Category Archives: Wolf & Shore Blog

Taking Financial Control

In can be common any marriage for one spouse to handle the finances and the other to manage other matters, like scheduling, coordinating, etc., in the home.  However, if you are contemplating divorce, and you have not personally dealt with your household finances, it can seem overwhelming.

Learning to budget and be financially independent can seem difficult, but Wolf & Shore, LLC understands this and knows how to make it as easy as possible for our clients! We can refer you to a financial advisor, accountant, or other professionals that we work with closely, to get you on track, and we encourage you to sit down with us, and the professional of your choice, so that we can have an expert opinion to help us, and you, as we navigate through your divorce.

While a financial professional can give you exact advice, some tips that we generally tell our clients is to live within their means, create a budget, and still continue to plan for the future. It is very important to educate yourself and understand what expenses are associated with the residence in which you will be residing and what other financial expenses you will have.

It is also important to maintain your credit. You should look into your credit score, and continue to pay bills steadily. This will help you in the future if you need to apply for any loans, or lease a new apartment.

If your divorce has already been completed, you may need to think about updating your estate plan, or meeting with a financial advisor to invest for retirement.  It is also important to make sure that any accounts with beneficiaries have been updated and that you have the proper instruments in place as necessary (for example, a trust if you have young children).

Whatever your financial situation, make sure you have a plan-that is what will give you financial control. Our firm can help you create that plan, and set it in motion. Contact us for a confidential consultation today! We can be reached here, at 203.745.3151, or at info@wolfandshorelaw.com.

Helicopter Parenting

When you go through a divorce or custody battle, you can often feel like you need to pay extra attention to your children. It’s completely normal to feel the need to make them feel as secure as possible, so your matter doesn’t negatively impact them.

While there is nothing wrong with showing your children some extra affection, you may want to be careful to not become a “helicopter parent.” Tending to your children’s every need, and supervising every one of their actions can actually stunt their developmental growth.

Children need room to grow, and to learn how to process situations, critically think, and problem solve. Watching them from afar to ensure they make good decisions, but still have time to work things out by themselves before they as for help, is a great way to help them learn how to deal with situations on their own.

When you transition into a single-parent household, this can be even harder. You can’t control how your co-parent will choose to handle things in their own home. Wolf & Shore, LLC encourages co-parenting, and knows that being reasonable and friendly with your co-parent is best for children. If you think you need help with your parenting plan, or maybe even need a co-parenting counselor, contact our office for a confidential consultation.

Our office can be reached here, at 203.745.3151, or at info@wolfandshorelaw.com.

New Year New You

It may sound cliché, but the new year is often the time to reinvent yourself. With 2017 behind you, you’re able to set new goals for this year. You can start fresh, and make 2018 your best year yet.

It may be tough to think of divorce as taking a step forward, but it is often just that. Leaving a toxic relationship may be just what you need to kick start your new future. You may be thinking, “ But, I don’t want to start my new year off with a fight” but you don’t have to!

Wolf & Shore, LLC can help you navigate through more than just a divorce. Our firm also offers mediation services, and can help you and your spouse work together to come to a reasonable agreement that’s fair to both of you. Or, maybe you just want to file for a separation, and take some more time to think about your relationship going forward.

Wolf & Shore, LLC encourages all parties to be amicable during dissolution, and works with many professionals to see that through. We can refer you to the necessary counselors, business valuators, and even accountants. Your new year should be about finding your happiest, best self. There is no reason why creating your new future should have to be stressful.

Our office offers confidential consultations to all potential clients. Contact us today! We can be reached here, at 203.745.3151, or info@wolfandshorelaw.com.

National Underdog Day

December 15, 2017 is National Underdog Day. It’s always celebrated on the third Friday of December. Everyone loves to root for the underdog, the team that just can’t seem to get back on top. People hope that the underdog will win again because they love a good “come-back” story.

Sometimes, during a divorce, a person can feel just like an underdog. If you find yourself in that situation, you may be left feeling like you just can’t win.  That is almost never the case. It is, however, why you would hire an attorney-to advocate for you, help you to remove yourself as much as possible from the emotional components and eventually, to help you get back on top!

Wolf & Shore, LLC understands that a divorce can feel like a lose-lose situation, and wants you to know that we are here to help. Our office works with you, supports you, and takes away some of the various burdens that often come with the divorce process.

