The Government Law concentration is for students who want to pursue a career within government, with a firm representing government agencies, or with a non-profit that regularly interacts with government.
The concentration offers specialized classes designed to prepare students to specialize in government law, and experiential opportunities that let students build the skills they need to succeed. Comprehensive local government programs, an optional semester working elbow-to-elbow with state legislative staff in Sacramento, and externships with state and federal agencies are portals to the world of government law.
The concentration fosters a supportive community among public service minded students and long-standing partnerships with alumni in government offices and with professional organizations provide important networking opportunities. UC Hastings’ well-earned reputation improves the appeal of our students to employers within the government and employers who work regularly with government agencies.
In short, a Government Law concentration tells employers that our graduates have expertise in government law, and are ready to hit the ground running.
Clinical & Research Opportunities
LEGISLATION CLINIC: Students in the Legislation Clinic learn about the role of lawyers in the legislative process by spending a semester in Sacramento working for a legislative committee, a legislator, or another public entity involved with the legislative process.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT CLINIC: Students in the Local Government Clinic work sixteen hours a week in Bay Area City Attorney and County Counsel Offices while simultaneously being enrolled in the Local Government Law class.
CENTER FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW: The UC Hastings Center for State and Local Government Law (CSLGL) is a unique resource for lawyers, scholars, and law students with an interest in public interest law. Through research clinics, and conferences, the CSLGL provides a non-partisan forum for education and research on legal issues facing California’s state and local governments.
How to Enroll
To enroll in the Concentration, you must complete a Concentrated Studies Application, have the Concentration Advisor sign the form, and file it with the Records Department in advance of your Fall 3L registration appointment.
1. They Bring the Right Tools to the Job
There is just no substitute for knowing your customers. The right support tools make it easy. You’d be surprised at the number of meaningful conversations you can have when you no longer have to stumble around in the dark.
2. They Master Clear Communication
Excellence in anything increases your potential in everything. There are few positions for which this applies more than support—clarity in communication is paramount because it affects everything you do.
Styling affects communication. Tone affects communication. Common mistakes to be made are using passive-aggressive language (“Actually…”) or confusing customers with slang, colloquialisms, or technical jargon.
3. They Speak as Customers Do
Chase Clemons of Basecamp makes this point with gusto in A Brief Guide to Sending Better Support Emails, but the quick takeaway is that your customers want conversations, not “correspondence.” You’re not talking with the Queen of England.
4. They Always Use Positive Language
Positive language is a great way to avoid accidental conflicts sprung from miscommunication. While the change is subtle, the effects are drastic.
Say one of your products is backordered for a month and you need to relay this information to a customer immediately. Consider the following responses:
- Negative language: “I can’t get you that product until next month. It is back-ordered and unavailable at this time.”
- Positive language: “That product will be available next month. I can place the order for you right now and make sure that it is sent to you as soon as it reaches our warehouse!”
5. They Give Credence to Complaints
Harsh words are not always indicative of insight, and complaining customers are not always a sign that something is wrong. Be that as it may, sometimes great feedback is buried within the vitriol—give credence to every message.
5. They Avoid Breakneck Speeds
“What builds a stronger tie to Arby’s may not be whether a customer receives a sandwich in less than three minutes,” says Gallup researcher William J. McEwen. “Speed won’t compensate for a cold, tasteless sandwich or for rude and incompetent service.”
Make sure your service isn’t leaving a bad taste in customers’ mouths, either.
6. They Know How to Close
The ability to close improves every single interaction. This is not closing a sale, it’s closing the conversation with a customer.
Leaving an issue unresolved creates unnecessary problems. Data suggests as little as ~4% of dissatisfied customers will ever speak up. Not everyone will communicate what is bothering them—often because you haven’t communicated that you care.
7. They Save Time and Retain Delight
Inbox zero needn’t be a zero-sum game. Delighting users is impossible when the team’s morale is being crushed under the weight of a cluttered inbox.
Keep it simple, sunshine. Since basic, common questions are where your keystrokes go to waste, start by addressing them with scalable templates.
8. They Help Customers Help Themselves
Great customer support should always be available, even when you aren’t.
When done right, self-service is personal at scale. View your help content as a top-tier reply from your support team made public for all to see and benefit from. Screenshots, videos, styling and more ensure your frequently asked questions will get frequently loved answers.
9. They Make Use of Strategic Automation
“Filtering” can sound worrisome in the realm of customer support, but it more accurately serves as direction. Customers receive the best support possible when they are sent to the right place the first time around.
- Make iterative improvements. Want to keep response times down to ~6 hours? Set up a Workflow to remind the appropriate user(s) so that messages don’t sit and collect dust.
- Highlight opportunities to ‘Wow!’ By setting up a folder and a Workflow for a keyword like “Refund” in the subject line, you
- ’ll add a streamlined way to salvage potentially lost customers. Special conversations (“Upgrading,” “Canceling my account”) let you provide superb support at key crossroads.
- Better manage VIP customers. It’s helpful to filter enterprise or long-term customers to their own folders to ensure timely responses. They may have different needs; set them up for success by getting them out of the main inbox.
