As a successful business owner, the wheels are always turning. You know what I mean. You’re sitting at dinner with a friend or a family member and you’re thinking about “the next big thing” for your business. It’s unavoidable. You’re an entrepreneur. That’s how your mind works.
But something else is unavoidable: the concern that keeps you up at night. It doesn’t happen often. Well, maybe it doesn’t happen as often as it used to… But at least a couple of times each month, you wake up worrying about that little nagging thing.
Maybe it’s a conversation you had with a customer that could wind up costing you a deal.
Maybe it’s the financing you need to fulfill the next batch of orders.
Or maybe it’s something far worse. Maybe it’s the risk of the next lawsuit coming down the road.
I know. I know. Nobody wants to think about lawsuits. It’s nasty, but it’s necessary.
Right now, in your office, in your paperwork and in your store or warehouse there is a ticking time bomb. It’s the next issue that will keep you awake. It could come from a vendor, a client or an employee. Or it could come from someplace you haven’t thought of…the government. I have seen it time and again. And I worry about these things myself as a business owner.
Fortunately, this type of risk doesn’t have to keep you awake at night because there are things we can do to help you reduce, and in many cases, eliminate, the risk of serious damage in a lawsuit.
That is why, for 2015, my team and I have created a Business Risk Review that we can conduct to help uncover these risks. We’re good at finding legal vulnerability – after all, that’s how we make our living.
We can take a microscope, climb into the bowels of your business and, with the precision of a surgeon, cut out the festering polyps that could, eventually become malignant. It’s a stinky job, but you need to have this type of exam.
The best part – it’s almost free.
Are you wondering how we can do this? Or why?
All these questions are answered on our Business Risk Review webpage. Or you can give me a call to schedule a consultation and I will tell you all about it.
Our Business Risk Review is like a warm cup of milk. Once it’s finished, you’ll be able to sleep like a baby.
Give the Bellatrix PC business law attorneys a call today to discuss it: 800-449-8992.
That means we exist to serve. We serve our clients. We serve our communities.
Law firms don’t have to be evil. Our profession gets a bad rap. And some of it is deserved. But the purpose of lawyers is to help people. It is to help people meet their financial and business goals. It is to help people when they are in trouble. It is to safeguard life, liberty and property. Sometimes we serve best as wise counselors. Sometimes we serve best as fierce warriors. But even in the nastiest lawsuit, Bellatrix lawyers are agents for good.
Bellatrix PC stays mindful of our service ethic by supporting charities, volunteering in our communities, and doing pro bono legal work for the poor and for non-profits. Here are some of the causes we support.
Causes Team Bellatrix will be working on this year.
Every year, each staff member at Bellatrix picks a charity for the firm to support as a team. Our goal is for each office to do something charitable at least once every month. Here are some of our picks.
Microlending For Entrepreneurs
Bellatrix PC exists to help businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals thrive. Kiva is a perfect fit for our mission. So we started a lending team to help women entrepreneurs worldwide. Entrepreneurship and economic opportunity are the keys to greater wealth, freedom and peace in the world. Please lend just $25through our team and help women create lasting wealth.
Soap to Developing Countries
We are proud to support our client, Soapbox Soaps. Soapbox Soaps gives a bar of soap to people in developing countries for every purchase made. Something as simple as soap saves lives, prevents diseases, improves healthcare, and improves the quality of life in countries across Africa, Asia, and South America, and in disaster areas. In response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, Soapbox Soaps donated tens of thousands of bars of soap to those impacted by the storms.
Coffee for Wells and Schools
Lawyers drink a lot of coffee. So we turned this business expense into something we can feel good about. We get our coffee from a Saint Louis charity called Three Avocados, Inc. They autoship it straight to our offices. Every bag we buy results in water filters and wells being built in poor villages in Uganda or schools being built in Nicaragua. Next time you are in our office, try a cup!
Bellatrix PC opened their third office in Riverside, California. Bellatrix PC has also joined the Riverside County Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service and several local business groups.
We offer the same personal, full-service legal advice and lawsuit representation for our Inland Empire clients as before. But now we are able to meet locally with clients, use local vendors and bar resources, and run litigation closer to the courts in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The Riverside office will also help Bellatrix PC support its clients in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
The Riverside office is especially dear to me having spent half my childhood in Murrieta. I have deep ties in the south county and am excited to serve this dynamic and often overlooked region.
Due to the recent spike in employment-related lawsuits, many employers are now turning to arbitration agreements as an alternative to traditional litigation. The motivation behind this shift is largely financial, as businesses look for ways to help minimize legal costs. Along with controlling costs, using an arbitrator is often a faster, simpler, cheaper, and more confidential process than traditional litigation.
