Category Archives: Articles

Which Countries Offer a Passport Without Applicants Having to Migrate?

A few countries in the world grant individuals full citizenship without the trouble of moving there and all other difficulties associated with it. Under such programs, these countries simply require a financial contribution or real estate investment in exchange of providing individuals and stakeholders a second citizenship in a period of two to six months. For wealthy and affluent businessmen and entrepreneurs who do not have the option of immigrating without disrupting their lives, these programs are ideal as they can provide them and their families with the ability to obtain a second passport in a swift and convenient manner.

Below are the most prominent countries in the world that provide people with full citizenship without ever residing there:

Cyprus:

Number one on the list is Cyprus. This is due to the fact that it is the only country that grants investors a European passport in only 6 months without ever re-locating. The passport allows access to 145 countries visa-free and most importantly the possibility to live and work anywhere within the European Union. Obtaining a Cypriot nationality comes with a price tag of Euros 2 Million in luxury real estate, however, for wealthy businessmen becoming a European national is the best option for their families and businesses, certainly well worth investing in. These individuals have also realized the investment power in Cyprus’ booming real estate market. In addition, according to the Cypriot citizenship law, an investor is eligible to sell the property after 3 years, keeping one lower in value for Euros 500,000. This provides investors with the opportunity of making a profit while retaining full citizenship status.

Grenada:

Grenada is a Caribbean country that has seen a great surge in demand for its citizenship. Grenada is special because is the only country in the Caribbean with a citizenship program which allows citizens to apply for an E-2 visa which grants them residency in the USA. The Grenadian passport is the only Caribbean passport that allows visa-free access to China, which can be a major advantage for stakeholders with business operations and ties with China. Grenada grants its passport for a USD 200,000 financial contribution to the country’s National Transformation Fund. The country’s passport holders do not need to relocate to Grenada, and they will also get visa-free access to 120 countries including China, Schengen states, and the United Kingdom.

Saint Lucia:

The citizenship by investment program being offered by this beautiful island in the Caribbean has become a major international player. It namely rose to fame because with a recent change in the legislation the citizenship program became more affordable and because it does not require you visit the country at any point in time. A USD 100,000 contribution to St. Lucia’s National Economic Fund or an investment in a Government-Approved project in St. Lucia will lawfully grant you a second passport allowing you instant visa-free travel to 123 countries worldwide including the Schengen zone and the United Kingdom as well as other notable international business and tourist hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong. With the launch of The Ritz-Carlton Resort in St. Lucia, that is set to open its doors in 2021, the resort is set to be a major contributor to the country CBI program.

Dominica:

Another favorite country among citizenship by investment programs without the need to immigrate is the Commonwealth of Dominica. It is one of the most cost-effective programs and allows visa-free access to 118 countries. The program has been established since 1991 and it grants an individual full citizenship rights for a financial contribution of USD 100,000 to the country’s Government Fund. Another investment option is Dominica’s Government-Approved real estate projects such as Kempinski Hotel, through which investors have a tangible investment with a profitable potential.

Saint Kitts & Nevis:

This Caribbean country allows you to acquire its citizenship without immigrating and living in it at any point in time. It requires a financial contribution of USD 250,000 to the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF) or a real estate investment of USD 400,000 in any Government Approved project. St. Kitts passport offers visa-free travel to 129 countries included Schengen states and United Kingdom.

Antigua & Barbuda:

Unlike other countries in the Caribbean, Antigua does require you to visit the country for at least 5 days before granting you its citizenship, which is certainly worthwhile as the country is stunning. The citizenship program requires a minimum financial contribution of USD 250,000 to the National Development Fund or a USD 400,000 in the country’s Government-Approved project. Its passport allows you visa-free access to 129 worldwide including all of the Schengen zone, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, and other first world countries.

Portugal:

This is the last country on our list. We chose to mention Portugal in this list because it technically could grants you citizenship without moving or living in the country. The major difference with Portugal and the rest of the countries on the list is that an individual need to obtain a Residency card in Portugal and maintain the card for a period of 5 years, subsequently obtain Permanent Residency and after year 6 he or she could be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided that they have a basic knowledge of Portuguese language. The initial residency card is granted after an initial investment of Euros 500,000 in real estate anywhere in Portugal and must be renewed a couple of times over the first 5 years. Once your citizenship is granted, according to the law your passport is irrevocable. Each country, with the exception of Portugal, process the citizenship in a timeframe of two to six months, the period varies from one country to the other and from case to case.

Corporate Governance

Institute of Company Secretaries of India –
“Corporate Governance is the application of Best Management Practices, Compliance of Laws in true letter and spirit and adherence to ethical standards for effective management and distribution of wealth and discharge of social responsibility for sustainable development of all stakeholders.”

Standard and Poor – “Corporate Governance is the way a company is organized and managed to ensure that all financial stakeholders receive a fair share of the company’s earnings and assets.”

Objectives of Corporate Governance: –
Corporate Governance is aimed at creating an organization which maximizes the wealth of shareholders. It envisages an organization in which emphasis is laid on fulfilling the social responsibilities towards the stakeholders in addition to the earning of profits. The objectives of Corporate Governance is to ensure the following:

1. Properly constituted Board capable of taking independent and objective decisions.
2. Board is independent in terms of Non-Executive and Independent Directors.
3. Board adopts transparent procedures and practices.
4. Board has an effective machinery to serve the concerns of the Stakeholders.
5. Board to monitor the functioning of the Management Team.
6. Properly constituted Board capable of taking independent and objective decisions.
7. Board is independent in terms of Non-Executive and Independent Directors.
8. Board adopts transparent procedures and practices.
9. Board has an effective machinery to serve the concerns of the Stakeholders.
10. Board to monitor the functioning of the Management Team.
11. Board remains in effective control of the affairs of the Company.

Elements of Good Corporate Governance:-

1. Role and Powers of the Board.
2. Legislation
3. Management Environment
4. Board Skills
5. Board Appointments
6. Board Induction and Training
7. Board Independence
8. Board Meetings
9. Board Resources
10. Code of Conduct
11. Strategy setting
12. Financial and Operational Reporting
13. Monitoring the Board Performance
14. Audit Committee
15. Risk Management

Secretarial Standards:-
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India has issued the following Standards in order to maintain the uniformity of procedure with regard to the Board Meetings, General Meetings, Payment of Dividend, Maintenance of Registers and Records, Recording of Minutes and Transfer and Transmission of Shares.

A brief detail of these standards is given as under: –

SS1 – Meetings of Board of Directors: –
The Secretarial Standard -1 deals with the meetings of the Board of Directors. It deals with the various aspects of the conducting the Board Meetings, the frequency of such meetings in a year, Quorum required for the meeting, powers of the Chairman in such meetings, and recording of minutes of such meetings.