10. They Are Carefully Data-Driven
Why rely on “It feels like we spend a lot of time on this issue…” when reporting can easily eliminate the guesswork?
This is actually an important, often-overlooked issue in support. Too much focus is given to the frequency of issues over the average handle time for each.
11. They Give Thanks in the Real World
We’ve entered a world where retention matters in business more than ever, but web businesses seem happy to avoid interacting with customers.
They aren’t pageviews—they’re people. How would you feel if a deli owner asked you to join their message board just to talk about how the cold cuts tasted?
12. They Encourage Unique Opportunities
Memorable experiences spring from the unexpected. When your team feels stifled by red tape, remember these words from Paul Graham: “An obstacle upstream propagates downstream.” If you make ideas hard to implement, your team will stop offering them.
Frugal wows are the answer, says Bain consultant Fred Reich. Take the opportunity to guide the support team away from throwing money at the problem, and instead pour thought and effort into it.
13. They Get Everyone on the Same Page
Running support without a playbook can feel as chaotic as a pee-wee football game.
Consider the time lost manually answering frequently asked questions. The same principle applies to explanations to your staff on the back-end. Encourage autonomy and eliminate confusion by creating unity through clarity.
Use a support lexicon. “Is it okay to say this?” Support should always feel welcome to ask, but you can eliminate excessive questioning through a support lexicon, a handbook on how to talk to customers. Focus on the dos and don’ts of tone and language, and outline the style of customer service you admire.
Address common objections. A while back I had a prospective customer make a “scale objection” to Help Scout. Could we handle 50 users? I knew some of our customers had over 400 unique users and replied as such, but I felt my answer would have been better with additional information. The next week, our support team made a customer objections doc, addressing things like competitor objections (“How are you different from ____?”) and pricing objections.
Outline your processes. When is it appropriate to write a piece of help content? Is it okay to set up a new Workflow without asking management? How should we document bugs and errors? Every support department will have these questions, and to best address them, give guidelines that allow for autonomy but that don’t leave people lost without a map.
14. They Take a Whole Company Approach
I’ll let our friend Mathias Meyer handle this one, from a previously published essay on our blog:
“When everyone in the company is involved in customer support, it changes the support dynamic significantly. Knowledge of issues, bugs, and features is much more widespread throughout the team
15. They Invest in Great People
The quality of your customer support will never exceed the quality of the people providing it.
If you plan on out-supporting the competition, plan on investing heavily in a team that can deliver.
Leadership has one main objective from which they should never stray: Hire who you trust and trust who you hire.
One of the more difficult parts of being a consultant is determining and negotiating your rate with a customer. Consulting is a lot different than product based sales because you can generally charge whatever you think you can get away with. The first few months of my consulting career, I was charging $67.50/hour. It took several iterations for me to find out what my time and expertise was worth, but eventually I did. My rate increased to $70 for my second client, $90 for the third, $120 for the fourth, and eventually peaked at $275/hour.
The key to making good money as a consultant is to know how to negotiate your rates. This is not a skill you generally learn in college. It takes time, practice, and even if you’re good at it, you don’t always get what you want.
Tip #1: Never be the first to mention a price
Standard practice for negotiating anything is to let the other person state a price point first. This establishes the minimum or maximum price. It also tells you whether or not you are in the right ballpark for whatever it is that you are negotiating over. For example, if you are going for a job interview and they ask you what the salary is that you are looking for, then you’re in a difficult position to be able to play this game. If you state a number that is too high, you’ll be disqualified. If your desired salary is too low, then again you’ll be disqualified because they will think you don’t have the required skills, regardless of whether you do or not.
Your goal is to land somewhere in the middle, and preferably at the high end of their price range. Unfortunately, they’re simply not going to tell you what that is unless you ask. If they were willing to pay $70k-$90k for the position and you only asked for $70k, chances are that you’ll end up with less because you set the maximum price by saying $70k.
In every case, someone has to mention the price first or everyone goes home. Companies will generally tell you what their expected range is up front in order to save time, but if they’re looking to save money, a lot of times they’ll simply say something like “salary commensurate with experience”. It’s garbage, but you have to live with it.
Tip #2: Never negotiate against yourself
If you’re the first to name a price, never let the other person tell you that the price is too high and ask you offer a lower price. This is known as bidding against yourself. There are two problems here. First, you are giving up ground in the negotiation without the other party doing the same. I’ve seen this happen and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it myself. Second, you will unintentionally give up more ground than you intended to.
For instance, if you are negotiating a consulting rate, most companies will ask you flat out “What is your hourly/weekly rate?” and the expectation is that you have to tell them. Again, you can’t always avoid naming the price first, so this is pretty common. Just make sure you are in the same ballpark as others who offer similar services. But when they tell you that your rate is too high, ask them what they would be willing to pay or what they see as reasonable. If you say $100/hour, and then drop it to $90/hour, you’ve just given away $400/week and received nothing in return. You haven’t even established the bottom yet, so you have no idea if they’re willing to pay $50/hour or $10/hour.
