Rank #1: Recovering from the Pandemic: Financial Considerations with Kelly Olson Pederson
Kelly Olson Pederson, CFP, CDFA, of Caissa Wealth Strategies joins Tom to discuss the importance of financial guidance during a divorce, especially in these uncertain times. She identifies the importance being aware of the tax and other differences of various kinds of assets from cash ("cash is king") to Roth IRAs to investment accounts (capital gains and income tax) to IRAs and 401(k)s (penalties and ordinary income tax). In addition, she points out that we need to consider how liquid an asset may be from cash to real estate to a business and whether discounting should be considered. Finally, she discusses the importance of having an eye on the short, medium and long term needs of our clients.
Jan 01 2021
Rank #2: Recovering from the Pandemic: A Paralegal Perspective
Marilyn Hoffies, senior a paralegal at the law firm of Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC discusses how she and her colleagues at other firms are handling working remotely. She identifies what struggles support staff from firms large and small have experienced in the move to working remotely. She offers tips on maintaining firm collegiality through distant learning. In addition, she discusses what she did to maintain work life balance while working at home.
Dec 30 2020
Rank #3: Recovering from a Pandemic: Conducting a Trial
Attorney Allyson Kerr of Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLP, joins Tom to discuss her first evidentiary hearing, an OFP conducted via Zoom. To add to the complexity, it was a case involving an interpreter. She discusses how the parties were situated; how the Court handled exhibits; how counsel shared exhibits with the witnesses and judicial officer; and how the judicial officer rendered the decision. She discusses glitches to watch for (like a problem with feedback on the line) and offers a few tips on making it all go smoothly for your client.
Oct 13 2020
Rank #4: Recovering from the Pandemic with Jennifer Roben and Amanda Rock
Attorney Jennifer Roben and paralegal Amanda Rock join time to discuss the changes they have made in their firm as we emerge from the pandemic. They discuss how, through the use of technology, they have been able to quickly adapt and continue to serve their clients. They have the added benefit of having experience working from home before the pandemic hit so they had technology and systems in place. They discuss the challenges of maintaining the social and professional interaction with one another when not together in the office and when the means of communication are more limited. They discuss safety precautions their firm is taking as clients return to attorney offices.
Oct 09 2020
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Rank #5: Recovering from the Pandemic: Business Development with Christine Tuft
Christine Tuft, Marketing Partner at the Law Firm of Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala joins Tom to discuss practice development and marketing. The focus of this episode is on self-assessment, skillset assessment, and business assessment. These are the first steps in creating a marketing-focused business plan.
Self Assessment. We need to be self-aware and need to know our strengths and weaknesses. What is your personality type. What do you like doing and what are you willing to do. This is a challenging exercise in that it is important to be honest with ourselves and self-aware enough to make this kind of assessment. Taking it to the next level includes inquiring of a trusted colleague or mentor to help you with an honest assessment
Skillset Assessment. What are the gaps in your knowledge our skills? What do you need to add to your personal inventory to reach your goals.
Business Assessment. Analyzing what kind of work you are doing and how are you getting it. This includes gathering the data from your firm and taking the time to study and think about it. This includes identifying case types and referral sources.
This is part of an ongoing series of podcasts on business development and marketing.
Sep 17 2020
Rank #6: The Family Court JURY Trial
Attorneys Victoria Elsmore and Amy Krupinski join Tom to tell the tale of their family court jury trial. They represented the biological father in the case in which the mother and her husband sought to have the issue of paternity determined by jury. The jury was to decide between the competing presumptions. They discovered that court rules do not really contemplate family court juvenile trials. The attorneys had to work around those rules. There was the additional challenge of language and cultural barriers to address in the case.
Before they could even get started, the trial court’s decision to grant a jury trial was appealed all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Once that was resolved, they had to address unique issues large and small. From basic questions like how many jurors to seat. To nuanced questions like voir dire of the jurors and then selection. They had to create jury instructions essentially from scratch. They had to do an oral closing to the jury and then wait for deliberations to decide paternity. Ultimately, the biological father prevailed on paternity, but issues of parenting time and custody remain to be resolved.
