Picking up The Pieces after Hurricane Harvey – Legal Advice to Let You Restart Your Life

Karen DesotoHurricane Harvey has devastated a major part of Southeastern Texas. Once the waters go down and you are able to go back to your home, you will need to take stock of your losses and find ways to execute a recovery plan. In addition to dealing with loss of property, you may also have to deal with loss of important documents that would otherwise make your life less burdensome. Here are a few things as recommended by legal expert Karen DeSoto, that you want to consider –

  • Get in touch with your insurance company to understand what’s covered, and what the process would be to assess damage to your properties.
  • Be wary of people promising immediate clean-up of your property and removal of debris. Many may charge exorbitant prices or may not have the licences or legal permits to do the job.
  • Don’t pay up for any temporary or long-term rental property before you confirm all the details; scammers list properties that they don’t have the rights to, or that do not exist at all.
  • Before giving out personal information, make sure you know the people you are dealing with. Ask for their identification and credentials before you share your bank account numbers, social security information or other private data.

Often in the aftermath of extreme hurricanes, including floods, your documents may be lost. Make a checklist and start replacing your documents, and then change all passwords, pins, etc.

 

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Meet Karen Desoto, a Clear and Decisive Voice

Court-adjourns-trial-of-ex-Bank-PHB-Spring-Bank-MDs-over-N125bn-fraud-till-March-22You may have seen her years ago on Court TV, or in recent years on CNN Headline News, Fox News, ABC News, or MSNBC (on shows like NBC News or The TODAY Show) providing insights on high-profile legal cases in the news. Karen Desoto’s career is more than what you see on TV.

Different facets of Karen DeSoto

Karen Desoto has been a lifelong vocal advocate for civil rights as a practicing attorney.  She represented many cases pro bono to give legal voice [and defence] to those that were the victims of employment discrimination. She remains active in the community fighting for equal rights, and in 2015 was honored by the NAACP [alongside Senator Cunningham and four others] for her good works. The Hudson Reporter named her to their Top 50 Most Influential People of Hudson County, NJ, calling her ‘a force to be reckoned with.

Ms. DeSoto worked hard for every achievement she attained. She put herself through college, graduating the Beasley School of Law (Temple University) with a Juris Doctorate and Masters of Law & Trial Advocacy.

Fresh out of college she began her career as a public defender, then a prosecutor, segueing into private practice where she founded the Center for Legal Justice. By early 2000’s she became the first woman, first Hispanic, and youngest attorney to ever be appointed Chief Corporate Counsel for the city of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Karen appeared as a guest speaker at local colleges and community centers whenever time allowed. Several years back she was named to the list of Hispanics on The Move in the magazine Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, and was named Attorney of the Year for the Puerto Rican Day Parade by the Heritage Foundation.

Since 2015 Karen has shifted her attentions. While she continues to appear on television as a legal analyst, the rest of her attention is focused on her work at the Institute for Dispute Resolution, an initiative (she co-founded) at the School of Business (New Jersey City University), as a professor at the university and co-director of the Institute she is highly-engaged with students.  And she continues to serve as a coach for the students that travel overseas and compete in international mediation competitions on behalf of the Institute.

Karen, when she is not working, gives her time to her family and her community.

You can learn more about Karen Desoto at karendesoto.com, Karen Desoto, info, karendesoto.org

3 Things about Karen Desoto That You Should Know

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She Is a Thorough Professional

Karen’s career includes practicing law, appearing on TV as a legal analyst for NBC News, a university professor, and the co-founder of the Institute for Dispute Resolution. This combined with her fervent local activism in her community has received notice more than once, with her winning praise and awards throughout — named top 50 most influential in Hudson County, Attorney of the Year, honored by the NAACP, and many more.

She Has the Knowledge Backed By Qualifications

Karen DeSoto holds a Juris Doctorate and a Masters of Law in Trial Advocacy from the Beasley School of Law at Temple University.

Her Experience in the Field Is Worth Appreciating

After graduation, Karen served as a public defender and then prosecutor, before becoming a part of the private sector. By the year 2000, she established the Center for Legal Justice – a law firm focusing on civil rights, employment discrimination, and election law.  In 2001, she became the first woman, first Hispanic and the youngest person to be ever appointed as Chief Corporate Counsel for the city of Jersey City, New Jersey.

A Quick Look at Some of the Achievements of the IDR

Karen Desoto - Legal Analyst

The New Jersey City University’s Institute for Dispute Resolution is an entity of the University Business School. The Institute aims to promote international negotiation and mediation techniques to manage disputes in cross-border commercial, investor-state and general conflict resolution forums. Co-founded by Karen DeSoto and David Weiss, the Institute’s mission is to promote New Jersey as a place to conduct cross border disputes.