The point is, don’t immediately counter a resistance to your rate with a lower rate, even if you’re desperate for work. In fact, especially if you’re desperate for work. People like a consultant who is confident in their rates, but able to justify them with a list of happy customers who paid that much. Just don’t cross the line into cocky. Prospective customers will walk you out the door and eventually, out of business.
Tip #3: Don’t negotiate your price until you are ready to
Through a long-time friend, I met a guy in Philadelphia several years ago who was interested in having some programming work done for his business. He didn’t want much more than 10-15 hours per week and was looking for what I thought was pretty basic PHP and mySQL work. My thinking was that it was just a meet-and-greet to establish a relationship and then we’d go from there to discuss the work that needed to be done and the rates for that work.
Maybe 5 minutes into the conversation, he asked me flat out what my rate was. Now, in keeping with Tip #1, I tried to dodge the question and was a bit vague, saying that it depended on what he needed done. He pushed hard telling me exactly what programming languages were to be used and how many hours of work each week he was willing to pay for, so I had little choice but to name a number and it was pretty close to our standard consulting rates in the small enterprise space. Immediately he jumped all over it and said it was too high and waited for my response. I certainly wasn’t going to negotiate against myself, so I asked him what he felt was reasonable. Of course he low-balled it at $25/hour, which we both knew was way too low.
I never knew what hit me. It couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes later when we “agreed” on $50/hour and he ended the meeting quickly, saying he had to get going. As I walked away with my friend, I shook my head wondering what the heck just happened. We hadn’t even reached the bar when I realized that $50/hour didn’t even cover my costs, let alone make me any money. In fact, in all my years of consulting I’d never charged as low as $50/hour.
Tip #4: Establish the lowest rate you can accept and don’t budge
From the previous paragraph, I obviously made two mistakes at the same time. First, I wasn’t ready to negotiate. I had intended to feel out his personality and find his hot buttons, but when he immediately launched into negotiating, I got too jumpy and played the game. Bad idea. Second, I had given absolutely no thought to the minimum rate at which my developers could work for to break even. It didn’t even occur to me until after we’d concluded negotiations. By then, it was too late.
Decide for yourself what the lowest rate you can work for is, and don’t accept a penny less. Losing money is no way to stay in business.
Tip #5: Be ready to walk away if it’s not going to work out
Too many consultants make the mistake of reducing their rate further and further until their prospective customer accepts. You’ll never get ahead this way. If you do good work, people will hire you. You want your rate to increase over time, not decrease. If a customer only has a budget of $2,000 and can’t get a penny more for a week of work, you’d better be willing to work for just $50/hour. If not, you need to walk away and find another customer.
Any retailer will tell you that when you sell at a loss, you can’t make it up on volume. At least not without cross selling other items. It’s “Ok” to do something very short term to lose less money on a particular week or to land a longer term arrangement for more money, but don’t make a habit of it. If a job isn’t going to make ends meet for you, then you need to walk away and find one that does.
In the previous case of my abysmal Philadelphia negotiation, I eventually ended up walking away. There was no reasonable way to renegotiate the rate. For the money and anticipated length of the engagement, it just wasn’t worth the effort.
Tip #6: Take what a customer says about your competitors’ rates at face value
Was my customer bluffing about the rate of my competitor or no? Maybe, but I’ll never know. I basically had two options. I could either accept/deny the rate decrease, or I could ask for proof, trying to call his bluff.
Had I called his bluff, there were only two possible outcomes and neither was going to be good.
1) If he was unable to produce proof of the competitive rate, then I could probably have maintained the same rate. However, I would have also been calling him a liar. I somehow doubt that calling a customer a liar is going to encourage them to hire me.
2) If he was able to produce proof, then I still called him a liar because I didn’t believe what he originally told me.
This was a lose-lose situation if I were to attempt to call the bluff and I think he’d have gone with my competitor in either case. Ultimately, I accepted the lower rate because I wasn’t going to lose money on it and I knew it would hurt my competitor a lot more than it would hurt me.
Before you start any negotiation, make sure you know what you want, know what the minimum is that you’re going to accept, and be ready to walk away if you need to. If you’re not ready to negotiate, don’t. Ask for more time or to reschedule, citing a need to do some research or give some thought. Simply saying that you’re not prepared to discuss it is an honest way to handle the scenario. It tells the customer that you’re not brash and are willing to think things through. They may not want to wait, but this does a lot for your credibility as someone who understands how businesses operate.