When you hire Wolf & Shore, you get an entire team dedicated to making the dissolution process smoother for you. We negotiate with opposing counsel, so you don’t have to. We can draft a comprehensive, equitable, and thorough agreement with you, because a winning team has to work together.

Attorney Wolf and Attorney Shore give every “underdog” the chance they need to win. Contact our office for a confidential consultation. You can reach us here, at 203.745.3151, or at info@wolfandshorelaw.com.

Attorney at Law or Counselor at Law?

Have you heard the term “counselor at law?” Did you ever wonder if that’s any different than an attorney? Well, surprisingly, the two are interchangeable.

That’s right, an attorney at law can also be referred to as a counselor at law, and sometimes just “counsel.” It’s actually quite fitting, because in some instances an attorney is more like a counselor for their clients, helping each client navigate through different issues that arise during family law matters.

During any family matter, emotions can run extremely high. Attorneys often have to simultaneously give legal advice, but offer emotional support as well.

Wolf & Shore, LLC focuses on family and matrimonial law, and is a compassionate law firm. We understand that you need more than just the routine legal guidance. Every client needs to know that there is an end to the frustration, almost like a light at the end of the tunnel, and no two cases are the same.

Attorney Kristen Wolf and Attorney Shari-Lynn Cuomo Shore work with their clients to not only come to a reasonable and fair solution to their cases, but to ensure that they feel confident and secure while doing so.

Our office is always there for you and we enjoy counseling each client through whatever course their family law matter takes.  It’s never easy to go through a legal battle, and you certainly should never have to do it alone. Contact Wolf & Shore, LLC for your confidential consultation. You can reach us here, at 203.745.3151, or info@wolfandshorelaw.com.

Frozen Benefit Rule

Have you ever heard of the Frozen Benefit Rule? When Congress passed The National Defense Authorization Act it dramatically altered how military pension division orders are written.  Instead of allowing each state to decide how to divide military retirement pay, Congress imposed a single uniform method of pension division on all the states, a fictional scenario in which the military member retires on the day that the judgment of divorce is entered. This new rule up-ends the law regarding military pension division in almost every state.

The new law only applies to those still serving (active-duty, National Guard or Reserves). Going forward, hypothetical retired pay attributable to the rank and years of service of the military member at the time of the divorce is what will be divided. The new law was effective and binding on the states immediately upon enactment, which was January 1, 2017.  Although the method of dividing pensions, as well as the date of valuation and classification of marital or community property, have always been a matter of state law, that will change in all divorce cases where one or both spouses are active military.

Wolf & Shore, LLC routinely handles military divorce cases, and has dealt with the division of military pensions frequently. We even offer a military divorce guide, which you can read here. Our office can refer you to pension division attorneys that we work with often, to make certain that your pension is divided properly.

We understand that divorce is never easy, and it may only seem harder when one or both spouses in the military. Assets need to be divided differently, parenting plans may need to be less conventional, and now with the new Frozen Benefit Rule, even pension division will be more challenging. If you or your spouse is in the military, and you are seeking divorce, please contact our office for a confidential consultation. You can reach us here, at (203) 745.3151, or at info@wolfandshorelaw.com.

Thanksgiving Eve is the Largest DUI Night of the Year

Thanksgiving Eve, otherwise known as “Black Wednesday,” is the most popular night of the year to go out drinking at bars. Thanksgiving weekend is also the most traveled weekend in the nation. This combination results in the most DUI arrests all year.

From Thanksgiving Eve through Christmas, there are 45 fatalities per day involving an alcohol impaired driver in America. This number will only increase, climbing to 54 fatalities per day, as New Year’s Eve approaches.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been campaigning “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” for years now, and the message is clear. With the increased vigilance on Thanksgiving Eve, and throughout the holiday season, it is more likely than ever for an intoxicated driver to be pulled over.

Wolf & Shore, LLC wants to remind you that drinking and driving do not mix. There is never an excuse to get behind the wheel if you’re intoxicated. If you don’t have someone to call to get you home safely, try using Uber or Lyft, or another similar service. This Thanksgiving Eve, make sure to secure a designated driver. You can also call AAA for help. They offer a Holiday Safe Ride Program for members and non-members.

Wolf & Shore, LLC wishes you a safe holiday, and hopes that you drive safely and always drink responsibly.

Managing Your Billing

This article is brought to you by Attorney Kristen Wolf and Attorney Shari-Lynn Cuomo Shore.

