Monthly Archives: January 2015

Five Employment Law Pitfalls Start-Ups Should Avoid

The common denominator for all start-ups – whether your start-up has $50 or $500 million in its coffers – is its people.  As they grow beyond founders, each start-up and emerging technology company will welcome new faces into the organization to deliver on its business plan.  Whether they are new partners, employees, freelancers, consultants or otherwise – it is the human capital engine that often dictates the success or failure of an otherwise brilliant idea.

While welcoming like-minded, passionate people into one’s organization can be source of immense pride for founders, it also presents employment law challenges and pitfalls that often go overlooked, much to the detriment of the bottom-line.  Our experience in this space informs the top five most overlooked (and potentially most damaging) employment law pitfalls your start-up should avoid:

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IHT planning for business owners: business finance

As a general rule, Inheritance Tax (IHT) is payable on the net value of assets.  In other words, debts are generally deductible when calculating what a person is worth for IHT purposes on death.  However, the Finance Act 2013 introduced limitations on the deductibility of certain debts.  Judging from a few cases that have come to my attention recently, business owners still remain blissfully unaware of the impact of these changes on them.  Time for a quick reminder, then. 
Thanks to a new section 162B IHTA 1984, inserted by the Finance Act 2013, taking out a new loan to finance, either directly or indirectly, the purchase of assets that qualify for IHT business property relief, agricultural property relief or woodland relief is no longer such an attractive IHT planning technique.  Loans to maintain or enhance previously acquired relievable assets are also caught.
Prior to 6 April 2013, such loans were a rather smart IHT saving trick.  The assets purchased by the loan would attract IHT relief in full or part, depending upon their nature, after the two year minimum ownership period was satisfied.  As long as the loan was not secured on the relievable assets, the loan could offset the IHT taxable value of non relievable assets, such as the business owner’s home. 
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Court Orders a Letter to be Effective as the Last Will of the Deceased

WESA, the new estate legislation, contains a “dispensing power”, which allows a Court to order that a writing that does not meet the formal requirements of a Will is still effective as a Will.  This morning, Gordon Behan and I applied to Court for an order that a letter written by the deceased on the day of his death be declared effective as his Will.  The British Columbia Supreme Court granted that order.

This is noteworthy because the dispensing power (section 58 of WESA) is new to British Columbia.  Our August 2014 issue of Your Estate Matters addressed section 58 generally.  Despite being in effect since March 31, 2014, there are no published cases in British Columbia that address how and when the Court should exercise its dispensing power.  As a result, we looked to other provinces with similar legislation.  In particular, George v. Daily is a comprehensive Manitoba Court of Appeal decision that has been followed both in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick.

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Multistate Tax Update – January 22, 2015

The Tax Foundation defines a “jock tax” as the state and local tax burden that authorities levy against visiting professional athletes and other traveling business professionals. Some states include visiting musicians, lawyers, and even touring skateboarders in that category. Generally, a jock tax requires the visitor to pay income taxes in every state in which he or she earned income.

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Energy and Natural Resources Attorney Ben L. Pfefferle III Joins McDonald Hopkins

COLUMBUS, Ohio (January 22, 2015) – Ben Pfefferle III, a prominent attorney who has been at the forefront of the natural resources, environmental, and energy sectors throughout his career,  has joined the Columbus office of McDonald Hopkins in the firm’s Business Department as Co-Chair of the Natural Resources Practice Group.

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TSX Venture Exchange Amends Policies on Private Placements

By Nafeesa Valli-Hasham

Effective January 26, 2015, the TSX Venture Exchange (the “TSXV”) is implementing amendments to its Policy 4.1 – Private Placements (“Policy 4.1”) and the related forms.

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Key Issues Facing Places of Public Accommodation at the 25th Anniversary of the ADA

Our colleague Joshua A. Stein authored Epstein Becker Green’s recent issue of its Take 5 newsletter.   This Take 5 highlights five recent developments and future trends under Title III that places of public accommodation should keep their eyes on in 2015.

  1. Website Accessibility
  2. Accessible Point-of-Sale Devices and Other Touchscreen Technology
  3. Movie Theater Captioning & Audio (Narrative) Description
  4. The Availability of Sign Language Interpreters at Health Care Facilities
  5. “Drive By” Design/Construction Lawsuits

Read the full newsletter here.

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Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Yesterday is Not Today

Today, I’m bringing you a rainmaking recommendation from expert Jaimie Field!


This morning, my father’s wife sent a picture of my father, Robert S. Field, Esq., going to court. My father has been practicing law for 50+ years. He is respected and well liked in the legal community, which was brought to my attention when I took him as my date to a recent county bar association event.

I also grew up with a grandfather who practiced for 62 years – he was a member of “The Greatest Generation” and it got me thinking about the difference between his generation, my dad’s generation and today’s generation of practicing attorneys and how to get clients.

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ILN Today Post

With states passing marijuana laws, what does the federal government do?

As the author of Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Law FAQ Handbook, perhaps the most common question posed to me concerning Illinois’ legalization of medical marijuana is, “How does the federal government intend to respond to Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act and other states that have adopted a similar law?”

It appears that the federal government has provided us with even more clarity going into 2015. More…

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Student recruitment: RSS ready to welcome the best and most passionate!

January 20, 2015 — The yearly student recruitment campaign is under way at RSS. Accordingly, the Students section of our website — especially its blog — will be updated regularly.

Are you looking forward to a career with a dynamic and convivial firm? Then these pages are for you!

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