Last of all, remember that negotiating your rate isn’t about you winning or losing. You need to ensure that you and your customer both get what you need. The key is to establish a long term relationship with your customers so they keep coming back for more consulting services when they need them. If you nail them to the wall during every negotiation, eventually they’re going to walk away and find someone else to work with
Not only is the United States the wealthiest country on Earth, but it is also the world’s greatest producer of intellectual property. American artists, entrepreneurs, inventors, and researchers have created a nation with a rich cultural fabric. Every day, Americans can avail themselves of consumer goods, entertainment, business systems, health care and safety systems and products, and a national defense structure that are the envy of the world. It is frequently said that the American imagination knows no bounds, and that is probably true. In fact, the U.S. Patent Office recently issued its eight millionth patent (Cyber Attacks and Intellectual Property Theft, Defense Tech, August 22, 2011). The U.S. Copyright Office has issued more than 33.6 million copyrights to date (U.S. Copyright Office). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Intellectual Property Center has calculated the worth of intellectual property in the United States as being between $5 trillion and $5.5 trillion (Counterfeiting and Piracy: How Pervasive Is It?, Electrical Contractor magazine, 2008, retrieved November 12, 2011).
|The role of intellectual property in the U.S. economy is undisputed. It accounts for half of all exports, for example (Counterfeiting and Piracy: How Pervasive Is It?, Electrical Contractor magazine). Unfortunately, counterfeiting and piracy costs the U.S. economy more than $250 billion in lost revenue and 750,000 jobs every year, according to one estimate (Counterfeiting and Piracy: How Pervasive Is It?, Electrical Contractor Magazine). Up to one-third of software products and music CDs are thought to be fake (Counterfeit Goods and Their Potential Financing of International Terrorism, Volume 1, Issue 1, University of Michigan Journal of Business, January 2008).|
More than 250,000 more people could be employed in the U.S. automotive industry if it weren’t for the trade in counterfeit parts (Counterfeit Goods and Their Potential Financing of International Terrorism). According to the Council of State Governments (Intellectual Property Theft: An Economic Antagonist, September 7, 2011), the U.S. economy loses $58 billion each year to copyright infringement alone—crimes that affect creative works. That includes $16 billion in the loss of revenue to copyright owners and $3 billion in lost tax revenue. Furthermore, the problem is transnational: The U.S. Department of Commerce puts the value of fake products—such as CDs, DVDs, software, electronic equipment, pharmaceuticals, and auto products—at five to seven percent of world trade (Protect Your Intellectual Property booklet, U.S. Department of Commerce).
Many people think of intellectual property theft as a victimless crime. However, many Americans are hurt or injured each year by faulty products or made sick by fake or improperly prepared or labeled drugs. While actual numbers of injuries are hard to come by, it’s important to note that counterfeit drug sales in the U.S. were expected to amount to more than $75 billion in 2010 (Counterfeit Drugs: Real Money, Real Risk, Wellescent.com, retrieved November 11, 2011). Worldwide, illegal drug sales amounted to an estimated $320 billion in 2010 (Wellescent.com).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates 15 percent of the pharmaceuticals that enter the United States each year are fakes, with that number having increased 90 percent since 2005 (Counterfeit Drugs: Real Money, Real Risk, Wellescent.com). Some are manufactured domestically, but more than 75 percent of these drugs come from India (Counterfeit Drugs: Real Money, Real Risk, Wellescent.com). Frequently, online pharmacies that distribute fake drugs purport to be located in Canada, but a recent study conducted at the University of Texas found that of 11,000 online sites that claimed to located there, only 214 were actually Canadian (Counterfeit Drugs: Real Money, Real Risk, Wellescent.com). According to an article published on the Secure Pharma Chain Blog on March 22, 2008 (Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Statistics, Secure Pharma Chain Blog), 60 percent of all counterfeit drugs have no active ingredients, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that “even a small percentage of counterfeit drugs in the drug supply can pose significant risks to thousands of Americans” (FDA: Drugs: FDA Initiative To Combat Counterfeit Drugs, retrieved November 11, 2011). Moreover, counterfeit drugs are commonly made and distributed by criminal gangs (Bad Medicine in the Market, AEI Outlook Series, Institute for Policy Research, American Enterprise Institute, retrieved November 11, 2011).
Shoddy counterfeit products, including airbags, also put American drivers at risk. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, fake car parts cost the U.S. auto industry $12 billion each year (Counterfeit Culture: Ripped-off Consumer Good: The Top 10 List, CBCNews, cbc.ca, retrieved November 11, 2011). The Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative estimates that counterfeit electrical products valued at $1 billion, many of them shoddy and not manufactured to U.S. safety standards, enter the United States each year (Working With Confidence: Counterfeits, CounterfeitsCanKill.com, retrieved November 11, 2011).
Intellectual property theft hurts everyone. Artists and performers lose the income that is rightfully theirs, corporations lose money and pass the additional costs along to consumers, and people may be hurt by shoddy goods used in the manufacture of cars and airplanes or be made ill by counterfeit drugs. Governments at all levels suffer from the loss in tax revenue and programs suffer. People are hurt when crime escalates in the neighborhood, the result of profits made by gangs that traffic in counterfeit goods, providing them to retailers at hefty markups. Intellectual property theft is a very serious crime.
Some of the biggest employers in the UK are in the public sector and in total over 6 million Britons work in this sector. Schools, councils and emergency services are at the forefront, but there are also many scientific posts and research positions to be found in the public sector.
What is the public sector?
Any organisation run by the government and funded by tax-payers money can be classified as public sector. This includes local and national councils, NHS hospitals and clinics, emergency services, schools, and much more.
The various departments of local government, for example, includes a huge variety of jobs. Social services requires everything from administrators to counsellors, and from psychologists to statisticians. Councils and government-backed organisations often require marketing specialists, scientific consultants and political researchers.
