1.       The Law is Complicated and Confusing – There is a reason why even seasoned lawyers do not represent themselves in court. When you are too close to a situation, you tend to think with your heart, and not your head. A trained, emotionally detached attorney with a strong understanding of the legal system is imperative to maintaining a cool head under pressure. Attorney’s also have knowledge of court deadlines and protocol which must be followed to the letter when filing legal documents. One late or incorrect filing could cause your entire case to crumble. Trust your attorney’s knowledge of the law. They went to four very long years of Law School to acquire it, and they know it inside and out. Foregoing the presence of a lawyer while reviewing contracts or starting a business can also lead to avoidable headaches.

2.       Attorneys Have Connections – Expert witnesses and private detectives often fill rolodexes on the desks of many lawyers. This network of contacts comes with years of experience that the average person does not have. The presence of such key professionals can help in challenging testimony or evidence by the opposing party.

3.       Experience in negotiating settlements and plea bargains – In cases of civil or criminal suits, sometimes it makes more sense to seek a settlement or plea bargain. Chances are, an experienced attorney will have seen cases similar to yours before and will be able to make a calculated guess as to how it might end at trial. These lawyers have experience in negotiating settlements and plea bargains for their clients, often saving them money and/or jail time.

4.       How Do You Plead? – We’ve all heard these words asked in courtroom shows, but your plea can be a make or break moment in your case. An attorney’s expertise and this matter is not just recommended, it is essential. Your lawyer will explain your options and help you avoid more severe penalties. Don’t gamble with your financial future and freedom!

5.       The Other Party Likely Has One – Non-attorneys representing themselves against an experienced attorney is akin to entering a boxing match with your hands tied behind your back. The playing field needs to be level. The attorneys representing your opposition will take full advantage of your lack of legal expertise to pull the rug out from under you.

Hiring a lawyer to defend you in your legal battles aids in your protection, and will benefit your case and your future at the same time!

The Orlando Law Group is ready to help defend your rights, and provide you the highest level of legal expertise and service available! Call 407.512.4394 today to schedule a consultation. 

Womens day

In a few days, the world will pause to celebrate women. On Tuesday, March 8, we will link arms with women around the globe to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
More than just a cliché of “you’ve come a long way, baby,” the day is part of a broader movement to celebrate the varied contributions of women to society. In the United States, the observance is part of Women’s History Month. Why an entire month dedicated to recognizing women? A visit to the official National Women’s History Project (NWHP), reveals that the observance arose out of a void. According to the NWHP site, “As recently as the 1970’s, women’s history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in general public consciousness. To address this situation, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a “Women’s History Week” celebration for 1978.”

The festivities centered around March 8th, which had already been declared International Women’s Day.

The week-long observance eventually morphed in celebrations that lasted the whole month of March until finally in 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. Since that time, a special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women.

Despite all the strides women have made both here in the U.S. and around the world, there is still much ground to be gained. In fact, according to the International Women’s Day site progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places. The World Economic Forum predicted in 2015 that it would take until 2133 to achieve global gender parity. THAT’S 117 YEARS!

Why does it matter? We’d like to think that that it matters for many good reasons. Ultimately, gender issues should be rooted in the intrinsic worth and value of every individual. But, if that’s not enough to convince us, perhaps the bottom line will. The facts show that gender parity is linked to economic prosperity. It’s an economic imperative! Women’s advancement and leadership are central to business performance and economic prosperity. Numerous global studies on the impact of women in leadership reveal that profitability, ROI and innovation all increase when women are counted among senior leadership.

According to the movement for gender parity, there are three accelerators, working independently and together, that can change the trajectory of women’s advancement. They are as follows:

• Illuminate the path to leadership by making career opportunities more visible to women;

• Speed up culture change with progressive corporate policy, such as paternity leave and flexible working; and

• Build supportive environments and work to eliminate conscious and unconscious bias.

