Author Archives: Prince Law Offices, P.C.

Hearing Date Scheduled for Preliminary Objections to the Perry County Auditor’s Complaint

On July 21, 2014, Huntington County President Judge George Zanic issued an Order in Barbara Hench, et al (Perry County Auditors) v. Sheriff Carl Nace, docket no. 2014-454, directing that the Auditors are to file a brief in response to Sheriff Nace’s Preliminary Objections on or before August 21, 2014 and the hearing on the Preliminary Objections is scheduled for August 28, 2014, at 10:30am in Courtroom #2 of the Perry County Courthouse.

You can download a copy of the Order – here.

You can find a copy of the Preliminary Objections – here.

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Preliminary Objections Filed Against the Perry County Auditors’ Complaint

For those of you following the declaratory action that was filed against Perry County Sheriff Carl Nace by the Perry County Auditors, Firearms Industry Consulting Group (FICG) Chief Counsel Joshua Prince has filed preliminary objections to the Complaint on behalf of Sheriff Nace. You can download a copy of them – here. When a hearing date is set, we will let you know, so that you can come out and support Sheriff Nace!

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What Many People Don’t Understand About Attorney Billings and Consult Fees

Often times, a prospective client will call a law firm to speak with an attorney and become upset when the staff informs the prospective client that there is a fee for the consult. The client will typically respond that he just has “a question” for the attorney and that he shouldn’t be charged to simply ask a question. What the prospective client has failed to recognize is that attorneys, unlike many other professions/businesses, only have three things to sell: 1. their time; 2. their experience; and 3. their reputation.

An Attorney’s Time: When boiled down to the simplest form, an attorney only has his time to sell as a product. While some believe that only the pleadings and documents (complaints, motions, briefs, demand letters…etc) are an attorney’s product, the position fails to recognize that such is only a part of what an attorney does and provides to the client. Other aspects of representation include client meetings, research, drafting, and legal opinions/advice to prevent litigation, charging or issues with administrative agencies, just to name a few. When broken down into the simplest form, all of these are the result of the attorney’s time.

As stated by Abraham Lincoln, “A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade.” Like many of other workers, they’re paid for the time they invest in a matter. Similarly, they expect to be paid for the time they devote to the client’s affairs. That time can’t be broken down into some free units and some that are charged for. You wouldn’t think of going into a supermarket with the idea that the first pound of cherries you can eat while shopping are free and you only have to pay for what you take home with you. Sure, you may pick one out of the bunch to see if they’re to your liking, and no one will complain, but you can’t sit there eating cherry after cherry.

Further, unlike most hourly employees, in addition to possibly being fired or having their license revoked for providing substandard work, attorneys, generally, have to maintain malpractice insurance, in case of providing a client with inadequate representation. Malpractice insurance, like all insurance anymore, is not cheap and the attorney risks being found negligent for malpractice anytime he/she answers just “a question,” in relation to the law. Further, like any other business, there are overhead costs for buildings, staff, healthcare…and the list goes on.

Due to the costs and an attorney only having his time to sell, consult fees become necessary for an attorney and the firm.

An Attorney’s Experience: Many clients are unaware of the difference in representation by an attorney that is experienced in a particular area of the law versus a general practitioner or an attorney whose hourly rate is less because of his/her lack of experience in that area of law. That experience, which generally results in a higher hourly fee, also generally results in fewer hours being spent on the matter, as the attorney is familiar with the process, procedures and individuals/entities involved. The outcome is a net gain for the client, as although he/she is generally paying the attorney at a higher rate, the attorney’s work product and results are generally obtained in much less time. The attorney’s experience also permits the attorney to provide the client with a more realistic opinion on the likely outcome and potential issues that could arise.

An Attorney’s Reputation: One of the most overlooked aspects of hiring an attorney is the attorney’s reputation. The old adage that “it’s who you knows, and how you knows’ em” could not be more appropriately applied to any other profession or occupation (except for politics). While the attorney’s reputation in the legal community alone can be a great benefit to the client, when the attorney’s experience and reputation in a particular field are combined, the net benefit to the client can be exponential.