There are also unique bodies set up by the government to cater for specific needs, such as environmental agencies. Researchers, scientists and engineers are highly valued in such organisations.
Help your community – As someone whose salary is being funded by taxpayers, a sense of responsibility to the community is instilled in public sector workers. The flip side of this is that you can directly effect your local area, or even the nation, for the good through the quality of your work.
Job security – Job stability is often referenced as a major perk in this sector. The public sector is relatively stable, and whilst profit-based companies are prone to closure, public sector organisations have the stability of government-backing.
Working atmosphere – In terms of the atmosphere at work, the public sector is less demanding than the private sector. The cut-throat nature of work in a private company can be stressful. And, although the standards of work in the public sector are high, there isn’t the obvious competitiveness often found in the private sector.
Flexitime – Government organisations are quite accommodating when it comes to recognizing the different circumstances of its employees. Flexible working hours are common – usually based around a core time of hours, or on a ‘shift work’ basis. Part-time jobs and job sharing can be also found in the public sector.
Work less, earn more – If you’re still not convinced about the benefits of working in the public sector, then you might be after this: Public sector staff work nine years less and earn 30% more than private sector employees throughout their lifetime, according to this report.
Staff training schemes – Public sector organisations are committed to realising the potential in their staff. Employees are often encouraged, if not required, to improve their skills set by attending training programmes, or attaining external qualifications. This can lead to further career opportunities.
Pension scheme – Although there has been some furore over public sector pensions lately, having a guaranteed pensions scheme tied into your job is a substantial perk. Benefits in the public sector are 14% higher than comparable private sector benefits on average, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, which shows that things are still relatively good for public sector pensions.
Public or Private?
Although academics tend to gravitate towards either intellectually stimulating university work or financially rewarding private sector jobs, the public sector is an equally viable option.
cheap got up at 0900 for focus group,
Ping G30 Hybrid, I too have noticed the insane cost increases at Stater Bros. So I’ve started buying whole loins and rib roasts. Why pay $4.00 a pound for cheap tough cuts when for $7.00 a pound (on sale) you can enjoy the best cuts? I cook for myself and so five pounds of meat lasts for a month..
When pending sales go back on the market as an active listing, it arouses suspicions in the neighborhood. Everybody wonders what went wrong? Why did the pending sale fall apart? It could cancel due to seller’s remorse, but that’s a long shot.
Many home owners watch theFor Sale signs in their neighborhoods. In buyer’s markets, it’s very common to see a pending sign pop up after two or three months on the market because the DOM are often much longer when there are fewer buyers than sellers.
Just as common is when the pending sale sign comes down and the For Sale sign is left standing.
Why Pending Home Sales Go Bad
- Buyer’s Remorse
Buyers get cold feet. In California, standard contracts give buyers 17 days to do inspections. During this time, buyers can cancel a contract for any reason, but the most common is fear of buying a home. During this time period, buyers get their earnest money deposit back for any reason upon cancellation.A pending sale in the Land Park area of Sacramento recently fell apart on the day before closing. The buyer didn’t give her agent a reason for canceling. She simply refused to sign loan documents and forfeited her deposit. Her undisclosed reason was cold feet. This was a buyer who five years from now will likely regret her decision.
First-time home buyers benefit greatly from employing the services of an experienced real estate agent who can walk them through the process of buying a home. An agent who notices the signs of cold feet can provide counseling services and help buyers avoid making a mistake.
- Home Inspections
To the untrained eye, many homes look the same: four walls, a floor and a roof. But to ahome inspector, every little crack in the wall and every spot on the ceiling could spell trouble. Wet basements, failing roofs and malfunctioning HVAC systems are three significant problems that an average buyer can’t reasonably inspect without professional assistance.Once a home inspector points out problems in a home, buyers tend to panic. All homes have problems, even new homes. Sometimes buyers demand that sellers replace worn appliances or fix pre-existing conditions that make a buyer uncomfortable. Buyers also can ask for a credit from the seller as compensation. If the seller refuses to do either of those options, then the pending sale cancels and the home goes back on the market.
Do not make unreasonable repair or credit requests. One buyer demanded the seller buy several cans of ant poison and spray the perimeter of the home. Another demanded a $2,500 credit to replace a water heater. Hire a qualified home inspectorwho can explain defects and their significance.
- Low Appraisals
Most home buyers take out a mortgage. To protect the lender’s position, the lender will ask a buyer to pay for an appraisal. If the appraisal comes in less than the sales price, here are the options:
- Pay the difference in cash.
- Order another appraisal from a new appraiser.
- Supply the underwriter with comparable sales supporting the sales price, hoping to change the appraised value.
- Give the seller a second mortgage for the difference.
- Ask the seller to reduce the price.
- If the parties cannot agree to work out one of these options, the pending sale will fall apart.
Asking a real estate agent to provide you with comparable sales before you write apurchase contract can help you to keep your offer in line with recent sales. Hire astrong negotiator to get the offer accepted at a lower price.