In arbitration, the arbitrator acts as a neutral party who reviews all of the facts of the case, similar to a judge in traditional litigation. Based on his or her findings in the context of the relevant employment law, the arbitrator will then come to a decision. This decision is considered final and binding unless the arbitration is expressly nonbinding, and therefore, an appeal process is not permitted.
Arbitration is not objectively superior to litigation, nor is litigation inherently preferable to arbitration: it depends upon the details of your specific legal situation. At Bellatrix PC, our experienced business defense lawyers bring dual qualifications as aggressive litigators and certified arbitrators to each case we handle. We can give you an inside perspective on the potential outcomes, advantages, and drawbacks of each conflict resolution method, and will carefully determine which course of action is most suitable for your matter.
To begin exploring your options in a confidential case evaluation, call Bellatrix PC today at (800) 449-8992.
Are There Different Types of Arbitration Agreements?
In short, yes. There are two types of arbitration agreements: post-dispute and pre-dispute arbitration agreements.
A post-dispute arbitration agreement is one that is entered into after the parties are already embroiled in a dispute. This type of agreement rarely leads to legal controversy, and courts have a history of enforcing them by ordering the parties to proceed to arbitration.
A pre-dispute arbitration agreement is an agreement signed between two parties stating that if a dispute arises, it will be resolved through arbitration. If properly drafted, a pre-dispute arbitration clause should cover all potential legal disputes — federal, state, statutory, and common law — and will prevent the matter from being litigated in court. The neutral party arbitrator will hold the decision-making power.
Pre-dispute agreements are more controversial, especially in an employment context, as employees and their legal counsel often argue that it is unfair to force the employee to agree to arbitrate legal claims that have yet to arise. Some reasons for this objection include:
The employee did not know what the severity of the dispute would be when the clause was agreed upon.
Arbitration ends up being more costly for the employee than formal litigation would be.
The common condition that employees must keep all proceedings and verdicts confidential.
Despite these controversies, arbitration agreements are now appearing in a variety of locations in employment paperwork. They can be found in free-standing documents, or may be included within a variety of documents including employment agreements, employee handbooks and policy manuals, and employment application forms.
While some are straightforward boilerplate agreements, it is not uncommon for employers to customize arbitration agreements to cover specific types of employment disputes, such as disputes arising from breach of contract, stock option incentive plans, or meal and rest periods. Employers are also permitted to include their own rules for arbitration proceedings, though they can elect to adopt the rules of a neutral agency, such as the American Arbitration Association.
Contact Our Business Attorneys for Help Drafting Employment Contracts
In order to create a well-drafted agreement, employers should keep the following procedures in mind regardless of whether the agreement is pre-dispute or post-dispute in nature:
Ideally, you should create the agreement as a free-standing document. Do not bury it in an employment agreement, employee handbook/manual, or employment application form.
Draft the agreement to make it appear contractual in nature.
Ensure that the agreement does not substantially rely on extraneous documents or policies incorporated by reference.
Ensure that the language of the agreement is clear and unambiguous, so that the employee is reasonably alerted to the arbitration provision.
Have the agreement reviewed by an employment law attorney to ensure compliance with all state and federal and statutory and common laws.
If you are considering having your employees sign a pre-dispute or post-dispute agreement, it is wise to consult an arbitration lawyer for assistance. Case law pertaining to employment arbitration agreements is constantly involving. The business defense attorneys of Bellatrix PC have years of experience drafting arbitration agreements for companies of all sizes and structures, and can perform an in-depth review to ensure that your agreement is in compliance with all applicable laws. Our legal team will sit down with you to outline what types of disputes the agreement should cover, which rules you must follow, and other pertinent matters.
Additionally, if a dispute should arise with a former employee, the attorneys of Bellatrix PC can work to enforce your company’s current arbitration agreement. We will advise you of your rights and walk you through all of the necessary steps to improve the likelihood that your agreement will be upheld in court. Legal preparation today can help to reduce the time and money necessary to handle future disputes.
To schedule a private legal consultation, call the law offices of Bellatrix PC at (800) 449-8992.
Seeking: Employment Lawyer with 3+ years’ experience in litigation and counseling for San Diego office.
The Job: The job will be equal parts counseling and litigation. The firm acts as outside and general counsel for several small, medium and enterprise clients. Counseling will include solving business problems, giving advice, doing employment law audits, implementing compliance policies and procedures, and providing training. Lawyer is also expected to handle cases from pre-litigation through post-judgment in a day-to-day capacity, including complex actions such as multi-party and class action cases. Case representations will be, on average, 85% defense and 15% plaintiff and always on the side of good ethics and justice!