SS2 – General Meetings: –
The Secretarial Standard -2 deals with the General Meetings. It explains the procedure of conducting the General Meetings, the frequency of meetings in a year, Quorum required for the conduct of the meeting, powers of the Chairman in such meetings, recording of minutes of such meetings, a procedure of voting, etc.

SS3 – Dividend: –
This Secretarial Standard pertains to Dividend. It illustrates the calculation of amount payable as a dividend, declaration of dividend, Treatment of Unpaid Dividend, and Transfer of Dividend to Investor Education and Protection Fund(IEPF).

SS4 – Registers and Records
This Secretarial Standard enumerates the various Registers required to be maintained as per statutory requirements. It requires the following registers to be maintained:

Register of members and Debenture holders.
Register for Contracts u/s 301.
Register of Directors u/s 303.
Register for Transfer of Shares.

SS5 – Minutes
This Secretarial Standard deals with the recording and signing of Minutes of the Meetings.

Minutes should contain:
(a) The appointment of the Chairman of the meeting.
(b) The presence of Quorum.
(c) The fact that certain registers and documents were available for inspection.
(d) The number of members present in person including representatives.
(e) The number of proxies and the number of shares represented by them.
(f) The presence of the Chairman of the Audit Committee at the Annual General Meeting.
(g) The presence if any, of the Auditors, the Practising Company Secretary who issued the Compliance Certificate, the Court appointed observers or scrutineers.
(h) Reading of the notice of the meeting.
(i) Reading the report of the auditors.
(j) Summary of the opening remarks of the Chairman.
(k) Summary of the clarifications provided.
(l) In respect of each resolution, the type of the resolution, the names of the persons who proposed and seconded and the majority with which such resolution was passed. Resolutions should be written in the present tense.

SS6 – Transfer and Transmission of Shares
This Secretarial Standard deals with the procedure of Transfer and Transmission of shares held singly and jointly. The register and records pertaining to transmission should be preserved permanently and kept in the custody of the secretary of the company or any other person authorized by the Board for the purpose.

Factors Influencing the quality of Corporate Governance:-

1. Integrity of the Management
2. Ability of the Board
3. Adequacy of the Process
4. Quality of Corporate Reporting
5. Participation of Stakeholders
6. Quality of Corporate Reporting

Committee Reports on Corporate Governance:-

Narayana Murthy Report on Corporate Governance: –

Corporate Governance is beyond the realm of Law. It stems from the culture and mindset of management and cannot be regulated by legislation alone. Corporate Governance is all about openness, integrity, and accountability.

It is a key element in improving the economic efficiency of the firm. Credibility offered by Corporate Governance also helps in improving the confidence of the investors – both domestic and foreign. It involves a set of relationships between a company’s management, its Board, shareholders, and Stakeholders.

Kumarmangalam Birla Committee on Corporate Governance: –

All companies are required to submit a quarterly Compliance Report to the Stock Exchanges within 15 days from the end of financial reporting quarter.

The Report has to be submitted by Compliance Officer or by the Chief Executive Officer after obtaining due approvals, on the following clauses:-
Board of Directors
Audit Committee
Shareholders/ Investors Grievance Committee
Remuneration of Directors
Board Procedures
Management
Shareholders
Report on Corporate Governance

CII – Desirable Corporate Governance: –
Corporate Governance helps in maximizing the long-term shareholder value. It is more a way of business life than a mere legal compulsion. Four ideas, which should be the guiding force of company’s philosophy on Corporate Governance are:-

– Transparency
– Accountability
– Disclosure
– Value Creation.

The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics helps to ensure compliance with legal requirements and other standards of Business Conduct. All company Employees and Trainees are expected to read and understand this code of ethics, comply with all applicable policies and procedures, and ensure that all agents and contractors are aware of, understand and adhere to these standards.

The Company expects all employees, agents, and contractors to exercise good judgment to ensure all employees, agents, and contractors and to maintain competitive, efficient, positive harmonious and productive Work Environment and business organization.

Insider Trading:-

Insider trading is the trading of a corporation’s stock or other securities (e.g. bonds or stock options) by corporate insiders such as officers, key employees, directors, or holders of more than ten percent of the firm’s shares. Insider trading may be perfectly legal, but the term is frequently used to refer to a practice, illegal in many jurisdictions, in which an insider or a related party trades based on material non-public information obtained during the performance of the insider’s duties at the corporation, or otherwise misappropriated.
Prohibition on dealing communication or counseling on matters relating to inside trading: –

3. No insider shall –
(i) either on his own behalf or on behalf of any other person, deal in securities of a company listed on any stock exchange when in possession of any unpublished price sensitive information; or
(ii) communicate, counsel or procure, directly or indirectly, any unpublished price sensitive information to any person who while in possession of such unpublished price sensitive information shall not deal in securities.

(iii) Provided that nothing contained above shall be applicable to any communication required in the ordinary course of business or under any law.

3A. No company shall deal with the securities of another company or associate of that other company while in possession of any unpublished price sensitive information.

An Overview of the ILO Constitution on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work

The International Labour Organisation adopted the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in 1998. Although this process started in 1995 at the Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development, it was finally adopted in 1998 and since then it has been gaining pace. The features of the Declaration serve as its identification of the core standards; they are applicable to all the Member States irrespective of the fact whether they have ratified the Conventions.

Notably, the Declaration conferred upon the international community equal importance for human rights, liberalization of international trade, improved labour standards at the national level, and a decentralized system of labour standards implementation making the standards more readily palatable to employers. However, due to the problematic nature of the international enforcement mechanisms, some scholars have criticized these labour standards as impractical. In this regard, the main criticism states that issues pertaining to trade and labour must be kept separate as bringing labour issues into the World Trade Organisation would mean imposing trade sanctions to issues such as child labour.

The preamble of the ILO provides for universal support and acknowledgement in promoting fundamental rights at work and also for their universal application. The principle of ‘freedom of association’ has been expressly stated in the Constitution, but the principle of ‘equal work for equal pay’ is only interpretative in nature. There isn’t any express mentioned about equal work for equal pay in the Constitution. In a nutshell, the Constitution speaks for social justice, issues relating to the regulation of the hours of work, regulation of labour supply, prevention of unemployment, protection of workers against sickness or injury, living wages, protection of children and women, provision for old age, protection of workers interests in countries other than their own and other measures. In contrast to this, the 1998 Declaration relatively promised less number of commitments. It did not provide for workplace safety, limits on work hours, freedom from workplace abuse, neither minimum, nor fair or living wage.