By marking an entire month and specifically one day, we celebrate the achievements of women while shining a light on the gender parity that still exists worldwide. Truth be told, celebrating the successes of women is especially near and dear to our hearts here at The Orlando Law Group. Our growing firm started with the vision of one woman and initially developed as an all-female legal team. While we have added men to the team over the years, we’re proud of our roots! Will you join us in pausing to highlight the women among us this month?

Benefits of Mobile Shredding

All businesses, whether large or small, will produce or possess sensitive information. This data must be kept confidential in order to protect the interests of an organization. If you do not dispose of this data in the right manner, it could compromise your company as well as your clients. It is important to get rid of any valuable documentation through a secure process.

There are a wide variety of mobile document shredding services available to consider, and with the efficient destruction of data in a timely fashion, your company will be in accordance with privacy legislation and your client information stays safe. Sensitive data could include letterheads, invoices, tax forms, contracts and bank statements. Hard copies of data, published by hospitals and law firms, for instance, deal with confidential data on a daily basis and to avoid fraudulent use, they must make sure to destroy this data in the right way.

Your business could benefit from mobile shredding services in the following ways:

  • Large amounts of data can be disposed of quickly and smoothly.
  • It is cost effective as you do not have to manage in-house data disposal.
  • It leads to less clutter and efficient business management.
  • A business manages to stay environment-friendly as all shredded documents will be recycled.
  • An organization can avoid identity theft and fraud.
  • Business processes become cleaner and easier to handle.
  • Data can be shredded onsite which is more convenient for the business or company.
  • Secure containers which ensure that all confidential documents remain safe from a breach of security.
  • You can witness the shredding process first hand.
  • Shredding of all kinds of material including computer disks, hard drives, paper, cassettes and more.
  • All shredding is managed and operated by experts.
  • A Certificate of Destruction will be provided on-the-spot.

Prioritize your business requirements and keep your data protected.

Source: www.sme-blog.com to The Small Business Blog

Pumpkin Pie to Humble Pie

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton

For most of us Thanksgiving conjures up all sorts emotions. For many of us, it’s a holiday – a little pause from the daily grind. The kids are off school. The banks are closed and the mail takes a break. Many offices and stores are even closed. Maybe for you it means a day of watching football games or the Macy’s day parade. It probably means gathering with family or friends to eat a great meal together. It might even mean reflecting on our great nation’s history and good fortune.

But, did you know that the idea of giving thanks is even bigger than all of that? The practice of gratitude actually makes for greater physical and psychological health. Recent studies are actually proving that gratitude is more than just the polite thing to do or a holiday to be celebrated once a year; in fact, the science is showing that gratitude is actually good for us all the time.

So, what do we mean when we talk about giving thanks? For what? To whom? The leading expert on gratitude is Dr. Robert Emmons. He’s been studying its effects for more than 10 years. He says that an attitude of gratitude begins by affirming that the world is full of good things, gifts, and benefits we’ve received. He clarifies that it’s not so much appreciating our own positive traits, but it involves what he calls a “humble dependence” on others. Which makes sense because, when you think about it, a lot of what we’re grateful is by the hand of others.

So what can an attitude of gratitude actually do for us? Some researchers list as many as 30 things. We’ll just whet your appetite with five.

  1. Increased well-being. Taking just five minutes a day to journal your gratitude can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent. According to some researchers, that’s the same impact as doubling your income!
  2. A stress buster. It’s no secret that stress is pretty bad for us. It’s linked to several leading causes of death, including heart disease and cancer. It claims responsibility for up to 90 percent of all doctor visits. According to Emmons, gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress. Speaking of stress, writing thank you notes has been shown to ease stress, reduce depressive symptoms, and encourage people to be more mindful of what makes them happy.
  3. A better personality. Daily discussion of gratitude results in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, energy, and sleep duration and quality.
  4. A healthier heart. Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that gratitude can even curb heart attacks. Studying people who had experienced one heart attack, the researchers found that those patients who saw benefits and gains from their heart attack, such as becoming more appreciative of life, experienced a lower risk of having another heart attack.
  5. Stronger relationships. Other studies have examined how gratitude can improve relationships. Where gratitude abounds, marriages are healthier and employees are happier and harder working.

