changes and industry best practices.

85% cited cost savings as a result of outsourcing

Outsourcing companies engage individuals with skilled expertise who are able to work on tasks in an efficient manner while producing quality results. In addition, law firms save on the costs associated with having to hire a full time staff person to handle tasks that can be done on a project basis through legal outsourcing.

The increasingly competitive legal market means that clients are becoming more cost-conscious and may shop around for the most competitive rates before settling on a law firm. This creates pressure on firms to increase productivity while decreasing costs. Outsourcing tasks that require specialized skills is one way to increase productivity while saving money on training in house and reducing overhead costs.

Interested in Outsourcing?

Virtual Paralegal Services provides support for businesses and law firms in many different capacities. From commercial real estate transactions to litigation support and secured lending, our experienced paralegals will work closely with your business and deliver quality paralegal services. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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International Corporate Contracts

October 27th, 2014 By Virtual Paralegal Services

There are two bodies of law that govern international contracts: the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”) of America and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (“CISG”), which is an international body of law. It is important to know and understand a client’s business goals to better represent them regarding corporate contracts. And, as such, it is imperative to know which rule of law will govern their business.

UCC vs. CISG

The UCC is applicable when the transaction involves a sale of goods where U.S. law applies. It is applied automatically during sales of goods. In contrast, the CISG is applicable in commercial transactions of goods between the parties in signatory nations. These parties have the ability to modify the UCC in an international context. The most significant difference between the UCC and CISG is that the latter allows its parties to opt out of the convention. In order for the opt-out choice to be effective, both parties must opt out and both parties must clearly specify an alternate choice of law.

Both are only applicable during sale of goods. The CISG does not apply to service contracts; however, it does apply to a mixed contract of goods and services. Also, consumer goods are not regulated by the CISG, but are regulated by the UCC. The CISG will not cover certain items such as goods bought by auction, shares of stock, investment securities, sales of aircraft, and sales of electricity.

Similarities between UCC and CISG

Both UCC and CISG provide a Warranty of Merchantability (goods are fit for their ordinary purpose) and Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose (goods are conformed to the purpose made known to the seller, where buyer reasonably relies on seller’s skill and judgment in choosing goods).

In the event of contract ambiguities, both the UCC and CISG allow for similar methods of interpretations. The court, or dispute resolution body, will look at either the course of dealing between the parties (previous contracts); course of performance (the parties interactions throughout the current contract); or the usage of trade terminology (how other parties in similar industries act).

Available Remedies under UCC and CISG

Although both codes use different words, they allow for similar remedies. In the event of a breach the non-breaching party has the right to purchase alternative or replacement goods. Consequential damages are available. The buyer has the right to receive the difference in the price paid minus the value of goods received from the seller. Finally, the seller has the right to force the buyer to pay, take delivery, or perform its obligations under the contract.

Damages and the Foreseeability Requirement

When a party alleges there was a breach to the contract, the CISG allows for recovery only in cases where the damages were foreseeable. However, under the CISG, the foreseeability requirement is much more relaxed than under the UCC, thereby allowing for greater recovery for the non-breaching party. The CISG only requires that the consequences of the breach be possible at the time of contract formation. In contrast, the UCC requires the breaching party to know or have reason to know of the potential consequences.

Do you have questions about contracts? Contact us today to find out how we may best serve your needs!

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