As an example, an attorney who is well known for handling particular a type of matter before a particular administrative agency is much more likely to be able to resolve the matter absent a hearing or litigation, because the opposing party is well aware of the attorney’s capabilities. Further, the attorney’s experience and reputation can additionally benefit the client by opening doors that are otherwise not available because the attorney knows whom to contact to obtain the necessary documents or resolve the issue. This is not to suggest bribes or other such unlawful or immoral exchanges, but rather, to explain that having a command of the legal issue(s) and knowing the right person to contact in relation to the issue(s), as well as that person’s knowledge of the capabilities of the inquiring attorney, can result in the issue being resolved, without need for drawn out litigation or appeals.

In considering an attorney’s reputation, you should consider:

  • Does the attorney settle every case or is he willing to appeal inappropriate decisions and fight for your rights? Opposing counsel will handle their negotiations differently if their opponent’s reputation indicates that settlement offers are quickly accepted versus a reputation of insisting on full payment, even if it means taking the case up the appellate chain.
  • A judge, experienced with the attorney’s representation, will take the reputation into consideration in every decision made. Has the attorney always been honest and truthful with the court? If so, and that attorney requests a continuance for x reason, the judge is more likely to accept x as fact and grant the continuance. If another attorney has excuses every week, trying to avoid progressing with litigation will likely be denied the requested continuance.
  • Does the opposing counsel have respect for the attorney’s reputation? If so, they are far less likely to push meaningless issues or obstacles to moving forward. They know they must be reasonable in offers as the attorney is not afraid to litigate the case, and has done so many times in the past.       Essentially, is this the fight they want to pick.

But What About Free Consults?: Many attorneys still offer free consults, but it is important to understand the history of free consults and what is actually being offered.

The offering of free consults began, in part, as the law started to evolve into specialized areas, while attorneys were still general practitioners. The law began to evolve at such a fast pace through new statutes and case law that the general practitioner was unable to keep up with the changes and provide competent representation to his/her client. Attorneys didn’t want to be labeled as shysters for collecting a fee, just to tell a potential client that he/she couldn’t handle the legal issue of the client. And so, the offering of free consults came to fruition.

The free consult was an opportunity for the attorney to understand the legal needs of the client and advise the client as to whether he/she could competently represent the client. If he/she couldn’t, the client didn’t pay simply to be told that the attorney couldn’t handle his/her needs. On the other hand, if the attorney could competently handle the matter, the attorney would discuss fees for handling the legal issues.

What the attorney did not do is provide legal advice for free. If the client arrived with forms and questions as to how to fill them out, the attorney would not explain to client how to fill them out as part of the free consult. Rather, the attorney only advised the client as to whether there were valid issues and if so, estimated the time that would likely be involved in protecting the client’s interests. It also provided the client with the opportunity to meet the attorney, determine if the attorney understands the issues and possesses the required skills. This is no different today.

It’s Still Just A Question: For some, the above is meaningless, as we move further into an entitlement society. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, we all still have to put food on the table for our families, gas in our cars, and pay taxes to the Government. Contrary to popular belief, attorneys, much like doctors, are not making excessive salaries. A majority of lawyers are making between $40-$50k, while putting in 80-100hr workweeks. Moreover, the debt incurred to become an attorney, again much like doctors, is astronomical. And this is all before the overhead costs.

Just remember that next time you ask, while it may be “just a question,” an attorney has nothing more than his time, experience and reputation to sell and he/she, just like you, deserves to be paid for his/her time.

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Chief Counsel Joshua Prince to Represent Perry County Sheriff Carl Nace

It is with extreme honor and privilege that we announce that Chief Counsel Joshua Prince of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group (FICG), a division of Prince Law Offices, P.C., has been retained as special counsel to Perry County Sheriff Carl Nace in relation to a recent lawsuit filed against Sheriff Nace by the Perry County Auditors demanding that he disclose confidential license to carry firearms (LTCF) applicant information in violation of the law. As readers of our blog are aware from previous blogs by Attorney Prince, Sheriff Nace has stood steadfast in his refusal to turn over the information and even the Perry County Commissioners support Sheriff Nace in this matter.