There is no billable hour requirement; Attorneys are expected to manage a reasonable load of clients assigned to work with them by Bellatrix’s CEO. Lawyer will also manage junior lawyers and paralegals staffed in employment law matters. While we all work hard, and litigation sometimes requires long days, Bellatrix employees usually have evenings and weekends off – this is not a billable-hour, sweatshop law firm. The job requires courtroom skills — lawyers at Bellatrix PC are given opportunities to fully litigate and manage clients, participate in strategy plans, take depositions, argue motions and appeals and try cases.
The Firm: Bellatrix PC is a healthy and growing, woman-owned law firm with two offices (one in San Diego and headquartered in Saint Louis). We are still small enough to be a close-knit team, but we are now poised for explosive and healthy growth. Get in on the ground level with a solid firm.
Bellatrix PC exists for a purpose: we value excellent results for our clients that includes keeping them out of the courtroom, justice and service to the business community and courts. We are selective of our clients and we love them! We are unafraid to fight for causes we believe in.
And we put our money where our mouth is. We have a solid, technologically-based business infrastructure for efficiency and improved delivery of services. We are rewarded for excellent results by our clients and we share those rewards with all employees (support staff included). We run the law firm like a business so that it thrives in the new economy, easily positioning ourselves to outlast and outcompete the old billable-hour partnership model of law firm management. We are ethical, honest lawyers for our own good and the good of our clients. And we even do volunteer work (not just pro bono cases) as a team to help out our communities. Bellatrix PC is about long term, people-first success, and it shows.
To learn about the firm, including the meaning of the name, our staff and our mission statement, please see The Bellatrix Story. Bellatrix PC has an excellent staff with no drama. We are a high-functioning, diverse team with professional pride and egalitarian collaboration. As we grow, we want to keep the firm’s happy culture intact.
A minimum of 3-years’ experience in employment law in California, including both litigation and counseling is required.
California bar admitted is required. Other jurisdictions are not required but are a plus.
Advanced litigation skills (such as trial) are a plus, but not required.
Comfort advising businesses and the ability to skillfully and efficiently problem-solve for businesses (particularly for risk management and avoidance) is necessary.
Excellent judgment, a solid knowledge of wage-hour laws and excellent writing skills are required.
Good people skills and a love of practicing law is highly preferred. Eagerness to learn and improve as a professional is also highly desired.
A book of business is not necessary, but origination of firm clients is compensated with bonuses and profit-sharing.
Business experience or business law/general civil litigation experience is a plus.
A background search that includes verifying bar and court admissions will be conducted as a condition for any offer of employment.
How to Apply: Send a cover letter, resume and writing sample to the below by mail only. The cover letter should be less than a page, be persuasive, an example of good writing skills, and answer the question of why you are applying to be part of our team. The writing sample should be a brief from a piece of litigation.
** UPDATE: Position Filled
Please check our careers page for current open positions.
Please allow a week for delivery before placing any telephone calls to confirm receipt. Do not email or fax the application package. Anyone who emails or faxes resumes and supporting documents to Bellatrix PC will be automatically removed from consideration. Any application packages that do not follow the above instructions and any applicants who do not meet the qualification criteria will not be considered.
Compensation: This position pays $90,000 per year plus eligibility to participate in Bellatrix’s profit-sharing bonus plan, 401(k) with match, professional incidentals (bar fees, CLE etc.), miscellaneous perks, life insurance, and medical and dental insurance that is 100% employer-paid, including dependents. Salary is non-negotiable. Bellatrix PC does not pay for relocation.
Bellatrix PC is a corporation and is run like a business for the benefit of all employees and its clients. It is not a traditional law firm partnership, which is one of its competitive advantages. Accordingly, while there is no formal partnership track at the firm, there is a profit-sharing plan that accomplishes the same ends with less aggravation for everyone. We are looking for a long-term fit, so please be comfortable with that aspect of the business model before applying.
Thanks for reading this far! We look forward to hearing from you.
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Alicia I. Dearn is the founder of Bellatrix PC, a woman-owned law firm with offices in Missouri and California. Bellatrix PC handles lawsuits and business transactions. We advise in business, employment, real estate, intellectual property, civil litigation, and election law.
The articles published by Bellatrix PC are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal issue, please get competent advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. Use of Bellatrix PC's site is subject to our Attorney Advertising Disclaimers.