Although the labour organization’s monitoring and supervising standards have gained international acknowledgement, countries such as U.K. and U.S. have criticized the system for lacking proper follow-up mechanism. In this regard the Organization claimed that follow-up being not mandatory is more of a strictly promotional nature providing a global picture of the state of implementation of each category of fundamental principles and rights. Such a defence cannot be easily accepted. Hence creating a proper follow-up mechanism remains a target to be achieved in the near future as that would mean a positive contribution towards the expansion of future international labour rights regime.

Coping With The Pressure Of A Bankruptcy Case

Nobody wants to be in a situation where they have to file up a bankruptcy case, but if you end up being in a situation where bankruptcy is the only option. Then you can cope up with this with the help of bankruptcy attorney, as they will be able to guide you through this process real quick and help you sort out most of the work easily.

Filing for bankruptcy process can be really difficult as well as annoying, as it involves a lot of paperwork, continuous attending the meeting and going for interviews and questioning sessions. Bankruptcy process will definitely affect the smooth quality of life you were spending but not just that, your business handling scenarios will also have a huge impact as you might make certain tough business decisions really fast because of not having a proper state of mind. This issue is most probably going to affect you completely and this way you might really end up in depression. But a proper step must be taken in order to get back your daily life, if not that at least have a sound mind and simple living. This can be possible if you follow out certain steps for yourself in order to make the bankruptcy process successful plus deal with your health issues as well together, which is possible if you have professional bankruptcy attorney by your side to guide you through the process and handle most of your pressure-giving works.

Now You Must Be Wondering How You Can Make The Bankruptcy Process Successful And Focus On Your Health Together. This Sounds Difficult But It’s Actually Possible If You Follow Up These Below Pointers.

  • Accept Your Feelings

Losing a business just because of bankruptcy can feel really similar with losing your loved ones, as you have invested not just your finance but you have invested your time, care, dedication, efforts and a lot of other things to make your business a success. The position that your business hold at present  is all your hard work, so when it comes to losing it, the situation becomes very painful, for that matter accepting it is very difficult but you have to accept the feeling, as the truth is in front of you, no matter what you do, you are not going to change what is happening, the only thing you can do is accept that you are suffering from bankrupt, don’t let your negative emotional behavior burry you deep and keep you away from positive energies.

  • Have A Team You Can Trust

Sad but true when you are facing bankruptcy, the team who stand up with you in order to build your business, is going to get reduce, the strength of your team will end up becoming lesser and lesser as you are not able to provide them the salary because of running short with money, this might sound really bad but it is something that is going to happen for sure.  So when you trim up your staff, you need to understand that the team must me all of them who has the ability to be beside you, who will help you and support you, who will stand strong with you. Keep your staff minimum to people who are worth it.  Even your Camden County bankruptcy attorney can make a good decision for you so be sure you with the team you hold up. As a business owner, it is powerful enough handling everything coming at you;

  • Don’t Hesitate to Ask Attorney the Tough Questions

The bankruptcy process can be definitely stressful because the law that involves this process is really complicated. If you have any question do not forget to ask them, do remember that any queries you have you must not keep it within you definitely have to make a proper judgment. Don’t be confused or tensed, this professional will solve your problems for sure. A good attorney will really feel nice to help you because it is their responsibilities to give you proper judgment as well as it is their profession. A good professional is going to be quite happy to help you with no matter questions you have got. Your professional person is also the simplest person to clarify how the law applies to your unique situation.

  • Sleep Properly

Make sure you do not have to stay up really late and think about the problem, night thinking is not going to give you any results. Try to get at least proper sleep so that you have a relax and chill mind, every morning you wake up fresh and plan or start up your day with good positive energies. If you do not sleep properly you will be depressed and stressed out every morning, so make sure you are good enough with sleep and get the best results for you.

  • Realize That Bankruptcy Is Your Best Option

Business owners might find that filing for bankruptcy is simply the best choice for their own mental health. This isn’t a choice that somebody else will bring you, but having smart advice will facilitate. A financial skilled will assist you to decide if your company contains a reasonable likelihood of recovery or if bankruptcy is really the most effective way to go. If you do decide to file for bankruptcy, attempt to not consider it as “giving up.” consider it as beginning fresh. Before you’ll be able to succeed, you need to first settle for failure without worrying.

10 Benefits Of Quality Law Firm Website Design

Law firm website design is one way where you can try to make your website really appealing, as internet is a place where any business like law firms can grow successfully only if they have amazing content, and best design that appeals and convinces the visitor to seek services, so you can with the help of website designers make you law firms or attorney’s site better.

Responsive web style simply suggests that creating websites that can adapt to the size of the visitor’s viewpoint. The goal is for content to render differently looking on the device or screen size in order that visitors have an optimal expertise no matter how they access a website. The primary advantage of responsive Law firm website design is that sites load quickly with none distortions, therefore users don’t get to manually resize something to look at content. We all know that quality web design may be a valuable investment, but what are the important advantages of hiring an expert designer? Is that the tag worth it? Can a website that appears smart bring in business?  It all depends on the type of website design you prepare that creates visitors; basically, the website that attracts the visitors is going to hit the top position. There are many things that creative website provides you, not only good visitors but also a number of unique different things that you must know so that you plan on hiring a good law firm web design service provider for your attorney’s website.

  • Consistent

Professional designers trust the big picture. They produce a visible language for your brand that’s consistent across totally different contexts. Your website, logo, business cards, and even your Twitter profile got to form a coherent whole. Brands that have a standardized visual language build a more memorable impression than those who appear as if 5 completely different side-businesses. Therefore law firm website design suggests that the main first feature on attracting visitors and retaining them is consistency and it should be maintained effectively.

  • A lot of Visitors Visits Your Page

You’re not searching for clicks. You’re looking for visitors who flick through your website and get to understand who you’re that’s what you main motto is. Keep in mind that the majority people can leave after one glimpse at your website if you do not have an appealing website. It takes one thing special to stay them interested, including willing to buy your product or service. Therefore whenever you plan on Law firm website design these things comes as one of the priorities that you must follow.

  • Call To Action

Calls to action are the sign-up, buy now, and learn a lot of elements of your website. Where they’re on the online page, how they appear, and what they are saying can verify what number a lot of people conceive to obtain one thing from you. These call to action buttons acts as a feature to attract the visitor, the reason why you are holding up a website is to gain visitors so they reach you and call you, so this is the main feature that should be present on every page so that visitors interact with you.

