Spartan Law Group is a full service law firm committed to representing Your Business and Personal needs for clients in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and throughout the State of Florida.

We understand that life is not always black and white and we structured this firm to help provide some certainty to get you through the gray areas.  Our model provides certainty in costs, relationship, communication, and quality.

The Spartan Counsel Program fixes legal costs for those businesses who need regular counsel, but do not want the expense of a full time employee.  Our personal services program assists in protecting your family and home ensuring you always have a Spartan to rely upon.  The Spartan Project team is there to help you on a particular transaction.  And when it occurs, our Spartan Litigation team prosecutes and defends your claims in times of need.  Contact us to learn how you protect yourself in the gray areas in life.

Finding the Right Legal Fit

July 11, 2013, 2:38 pm - Jeff Baughman

Shopping around for an attorney is a lot like shopping for anything else. Many times you do not know exactly what you are looking for until you find it...or you bought what you thought you wanted, ended up hating it and looking for a return policy. Taking a little time on the front end can save you a lot of time, frustration, and money. Depending on the type of legal situation you need help with will generally dictate the amount of effort you need to put into finding an attorney. Transactional work—such as estate planning, power of attorneys, contract review and the like—generally requires more competence than personality. However, if you are looking for assistance in litigation, intricate contract negotiation or family law issues, you may be dealing with your attorney on a frequent basis for months or even years, and as such will want someone who cares about your interest, can communicate and who you can stand being in contact with on a regular basis. You do not want someone who makes you cringe every time caller id shows you their number. Spend some time looking for information on attorneys in the area of law you need help with, but remember big advertising budgets do not guarantee anything but excessive air time. Look for reviews from people who have dealt with the attorney. If they have been around for years and you cannot find anything bad, that is good! And ask the attorney for references from current or past clients if they are willing. Remember, you do not have to commit to the first attorney you meet with, or even the second. Set up a few consultations after weeding through attorney websites and go to them all. Afterwards, determine who you liked best, who has experience in the situation you are dealing with and can meet your needs within your budget. However, if you cannot finds anyone who matches your criteria, examine why: Are your budget expecations too low? Your productions too high? Are you putting too much into the personality match up that you are missing the big picture? If you find yourself with a list of consultations and no stand out candidates, and your evaluation of your expectations comes back that you are reasonable, keep looking! Once you find a good attorney, you will be set for anything that comes up. If your attorney doesn’t handle that particular type of legal issue, they are bound to know someone good to refer you to who will be able to meet your needs. For more information, or to set up a consultation, please contact Spartan Law Group at 727- SPARTAN (772-7826).

Independent contractors are certainly a coveted class of workers. Classifying someone as an independent contractor allows a company avoid paying social security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes on the individual’s wages, saving the company money, but that is not the only advantage. Independent contractors are responsible for paying their own income taxes, maintaining their own insurances, and keeping up with income reporting to the IRS. However, the IRS and Department of Labor are cracking down on the misclassification of employees, and imposing substantial fines and penalties when employers get it wrong. Independent Contractor Before a company can categorize workers as independent contractors, rather than employees, the company should ensure the classification is appropriate. The classification primarily turns on who controls how the work is done. While there are three broad areas that courts examine in determining whether someone is an independent contractor, all relevant factors need to be examined to make a holistic determination--no one area is more indicative than another. Behavioral Control In situations where the worker has the right to direct or control how the work is done, such behavior suggests the worker is an independent contractor. However, if the company has the right to direct or control how the work is done, whether or not that right is ever exercised, the worker is likely an employee. The right to direct or control is evident when the worker receives extensive instructions on how the work is to be completed. While independent contractors will receive some instruction in order to meet the company’s needs, the independent contractor is generally left to decide how the work is to be done. Additionally, training is a factor tending to suggest an employer-employee relationship, especially when the training revolves around requires procedures and methods of work. Financial Control When the worker has financial control over his/her work, such suggests independent contractor classification. Financial control can be established where the worker has a significant investment in the work, suffered the expenses associated with performing the work or has opportunity for profit or loss. Generally the party with financial control over the work has the ultimate control to determine how the work is done. Relationship of the Parties How the parties interact can uncover the appropriate classification of the parties. Where there are employee benefits extended to the worker, including insurance, pension, and paid leave, there is a presumption the individual is an employee. However, if there are no benefits extended and the parties are operating based on a written contract establishing the contractor relationship, there is a good chance that is how the relationship will be categorized. However, just because there is a written contract purporting an independent contractor relationship, a court will not hesitate to find an employee-employer relationship if the company retains the right to control how the work is done. The determination is very fact intensive and will turn on the specific factual analysis of each case. The IRS has the ability to reclassify workers paid as independent contractors as employees and uses that ability frequently. The reclassification generally occurs when the business is audited. Business, especially small businesses, are being audited more frequently to ensure businesses are paying the necessary taxes. Those who are misclassified, or who know of a company misclassifying employees, may also initiate the reclassification process by filing a misclassification grievance. Once a grievance is filed, authorities examine the merits and proceed accordingly. Misclassification of employees as independent contractors can lead to the imposition of fines, penalties, and back-taxes for which the employer is generally liable. For more information, contact Spartan Law Group at 727- SPARTAN (772-7826).