Gratitude takes practice like any other skill. Thanksgiving Day is a good time to start, but if you want to reap all the benefits, we’d encourage you to keep practicing after that.

*Have we got you curious? For more information about the science of gratitude, you can visit your local library and check out Emmons’ book, Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

Five Homeowner Tips to Keep Halloween Fun AND Safe

Have you ever wondered why Halloween is such a widespread, holiday favorite? Free from a lot of the tradition and family expectation that accompanies other major holidays, it’s the one time of the year that seems to bring out the kid in all of us. From young to old, Halloween seems to appeal to everyone. It gives all of us an excuse to don a costume and have some fun. Don’t believe us? Just check out the I Love Halloween Facebook page, now boasting more than 2.25 million followers.

But for all of its spooky fun, Halloween also comes with its fair share of pitfalls. No one wants their Halloween festivities to be marred by an accident. Whether you are hosting a party for friends or leaving the light on for trick-or-treaters, it’s important to take a few precautions to insure that your home is safe for the influx of visitors. For example, if someone trips and falls on your dark sidewalk or brushes up against your candle-lit pumpkins, you could be held liable. But, we’ve got you covered! Here are five precautions you can take before those ghosts, ghouls, superheroes and princesses start knocking on your door.

  1. Clear your walkway. Make sure the path from your driveway or the sidewalk to the front door is free from obstruction. Most children are so excited that they aren’t paying careful attention. In addition to clearing a path, you can also help prevent trips and falls by repairing loose porch railings and uneven walkway stones. Also, check to ensure that your spooky decorations don’t obstruct the walkway.
  2. Clean up your yard. Take extra precautions to rake leaves, remove dead branches, trim overgrown landscaping and fill in large holes. Also, consider storing any gardening tools and hoses a safe distance from walkways. If you add spooky yard decorations like tombstones or inflatables, make sure these decorations are well-lit and easily seen.
  3. Keep your property well lit. If you have a long driveway or walkway, turn on your regular outdoor lights so trick-or-treaters can easily see the path to the door.
  4. Ditch the candles. Replace the candles in your pumpkins with LED tea lights and your luminaries with string of lights along your path. The US Fire Administration warns that open flames can catch costumes on fire, as well as decorations.
  5. Confine your pets. The constant stream of trick-or-treating excitement and commotion could stress your pet. Avoid a Halloween pet mishap by keeping them in a separate room, away from open doors and small children.

With these five precautions in place, you can enjoy a fun Halloween AND keep your neighborhood trick-or-treaters safe!

Charitable Planning

Estate planning increasingly includes some form of charitable giving. During the last three decades, wealth ballooned in the United States, but affluent clients tended to increase their charitable transfers more than their family inheritances. According to John Havens of the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy: “Reports from the IRS indicate that charitable giving increases at every level from the lowest level estate to the highest level.” He also notes: “When an estate’s value exceeds $20 million, the percentage going to charity virtually doubles and the percentage given to heirs goes down.”

A few statistics (with their sources) will highlight the depth of charitable involvement and its impact on estate planning:

  • 65% of American households give to charity.
  • Americans gave $298.3 billion to charities in 2011, a 3.9% increase over 2010.
  • 98% of high net worth households give to charity.
  • In 2010 there were 161,873 donor-advised funds that held $30 billion.

Not only are charitable transfers increasing, but also wealthier Americans are getting more involved in philanthropy themselves. According to a 2003 study, 83% of affluent Americans did volunteer work. The increased involvement of affluent Americans in charitable work also seems to be increasing their lifetime charitable gifting. Affluent Americans also are encouraging their heirs to become involved in charitable work.

