latest articles from our blog

Should You Change the Way Your Business Conducts Meetings?

MD Business Law AttorneyTime is money, so every business meeting has a dollar value. When meetings are frequent, overly long, and unfocused, businesses may be spending money without getting much in return. Harvard Business Review created a meeting cost calculator that lets business owners input meeting length, number of attendees, and salaries of attendees to see the actual cost of meetings. For example, a 45-minute meeting with three attendees who all earn $50,000 per year costs a business $79. Higher salaries can drive up the cost of meetings significantly - a study by Bain & Company found the annual dollar value of one company's weekly executive meeting was $15 million. Businesses can reduce the costs of meetings by adopting a new, more efficient approach. Set Expectations Every meeting should have a leader, and that leader should send a meeting agenda to all participants in advance. The agenda should specify what items will be…

Millennials: A Generation of Renters?

Maryland Landlord Law AttorneyThe "American Dream" used to mean following a certain life trajectory and that included buying a home. But by some accounts, today's young adults aren't buying homes like previous generations did. They're putting off other major life events, too, like marrying, or having children. According to the Pew Research Center, 2014 was the first time since 1880 that adults age 18 to 34 were more likely to be living with their parents than in their own home with a spouse or partner. Millennials, the generation between the ages of 25 and 34, may be planning to buy a home at some point, but for now, many of them are choosing to rent, or live with parents or other relatives. This trend may have several underlying causes, one of which is that Millennials who go to college are graduating with a lot more debt than their parents and grandparents, and they're…

Debt and Business: Achieving the Right Balance

Maryland Business Lawyer Audit LawyerThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a study of small business habits, found that 77 percent of business owners are relying on capital from banks and financial service providers to grow their ventures. Most entrepreneurs have some degree of debt before they launch, because the costs of starting a business can be high. But - perhaps due to the entrepreneurial spirit - some owners continue to incur debt to prop up their struggling businesses. Taking on more debt without a corresponding increase in profits is a big gamble. Used carefully, loans and lines of credit may make sense for some businesses, and many of the financial pitfalls of business ownership can be avoided, with solid planning. Preparing for the Worst Businesses whose profits are highly dependent on the season are usually well prepared to deal with ebbs and flows in profits. For example, restaurants, landscaping companies, and hotels may hire…

Divorce and Business: How to Protect Your Interests

MD Business LawyerIf you start a business with a person who is married, you may not realize that you have two business partners instead of one. Any property acquired during marriage belongs to both spouses (unless the property was a gift or inheritance to one spouse). Unless a legal agreement specifically limits one spouse’s interest, if a couple divorces, your business partner’s spouse has a stake in the business. And that could be a big threat to your livelihood. How to Prepare for the Worst In a divorce, if couples don’t already have agreements about division of property, the court will decide how to distribute assets. And in Maryland, courts are not obligated to divide assets 50-50. The distribution of marital property need only be “equitable.” An attorney in San Diego told Entrepreneur magazine that during the startup phase, owners should set up legal agreements that require their spouses to sell their…

The Most Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes and How to Avoid Them

Maryland Rental LicenseLast June, we wrote about how to reduce the risk of disputes with tenants. This month, we're revisiting the topic to highlight the most common tenant-related disputes landlords encounter. Landlords don't want to keep tabs on their tenants every day, and tenants don't want that either. You want to trust that your tenant is taking good care of the property, but sometimes landlords learn the hard way that the tenants are neglecting their responsibilities. Even worse, you may realize that because of a poorly worded lease, you have little legal remedy for the problem. Most disputes arise not due to negligence, but because of incorrect or misaligned expectations. The following are some examples of disputes that often occur because a lease lacks clarity. Yard Maintenance In most community rental buildings, the landlord assumes full responsibility for upkeep of the exterior. But for duplexes and single family homes, there are many…

The Space Between Psychotherapy, LLC

Lusk Law, LLC is proud to offer legal guidance to compassionate and socially responsible organizations. Our Client Spotlight regularly features these businesses. Our selection for this month's spotlight is The Space Between Psychotherapy, LLC. Launched in 2014, this quality private practice delivers care for people facing a range of challenges and goals. The team at The Space Between offers mental health care and counseling services. This incredible business provides services that are all about healing, progress and moving forward. Here are a few of the things that The Space Between offers the community... Counseling for couples and partnerships - The Space Between recognizes the ever-changing needs of growing cycles--sometimes negative and sometimes positive--in personal and professional relationships. The team strives to facilitate the positive growth in all their clients' relationships. Recovery from trauma, depression and anxiety - We all face challenges in life. So many of our struggles are internal…

Many Owners of Small Businesses Don’t Plan to Retire

According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, 53 percent of small-business owners say they don't want to retire. That figure comes from a telephone survey of 602 small-business owners in all 50 states. In 2014, only 66 percent of small-business owners were confident they had enough money for a comfortable retirement, but the latest poll shows that 76 percent feel confident about their retirement funding. Still, many business owners surveyed said they wanted to continue working in some capacity, rather than retire completely. Challenges for Family-Run Businesses In family-run businesses, the resistance to the idea of retirement may create some complicated questions about who's in charge, and to what extent, as discussed in a recent Wall Street Journal article. Interviewed for that article were a 69-year-old CEO/business owner and his 36-year-old daughter, who is the president of the family business. Their different management styles and corporate strategies are sometimes…

Maryland Gets Low Marks for Animal Protection Laws

Every year since 2006, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has issued its report, "U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings." States with the most comprehensive animal protection laws get high marks from ALDF. Although Maryland recently strengthened some animal protection laws, it ranked number 47 last year, out of 56 total U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The 2016 report mentions some positive aspects of Maryland animal protection laws: A new prohibition on breed-specific legislation (such as laws that forbid "vicious" breeds in some cmmunities) A new prohibition on any "implement of dogfighting," such as any object, device, or drug that is used to enhance a dog's fighting ability or is used during a dogfighting event. ALDF explains the reasoning behind its choices for the five best-ranked and five worst-ranked states, but it does not say specifically why Maryland is near the bottom. ALDF tends to assign lower marks to…

Considerations for Buying an Investment Property

Maryland Investment PropertyReality TV shows make it look easy: Buy a fixer-upper home, renovate it, sell it, and make a big profit. But that's not how it typically works. In fact, at least one person featured in an episode of HGTV's show "Fixer Upper" said he had already bought his home before appearing on the show and that the show stages the home-shopping process. "Flipping" a house to make a profit is a risky move, for many reasons. First, the biggest mistake people make is underestimating the scope and cost to renovate a home. Complications often arise during renovation, and dealing with those surprises can significantly increase costs. Plus, the people doing the work - carpenters, plumbers, and other craftspeople - can provide estimates for jobs, but the actual costs could end up being much higher. Selling a property can also take longer than anticipated and there are significant carrying costs for…

May is National Electrical Safety Month

Maryland Landlord LawAccording to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, electrical fires damage 51,000 homes every year, causing nearly 500 deaths and $1.3 billion in property damage. To help raise awareness of electricity-related fire risks, ESFI develops special publications and outreach efforts for its yearly National Electrical Safety Month. Every May, ESFI chooses a focus for its campaign. This year, it's, "Decoding the National Electrical Code(r) (NEC) to Prevent Shock and Electrocution." Topics include the risk of electric shock and drowning when swimming near motorized boats; how childproofing outlets can protect children from electric shock; the importance of circuit-interrupter outlets and surge protection; and the importance of compliance with electrical code. For Maryland landlords - especially those whose properties were built more than a few decades ago - this month may be a good time to reevaluate the safety of electrical components and systems in your rental homes. Aging Wiring Peeling paint and…