Friday, June 15, 2012

Great New iPhone Features For Lawyers And Regular People

Great New iPhone Features For Lawyers And Regular People

Earlier this week, Apple announced that a new operating system (iOS 6) will be coming out in the fall. There are some pretty great upgraded features which will hopefully help all of us be more organized and allow us to customize and expand our communications and overall experience with our i products. After years of resisting the Apple revolution, in 2011 I switched from a Samsung Epic (at the time, one of the highest rated Android phones) to an iPhone – and there’s just no comparison, the iPhone is a far superior product for most adults, especially professionals. Here are some of the best upgrades on the way: 

·        Email VIP status. You will be able to classify people/email accounts of your choosing as VIPs, meaning that emails from them are afforded priority status. You can receive a special notification (similar to how you’re alerted of a text message received) upon receipt of an email from the VIPs, VIP emails can be “starred” in your in-box, and you can have a special email subfolder which centralizes these emails. 

·        Customized “Do Not Disturb” settings. In case you ever actually want to disconnect and get some sleep without being disturbed, you will be able to utilize a do not disturb setting that mutes sounds, stops the phone from lighting up, etc. 

·        Do Not Disturb (unless you really feel the need). Wisely, Apple is going to allow further customization, so that you can set up exceptions to the do not disturb setting. So take that nap – but let your wife’s calls actually make your phone ring, especially if she’s 9 months pregnant. 

·        Return call reminder. If you choose not to take a call, you can tell the phone to remind you to return the call later, or even tell it to remind you once you have left your current location. What a great way to be reminded to call back once you’ve left your appointment. (Pretty cool, even if it does emphasize how easily and often you are being tracked by the ghost of Steve Jobs). 

·        I can’t take your call, but . . . . I’ve always been surprised that the iPhone didn’t already have this option, but better late than never. You’ll be able to decline a phone call, but have the option to text the caller (e.g. “Still in a meeting, so can’t answer, but yes we’re on for dinner, see you at 6.”) 

·        Siri is smarter. Siri will be able to open and operate some apps, including Yelp and Open Table (restaurant reservations). 

·        Facetime (almost) anywhere, on (almost) anything. Facetime currently works when you have WiFi access, but will soon work (how well?) with only a cellular connection. You’ll also be able to choose to answer an incoming “call” on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. 

·        Maps/GPS. Apple has long wanted to move away from using competitor Google’s mapping data, and apparently is about to do so. Soon we’ll have an Apple version of a maps/GPS program which will be based, in part, on data input from other live users (similar to the GPS app I currently use, Waze, which allows all Waze users, with 2 or 3 taps of the screen, to report traffic events, police presence, etc. so that other Waze users in the area can be alerted). Siri should be able to interact with this app. 

·        Siri can drive your car. Ok, not really, but Apple is working with some auto manufacturers to add a Siri button to the steering wheel, so she’ll only be a touch away as you drive. 

Apple continues to impress. Might as well join ‘em, as it appears that nobody can beat ‘em. Resistance is futile.

Jason A. McGrath is an attorney who practices in Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee. He takes an interest in how technology can improve the quality of service he provides to his clients. To read additional tech tip blog articles, please click here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Am A Lawyer - How Much Do You Want To Pay For My Office Chair?

I Am A Lawyer - How Much Do You Want To Pay For My Office Chair?

This short video blog by attorney Jason A. McGrath discusses an important point to consider when hiring an attorney. What exactly should you be paying for? Watch below or click here for YouTube viewing.


McGrath & Spielberger, PLLC provides business law services in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. For those who only want or need basic advice or legal analysis, or who only need a small amount of an attorney’s time, the Firm offers legal advice consultations in thirty minute blocks for a flat fee based on how much time you need. This way, you get professional advice but also control the amount you spend.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Personal Bankruptcy, Rebuilding Credit, and the Self Employed

Personal Bankruptcy, Rebuilding Credit, and the Self Employed

Dear Attorney:

I had a personal bankruptcy in 2005. I have since reestablished credit and started my own business. I am having trouble getting any business loans or credit cards. It was my understanding that the bankruptcy would fall off seven years after I filed. I need help with this matter.


Dear Struggling:

A bankruptcy filing stays on your credit report for ten years. General credit accounts such as Visa, a Gap card, etc., take seven years to fall off.

An individual’s credit really doesn't start to repair until after a debtor receives a bankruptcy discharge.

I don’t know what type of bankruptcy you filed. If you did a five-year Chapter 13 plan, you received your discharge in 2010. Since that was only two years ago, your credit may still be recovering.

However, if you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you received a discharge in 2005.

Your credit score should have recovered from the bankruptcy by now. Generally, it can take 3 years to recover, but I've seen clients have great credit again within 2 years. If that is the case, your problem isn't with the bankruptcy.

First, I think the self-employed are at a credit disadvantage because the indicators of income are less readily available.

Second, what specific steps have you taken to re-establish credit? Credit building is a game, and you have to know how to play it. Generally, to proactively build credit, you need two or three credit lines. It's best to not ever exceed about 30 percent of the limit on any of them. If you can't get a credit card, contact your local credit union and get a secured credit card. This will help you rebuild your credit.

Third, if you haven’t already done so, carefully review your credit report for errors. If you find any, write the reporting agencies and dispute them.

Since you signed “Struggling,” I don’t know your name. If you have a common name such as Jane Smith, your credit report could be picking up debts of other people. Also, if your credit report shows any accounts that were discharged in the bankruptcy, you should make sure they are designated as “included in bankruptcy” instead of “delinquent.”

McGrath & Spielberger, PLLC provides assistance to borrowers in need of bankruptcy related services in North Carolina.