These wealthy taxpayers are not just giving to charity. They are making sure that the gifts are handled in ways they approve. As a consequence of the scandals in numerous charities and the increasing “hands-on” management style of many donors, clients increasingly want to retain in themselves and/or their family the future direction of charitable transfers. Clients want to provide for charitable transfers that will leave a legacy for society and a legacy that will impact their heirs.

The common bond between today’s donor and the 20th century philanthropists is the desire to transmit family values and social responsibility to successive generations. This dual goal has resulted in not only a dramatic growth in charitable donations but also the development of “retained control” charitable-giving approaches.

Lawyers Have to Be Mindful When Computing in the Cloud

Lawyers can use “cloud computing” to provide software and store records but must take reasonable steps to ensure than information remains confidential, according to a suggested Bar ethics opinion. As the proposed opinion notes:

“Because cloud computing involves the use of a third party as a provider of services and involves the storage and use of data at a remote location that is also used by others outside an individual law firm, the use of cloud computing raises ethics concerns of confidentiality, competence, and proper supervision of nonlawyers.”

Cloud computing gives lawyers the ability to access records from laptops, tablets, and smartphones and also protects records from being lost if a law office is damaged by a hurricane or fire. But because the records and software are stored by a third party at a remote location, lawyers must work to see that the information and client confidences are protected.

Several other states, the proposed opinion says, have found that the use of cloud computing is ethically acceptable as long as precautions are taken. The opinion notes, for example, that the Iowa Bar described the goal as: “Lawyers must be able to access the lawyer’s own information without limit, others should not be able to access the information, but lawyers must be able to provide limited access to third parties to specific information, yet must be able to restrict their access to only that information.” New York listed three obligations for attorneys: Ensuring that the provider can preserve confidentiality and security, including informing the lawyer if there is a subpoena seeking information in those records; reviewing the provider’s security procedures; and using available technology to protect “against reasonably foreseeable” attempts to infiltrate the offsite records.

Cloud computing involves use of an outside service provider which provides computing software and data storage from a remote location that the lawyer accesses over the Internet via a web browser, such as Internet Explorer, or via an “app” on smart phones and tablets. The lawyer’s files are stored at the service provider’s remote server(s). The lawyer can thus access the lawyer’s files from any computer or smart device and can share files with others.

Software is purchased, maintained, and updated by the service provider. Many lawyers and others are computing “in the cloud” because of convenience and potential cost savings.

The main concern regarding cloud computing relates to confidentiality. Lawyers have an obligation to maintain as confidential all information that relates to a client’s representation, regardless of the source.

Rule 4¬1.6, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. A lawyer may not voluntarily disclose any information relating to a client’s representation without either application of an exception to the confidentiality rule or the client’s informed consent. Id. A lawyer has the obligation to ensure that confidentiality of information is maintained by nonlawyers under the lawyer’s supervision, including nonlawyers that are third parties used by the lawyer in the provision of legal services.

Halloween Safety Tips

Safety Tips for Motorists

  • All motorists need to be especially alert and cautious when driving on Halloween because of the high number of pedestrians walking the streets.
  • Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
  • At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
  • Never use your cell phone while driving.
  • Discourage teens from driving on Halloween. There are too many hazards and distractions for inexperienced drivers.


All children under the age of 12 should be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. Before trick-or-treating, parents should:

  • Instruct your children to travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and avoid trick-or-treating alone.
  • Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home.
  • Teach your children to never enter a stranger’s home.
  • Agree on a specific time for your children to come home.
  • Give your children flashlights with fresh batteries to help them see and for others to see them.
  • Make sure your child or a responsible adult with them carries a cell phone for quick communication.
  • Review all appropriate pedestrian and traffic safety rules with your children.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street and use established crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Walk, do not run, from house to house.
  • Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards and never walk near lit candles or luminaries.
  • Walk on sidewalks, not in the street. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the far edge of the road facing traffic.