Jun 11 2020
Rank #7: Practicing in a Pandemic: Amanda Hagen Discusses the Different Approaches in Wisconsin and Minnesota
Amanda Hagen joins Tom to discuss the challenges of practicing in Minnesota and Wisconsin, especially in light of the differences in how the two states are approaching the pandemic. She reviews the battle between the Wisconsin executive branch and judicial branch over emergency powers. Then, she explains how the Wisconsin courts are handling court proceedings and compares that with how the Minnesota courts have moved forward.
Jun 09 2020
Rank #8: Practicing in a Pandemic: Loretta Frederick Discusses the Rising Incidence of Intimate Partner Violence
Loretta Frederick, Senior Legal Policy Adviser to the Battered Women’s Justice Project, joins Tom to discuss the incidence of intimate partner violence (IPV) during the stay-at-home periods of the pandemic. She points out that those who were previously living with coercive controlling domestic violence are even more entrapped in these dangerous situations. This is especially alarming in Minnesota with the significant increase in purchases of firearms by first-time gun owners. She highlights the new tactics used by abusers, for example, where an abuser may withhold a child from an essential worker-parent on the pretext that the essential worker may endanger the child through exposure to COVID-19. She addresses the challenges survivors face in fleeing to a safe house that may expose the survivors own family and the host family to COVID-19. She discusses the challenges in rural areas that had relied upon hotels to temporarily shelter survivors when those hotels are now closed. All of this compounded when shelters are full and staff and other supports are not available. Further, survivors do not have access to libraries or coffee shops where they may have accessed help through the internet. The supports they need to get to safety are largely unavailable.
There is the additional concern that children are exposed to more abuse than they were. School counselors, nurses, neighbors, clergy, doctors are all no longer in regular contact with survivors and their children. Options for survivors like independence through housing, employment, support services, and the courts have been less accessible or even not available during the heart of the quarantine.
She discusses the challenges of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) and court trials via videoconferencing. For example, what if the abuser and survivor are in the same location during videoconferences?
She posits the possibility of entering into temporary, pandemic-related settlements lasting perhaps six months so that a more thoughtful solution can be devised once the pandemic has abated. This is one way to try to limit the long-term negative implications of the pandemic.
The video she references is available at bwjp.org.
Jun 09 2020
Rank #9: Practicing in a Pandemic: The Hon. Sheridan Hawley Discusses Washington County Court Plans
The Honorable Sheridan Hawley Judge of District Court sitting in Washington County discusses the re-opening plan for the courts in Washington County. She discusses the challenges of developing a plan that meets the Governor’s Order, the Chief Justices Order, the Judicial District’s expectation and the County’s (that actually owns the building) needs against the need for access to justice for those who cannot afford remote technology. These courthouses and courtrooms really were not designed to allow six feet between each person. She reports that they are required to have at least some courtrooms open by June 15, 2020. While much may be done remotely, when access to justice is at issue, the courtrooms must be open. She describes courtroom design plans, including separating attorneys from clients at counsel table by plexiglass. Related to that is the possibility that counsel and client would be permitted to communicate via telephone while sitting next to one another in the courtroom.
Jun 02 2020
Rank #10: Practicing in a Pandemic: Realtor Dawn Keenan Discusses Trends in the Real Estate Market
Realtor Dawn Keenan of Edina Realty discusses what she sees as positive momentum in the real estate market. She identifies the shortage of homes as a positive factor, especially as compared to the market heading into The Great Recession in 2008. In fact, there is a belief that the real estate market may help lead the economy out of the recession.
In addition, she discusses the safety measures put in place in her industry. For example, there has been a suspension of open houses. Showings include masks, hand washing and other protective measures. For sellers with special concerns they can indicate personal preference notes to address their concerns. There is even an option for virtual showings. Closings have changed so that agents are asked not to attend and sellers and buyers are separated for the closing. She sees real estate activity trending upward and believes this is a good time to place a home on the market, especially in the sub-$300,000 price range.
May 28 2020