  • Distinction From Competitors

Good-enough websites simply don’t cut it any longer. Within one business, there are several sites that look similar. They assert the proper stuff, the look isn’t too offensive, but they don’t build the effort to speak up and say why they’re special. Quality means that distilling all of your distinctive selling points into one coherent visual message. So Law firm website design helps to make you a superior one with the unique style, amazing content, and consistency on every page and so on. Trust me if you offer same but your website differs in a lot better way, you are going to win clients for sure.

  • Form, Structure, And Purpose of Content

Content and style got to be absolutely aligned on your website with the help of Law firm website design you can achieve it well if implemented properly with good service providers. Most of the people will not place in the effort to understand what you’re trying to say. Massive blocks of small text, confusing navigation, and obscured calls to action can flip visitors away. Designers work together with your content in order that it’s clear and directs people to what you would like them to do.

  • Polished Details

The choice of fonts, the spacing of text, and distinction are details that build a difference in the overall quality of your website. These sorts of nuances may not seem that important, but they have an effect on how clear and useful the positioning is.

  • Objective Perspective

You are the professional on your own business; however, you’re not a professional in web design. Generally, there must be a compromise between what you would like and what works for the online. Quality comes only when an expertise or professionals try to achieve it. So when it comes to professional approach towards your Law firm website design you need to hire the one who provides amazing services and also has an amazing experience in building effective websites.

  • Less Payment

Law firms Businesses that attempt to get a “good deal” and commit the promise of obtaining high-quality design services for an inexpensive price usually find you paying more than they need to. Why? They understand that prime quality really will cost money and get another designer to re-do their website. This should not be your motto in order to make an effective Law firm website design. It is a onetime investment that you do for results or outcomes quicker.

  • Reliable Partnership

Law firms and attorneys as an owners and web designers got to work along to make a website. The method involves communication and compromise. If you’re happy with the result, the online Law firm website designer you worked with is your go-to for changes and new additions.

  • Room For Development

Quality style builds a solid foundation for the improvements you’ll wish to make when the initial website is finished. whether or not you want to feature a new product or serviceFeature Articles, the positioning can already have a strong enough aesthetic that you just don’t have to go back to face one.

Augentius capitalises on growth in Asia with appointment of Managing Director

Jimmy Leong has been appointed Managing Director of specialist global private equity and real estate fund administrator, Augentius, to drive business growth in line with increasing opportunities in the far east.

Working out of Augentius’ Singapore office, Jimmy will be responsible for developing both new and existing client relationships to support business expansion and further solidify the company’s reputation for expert fund administration throughout this region.

Jimmy Leong, Managing Director, Augentius Asia, commented: “The growth in Asian private equity remains highly optimistic as the landscape is set to undergo major transformations, driven by the rise of international and Asian managers capitalising on China’s new regulatory structure. Augentius is well positioned to benefit from these opportunities and to establish itself as the leading service provider across Asia Pacific. I am thrilled to join Augentius at this opportune time and I look forward to working with such a dedicated team of professionals.”

Ian Kelly, Group Chief Executive Officer, Augentius, added: “We are delighted to have Jimmy on board. His tremendous experience and knowledge of the industry makes him perfectly placed to head up this region as we build on our success to date and expand further in Asia.”

Jimmy has spent the last two decades in senior management positions in Asian and International financial institutions. Prior to joining Augentius, he was Managing Director of Hua Hong Foundation Investment, Managing Partner at Glaux Investment Pte. and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri.

-Ends-

About Augentius

The Augentius Group is one of the largest specialist independent providers of administration and depositary services to Private Equity and Real Estate managers in the world. Augentius is a trusted advisor and service provider to private equity and real estate funds, and has been helping clients minimise the burden and risk of fund administration for more than 12 years. We have built our success by delivering an exemplary service based on our twin commitments to client service and attention to detail. We combine local service with global delivery, with offices in key jurisdictions that enable us to provide clients with a consistent level of service excellence and expertise, however they choose to structure their funds. Because we focus on private equity and real estate funds, we understand the very specific requirements of investors and fund managers and support clients at every stage of the fund lifecycle. We put our clients at the heart of our business, so they can put investors at the heart of theirs.

http://www.augentius.com

 

For further information please contact:

Ellie Jackson, Aspectus, on behalf of Augentius Group Limited

Email: augentius@aspectusgroup.com

Tel: +44 (0)20 7242 8867

Overcriminalization of America

Civil society flourishes when its people – young or old, black or white or brown – can trust that justice will be dispensed without fear or favor.

The American criminal justice system presently is broken, and an example of justice run amok. The system has deteriorated to a point whereby innocent people are being imprisoned even with the lack of sufficient evidence. For the real criminals, punishments are often not commensurate with the crime. Presently, many non-violent offenders serve more time behind bars than murderers, rapists, and armed robbers. Consequently, the criminal justice system does more harm than good – destroying lives, shattering dreams and crushing hopes and aspirations for happiness.

Being the world’s largest democracy is supposed to make America a faithful steward of the fairest and finest legal system the world has ever known. However, the U.S. legal system runs counter to traditional American core values. 25% of total global prisoners reside in the U.S. even though America is only about 3% of the world’s population. About 7 million are now under some form of penal supervision, and roughly 100 million people have criminal records.

Presently, the U.S. lead the world in highest prison population, longest prison time, most business deals for contractors and lobbyists, and highest recidivism rate.

The credo of legal jurisprudence in any civilized dispensation is that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent jurisdiction. However, in the United States of America, the reverse is the case due to its misguided penal policies.

Under normal circumstances, obeying the law is enough to shield anyone from trouble. Unfortunately, the current dispensation is hardly normal and being careful in private or public life does not insulate against being caught in the cobweb of the numerous laws and regulations that are the hallmarks of the criminal justice system. Stories of prosecutorial abuse run like a horror movie and the fear of prosecutors “is the beginning of wisdom.” They take to the extreme the dangerous impulse to punish perceived offenders – real or imagined. Prosecutors have enormous power and discretion to pick and choose who goes to jail and who does not. Reports of unwarranted arrests, police brutality, senseless prosecutions, and mass incarceration are a commonplace to the extent that the country’s legal system is teetering dangerously towards a precipice.

The visible signs of pain and anguish can be seen in many families devastated by the imprisonment of a loved one and the so-called respect for human rights can only be thought of in comparative terms. The lack of a guilty mind no longer matters in criminal cases in U.S. courts. As a result, the nation has drifted from the core foundations and principles on which the Union was built, which add up to one concept and one word: freedom. In the context of the nation’s criminal justice system, this “American Creed” lies in tatters.

Although lawmakers can do more to remedy the situation, because of political expediency, the legislative arm of government continue to enact laws and regulations that criminalize harmless acts.

