HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT LAWYER

5 Branches of the U.S. Military

As Americans, we are afforded the freedom we so often take for granted by the brave men and women who voluntarily serve in our nation’s armed forces. Here’s a quick look at all five of the branches of our US Military system and what they do.

Army
The United States Army is the oldest of the service branches we have. Formed by George Washington at the very dawn of our nation, the US Army is responsible for protecting both the United States’ security and resources. The Army has multiple established bases in our nation while there are other permanent bases on multiple other continents. The Army offers a mind-blowing 150+ career options. While many think of the full time level of Army service there are part time options including the National Guard. Length of commitment varies, but some service terms are as little as 2 years.

Marines
The US Marine Corps currently has approximately 180,000 members. These men and women are stationed all over the globe and are generally the first boots to step on the grounds of combat wherever needed. A US Marine generally serves a term of 4–6 years.

Navy
The US Navy, while offering part time reserve opportunities that allow you to train close to home while being willing to serve in the US or abroad should the situation arise is responsible for protecting both air and sea security. The Navy offers an impressive 60 specialized career opportunities. Navy service time usually lasts four years but there are options for shorter service times.

Air Force
Obviously, this branch focuses primarily on controlling the air space. The Air Force operates with a three pronged mission of global vigilance, reach, and power. With over 300,000 current active duty members, Air Force training is based in San Antonio, Texas but there are bases all around the globe.

Coast Guard
While the smallest of the branches by number (41,000 full time active duty members), the US Coast Guard has a plethora of responsibilities. They are responsible for an array of maritime duties from performing rescue missions at sea to providing both safe and lawful commerce. Basic training in New Jersey combines fitness, swimming, and classroom instruction to properly prepare the men and women who will serve in this branch.

While this post could never contain everything these men and women do, we are eternally indebted for their service.

This blog was originally published on Michael Fourte’s website.

ONE BIG MISTAKE WITH A GRADUATE SCHOOL’S BAR EXAM

The bar exam is one of the final but hardest barriers for those pursuing a career in law. When the result emails come out, law graduates run to their account site as quickly as possible. They open the page, filled with anxiety, and hope to see a passing score. However, on an autumn day in 2019, law graduates were unable to access their scores because the log in portal was missing. They refreshed the page hundreds of times hoping that it was just a fluke.

Very few graduates were able to actually access their scores as soon as the email came out, and only a select few were able to access the score hours later after refreshing all day. Some unfortunate graduates were never able to find access on that day. The crisis was so large that the Texas Supreme Court Justices got involved, demanding answers from the Texas Board and relaying this information with the worried students. Despite this, those unable to access their scores were angry with their futures still being in the air.

The following day, the website seemed to be working again, but many examinees never received a notice that their scores were available. The Texas Board eventually released the list of those who passed publicly so that the stress could wane in those filled with worry. However, the website was slow and barely functional. For some, even the public list did not work, leaving them with renewed stress regarding their future law career. Since that time, the web page hosting this public list has since died.

Ultimately, the Texas Board handled this situation poorly. The updates surrounding the information were inadequate and did not come from a direct source. The fact that the website was down in the first place is bad enough, and the fact that it remained down is even worse. The Texas Board should have been better prepared to deal with a situation like this in a much timelier manner and able to provide detailed updates to those who had taken the stressful exam.

The bar exam is the deciding factor in a law student’s future. Without passing, one cannot practice in their state and must wait until the next test date to try again. Law graduates in Texas experienced an excessive amount of stress and disrespect at the hands of the Texas Board. The Texas Board, and other state boards, would deeply benefit from using this situation to ensure it never happens again.

This blog was originally published on Michael Fourte’s website.

THE ORIGIN OF LAW AND LEGAL SYSTEMS

When we consider the subject of law, we tend to think about police departments, court systems, attorney firms, and legislatures. Some of these agencies and entities are dedicated to enforcement while others focus on the administration, application, analysis, and creation of laws. What they all have in common is a framework that dates back to the ancient Egyptian civilization. The first codification of laws was probably contained into a dozen books utilized more than 4,000 years ago, but the first archeological evidence is the Codex Hammurabi of Babylon, which was engraved into stone tablets and displayed in public places sometime around the year 1760 B.C.

Five centuries after Hammurabi, the early writings of the Old Testament served as the legal code in the region known as the Promised Land. By the year 800 B.C., Athens was ruled by philosophical treatises that incorporate religious, social, and customary doctrines. The Roman Empire was more comprehensive in its codification approach and administration of justice with the development of courts and implementation of legal maxims that served as rules of procedure.

