Laying Down the Law in LLC, IP, and Hiring

With most of the start-up focus on accounting and banking advice, when does an entrepreneur need legal services? More often than he or she might prefer, as two area legal professionals explain.

No charity case: Melli Law's McCarthy has been a <em>Jill</em> of many trades ... and a master of some

If you drew a Venn diagram representing everyone in the history of the world who at one time or another has been a catalog model, an Air Force mechanic, a rock picker, a member in good standing of the Brethren religion, a volunteer tax preparer, a habitual smoker, a marathon runner, a law journal editor, an adoptive mother of Guatemalan toddlers, a cucumber picker, and a law firm partner specializing in estate planning, business law, and real estate, it's fairly likely that the sole point of intersection would be Madison attorney Charity McCarthy.

40 Executives Under 40

Many of us can recall the sage advice about going into plastics that Dustin Hoffman's character got in the iconic movie The Graduate, ["There's a great future in plastics. Think about it."] but not Roy Hasenfratz. Even though he's in upper management at Corbi Plastics, he has not taken this advice to heart.

Can litigation climate change aid business?

On the surface, the recently enacted tort reform package sounds business friendly. The reforms, recently signed into law by Gov. Walker, are designed to create an economic environment that allows the private sector to create 250,000 jobs.

Social Media Put Downs & The Law

So you never gave much thought to the employment law implications of co-workers griping about their boss on Facebook? If not, you're probably in the same boat with a lot of executives, but a recent Connecticut case will force employers to pay more attention to their social media policies. While the case has yet to be fully adjudicated, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that such carping is protected activity and employees who engage in it cannot face disciplinary action. IB sought the expertise of local attorneys to help sort out its ramifications.

Paycheck Fairness: Boon or Burden

The proposed Paycheck Fairness Act would change the burden of proof in gender-based pay-equity cases, but it still faces an uphill climb on Capitol Hill.

Ouch! Patented foolishness is becoming more expensive.

In what promises to be a financial wake-up call for individuals and companies that mark products with a patent number or "patent pending" label, a recent Court interpretation could multiply the penalty for illegal marking.

And with the proliferation of patent marking trolls — those who troll around, looking to make false marking claims, whether or not they are damaged by them — it's much less likely that such infringement will simply go unnoticed.

No More Scoffing at Donning and Doffing

Should employees be compensated for the time they spend putting on and taking off protective clothing prior to or after a work shift?

There is a bit of controversy over this issue, especially when it takes a while to "don" and "doff" the garb. Although there have been several decisions rendered from U.S. District Courts, there has not been unanimous agreement as to whether employees should be compensated in all cases.

Cap & Trade may Give Way to Hard Cap

With cap-and-trade legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate, the EPA may step in and regulate carbon emissions. What are the business implications of either event?

The Immigrant Worker in a Down Economy

Racism, unscrupulous employers, law enforcement intimidation, loss of [immigrant] taxpayer dollars? Peter Munoz, executive director of Centro Hispano in Madison, says he sees such struggles every day, and while he agrees that immigration is, indeed, a complex issue, he feels it too often evokes kneejerk responses and, sometimes, racist social policy.

Divorce in a Family Business

Divorce is arguably one of the most caustic events that can happen to a family business. As if the breakup of a marriage on its own isn't bad enough, add to that the demise of what was probably the family's largest asset and financial future, and the situation erupts. Sweat equity aside, emotions run high when dreams — and families — are broken.

Does MEOC get a bad (for business) rap?

The Madison Equal Opportunities Commission may exist to fight discrimination, but it is viewed in some business circles as an example of bureaucratic overkill, not to mention a plaintiff-friendly agency for vindictive people to harass their former employers.