While many of us believe that it is the responsibility of the government to punish criminals for public safety and security, and the fact that society has a right to demand punishment for wrongdoers, however, this fundamental tenet must operate within a justice system that is equal and fair. Punishment must fit the crime, and the innocent must not suffer unjustly for crimes not committed.

There is no justification for mass incarceration; it could no longer be defended morally. America needs a more rational and sensible justice system, one that is fair – a people’s justice system – that all can trust to protect them while punishing offenders appropriately and ensuring that innocent people are not unfairly prosecuted or imprisoned. Only a reformed justice system can give practical meaning to the noble ideals on which the nation was founded. A commonsense approach to the criminal justice system in American might someday be possible, but not anytime soon given the interplay of politics and business within it.

In my book, American Criminal Justice System, Inc: Rogue Criminal Prosecution in an Era of Mass Incarceration, I presented compelling arguments of how government prosecutors and their cronies use crazy laws, plea bargain, false witnesses and other unwholesome tactics to oppress its people. With so many locked up, the United States has become a nation that feeds on its own.

– This article is an excerpt from my book, American Criminal Justice System, Inc: Rogue Prosecutions in an Era of Mass Incarceration.

 

Author, American Criminal Justice System Inc: Rogue Prosecutions in an Era of Mass Incarceration Website: http://www.fredeghobor.com

How Mergers And Acquisition Affect Company

Mergers and acquisitions keep happening in the corporate world. Both of these two activities are often construed as the magic elixir that will enhance the prestige of a newly formed company, grow sales and save cost up to a great extent through synergies.

However, Mergers and acquisitions are just like gambling. A lot of risks are involved in it and you can’t foretell the size of return in advance. If you don’t handle it carefully, it can even backfire and may result in more cost than projected. It can even damage the company completely.

So, the biggest question is how Mergers and acquisitions affect a company? Let’s have a look at some points mentioned here below-

1. They Become Bigger In Size
Many companies agree to M&A to grow their size and become bigger compared to their rivals. It may take several years to double or triple the size of a company through organic growth. But, if two different companies are combined into one, the value of a new company may overcome several small companies available in the market. In such a case, both companies are benefited hugely from the additional value.

2. Synergy
The main motive of a merger or acquisition is to increase the performance of a company for its shareholders with the help of synergy. Actually, it’s a concept which illustrates that if performance and the value of the two companies are combined, their output will always be bigger than the subtotal of the separate individual parts. In simple words, two business organizations can generate more revenues jointly than it could be fetched if they worked independently. So, companies measure potential synergy before making an M&A transaction.

3. Getting Unique Capabilities
On a number of occasions, mergers and acquisitions take place to get unique capabilities or resources, which can help the company to become a monopoly in the market. For example- If a new company acquires patents and licenses after making M&A deal, it can easily increase its sales and profits because of the innovation and efficiency caused by the merger or acquisition.

4. Capitalize the Government Policies
Mergers and acquisitions also happen to cope with unfavorable government policies that make it mandatory for companies to have a certain size to exist in the business. On the other hand, some governments provide tax breaks and other incentives to big companies. Mergers help companies to lower their tax liabilities and increase their profit margins.

5. Ability To Deal With Larger Clients
Mergers and acquisitions take place to deal with a large number of clients and increase the financial benefits. For example- M&A activity in law firms allows the company to access more resources and expertise & serve a large number of clients easily and quickly.

6. Termination Of Employees
Whenever two companies are combined into one or one company acquires another firm, employees are fired from their jobs. The new company wants to downsize the labor force and make the most use of the available talent. In some cases, the salaries of the workers are reduced to cut the operational cost.

This also provokes employees to leave the job and look for other options. These activities can fill negativity in the minds of existing staff and their performance/output is affected badly. Due to the different work culture, employees often clash with each other. It may affect the overall performance of the company a lot. If you don’t address this problem quickly, it becomes very difficult to operate the company smoothly and easily.

In some cases, many employees take legal action against the company because of their termination. Therefore, while getting involved in an M&A transaction, you should consider the interest of employees and shareholders seriously and try to solve the matter in a friendly manner. If any problem arises, you can take the help of M&A Law firms. They can assist you to follow the government recognized law in M&A transaction and will keep you to deal with any sort of legal trouble in the future.

7. Overpayment
The clash overpayment is quite common in M&A transactions. There are many cases when the company A accuses B of financial misappropriation and takes the legal action to get its money back from the company B. Such a scenario is harmful to both companies as involvement in prolonged legal battle can damage their reputation in the market and hurt them financially.

If you get trapped in such a complicated mess, you should hire expert Mergers and Acquisition Lawyers without having any second thought. They have the knowledge of different laws related to the M&A transactions and can help you to perform merger and acquisition without any legal hindrance.

Final Words:
M&A transactions affect the acquisitive companies in many ways. These are some important impacts that are likely to be faced by the firms.

Source: http://www.apsense.com/article/how-mergers-and-acquisition-affect-company.html

Civil, Family or Criminal Law Firms Sydney – Basic Rules to Build a Successful Legal Practice

With so many law firms out there it can be overwhelming when setting out to open one of your own. The first thing you need to do is to distinguish your firm and stand apart from your competitions. Once you ascertain your firm’s area of expertise – corporate, civil, family or criminal law firms Sydney, the next important step is to establish main practice areas that are exclusive to your firm. This is imperative to make clients choose your legal practice over the many others present around you.

If only there was a magic formula to achieve success. However, there are certain rules to the game that you, as a competitive law business, can set and follow to accomplish enhanced performance, successful revenue generation, and strong client relations. Here are a few of them –

1.Chalk out an effective marketing plan – to build a solid marketing policy for your various law firms or let’s say for example criminal legal enterprise Sydney you need to pick out your collective and individual proficiencies, study your competition and analyze the services you provide in comparison to other similar law practicing agencies in your community. Selecting a good, reliable business developer and manager can develop a positive marketing strategy for your business, giving it the right exposure and boosting up your firm’s count, both in numbers and client database.

2.Providing clients with top notch service – to become a successful law agency, you need to provide your clients with the best and consistent services. Clients look for lawyers who are attentive toward them and offer exceptional services along with a successful outcome. Establishing a bond with your clients, conducting client satisfaction surveys, studying client growth and retention reports carefully are some of the steps you can incorporate to deliver what your clients need and achieve a reputable and successful other including criminal legal practice Sydney.

3.Making the workplace comfortable for your employees – a happy office environment ensures happy workers and in turn, high productivity. Firms with great people development skills have great records of stability and minimal attrition rate. Successful legal practices realize that not all of their employees are lawyers and consciously work towards a healthy work environment to incorporate everyone as a team.

