Ask the Lawyer

At, we understand that money can be tight for small businesses. On top of that, a nasty client can cause extreme anxiety if they threaten not pay you or give you a hard time. You may not know your rights and need an attorney. Maybe you can’t afford one. After all, lawyers are expensive. As a way to help, we’ve created the “Ask the Lawyer” page where you can submit a question and receive an answer from a real lawyer free of charge. Every other week we randomly pick questions, and the Kane Law Offices LLC. provides the answers. Submit a question

Do you get more work by being a minority owned business

I am a 39 year old woman and I own a small drapery and staging business. I work for mostly smaller builders and real estate agents. There are some very expensive high rise apartments being built downtown, and I would love to get my foot in the door with them. Will it increase my chances of getting the job since I am a minority owned business? If so how do I take advantage of that?

Posted on 9/18/12 There are three subtypes of business categories that fall under the state and federal governments enterprise incentive programs: Minority owned Based Enterprise (MBE), Women owned Based Enterprise, or a Disabled owned Based Enterprise (DBE) or collectively sometimes referred to as (M/W/DSBEs). For a company to qualify for any of these certifications, typically the majority of the ownership and controlling management (decision making authority) must be either of a minority race (MBE), female (WBE), or

Does it have to be new for them to sue?

A legal letter came to my office last week, which of course scared the hell out of me. A person is threatening to sue for a slip and fall at a parking lot I used to plow snow at. The fall happened almost four years ago. Can I still be sued for something that happened that long ago?

Posted on 9/18/12 The following analysis is based on the assumptions that the injured party is not the person you contracted with to provide the plowing service, that you contracted with the owner of the property on which you plowed and that the potential action against you would be a tort claim of negligence in state court. Under those facts, one of the first things you should check is your contract with the owner of the property.

Confusing contractor registration laws


Posted on 9/18/12 In the last decade numerous states have enacted

Working without a contract

I am a subcontractor who has done work for a local residential builder. The first few jobs I had a contract, but lately I have been working on other jobs without contracts and the builder is behind in paying me. What rights do I have?

Without any more facts, it sounds like you have recourse using a Mechanic

Should I incorporate?

Another contractor I know was doing business without being incorporated and lost everything in a lawsuit. How do I protect myself from having this happen to me?

The issue of Limited Liability is an absolute necessity for any contractor. Performing construction services as an individual without some type of limited liability company structure most likely puts your personal assets at risk (all other exceptions aside like marital property protection). The 3 most common ways to reduce this liability is by registering and operating as an (i) Limited Liability Company, (ii) a Corporation electing Subchapter

Price renegotiation

I recently completed some work for a guy under a written contract. At the end, he cried to me about the pricing despite how great he said my work was and we agreed on a new reduced amount in writing. Later he sued me for

It sounds like the problem was in the agreement to revise the price. Assuming there was no problem with the original contract, if the agreement to revise the price did not have language that released you from any and all claims by the owner against you, all other previous rights of the owner, like a claim against you for defective workmanship, would remain viable even though you intended to resolve all those issues with a

Customer vetting

I did some work for a guy who I thought was the Owner of the property, but it turns out he wasn

Customer vetting has become an absolute necessity with the downturn in the economy. Although, if you are using Nasty Client, you are well aware of this problem already. Before entering into a contract with a customer you should verify the (i) Ownership, and if applicable, (ii) Agency Authority of the customer. (i) Ownership. Before performing work at a property, have the tax records checked to ensure the customer is the actual Owner and that there are
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