If I had known that I was going to own my own business, I probably would have gotten an M.B.A. That’s a thought I have a few times per week. When you own your own law firm, you wear a number of different hats and are no longer just a lawyer. You are now a CEO, an accountant, a marketing manager, an office administrator, and sometimes, a collector. While it’s obviously ideal to “outsource” these different roles to employees, you, as the owner, ultimately are still responsible for everything. One way to lessen the burden on yourself is to keep thorough billing records so that you can easily generate invoices, you can invoice regularly, and hopefully, limit any collections.

Bill Thoroughly

Billing may seem tedious, but the vast importance of it is really two-fold. First, you cannot get paid if you are not billing. Even if you are working on a contingency fee case, your time keeping should be accurate so that you can produce your billing records if there is ever an issue. Second, keeping contemporaneous and detailed billing will largely protect you if you are ever grieved, audited, or dealing with an unhappy client in any manner.

Long gone are the days of analog billing, such as handwriting in a notebook, scribbling on receipts, etc. Unless you are a very small practice with only a handful of clients, you should be using some type of billing software. There are many software options available now for reasonable rates that can keep track of your billing, your calendar, due dates, client management, and even run a conflict checker. Once you have the correct tool to keep your billing on track, you need to get into the habit of tracking your billing regularly. A tried and true way is to bill immediately after you complete each task. That’s the only way to ensure that: a) you don’t miss something, and b) you bill the correct client for the correct task.

It’s also important to have a retainer agreement that specifies how you bill, how frequently you bill, and what your rates are. Again, this is a maneuver meant to protect you. If you have a detailed retainer, you can easily show that the client was informed as to your billing policies and procedures prior to retaining you.

Bill Regularly

If you are billing consistently, but do not actually run the invoices and send them to clients, it’s likely that you will not get paid. You should set a specific timeframe in which to run invoices. For example, every month by the fifteenth day. This way, your clients will get used to receiving a regular invoice from you and they won’t be surprised. Also, by doing this you can alert them if they need to replenish a retainer, make an evergreen payment, or in some cases, if they should expect money to be returned to them once their case is over. No client wants to see a large bill every few months, or at the end of their matter, and then be told they owe you a lot of money. If you aren’t billing regularly, the client may not feel like you are working on their file, even if you are.

Sending a monthly invoice is also a great way to check in with your client. You can either send the invoice as an attachment in an e-mail, or you can mail it with a cover letter, but either way, you should address the client personally. Use this recurring e-mail as an opportunity to check in with your client, see how satisfied they are with your representation thus far, and ask if there is anything not being handled to their satisfaction. Be sure to personalize this mailing so that it does not look like you are sending a mass mailing, but rather something that is crafted to their specific case. “Why would I do that,” you ask. What if it’s something I don’t want to hear? Well, isn’t it better to know up front if there is a problem rather than have a client be frustrated with you and not address it until it’s too late (i.e. they fire you or grieve you).

It is preferable to send invoices to clients, especially those that owe money, by e-mail rather than mail. Sending via e-mail also makes it easy for your clients to pay any outstanding balances owed, by including a “Pay Now” link which can be back linked to your website. Clients will be much more willing to pay you if you make it easier for them to do so. Sending invoices by e-mail is the easiest way to accomplish this.

Check with your law practice management software to see if you can easily run batch billing and send batch e-mails. Batch billing will allow you to simply and easily run your invoices in just minutes and save yourself the hassle of an unsatisfied client in the future.

Bill Smartly

If you bill smart (contemporaneously, regularly, and thoroughly), then your accounts receivable should be fairly low. If your firm operates on a retainer basis, get your entire retainer up front. Do not begin work on the file until the entire retainer balance is paid in full. Be clear of the terms of your retainer agreement which provide for the client to deposit more money if their retainer starts running low. Also, make sure to give the client plenty of notice if his or her retainer will need to be replenished. By billing smartly and consistently, your clients will not be surprised when a retainer replenishment email or mail comes to them.

If at all possible, have someone else in your office handle money matters with clients. Money and billing can be sensitive subjects for clients, especially when legal bills become higher than what they originally anticipated. By having someone else in your office handle the billing and collections calls, you remove yourself from the situation, allowing you to maintain your personal relationship with the client and not discuss money matters unless absolutely necessary.