The canon of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, would become the basis of legal systems around the world. The other major legal system, known as common law, is mostly practiced by member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, which are English-speaking jurisdictions ruled by parliamentary democracies. Common law follows the doctrine of legal precedent, which means that court cases can be decided on the basis of jurisprudence and by a jury. In legal systems that follow Roman law, courts may only decide cases based on the facts that apply to the law, and rulings come from the bench instead of jury panels.

It should be noted that religious law can still be found in modern national legal systems where there is no clear separation of church and state. Similar to the Promised Land, once being ruled by the Old Testament, the legal systems of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran are ruled based on the Muslim holy book of the Qur’an. Canon law, which is based on Christian ecclesiastical codes, rules the Vatican, but many of its precepts and principles have been codified into the democratic legislatures and constitutions of Roman and common law jurisdictions alike.

 

This blog was originally published on Michael Fourte’s website.

Major Moments In US Military History

The military of the United States is arguably one of the best-armed forces in the world. The US spends the most money on the military compared with every other country in the world, and this results in a highly sophisticated military. The military was not like this at the beginning of US history though. It has grown and developed as the US has grown and developed. There are some key moments in military history that have helped define the military as it is today.

 

The American Civil War redefined how Americans perceived war and what a military should be. At the beginning of the war, the military was small and designed to stop Indian assaults. The Union army was further limited as the southern states left to form the Confederacy. In the Union, the volunteer army eventually grew larger than the regular army, leading to many Union losses. When the Union finally won battles at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the tide of the war turned, and the Union was able to secure the win. Sadly, the Civil War is among the bloodiest wars in the United State’s history.

 

World War I brought along a transition period into how wars are fought, and the US army grew into the millions. Shortly after joining, US forces were vital in breaking German lines and winning the war. World War II was also brought to a close once the US army stepped in to liberate Europe and stop Japan. Together, these two wars firmly established the United States Army and government as a global superpower, allowing the US to establish itself throughout the world.

 

The Vietnam War is seen as the worst mark in the army’s history. The public despised the war, the use of drafting rather than army reserves, and the restrictions enforced by politicians served to bring the authority of the US into question. In recent years, the US army has become deeply involved with conflicts in the Middle East that bring varying amounts of support and dissent from the public. Technology in the army is at an all-time high, but more focus is being placed on the mental health of army personnel, which will likely yield more changes to the US military.

 

The US military has grown from an infancy of relative weakness into an adulthood of tremendous strength. History has brought about both wins and losses, all of which serve to inform the military as it stands today. The future is sure to bring more changes that will continue to improve upon the military.

 

This blog was originally published on Michael Fourte’s website.

Best Organizations Helping Military Veterans

It can be difficult to choose a charity when you’re searching for organizations to donate time or money to. There seems to be a never-ending list of charities, for almost anything you can imagine. If you’ve decided that you’d like to make a difference in a veteran or servicemember’s life than the next step is to select which charity to help. 

The best charities are those that focus on serving those in need. There should be transparency about their practices and it should be clear that the organization is financially responsible. There are a plethora of trustworthy organizations that provide a broad range of services.  There are groups that focus on boosting troops’ morale and others that provide assistance with rent, utilities, or medical expenses.

Here is a list of a few highly-rated American charities to consider donating to.

The Gary Sinise Foundation
Actor Gary Sinise has been an advocate of American servicemembers for decades. His foundation offers support to veterans, first responders, and those on active duty. The mission of the Foundation is to show gratitude to American heroes through all types of programs. The Foundation provides meals to families, hosts morale-boosting celebrations, and has built homes for severely wounded veterans.

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
Founded in 1962 the Foundation provides scholarships for children of Marines and Navy Corpsmen so that they can further their education after high school. To date the charity has helped provide over 40,000 scholarships, valuing over $125 million. The Scholarship Foundation awards children based on need. The rising cost of education calls for increased support for charities like this one.

Freedom Service Dogs of America
This charity is fairly unique. The organization takes shelter dogs and trains them to become service dogs. Many of the people the dogs are rehomed to are injured military veterans and personnel. The FSD is completely donor-funded and they provide lifetime support to all owners and their dogs. No client is charged for any of the services FSD offers.

Operation Second Chance
At Operation Second Chance wounded servicemen and women are assisted in transitioning either back to duty or into civilian life.  The organization also helps to accommodate disabled veterans by modifying housing and assisting family members. Overall, the charity supports soldiers in their recovery and rehabilitation.