Children will be anxious to stuff themselves with treats, but parents need to take these necessary precautions first:

  • Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten, then examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before your children eat them.
  • Give children an early meal before going out to prevent them from filling up on
  • Halloween treats or eating anything before you can inspect it.
  • Only let your children eat factory-wrapped treats. Avoid homemade treats unless you know the cook well.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.
3 Signs You Shouldnt Ignore Spotting Elder Abuse

Unfortunately, elder abuse in elder care facilities and nursing homes is very real, and not uncommon. Those who have a family member or loved one in an elder care facility or nursing home need to be aware of any warning signs of abuse.

  1. One of the most common signs of elder abuse is decubitus ulcers, or “bedsores.” Unless a physician has indicated that bedsores are unavoidable, a person who enters an elder care facility or nursing home without bedsores should not develop them during their stay. Bedsores are very painful and, when left untreated, can cause serious infection and death.
  2. Another sign of elder abuse is unexplained injuries. Common injuries such as skin tears, bruises, and fractured bones may be caused by inadequate care. These injuries often occur when an elderly person is carelessly transported to and from his or her bed. Many of these injuries are entirely avoidable with proper staffing.
  3. Beyond physical abuse, elder citizens may also suffer mental abuse at elder care facilities and nursing homes. Mental abuse occurs when facility employees speak to patients in a way that is belittling, derogatory, intimidating, or disrespectful. Although mental abuse does not leave any physical marks, it may cause senior citizens to become inexplicably withdrawn from activities they normally enjoy, or become unusually depressed.

It is important to be alert for any indication that something may be wrong. Many senior citizens unfortunately suffer in silence, because they cannot communicate their situation to their loved ones. Pay close attention for markings of physical abuse, and also unexplained changes in mood or behavior. If you sense that something is wrong, communicate your concerns with a manager of the elder care facility or nursing home.

Fourth of July Safety Tips

Everyone is looking forward to the long weekend, celebrating Our Nation’s Independence Day on July 4th. It’s a great time to spend time with friends and family, whether you’re headed to the beach or an outdoor cookout. Please remember these safety tips and have a great Fourth of July.

On the highway:

  1. Buckle seat belts, observe speed limits.
  2. Do not drink and drive.
  3. Pay full attention to the road – don’t use a cell phone to call or text.

When grilling:

  1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  2. Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  3. Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  4. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.

When using fireworks:

  1. Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  5. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

Consumer protection against deceptive collective practices for credit card debt is an important issue especially in today’s economic climate. The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act (otherwise known as the Credit Card Act of 2009) which was signed by President Obama this past May was designed to prevent abusive practices among credit card issuers.

For instance, it imposes a freeze on interest rates for canceled cards; prohibits issuance of a credit card on behalf of a consumer under age 21 unless the consumer has submitted a written application meeting specified requirements; sets limits on fees and interest charges, including a prohibition against penalties for on-time payments to name a few. A key element is that it bans retroactive rate increases. In other words, it bans rate increases on existing balances due to “any time, any reason” or “universal default” and severely restricts retroactive rate increases due to late payment.

Keep in mind that there are certain loopholes. The average rate offered to a consumer with a solid 700 credit score is now 11.51 percent on a variable rate card, up from 10.66 percent in March, according to Bankrate.com. A report released last week found that 100 percent of credit cards offered online by the largest 12 bank issuers in the United States continue to include practices that will be illegal when the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, passed in May, takes full effect next year. Starting in February, there are certain practices that will be illegal one of which is the increase of interest rates for fixed rate cards for reasons other than a credit card holder being more than 60 days late on payments. The way credit card issuers will get around it is to convert your fixed rate credit cards to variable rates ones before February. There are certain disclosures the issuers have to provide when they do this so be on the lookout.

Make sure you understand your rights under this law and other Federal laws designed to protect consumers. If you think your rights have been violated, contact an attorney.

Disclaimer: The posting of this information does not in any way create an attorney-client relationship.