Do not sue clients for money owed. If you are billing smartly and regularly, you likely will not be in a position where this is a problem. However, if you are, it is a better practice to write off the remaining balance than to sue the client for the money owed. Suing clients for money owed often opens the door for clients to be unsatisfied with your representation, which in turn allows for them to either file a grievance or a lawsuit against you. Additionally, it opens the door for an unsatisfied client to leave poor reviews for you on the internet and social media which you will likely never be able to remove. This could affect your future marketing and income of your firm. Instead of suing a client for funds owed, speak with your accountant and see if you can take a loss of money as a tax write off rather than creating an opportunity for a potential law suit or grievance from a past client.

Always consider your billing as your top priority. It is after all, how you get paid. If you follow these few easy steps, you will be able to stay on top of your billing, maximize your income, and most importantly, keep a satisfied client base.

The 2nd Annual Law Firm 500 Award Honorees List of America’s Fastest Growing Law Firms has been Announced!

Wolf & Shore, LLC is proud to be ranked on the Law Firm 500 list for the second year in a row, for having achieved 62.50% GROWTH. 

Hamden, CT, September 21, 2017 – On Tuesday, September 19, 2017, the Law Firm 500 Award team announced the list of 2017 Honorees. Wolf & Shore, LLC has been ranked as number 147, throughout the nation, in its 2nd Annual Law Firm 500 Honorees List. The published list recognizes law firms that have achieved significant growth in revenue year over year. Each nominee was evaluated by an outside accounting firm, and subjected to an identical review process. The award honorees are a beacon of light for the legal industry demonstrating innovation, operational excellence, and a commitment to client service.

The 2017 Law Firm 500 Award Honorees list showcases the top two-hundred fastest growing law firms in America. Each ranking also included the percentage of growth ranging from 25% to a staggering 5,400%, no small feat for any business.

We invite you to congratulate and follow the progress of our law firm, and industry peers for their dedication to success and innovation. The full list of Law Firm 500 Award Honorees can be found here.

About Wolf & Shore, LLC

The Hamden, Connecticut law firm, Wolf & Shore, LLC, has been nationally recognized for their client satisfaction and practice of law. Wolf & Shore, LLC approaches each case in a client-centric and comprehensive manner because they believe in personal service. Each client is offered personalized representation with an emphasis on accessibility. Attorney Wolf and Attorney Shore have over 15 years of combined experience and are able to leverage the facts of your case for the best possible outcome.

Wolf & Shore, LLC has developed various methods to address clients’ concerns promptly and efficiently. If you choose to retain Wolf & Shore, LLC, you can be confident that you will have one-on-one communication with your attorney, your phone calls and e-mails will be returned, your questions will be answered, and you will be kept informed throughout the duration of your case. For more information about our firm please visit: wolfandshorelaw.com.

 

All Reviews Are Not Created Equal

Everyone knows what it’s like to skim through reviews online. If you’re looking to purchase something for the first time, you need to know if you’re getting the best deal for your money-you’re looking for quality, reliability and cost-effectiveness. This doesn’t just apply to your face wash or the laptop you’re looking to purchase, this applies to restaurants and, (you guessed it), legal services too!

All law firms are subject to review, and not just from our clients. We get reviewed by our colleagues too, and third-party sites as well.  That said, there are certain things to pay attention to when sifting through the massive amounts of reviews for any law firm.

You should look for multiple reviews written by the same person (or same initials). There may also be multiple reviews that are basically the same, but allegedly submitted by different people. These are key signs that the reviews are false, and generally copy and pasted.

Sites with no negative reviews are also a bad sign. You don’t want to see more bad than good, but a few bad reviews show transparency. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can try your best. A bad review shows that a business and their website is run by real humans, and not just robots working around the clock to bury criticism. Taking the criticism in stride shows the integrity of a business.

Another major factor to look for is how a business responds to negative reviews. Again, everyone gets a bad review from time to time, but growing from them and using them constructively is key. If a business responds to a negative review too harshly, they may be trying to hide something, and it often borders on unprofessional. Also, just because a company does not respond to a negative review doesn’t mean that they don’t care about it. It’s often better business to not engage the writer of a negative review-especially when that person inserts false and/or boisterous information.

Purchasing legal services is just like buying anything else. You need to know that you’re making a good investment. Reviews, good and bad alike, help you make educated decisions. Always remember to check the reviews of a business before utilizing their services.

Wolf & Shore, LLC pays close attention to all of our reviews. We are particularly proud of our Client Testimonials, which we post on our website. You can read them here.