If a monetary donation is not something that you’re comfortable doing there are many other great ways to offer support and help our military. Things such as volunteering at a veteran’s hospital, writing letters, providing calling cards, or baking homemade treats are all things that can show our troops that they are appreciated. As the holidays approach, consider taking some time to help those that serve their country.

 

This article was originally published on Fourte’s website.

What Makes Lawyers Effective Real Estate Agents

 

There are many qualities that go into being an excellent lawyer, and often times these characteristics overlap with being a successful real estate agent. Both fields require good negotiation skills, clear communication, organization, and the ability to be persuasive. Furthermore, the two careers can often intertwine as there are a few states that require a lawyer to purchase a house.

At the end of the day, most states do not require a lawyer in the sale of a property. However, it’s almost always better to use a brief consultation to obtain legal advice instead of relying solely on an agent. Use your real estate agent for real estate advice and a lawyer for any legal advice you need.

That being said, there are a few key qualities that lawyers possess that help to make them successful real estate agents. Here are a few of those unique traits.

Negotiation Skills
The ability to negotiate well may be the most important skill when it comes to closing a deal. Lawyers practice negotiating on a daily basis. Many deals fall through when an agent isn’t skilled in negotiation. Whether they reveal too much information or carry themselves in an arrogant manner, it turns off other agents or clients.

A lawyer knows how to use a friendly, but direct approach while maintaining professionalism. In real estate, you must be able to communicate clearly and hold your ground when necessary, the same is true when practicing law. To close a deal, hone your negotiation skills. This is why lawyers often make the best real estate agents; they’ve had a lot of practice!

Attention to Details
This seems like a no brainer when considering the traits you’d like your real estate agent to have. What makes lawyers so effective as real estate agents is the fact that they are very detail-oriented. Lawyers are hired to catch mistakes that could cost their clients time and money. One must pay close attention to detail when reviewing complicated documents and completing paperwork. It protects you to have a real estate agent that pays attention to detail as efficiently as a lawyer.

Sound Judgement
Both real estate agents and lawyers must have the capacity to make tough calls. An agent can be responsible for setting a listing price that makes sense and providing their client with the right advice to either buy or sell successfully. Lawyers use their judgment every day whether in the office or in court. Law clients trust their lawyer to understand the things that they don’t and respond by helping them to make the right call.

While there are almost as many differences as there are similarities, hiring a real estate agent who has a law degree is never a bad idea. This way if an issue arises you won’t have to go far to gain insight into the legality of something. Don’t forget that it’s not typical for your agent to be a lawyer, so for advice in either field seek the appropriate council.

 

This article was originally published on Fourte’s website.

Four Skills Needed to Succeed as a Lawyer

If you’re someone who enjoys watching legal dramas, then you may have thought about pursuing a career as a lawyer. It’s a challenging field and not the right fit for everyone, but if it’s something you’re passionate about, work on developing these four skills.

 

Resilience and self-confidence

Legal careers are incredibly competitive. Separating yourself from the crowd takes a lot of enthusiasm and determination. In the process of becoming a lawyer, it’s likely you’ll face a good amount of rejection. You can’t let this discourage you. You’ll need the confidence to keep applying to different law schools and practices. Learn from your rejections; ask for feedback and have the courage to act on it. Confidence in your abilities will help get you where you want to be.

 

Time management

Being a lawyer comes with a very challenging workload and demanding deadlines. To be able to manage all of these, you’ll need to be a master at time management. You must be able to multi-task to tackle competing priorities. To improve your time management skills, start by making to-do lists and prioritize your tasks. This helps you to make sure you’re dealing with the most important things first, instead of letting them get pushed aside by minor tasks. There are many different systems for time management; finding the one that works best for you will help ensure your success.

 

Attention to detail

Having a sharp eye is crucial to succeeding in the world of law. One wrong word can change the meaning of an entire contract, and a misspelling in an email can give a client the wrong impression, and cost your practice their business. This attention to detail needs to start with your own cover letters and job applications. If there are mistakes in your application materials, a firm is going to be hesitant about hiring you. If your cover letter is too long or vague, a hiring manager may be unsure if you’re the right person to be offering advice to clients.

 

Communication

Communication is crucial in every field, but especially so in law. Without strong oral and written communication skills, you may struggle to be an effective lawyer. You also need to be a strong listener to build strong relationships with clients. To argue a case in court, you have to be confident speaking in front of others. This requires the use of persuasive and succinct language. While in college, get involved with the debate team to practice this skill. Because you’ll have to draft letters and legal documents, written communication is just as important.

 

This article was originally published on MichaelFourte.com.