4.Specializing in your area of interest – this gives you and your enterprise an upper edge. However, to achieve this you need to ensure that you have the right background and people to add credibility to your specialized area or areas of practice, build on it and publicize your accomplishments. These can be your selling point distinguishing your business from others. For instance, if yours is a criminal law firm Sydney, you will want to have a background showing your interest in your core focus, so people needing your legal aid relating to crimes can rely on you to get them out of their sticky situation successfully.

5. Clients belong to the firm – all leading civil, family or criminal legal organizations Sydney place great emphasis on things like client satisfaction, teamwork, and positive quality outcome. The goal is to better serve particular clients or industries with the team of professionals dedicated to them and their cases. Successful legal businesses consider overall contributions to the firm’s accomplishment rather than giving credit to an individual. Lawyers in such firms are encouraged to not think of clients as belonging to them, but to the firm. The firm needs to work as a whole and address and solve issues raised as a team and not a single lawyer.

Summary

Developing the above-mentioned points is a long term program for which you require willingness and patience. However, following these habits will surely give you and your law enterprise rewarding results.

Bar Exam Preparation Courses Compared – Cutting Through the Clutter of Thirty Six Company Offerings

The Definitive Guide and Analysis for Finding the Right Bar Prep Course for the First Time Taker

Since you have landed here, I am assuming that you have either successfully finished law school or will be graduating soon. Understanding the rigors you have endured, congratulations is certainly in order. But like me, after finishing law school, I am sure you are thinking “okay, I successfully jumped that hurdle, now I need to jump the next and most important one – passing the Bar.”

Taking the Bar exam is much different than taking an exam in law school. Putting aside the logistics, time constraints, and two day intensity; the Bar exam is put together by the state bar regulatory agencies in an attempt to test for whether a person would be a competent attorney. Thus, the exam is different in many ways as to what you have been exposed to.

For this reason alone, taking a Bar preparation course is critical. And note, if this is the first time you are taking the Bar exam, it is important that you choose a full service course which prepares you for all aspects of the exam including the multiple choice, essays and the performance exam.

For many of you, passing the Bar exam the first time is vital. For some, you already have a job lined up which would disappear if you didn’t pass the first time. Others may have had to take out substantial student loans which now, that you have graduated, will require repayment.

Either way, a Bar exam preparation course is essential. To further complicate matters, as I am sure you have heard, and as amply reported in publications like the Los Angeles Times and the ABA Journal, Bar exam pass rates have been on a steady decline for the last several years. To compound that problem, many states, like California, are refusing to lower their exam pass cut lines to raise the pass rates.

In other words, the state bar licensing agencies are refusing to grade the Bar exam on a curve, citing the need to preserve public protection. As a result, today’s Bar exams are just as difficult to pass as those given twenty years ago when I took mine. So then you might be wondering, “why are the Bar pass rates steadily decreasing, it is not as if today’s students are less intelligent than those from twenty years ago?”

You are correct, today’s students are just as intelligent, but there is something else going on. An analysis was done and the researchers found that the decline was not due to lower scores on the multiple choice portion of the exam (known as the MBE). It was determined that the lower bar pass rates were due to a higher failure rate on the essay questions.

It was found that because of societal changes (including that students today study in a different manner than in the past) and changes in the way many law schools are administering their classroom exams, many of today’s students taking the Bar are having difficulty following the call of an essay question; they are not spotting a sufficient number of issues in the fact patterns; they are having trouble applying the law to the facts and analyzing them; and their grammar and spelling is not up to par.

Unfortunately, the long standing traditional Bar preparation courses have not adapted their curriculums to compensate for this change. In the past, the MBE was considered the most difficult and tricky portion of the exam to pass. Consequently, the major emphasis, in the companies offering full service Bar review, focused on the techniques of mastering MBE.

These full service companies provided essay questions with model answers and had some discussion about the basic IRAC approach (Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion, a cumbersome, outdated method not really suited to address today’s timed essay questions containing multiple issues and cross over subjects). The companies assumed the skills required to actually break down and analyze essay questions were learned within the law school curriculum. Basically, the methodology for these companies in preparation for essay exams was the old axiom, “practice makes perfect.”

Today, although the full service giants in the Bar prep industry like BarBri, Flemings, and Kaplan, and the smaller ones like Bar Max, AmeriBar, and Themis, continue to offer full service courses and dominate the market, their curriculums have remained the same for several years.

When choosing a Bar exam preparation course, remember that not all courses are alike. Most of the Bar review courses are not full service courses, as they focus on one particular aspect of the Bar (usually as a supplement). For example, courses their courses may only focus on the MBE portion or the essay portion or just the performance portion. Then there are companies which focus on a particular type of exam or jurisdiction, for example, a course focusing just on the California first year exam or the New York exam. Other companies are focused on those students who have previously failed the exam, and thus their approach with the second time takers is much different than if you are a first time taker.

If you are a first time taker, these limited courses will not fulfill all of your needs and should not be considered as your primary Bar preparation course. If you find that you need some supplementation at some point, then, of course, you should look at what they offer.

Because it is critical that as a first time taker you take a full service course, I will not be including those limited curriculum focused companies within the comparison below. The companies, that I know of, which have the limited focused curriculum include: Adapti Bar; Bar Graders; Bar Made Easy; PMBR; Bar Outlines; Bar Secrets; Bar Review Solutions; Bar Prep Hero; Smart Bar Prep; Omni Prep Patent; Internet Bar Exam Review; My Bar Prep; Pass the Bar; Pieper Bar Review; Marino Bar Review; Bar Exam Doctor; Supreme Bar Review; Skillman Method; and The Writing Edge.

In addition to these limited focus companies, there are several companies which provide Bar review in a tutorial setting, whether one-on-one or in small groups, but mostly face-to-face. These are usually regional companies, requiring your attendance and have very limited enrollment. In addition, because they are so hands-on personal tutorial courses, they mainly cater to those Bar takers who have previously failed the exam.

Because of the small capacity, the regional considerations and that the course curriculums often focus on the student who has already taken the Bar exam, I am of the opinion that these companies should also not be considered by the first time taker (but of course, that is a personal choice). Thus, I will not include the companies that focus on a tutorial format in the comparison below. The companies, I know of, in this category include: Bar None Review; Bar Plus Review; Bar Review; Bar Winners; Law Tutorial; Law Tutors; Open Book; Southwest Bar Review; The Bar Coach; and The Bar Code.

That leaves the full service companies for your review and comparison. The full service companies, which I am currently aware of, include: Side Bar; BarBri; Bar Max; Kaplan; Themis; Flemings; and AmeriBar.