When he learned that the Auditors had filed suit against Sheriff Nace, Attorney Prince offered his time pro-bono to represent Sheriff Nace because of the issue involved and his experience litigating the confidentiality provisions of Section 6111(i). When asked for comment, Attorney Prince simply stated “I’m honored to be acting as special counsel to Sheriff Nace and look forward to a speedy resolution of this matter in his favor.”

Please join us in supporting Sheriff Nace in his steadfast dedication to the protection of our rights!

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Prince Law Offices, P.C. is Looking for Two Experienced Attorneys

Prince Law Offices, P.C. (PLO) is currently accepting resumes from attorneys, who are experienced in family and criminal law, as well as, other general state and federal civil practice. Due to our ever-increasing client base, we are looking to hire in the next several weeks.

If you are interested in potentially working for PLO, please send your resume/curriculum vitae to our Office Manager, Linda Martin, at lmartin@princelaw.com. Please feel free to call to confirm her receipt of your resume – 888-313-0416 ext 81125. Thanks!

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Press Release: Attorney Joshua Prince to Testify before House of Representatives on Impeachment of Attorney General Kane

On Tuesday, May 6, 2014, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince will testify before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, House State Government Committee on the impending impeachment of Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Attorney Prince was requested to testify by the Chairman of the House State Government Committee, Representative Daryl Metcalfe, regarding Attorney General Kane’s amending of Pennsylvania’s firearm reciprocity agreements with Florida, Virginia and Arizona, as well as, in relation to her violations of the Pennsylvania Constitution, Article IV, Section 4.1 and the Commonwealth Attorneys Act.

You can download a copy of Chief Counsel Prince’s written testimony with exhibits here.

The hearing will begin at 9am  in room G-50, Irvis Office Building of the Main Capitol Complex, Harrisburg, Pa. Attorney Prince is scheduled to testify at 9:35am.

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A Guide to Better Understanding the Intellectual Property Services that Prince Law Offices, P.C. Offer!

Intellectual Property can be an extremely confusing concept for those outside (and even for many who are a part of) the legal profession. It’s important to understand what Intellectual Property consists of before one can understand the extremely varied and valuable IP services that Prince Law Offices, P.C. offers to the public.

Intellectual Property is generally considered to consist of three major components: Copyright, Trademark, and Patent. Each of these components often deals with registration and infringement.

The first major component is Copyright. To explain copyright in a nutshell, it is generally a work that requires creativity and originality and that can be fixed in some tangible form (e.g., people cannot copyright a story that they only have in their head, but they can copyright one that they have written down). This is of course an oversimplification, but it helps to give someone a basic idea of what copyright can do. If you’ve come up with a story, movie, song, artwork, or most types other creative endeavors, you can copyright it. Some people might ask, “Why should I copyright something I’ve created?” There are numerous reasons, but some of the most common are that in order to fully protect your work you will need to copyright it. You cannot sue someone for copyright infringement unless you have a properly registered copyright. Also if you do not promptly copyright a work, you will lose the ability to sue for punitive damages against someone who might infringe your work. Another reason is that in order to sell one’s ideas to another entity or person, they will often want the work that they are buying or licensing to be properly copyrighted. If buyers cannot fully defend their purchase or license they are likely to offer far less for the work than one that has been properly and copyrighted in a timely fashion.

Prince Law Offices, P.C. offers assistance in making registering a work for copyright protection a cinch and takes the hassle and mystery out of the process for a client. We can register just one work for clients or dozens of works for them. We can help photographers out by taking advantage of the bulk registration allowance for a series of photographs, instead of being forced to individually register each work. We also work hard to ensure that the mandatory deposit requirements are done correctly, so nothing can potentially jeopardize the timely registration of the work.

In addition, we handle issues of infringement, both offensive and defensive. If someone has been making an unauthorized use of your work, we can use a variety of tools at our disposal and can offer many options for a client, such as a non-monetary takedown request, a takedown notice with a demand for financial compensation, and even litigation for egregious matters.