- Mortgage Loan Rejection
Until the public records are searched by a title company or lawyer, buyers might not have knowledge of liens or judgments filed against them. Unless these liens are removed, a lender will not lend, and the buyer’s loan can be denied.Buyers who don’t know any better sometimes increase their debt ratios by financing large purchases while waiting for their mortgage loan to close. Taking out a loan for a new car or financing the purchase of furniture can make a buyer ineligible for a mortgage loan. If the loan is rejected because of a buyer’s impulse financing, the pending sale will go back to active.
Do not take out any new loans while waiting to close the sale of your new home. Wait until your loan records and the transaction closes. Don’t make any financial arrangements that differ from those disclosed on your initial loan application.
- Contingent on Buyer’s Home Sale
Buyers can lose a home sale if the contract is contingent upon selling the buyer’s home and that home has not sold in the time specified. Few buyers can afford to own two residences at the same time by making double mortgage payments.Depending on the contingency agreement verbiage, sellers might also retain the right to kick out a contingent buyer and cancel the contract if another buyer wants to buy the home without a contingency.
Have a back-up plan in the event your home does not immediately sell while you are under contract to buy another. Investigate taking out a bridge loan. With a little preplanning, some buyers save money by establishing a home equity line of creditbefore putting their existing home on the market.
Most nonprofits want to include grants from foundations or the government in their funding mix. It is a sensible thing to do, but not always easy.
Researching and writing grants is time-consuming and requires specialized and finely honed research and writing skills. Experience with grants and grant writing always makes the odds better for landing a grant.
You may be fortunate enough to have an experienced grant writer on staff, especially if your organization has a developed and long-standing grants program.
But for many nonprofits that is not so, and it might make sense to hire a grant professional or consultant, at least for a limited time.
We went to just such a consultant, Jake Seliger of Seliger Associates. We asked Jake what he thinks the pros and cons are of hiring a grant writer on a contractual basis.
The Pros of Hiring a Grants Consultant/Writer
- The grant writer will actually sit down and write the proposal.He or she is not likely to spend time in endless meetings discussing what the proposal should be like. Some organizations assign groups to write a proposal, a strategy that often ends up producing what Jake calls a “franken-proposal,” cobbled together from mismatched parts.
- The job will get done on time.Consultants could not stay in business if they did not meet deadlines. Since the goal of writing proposals is to get the money, that should be of paramount importance. But it’s surprising how many would-be grant writers fail to turn in complete and technically correct proposals prior to deadlines. A good hired gun will be super sensitive to the cold wind of the deadline breathing down his or her neck.
- You have control. .You can hire the person of choice, and fire that person if the process doesn’t go well. Jake points out, “If you make someone an employee and discover six months later that the employee has spent more time playing solitaire, mastering online poker, and eating donuts than preparing proposals, that person can often be hard to fire for reasons of morale and law. If your consultant is no good, you just cancel their retainer or don’t hire them for the next job.”
- You get the benefit of the consultant’s experience.According to Jake, “The diverse experience many consultants have can be a bonus, as exposure to different ideas, trends, and kinds of work can filter into other proposals. So can knowledge of funding “gotchas.” For example, Jake says, “We’ve figured out how to use Grants.gov, and why it’s important to turn in applications before the deadline. You don’t want to make a million-dollar mistake because the grant writer doesn’t know the ins and outs of the application system.”
The Cons of Hiring a Grants Consultant/Writer
- The consultant does not have the institutional memory that an insider might have.On the other hand, if you have had staff turnover, the lack of memory could work the other way. No one remembers when and how the last proposal was done, or where to start next time. A consultant grant writer is always writing grants and stays up-to-date on how grants are done.
- You might not pick the right person.It can be tricky finding the consultant who fits with your organization, listens well, and has the sharpest skills. Look for experienced grant writers with a roster of satisfied clients.
- It may cost too much.Cost is likely the most frequent reason organizations hesitate to hire a professional grant writer. But that fear itself can trip up a nonprofit when they are reluctant to hire professional help to do the tasks they are not staffed to do.
The cost can be deceiving as well. Remember that with a staff member you have all the costs of salary plus benefits. Jake Seliger points out in his article “Tilting at Windmills: Why There is no Free Grant Writing Lunch and You Won’t Find Writers for Nothing,” that you will pay for grant writing one way or the other.
The bottom line about whether to hire a professional grant writer is that you need to consider:
- what talent you have on staff (and how much time they have to devote to grant writing),
- your need for grants from a variety of sources, and what outside talent you can find at what cost.
Be sure to interview several grant writers before you hire, get estimates of the overall cost, and names of former and current clients.
If you are starting from scratch, you can search these sources for listings of consultants, including grant writers:
- The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) offers a Consultants Directory on its website that can be searched by specialty, name, or by geographic area.
- The Grant Professionals Association lists consultants by state.
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Question: What are the Tax Differences Between an S Corporation and an LLC?
Many small businesses seem to be structured as an LLC or an S Corporation. CPA Gail Rosen was asked, “What is the difference on how these two types of entities are taxed?” Here are her responses to some frequently asked questions about taxes for these two popular business entities.