Before we begin the comparison, I would like to say a word about published Bar pass rates and published pricing for these individual companies. Of the seven full service Bar Prep companies, three (Themis, Bar Max, and Flemings) publish Bar pass rates. BarBri does not officially publish Bar pass rates, however it has been reported in the press that their sales people verbally tout an 80 percent pass rate.

The publication of a Bar pass rate, by a Bar prep company, has always left me in a quandary. How precisely do these companies establish a protocol to accurately assess the percentage of those people who have taken their course and then passed the Bar exam?

It seems to me to be enigmatic to make such a determination and then publish this as a selling point. The individual state bars administering the exams certainly do not collect any data concerning whether a person took a Bar prep course, more or less a particular brand. In addition, many states do not publish the names of those people who passed the exam.

Thus, the official arbiters of the exams certainly are not the source of this information for the Bar prep companies to publish. There can be only one way to establish this kind of information which would be unreliable and thus produce inaccurate results. That would be after the six months of taking the exam and then receiving their results, each individual student would have to contact the Bar prep company they used and tell them whether they passed or failed the exam.

For a pass rate to be reliable and accurate, 100 percent of the those who purchased the Bar prep course would have to voluntarily respond to the company and be truthful about whether they passed or failed. If even a fraction of those (let us say 20 percent) did not respond to the company, the results would be far from accurate and thus misleading to publish.

Someone once told me that at least one of the companies establish their pass rate based upon those who took the exam, failed and then contacted the company requesting to retake the course for free. Here again, this can never be an accurate portrayal of a pass rate because often, those who fail on their first try decide that the Bar prep course they took was not good enough and they then engage a different company to prepare them for the second go around (and as mentioned above, there are several companies only focused on that market niche).

Therefore, in my opinion, any published Bar pass rate proffered by a Bar prep company is deceptive. In using this as a criteria in your evaluation of the companies below, consider this; there is a Civil Jury Instruction in almost every State which basically says: “If you decide that a witness did not tell the truth about something important, you may choose not to believe anything that witness said in her other testimony.” There is much wisdom behind that jury instruction, and based upon that criteria, I personally cannot recommend any company which publishes Bar pass rates.

If you agree with my opinion concerning published pass rates, that would eliminate Themis, Bar Max, and Flemings from serious consideration (and if the BarBri sales representatives are also instructed to tout these pass rates, they should be eliminated as well).

That leaves four full service companies (Side Bar, BarBri, Kaplan, and AmeriBar) to evaluate and compare. However, to be fair, all seven companies will be included in the comparison below.

Now about published pricing. Here again, not all companies are alike and have different and sometimes complex pricing structures. For example, Flemings has different tiers of pricing: Short Term is more than $2,000, Long Term is more than $3,000 and Ultimate is in excess of $6,000. Each tier has a different level of course and preparation materials provided. AmeriBar has a similar tiered pricing structure.

I question this kind of pricing, because how is a first time Bar exam taker going to know what level or tier is right for them in order to pass the exam? Frankly, if the first time taker actually knew the answer to that question, they would be so clairvoyant and knowledgeable that they would not need a Bar prep course at all.

On the other hand, other companies, like Side Bar, provide 100 percent of all course and preparation materials, that would be required to pass the Bar, for a single price.

Thus, it is difficult and confusing to attempt to compare a company that provides tiered pricing, versus an all inclusive fee company, as it would be trying to compare apples and oranges. Thus, I suggest that once you have settled upon two companies to choose from, and one of those companies has tiered pricing, that you then delve into those pricing tiers and attempt to make a subjective evaluation for yourself.

However, if you are like me, and simply eliminate from your consideration those companies who engage in publishing Bar pass rates and those that have tiered pricing, that leaves three full service Bar prep companies for your review which are as follows: Side Bar, BarBri, and Kaplan.

For your comparison, these are listed first and then the other four full service companies will follow. A good place to start the comparison is the newbie on the block – Side Bar.

Side Bar

This full service Bar prep company was recently established to address the declining Bar pass rates. With their system, the student is not left on his/her own to figure out what to do and where to start. It is all laid out in a progressive plan which the student follows within his/her own schedule.

There are no lectures to attend or watch, no flash cards and no hype about customization to the student’s particular strengths or weaknesses. What is presented are specific methods, techniques and tips to succeed in both the essay questions and the MBE questions, coupled with tips on how to pass the performance exam, mated with practice exams and optimal answers.

The MBE section not only gives the student the methods of how to approach the questions and how they are developed, but also 170 specific tips separated by subject to tackle the difficult questions. Further, 2000 practice MBE questions are provided not only with an answer key, but with explanations which are part of the system’s law memory reinforcement.

Due to the declining Bar pass rate, careful attention is given to the essay exams. Students are taught, via a step by step method, how to approach, break down, analyze and write clean essay answers. The Side Bar method recognized that the Bar examiners are looking for different approaches in the different subjects, and the company addresses this. The method is formula driven and once the student learns the formulas, they can expect to go into auto-pilot in answering essays. To hone their essay skills, the company provides almost 60 practice questions with answers.

In addition the company has a memory system for the black letter law taught in all of the core courses tested on the Bar. This includes multiple course outlines, for each course, which progressively become more condensed as the student progresses through the course. These are matched up with a program of integration of the essay and multiple choice questions, which enhance memory reinforcement when coupled with the detailed explanation to the answers.

The company provides all course materials. There is nothing else to buy or look at. Everything is online and accessible via desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone no matter the platform. There are no scheduling constraints as the student progresses at his or her own pace and at any time of day or night.

The regular price is $2495. The company currently offers a discount price of $1995. The price is all inclusive with no additional fees. They also provide discounts and rebates for referrals and quantity purchases.

They have a money back guarantee within fifteen days of the purchase. The subscription price includes access to all materials for eighteen months, thus no matter when the student is taking the Bar or if they have to take it again, the student has access to all course materials. This is also an advantage to those students in their last year of law school who wish to get a head start on preparing for the Bar exam.

BarBri

BarBri pioneered bar exam preparation fifty years ago and their reputation continues to attract the overwhelming majority of law school students each year. BarBri has what they call the MBE Immersion, built upon an experienced-based approach to improve law student performance on the MBE portion of the bar exam. This two-day class kicks off the bar review course and is designed to accelerate the pace the student learns the law and, in turn, successfully answer MBE bar exam questions.

The company also provides what they call BarBri Amp which they describe as an effective way to master the black letter law and maximize the student’s MBE score. Based upon the materials proffered, I was not able to determine the difference in methodology between the BarBri Amp and the BarBri Immersion. Both are linking MBE questions and answers with learning the law. The company provides a 200 question simulated MBE exam.

