The Attorney/Client Privilege is one of the oldest, most respected and important privileges. The underlying purpose is to ensure that clients receive accurate and competent legal advice by encouraging full disclosure to their attorney without fear that the information will be revealed to others. It is often misunderstood and clients frequently have questions about what they can share with their attorney. 

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According to a “Las Vegas Review-Journal” article in January 2016, if job creation stays at its current rate, Nevada’s small businesses should reach peak employment by late 2016. Managers within small businesses are looking to fill their ranks with new employees.

If your business is among those looking to grow, you must make sure that you start the process in a way that will enable you to hire qualified individuals without exposing your business to liability.  Employment litigation is one of the fastest growing areas of litigation that employers face. Employers may face legal exposure, not just from conduct after hiring an employee, but from conduct during the hiring process itself. 

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You may have read or heard about the “Panama Papers” and thought it was simply an example of Vladimir Putin’s money laundering. While it is true that the reporting to date primarily details the efforts of foreign public officials and wealthy individuals to hide their assets, the outcry may affect the protections of Nevada’s Limited Liability Companies (LLCs).

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As you are surely aware, as a result of the recent election, recreational marijuana use has become legal in Nevada. Gordon Law has previously written of the challenges that employers had with medical marijuana (please see http://gordonlawlv.com/will-legal-pot-throw-you-into-a-kettle-of-litigation/#.WCSfIskQW6M). Recreational marijuana use may cause additional concerns for employers — this is particularly true if you suspect that one of your employees comes to work impaired.

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When attorney Aviva Gordon says she’s committed to helping small- and medium-sized businesses in Southern Nevada, it’s not just a marketing slogan.

Gordon, who opened her boutique law firm in 2015, gained an audience with Gov. Brian Sandoval to advocate for raising the threshold on the commerce tax from $125,000 in gross revenue to $4 million. The commerce tax was a pet project of Sandoval’s. The tax revenue is to be devoted to funding education in Nevada.

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Sometimes, predatory individuals try to take advantage of the legal system to harm business owners.  Whether it is an individual “slipping” and falling after a self-created hazard on your premises or fabricating some other violation of law, business owners can fall prey to sophisticated opportunists. It has been recently reported that an individual has made a career by threatening and filing lawsuits against numerous businesses for technical violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – to date, he has obtained nearly $250,000 in settlements for alleged violations. If you were unaware, the FCRA imposes a number of duties on employers who obtain background checks on applicants. 

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Letters of Intent (LOI) are used on a regular basis to spell out basic terms of an agreement prior to actually entering into a full and complete agreement. Most often we see LOIs in relation to commercial lease agreements, commercial sales agreements, and other commercial transactions. LOIs can be binding or non-binding. If they are non-binding, you have no agreement you can enforce. If the LOI is binding, a court may be able to determine and rule that your Agreement to Agree is truly a contract.

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You have built your business through your creative processes, products or systems. In the development of your business, you have hired employees to implement or sell those processes, products or systems. One of the most devastating things to your business may be, not only the departure of one of your key employees, but that the employee takes those processes, products or systems with her when she goes to work for your primary competitor – or starts her own business based upon the foundation you have laid.

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Any amount of time listening to a radio, watching television or searching for business law websites will lead you to an advertisement for Legal Zoom. A cursory review of Legal Zoom’s website may be enough to tell you how it differs from a real lawyer who provides real legal advice. The disclaimer on the bottom of the website states:

Communications between you and LegalZoom are protected by our Privacy Policy but not by the attorney-client privilege or as work product. LegalZoom provides access to independent attorneys and self-help services at your specific direction. We are not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. We cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies

So the question becomes, when you are looking to start, grow or protect a business, would you utilize the services of a company that essentially disclaims any ability to provide you with legal services?  Further review of the Legal Zoom website will tell you that for $23.99 per month you can have access to a “real” attorney. For that fixed fee, you will get, “… unlimited 30-minute consultations on new business and personal legal matters for one low monthly rate.”  When I first started practicing law, I received the sage advice concerning legal fees, “You get what you pay for.”

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Ask any longtime business owner the secret to success, and he or she probably will tell you it’s dedication.

John Pinnington took that to heart.

He invested all of his money in the business he created in 2010, AA Printing Service. There was nothing left in the budget for his house. The power was shut off. So was the hot water.

That didn’t bother Pinnington.

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