Many small businesses seem to be structured as an LLC or an S Corporation. What is the difference on how these two types of entities are taxed?
All businesses are taxed on their net profit(or loss) which is computed by taking sales less allowable deductible expenses. An LLC’s tax is paid on the owner’s individual tax return based on percentage of ownership in the company. If you are a 50% owner of an LLC, with $120,000 of net profit, you pay tax on 50% of that net profit($60,000) on your personal tax return.
An S Corporation pays a reasonable salaryto the working owner of a business. Then any remaining profit or loss (after subtracting the salary to the owner as a deductible expense) flows through to the owner’s personal tax return. Say you are a working 50% owner of a profitable business and you are paid $50,000 in salary. The corporation has $20,000 of net profit of which you are entitled to 50%; therefore, on your personal tax return you would pay tax on the salary of $50,000 plus $10,000 profit which equals $60,000 in total taxable business income.
Is there is a difference in how much it costs to maintain an entity as an LLC versus as an S Corporation?
An S corporation generally does pay more tax than an LLC due to the additional payroll taxes and state corporate taxes that can be applicable.
Any salary that the S Corporation pays to an owner is subject to state unemployment and disability tax. An individual owner of an LLC does not pay state unemployment or disability taxes and therefore saves the costs of paying these payroll taxes. That also means that because an LLC does not pay into these funds, the owner(s) are not entitled to state unemployment or disability benefits.
Many states also charge a minimum corporate tax that can be more costly than the fees associated with having an LLC. These taxes vary by state so you should do some research or consult a CPA in your area.
In the past, S corporation owners were able to avoid paying social security and medicare tax on any profits they made from their business after taking a reasonable salary. Starting in 2011, new legislation has taken away this benefit for many small professional service corporations.
It sounds like an S Corporation is more costly. Is there any reason that I should consider being an S Corporation?
Many new businesses today are freelance consultants who are working as independent contractors for mainly one client. This arrangement has many risks since the IRS can look at the relationship and determine that the consultant should have been hired as an employee versus an independent contractor. However, if the consultant structures the business as an S Corporation, the IRS does not have an issue with the relationship since the owner is structured under a corporate entity and is paying unemployment and disability tax.
As I stated above, an LLC pays tax on the net profit by making quarterly estimated payments to the IRS. I have some clients who are not diligent about paying their quarterly estimates and therefore get into trouble with the IRS. These people are better off structuring themselves as a corporation and using a payroll service so that their taxes are automatically taken out of their pay.
A lawyer should always be consulted about the limited liability protection an LLC gives versus a corporation. I have always believed that all businesses should pay for good liability insurance for the ultimate protection.
Any other advice to make this complicated decision a little easier for new business owners?
I generally have advised most of my new business clients to start with an LLC entity. The tax law allows you to switch tax free to an S Corporation once you are an LLC. But, you can not do the reverse. Once you are an S Corporation, you can not switch to an LLC.
There are always other tax, legal and financial considerations that should be taken into account when making such an important decision. Use the services of a good CPA to discuss your specific situation.
Disclaimer: The information on this post and on this GuideSite are for general information purposes only; it is not intended to be tax or legal advice. Consult your CPA or attorney to discuss your specific business questions.
Public health professionals are the people who study, quantify and improve health in a state or in the country as a whole. These professionals look at health from a population, prevention and health promotion perspective, instead of on an individual medical basis. There are many different careers you can choose in order to follow this path. For example, you can choose fields as diverse as medicine, mental health research, environmental studies, nutrition and legislative policy development. Most of these fields require degrees in higher education and a commitment to research and education. Find out how to get a career in public health.
Obtain your high school diploma or complete an equivalency certificate, like a General Educational Development (GED). Most public health careers demand a degree in higher education, so you will need to finish your secondary education.
- People who choose a public health path should be interested in science, mathematics and statistics. A love of research or communication can also help you to work in this field.
Seek a public health degree. A number of different types of professionals work in the public health sector, most of which include an emphasis on statistics, mathematics, biology, environmental science or medicine. The following are degree programs that you can consider:
- Get a bachelor’s of science degree in public health. This 4-year degree at an accredited university is likely to focus on a number of aspects of public health, such as administration, health information management and environmental science. This is an excellent degree program if you want to go on to be a doctor, nurse, dentist, social worker or physical therapist. This is a good course of study if you want to be involved in management.
- Get a bachelor’s of science degree in epidemiology. This highly specialized scientific field works in both clinical and research positions to study and isolate possible epidemics. You can seek a research job with a bachelor’s degree, but you may want to pursue a master’s degree in epidemiology to improve your job prospects.
- Seek a degree in environmental science. Environmentalists are employed at the state and federal levels in both research and field functions. They study threats on public health.
- Seek a degree in behavioral science. This scientific degree features elements of human behavior and psychology as well as the effects of bad behaviors on health. Behavioral scientists study how the way we act determines our health, adding to information about the causes of major diseases, such as diabetes, strokes, cancer and heart disease.
- Consider a degree in medicine, law, nursing, dentistry or nutrition. Although you do not have to go into public health if you complete these degrees, you can choose to practice in a public health setting.
