Drafting Cross Border Commercial Contracts

Karen DesotoNegotiating and drafting cross-border commercial contracts can be rather challenging. With differences in common law and civil law jurisdictions, decisions regarding commercial terms and dispute arbitrations can significantly affect the future of the contract. Here are a few tips from co-founder / co-director of the Institute for Dispute Resolution Karen DeSoto. Negotiating and drafting cross-border commercial contracts can be rather challenging. With differences in common law and civil law jurisdictions, decisions regarding commercial terms and dispute arbitrations can significantly affect the future of the contract. Here are a few tips from co-founder / co-director of the Institute for Dispute Resolution Karen DeSoto.

Have Clarity on What the Deal is about

A good commercial agreement is detailed and effectively recites the intent of all the parties in a simple, consistent and comprehensive manner. The agreement must provide a robust understanding of the regulatory — as well as the technical requirements of the relevant industry — allowing parties to satisfactorily negotiate a contract that protects everyone involved, and also allows them to reach the intended goals.

Anticipate the Demands of the Other Parties

Make sure you make well researched and educated guesses about what the other parties’ requirements will be and incorporate elements that seem viable to you into your draft agreement. Choosing to draft a one-sided agreement or refusing all the change requests may result in a complete breakdown of a possible contract. If your transaction is with a non-English-speaking country, remember that the lawyer may not have the best command of the language and may come with a disadvantage when drafting the contract. By showing that you are taking into account their requirement, will highlight your positive intent and result in a favourable deal.

Identify not only the terms if things go well, but also the remedies if things don’t go as intended.

Finally, when involving yourself with any international transaction, investigate the issues that may result in negative publicity for your company. Make sure you are free of any criminal liability, issues related to child labour, local privacy laws, tax frauds and antitrust issues.

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How Well Do You Know Your Rights As A Disabled Employee?

Karen DesotoPeople with impairments that significantly limit major life activity are often covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Here are a few things that Human Rights activist Karen DeSoto feels you must know.

What is Covered?

The impairment doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical one only. It can be a mental one as well. However, weight, height, pregnancy and homosexuality are not covered. Pregnancy is covered under a separate type of discrimination act. Furthermore, the impairment needn’t necessarily be a permanent one.

Are all Employers Covered?

An employer is only bound by this Act if the company has 15 employees or more. However, your state or county may individually have anti-discrimination laws that are relevant to companies with smaller employee strength.

What do you mean by Major Life Activities?

Activities such as caring for yourself, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning, sitting, standing, lifting, concentrating, thinking, working, breathing, performing manual tasks and interacting with others all come under the umbrella of major life activities.

To be covered under this Act, your disability must significantly limit your ability to perform one or more of the above-mentioned activities as compared to how average people perform them. If your case goes to court, they will weight the severity and nature of your disability along with the long-term impact it has on your ability to work.

Also, it is important to know that even if you aren’t currently disabled you may still be protected under this Act if you have a recorded disability. This is relevant in case of a history of a substantially limiting impairment or in case you have been misclassified as having one.

Applicable Laws When Your Employer Breaks the Anti-Discrimination Law Against Veterans

LawAfter having spent years fighting for your nation, coming back to the real world and trying to lead a normal life can be quite a challenge. In the process of finding a stable job, there are cases where employers show a bias against veterans for several reasons. However, Karen DeSoto, human rights activist and legal analyst explains that veterans are protected under anti-discrimination laws at the workplace, allowing them to take necessary legal measures to protect their rights.

Here are a few things you should know –

The Uniformed Service Employment and Re-employment Rights Act

If you are able to prove that your claims are right, the employer may be compelled to reinstate your job, back pay, reimburse your lost benefits, restore your vacation leave, reimburse your attorney fees, correct your personal files, compensate for lost promotional opportunities if any, pursue pension adjustment and maybe even liquidate damages towards a willful violation.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

If you are able to prove that your employer is violating the FMLA, the law will compel your employer to remedy your lost wages, any actual monetary losses you incurred, attorney’s fees, lost benefits, and possibly liquidate damages for will-full violation. Typically, an employee has 2 years from the exact date of violation to sue their employers.

If your employer is violating any of the above laws, you can file a claim with the Department of Labor. Another option you have is to file a suit through your own attorney.

Things to Do When You Are No Longer Protected By DACA

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Ever since Trump got elected as president, DACA recipients have been concerned about their future. While many of the rumours of him stripping them off their protection and work permits on his first day in office were unfounded, the winding down of the program was eventually announced in early September 2017.

If you are concerned about your future once the protection is actually lifted off in March 2018, here are a few things you want to do as per human rights activist and legal expert Karen DeSoto

1. The first and less recommended option is to continue to live the lives you have been leading – Working, driving and getting around undocumented. This option puts you in legal jeopardy all day, every day and increases the chances of your deportation once you are caught.

2. A more practical approach will be to start planning to leave the country in a systematic manner. Sell your house, car and other assets while you are still protected under DACA and try to identify a country that would welcome your skillsets.

For people who grew up in the US, spending most of their lives here, the second step is a challenging one to take. However, in the long run it is the more practical one than going back to taking the kind of jobs you did before you were protected by DACA or transitioning back to illegality. With the right help from immigration experts you will be able to make sure that you create a new life for yourself in a sensible and organized manner.

Expert Speak – Know your Rights at the US Border

Karen Desoto - Legal Analyst

If you plan on entering the United States soon, regardless of your citizenship status, there are a few legal rights you need to know in the wake of the travel ban implemented by President Trump.

Here are a few legal insights by professor and legal analyst Karen DeSoto so you know about your rights at the border –

● Can I be Stopped or Searched at the Border?
Regardless of whether you are a green card holder, a visa holder or an American citizen, the Customs and Border Protection officers have the right to stop you and/or take you to a secondary inspection. This could be a random search, or because they have obtained more information about you or your immigration status.

● Can they take by Green Card Away?
No. CBP officers cannot make you sign any form that compels you to forego your permanent resident status. Unless you have committed a serious crime for which you are being deported, legal permanent residents have rights that allow them a hearing in front of an immigration judge. You will be permitted back into the country until the date of that hearing.

● Can They Search my Things?
Yes, every piece of luggage, item or belonging that enters the US is subject to search. You will be asked to declare items that you are bringing into the country. Items such as fruits that could carry diseases or pests will be destroyed or confiscated.

● Can I Carry My Laptop in my Carry On Bag?
No. Due to recent changes you can no longer carry a laptop in your carry on bag; it must be stowed with your luggage.

It is important that you stay informed on U.S. Customs and Immigration rules, as they are changing rapidly. Understand the rules in general, and the specific rules according to your status as a citizen, resident or visitor — to ensure that you adhere to federal laws and maintain your rights as an individual.

 

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.

 

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