We also handle defending people accused of copyright infringement. Few people fully understand how copyright law works and often mistake fair use for infringement or use vague and poorly collected “records” of possible download use to make monetary demands of people for alleged downloads of someone’s intellectual property. Just because someone sends you a letter claiming you downloaded something, doesn’t mean that he or she can prove it in court…or will even continue a matter to a litigation level. The people sending these letters depend on uninformed and scared opponents, something that they’ll never find when dealing with Prince Law Offices, P.C..

A Trademark, to borrow from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is “a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.” In short it can range from the name of your new company, a logo for it, a phrase to describe it, or even a sound that identifies it. The process for obtaining a trademark is far more complex than registering a copyright; it is highly advised that one should use the service of an attorney for such matters. You do not want to put thousands of dollars into a company name that is later refused registration because an attorney at the USPTO found it to be too generic or in violation of one of the many other reasons for why a mark can be refused registration.

Similar to copyrights, trademarks can involve issues of infringement. We can assist when someone is accusing you of using a mark that is the same or substantially similar to one that they have already registered. We can also help when someone is misusing your federally registered trademark.

Patent is a highly specialized area that deals with protecting one’s inventions. People who practice in Patent Law are required to pass the Patent Bar exam and generally have a science and engineering background in addition to their legal background. Prince Law Offices, P.C., does not generally offer Patent services, but we do have a number of excellent lawyers that we can refer members to obtain Patent help.

Whatever your Intellectual Property problem is, Prince Law Offices, P.C. can help you address your IP issues.

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Filed under Business Law, News & Events, Trademark and Copyright

Attorney Joshua Prince Elected as the Next President of the Pottstown Area Police Athletic League

It is with great pride and excitement that we announce that Attorney Joshua Prince of Prince Law Offices, P.C., and Chief Counsel of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group, a division of Prince Law Offices, P.C., has been elected as the 2014 President of the Pottstown Area Police Athletic League (PAL).

Joshua joined the Board in 2009, following in his father’s footsteps, as Warren Prince was one of the Founding Members of the Pottstown Area PAL and former President. He was quickly elected as Secretary for the Board and has served as Secretary since, until his nomination as President.

Please join us in congratulating Joshua in this new endeavor!

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Prince Law Offices, P.C. Machine Gun Shoot – October 22, 2011!

Prince Law Offices, P.C. will be hosting a machine gun shoot at Eastern Lancaster County Rod and Gun Club, which is located at 966 Smyrna Road, Kinzers, PA 17535 on October 22, 2011 starting at 11am. Everyone is welcome to attend. The only requirement is that you bring a driver’s license and hearing and eye protection. All attendees will be required to sign a waiver.

There will be several dealers and manufacturers in attendance and which will have some unique firearms that you might not otherwise have an opportunity to shoot. One dealer will be bringing his KRISS .45 SMG, a Glock 18c, and some other fun toys. While you are welcome to bring your own firearms and ammunition, it will be up to the owner of the firearm as to whether he/she will permit you to use your ammunition in his/her firearm. The FFLs will be bringing ammunition for purchase, if you need additional or if they require certain types of ammunition to be used in their weapon systems.

While this event is free to all attendees, I am asking that you consider giving a donation to the Eastern Lancaster County Rod and Gun Club for their generous permission to use their range. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

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Filed under Firearms Law, Shoots

Life Insurance and Estate Planning

Life insurance can be an effective tool in planning an estate. One benefit to having life insurance is that the money from a policy can be used by your survivors to help pay for bills at the time of death, such as funeral costs and taxes.

I think one of the most important considerations in end of life planning is…what will my spouse live on after I’m gone? In today’s world of dual incomes and living on credit, the death of a spouse can be a huge shock to the financial system of a household. If the spouse who is primarily responsible for paying the mortgage and bills dies, how will the surviving spouse continue to live in the marital home? Life insurance can either eliminate those concerns, or help smooth out the transition. If the family’s assets have been used up in medical care bills due to a prolonged illness or nursing home needs, a life insurance policy can help restore the family’s funds.

If done properly, life insurance can also keep assets out of a probate estate, thus limiting the amount of estate tax. As you can see, life insurance can have many beneficial uses, and should not be overlooked when planning.

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