- Other professions that require a bachelor’s, but not a master’s degree, include policy advisor, health educator, health journalist, health communications specialist, local health officer and preparedness specialist.
Volunteer for a health-related charity, hospice or medical facility while you are in school. This experience shows a passion for health and health improvement. It can also subject you to some of the pressures of a career in medical health.
Boost your public health experience by seeking an internship in the local, state or federal government. Look for internships at agencies such as the Department of Public Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency or a job with a legislator.
Seek a master’s or doctorate degree. Some career paths, such as medicine, epidemiology, behavioral science and dentistry require that students complete graduate degrees. You can choose to get a job in the public health sector and return to school later, or continue right into your degree.
- People who are interested in being a corporate medical director, laboratory director or another high level administrative role should consider a master’s degree in public health. In these 1 to 2 year programs, you are required to demonstrate a high level of knowledge of issues affecting public health and prove your ability to find solutions.
Apply for an entry-level role in your field. The first place to check for jobs is your city and state governments. Look for job titles that include “specialist,” “researcher,” or “research assistant.”
Consider moving to a larger political area, such as a county seat, state capital or Washington D.C. If you want to work as a public health lawyer, policy advisor, epidemiologist or disease specialist, you may need to move to a public health hub, where there are many government agencies.
Apply for a mid-level position if you have completed a master’s or doctoral degree. This academic experience may allow you to skip forward a few steps on the employment ladder; however, you will need to complete many years of public health experience in order to take on a senior role. You may need to move to an agency location to take on this role.
Seek a leadership position in your agency or department. Public health professionals who have years of experience in the field can be promoted to senior positions where they publish results, educate the public or manage public health initiatives.
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Just like how the best time to think about selling a home is when you decide to buy a home, the best time to think about canceling an agreement is when you sign an agreement. Any kind of agreement. Whether it’s an agreement to purchase real estate — known as a purchase offer — or a buyer’s brokeragreement, documents to refinance a mortgage, a listing agreement, any document that binds you to perform.
Before you sign legal documents such as these, ask how you can cancel if things don’t work out or if you change your mind.
If you don’t receive a satisfactory answer or you can’t figure it yourself by reading the cancellation clauses, then don’t sign until you have a lawyer review it for you and advise you. One of the best $500 I ever spent was to have a lawyer look over a “work-for-hire” employment agreement for me. As a result, I turned down the opportunity and saved everybody unwanted grief, especially me.
How to Cancel Listing Agreements
- Ask About Cancellation Upfront.Before you sign a listing agreement, ask your agent if you can be released for any reason, even if that reason is, “Hey, I want to list with another broker.” If your agent tells you “no,” then you might not want to list with that company. Why, I ask you, why would you list with a company that would not guarantee your satisfaction with its services? If an agent says it’s company policy, then that is not a company with whom you want to do business. Period. Next broker, please.
- Ask the Broker for a Cancellation.Be aware that Exclusive Right-to-Sell listings contain a safety or protection clause. If you ask an agent after the fact to cancel the listing and the agent refuses, call the agents broker and request a cancellation.
- If the Broker Refuses to Cancel.If the broker rejects your request for cancellation, then ask the broker to assign another agent to you.
- Is the Broker Reputable?Most brokers who want to maintain good community relations will cancel a listing if the seller insists. Nobody wants to be known for holding a gun to the seller’s throat.
- Call a Real Estate Lawyer.If there are no workable solutions, call a real estate lawyer for termination assistance, but first, tell the broker of your intentions to do so. Sometimes thats enough to get a release. Bear in mind that many listing agreements are bilateral agreements: a promise for a promise. This means a good lawyer might be able to find a way to argue that the broker did not hold to the promise and get you released.
Canceling a Buyers Agency Agreement
Ask your agent to give you a form called Termination of Buyer Agency. The TBA issued by the California Association of Realtors, for example, will cancel oral or written agency agreements when properly acknowledged and executed.
How to Cancel Purchase Agreements
- Read Your Agreement.Ask your agent or lawyer to point out to you the cancellation clauses. In some states, all inspections are completed upfront, and once a purchase offer is signed, the offer is binding. In other states, inspections take place after the offer is signed and provide for the return of the buyer’s deposit if the offer is canceled pursuant to an inspection.
- Federal Law Gives Buyers 10 Days to Inspect for Lead Paint.Ask your real estate agent or lawyer if you want to or need to cancel during this time period. Ask how you do it and which form to sign. You can waive this right in writing but few buyers would be prudent to consider doing so.
- After Expiration of Inspection Periods.In states like California, standard default periods are 17 days for inspections. However, if a buyer does not withdraw all contingencies, that time period is extended until the contingencies are withdrawn. In other words, the buyer does not lose the right to cancel simply because the contract cancellation period has expired or lapsed. It continues until a seller objects.
In such cases, sellers are advised to give buyers a Notice to Perform, calling for action within a certain time period, typically ranging from 24 to 72 hours. If the buyer does not sign a release of contingencies within that time period and deliver it, the seller can then cancel the contract. For more information, contact a real estate lawyer.