E-Filing: Florida Signing On

April 2, 2013, 3:52 pm - Jeff Baughman

Although e-filing for Florida Courts has been looming in the wings for several years, 2013 is the year it is becoming mandatory. As of April 1, 2013, civil filings must be made electronically; criminal cases will start e-filing October 1, 2013. There are only a few exemptions from the mandatory requirements. Pro se litigants, self-represented non-parties, such as law enforcement agencies and the Department of Children and Families, that provide records and paperwork for court cases, are not required to e-file, although they are encouraged to do so. E-File Despite the application primarily affecting attorneys, there is also an immediate impact on the public. E-filing will allow pleadings to be filed quicker and remotely, and there for speed up the legal process. For the purpose of determining timeliness regarding the filing of any document, the "time-stamp" will reflect the time in which the document is submitted to the courts e-file portal--submissions are accepted 24-hours per day, 7-days per week. However, the filing will not be official public record until the document is entered into the clerk's maintenance system. Speeding up the legal process may cause both positive and negative affects on parties. Although traffic will be less of an excuse to missing filing deadlines, parties may still have to be leery of technical difficulties. The idea of technical difficulties has been contemplated, and some provisions are in place to allow for such difficulties. Where the clerk's office is unable to receive submissions for technical reasons, the documents will be accepted the following day so long as the document is accompanied by an affidavit attesting to the fact the party made two failed attempts, at least one hour apart. However, if the technical difficulty is on the party's end, the party assumes responsibility for delayed submissions. Time will tell what kind of additional accommodations, if any, will be made to meet the technical difficulty issues which are sure to arise. For more information, contact Spartan Law Group at 727- SPARTAN (772-7826).

Next in our education series is "Avoiding Personal Liability in Your Business"

Join us for an online seminar, grab a sandwich, and listen at your desk for some tips that may help save the day.

We have found many ways to fine corporate officers and owners personally liable for business issues and will share how to make sure this doesn't happen to you.

All you have to do is call in on the conference line to listen. If you would like to view the presentation, just login online as well.

Presentation is scheduled for 30 minutes, and questions will be welcome.

When: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 from 11:30 a.m. EST to 12:00 p.m. EST

Register Online

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November 8, 2012 - Breakfast Seminar: Spartan Counsel Program™


To learn more about establishing liability shields to protect your business, join us for a complementary breakfast seminar.

When: Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 8-9 a.m. at Feather Sound Country Club

Seating is limited, so please call us to register at 727-SPARTAN (772-7826)

July 25, 2012 - Lunch and Learn

 

Next in our education series is "Valuing your Business"

Join us for an online seminar, grab a sandwich, and listen at your desk for some tips that may help save the day. We will discuss some of the different methods you should consider when valuing your business. Specifically, the methods that will affect your different legal options. All you have to do is call in on the conference line to listen. If you would like to view the presentation, just login online as well. Presentation is scheduled for 30 minutes, and questions will be welcome.

When: July 25, 2012 from 11:30 a.m. EST to 12:00 p.m. EST To join us, Click Here

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