Contribution to New Jersey Initiative

The Institute’s contribution to New Jersey was an initiative that they contributed to that was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie on February 7, 2017. The New Jersey International Arbitration, Mediation, and Conciliation Act allows certain nonprofits in the state to organize alternative dispute resolution centers, which would facilitate the resolution of international business and trade disputes through arbitration, mediation or conciliation instead of long legal battles.

Garnering Attention in the CDRC (Consensual Dispute Resolution) Mediation Competition in Vienna

A team of students from the IDR made their mark during the Institute’s first year attending the CDRC (Consensual Dispute Resolution) Mediation Competition in Vienna, Austria. Leman Kaifa and Paola Andrea won an Award for Best Opening Statements, making the Institute proud of their hard work.

Participation in the 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France

Justin Davis, Kaylee Saltos, and Leman Kaifa represented NJCU at this year’s 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France. Out of the sixty-six schools that were chosen to participate in the competition from across the globe, NJCU was the only business school to be chosen from the United States.

How the Students at IDR Are Excelling With the Right Guidance

LawThe youth of any country are their future. And when the students are trained well, they are bound to excel – giving us a promising future ahead of us. This is something that the faculty at the Institute for Dispute Resolution understands quite well.

With the right guidance and coaching from law experts like Karen DeSoto, who is also the co-founder and co-director of the Institute, the students are accomplishing laurels one after the other. IDR keeps outshining others with the caliber, skills and training of its coaches.

Leman Kaifa, who was a part of the NJCU team that won “Most Effective Opening Address” honors at the Vienna competition (Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition) last year, is a political science major who also represented NJCU at this year’s 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris, France — along with Justin Davis and Kaylee Saltos.

It is important to note that while hundreds of schools applied for participating in the 12th Annual International Commercial Mediation Competition, only sixty-six were chosen, and NJCU was the only business school chosen from the United States.

In the competition, the students participated in [a week-long] mock mediation sessions that provided them practical learning experience. They interacted with other students — as well as professionals — to gain a better understanding of international mediation practices.

The team was coached by Karen DeSoto and Christian Corrales. DeSoto, is also the founder of the Center of Legal Justice. She was the youngest lawyer (and first woman, and first Hispanic) to ever be appointed as Chief Counsel for the city of Jersey City, New Jersey. During her tenure as an attorney, she served as a public defender, a prosecutor, in private practice, and has since 2010 been an on-air legal analyst for many news shows, now under contract for NBC News.

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Why The IDR Has Become a Promising Institute in New Jersey?

The NJCU’s Institute for Dispute Resolution has brought a ray of hope for the people of New Jersey. Co-founded and co-directed by Karen DeSoto and DKaren Desotoavid Weiss, the Institute not only provides exceptional learning in the field of international negotiation and mediation, but also plays a crucial role through their applied research department in affecting policy.

Recently, the Garden State got a new law which has made it a lot friendlier toward international businesses than what it was before, and the credit goes to the IDR for proposing this legislation to the state Legislature. This legislation, which is known as the International Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation Act, was signed into law by the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie on February 7, 2017. The law is surely a boon for business owners who want to avoid lengthy legal battles, and is going to make the state a booming hub for businesses.

Steven Fulop, Jersey City’s Mayor recently said, “Our geographic location is really advantageous. We’re in proximity to the biggest media market in the world, huge financial services. If you’re going to have a global footprint, you’re going to have a presence generally in Manhattan. What we’ve tried to do over the past couple years is kind of make it a seamless transition from our waterfront all the way to Manhattan and we’ve attracted some really great corporations moving from elsewhere here.”

By contributing towards the development of this much-needed law, the Institute for Dispute Resolution is all set to change the face of business and trade in NJ.

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The IDR Is Giving New Hopes to NJ in the Realm of International Business

Karen DesotoThere are only ten states in the U.S.A. that have in place international mediation laws. New Jersey became one of them this year.  Is one of them. Long a popular location for international businesses die to its close proximity to New York City, it is now more attractive than ever before.

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, recently said, “Our geographic location is really advantageous. We’re in proximity to the biggest media market in the world, huge financial services. If you’re going to have a global footprint, you’re going to have a presence generally in Manhattan. What we’ve tried to do over the past couple years is kind of make it a seamless transition from our waterfront all the way to Manhattan and we’ve attracted some really great corporations moving from elsewhere here.”

Karen Desoto - Legal Analyst

With the passing of the International Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation Act on February 7, 2017, the state has raised its profile by providing international businesses the means to avoid lengthy legal battles through mediation. This law was proposed to the state Legislature by the Institute for Dispute Resolution (a department of the business school at NJCU), raising its profile as well.

The Institute was co-founded and is co-directed by David Weiss and Karen DeSoto. With news-making events they’ve co-hosted, their students winning awards in international mediation competitions, and now the contributions they have made (through their applied research department) that aided into this new mediation law making New Jersey more competitive in attracting international businesses, the Institute for Dispute Resolution has made an impact in it’s short lifespan. We expect to see more from them.

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