Additionally, BarBri provides what they call the Law Master Study Keys. The first key is to have a manageable and memorable framework to learn the law and understand where all of the rules fit into that framework. The next key to actually learning the law is to be able to bring together rules, the elements that comprise the rule, and a story to actually apply the rules and elements to real world scenarios.

Further, BarBri provides what is called the Essay Architect tool which provides immediate feedback for higher scoring essays. They claim that it enhances the student’s ability to write the lawyer-like answers that the bar examiners are looking for on the bar exam. The tool is online and by using the drag-and-drop features, the student practices essay writing following the standard IRAC format. Immediate feedback reinforces organization and structure.

The BarBri system requires lectures whether accessed in a classroom or online. These are provided in a structured format within schedules and access limitations. The lectures are given over a seven week period. Thus, the student is constrained to the course structure and has little flexibility in scheduling. There is no information on the company website, other than providing the simulated 200 question MBE exam, as to whether actual MBE and essay questions, with answers are provided to allow the student to practice on their own. Apparently, from examining the website, the company does not provide any assistance, course materials or simulated exams for the performance test.

The price is $3695. In addition, there is a course materials shipping fee of $30, a course registration fee of $250 and a refundable course materials fee of $250 once the course materials are returned. They provide an ABA premium discount.

The company does not provide a money back guarantee, however they do say that if the student fails their Bar exam that they can repeat the same jurisdictional state BarBri review course online when it’s offered next – without paying additional tuition. Apparently, none of the in-person services are available to a repeat taker.

Kaplan

The Kaplan course is very basic. The company provides course lectures whether in a classroom or online, and then provides essay and MBE practice questions with answers. The company states, that their syllabus adapts to the student’s needs, strengthening weak subjects with homework assignments designed for the student. The company motivates and engages the student by live streaming the classroom to their home. And once the student’s review course ends, they analyze the student’s performance and create a personalized Final Study Plan. They claim that this helps maximize the student’s points, and serves as a bridge between the last day of class and test day.

Their memory reinforcement technique is flash cards. The company claims to have total flexibility for accessing the lectures and other materials online, however, they provide no information as to how long the student has access to these materials and whether their “syllabus” is structured logistically and with time constraints (which is typical). Of course the classroom lectures would have scheduling constraints.

Outside of the course lectures, the company does not indicate whether they provide specific approaches, techniques and tips to answer both the MBE and essay questions and it does not look as though they provide any. However they do provide practice essay and MBE questions and answers, and they claim that with doing practice questions the students’ scores increase over time. In fact the company states, “a crucial component of test prep, it’s been shown that Kaplan students who submit more essays see improvement in their scores.” They also have a very large data base of practice MBE questions, cited to be 4000 and challenge students to complete all 4000. Apparently the company does not provide any assistance, course materials or simulated exams for the performance test.

The regular price is $2999. They currently have discounted price of $2399. There is an additional $250 registration fee.

The company does provide a money back guarantee for those who fail the Bar, however there are several restrictions which are as follows: Be a first time taker; have a JD from an ABA accredited school; be enrolled in the Kaplan Complete Bar Review course; attend 90 percent of all lectures prior to taking the Bar; complete all assigned exams, quizzes and homework prior to taking the exam; and take the very next scheduled bar exam after completing the course materials.

The following are the four remaining full service Bar preparation courses. However, they all have either “published” Bar pass rates or tiered pricing or both, which in my opinion are disqualifiers.

Flemings

Flemings is jurisdictionally specific to California only. They are the most expensive product on the market and have six tiers of pricing, with the most expensive being $6400.

Flemings uses the traditional lecture method, still mostly based within a classroom setting in California, with some accessibility online. The lectures are all within a structured format and within structured time limitations for the course.

The company claims to provide substantive law instruction with corresponding substantive law outlines, MBE instruction with corresponding MBE questions and answers, essay and Performance exam instruction with simulated exams, together with personalized oral feedback on CD for every writing assignment the student submits to their attorney readers. This method has been the traditional method/model for Bar prep courses for over twenty years.

The company states that essay, MBE, and performance testing is regularly scheduled and conducted under simulated bar exam conditions in each of Fleming’s bar reviews. As an example, in Fleming’s Long Term Bar Review, in addition to the exams covered during class instruction, the students are assigned forty-eight essay exams and nine performance exams to write and submit for an oral, audio CD critique and grading. In Fleming’s Short Term Bar Review, in addition to the exams covered during class instruction, the students are assigned thirty-five essay exams and four performance exams to write and submit for an oral, audio critique and grading.

Given the a la carte nature of the offerings from the company, it is difficult to compare prices of what they offer to the other full service companies. The closest would be their Long Term Review which has a cost of $3245 plus a $250 deposit. There are no cancellations, refunds or guarantees provided. There are no discounts provided for the actual courses, however the company claims that with a basic course purchase, a student may receive a discount on additional products in future purchases.

Themis

Right at the top of the home page and within several of the other back pages, Themis advertises their Bar pass rate. They emphasis this as a selling point. To me, as explained above, that is a big red flag. In addition, they make a statement on their website, claiming that they are “the only major bar review course developed to be completely online.” Obviously, as you can see from other company offerings, this is an inaccurate statement. Personally, no matter what the industry or product, I steer clear of companies which make untrue claims.

As with all of the other Bar prep courses, except for Side Bar, Themis is lecture based, however, they claim that they provide more flexibility for attending the lectures (all online) than the other companies. Given that many of the other companies also offer the lectures online with flexible accessibility, this is another inaccurate statement. The company states that with their Integrated Learning System, the student gets comprehensive outlines, practice multiple-choice questions, practice essay questions, on-demand lectures, and corresponding interactive handouts. Students who would rather study at their own pace have that option with their Flex Study mode.

The lectures are law course material based and thus, except for practicing essay, MBE and performance test questions, the students are not instructed on how to approach and analyze these questions in a way which will produce results. The student is left alone with the hope that practice makes perfect and they will learn from their mistakes.

The price for the course is $2095. They provide a $100 discount to active and retired military and also to active members in Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International and the Military Spouse J.D. Network. They do not provide a money back guarantee, however if you are a first-time Themis taker, and fail the bar, the company will provide the student with a free repeat of the course for the next administration of the same bar exam at no cost.

Bar Max

This is another company which advertises their Bar pass rates. In fact they make the claim that, “We release our pass rates while other bar courses refuse to.” Not only is the statement deceptive because some other companies do publish pass rates, the statement makes it sound as if the best criteria for evaluating a Bar prep company is its published pass rates. Again, as explained above, to me this is a big red flag.

As with many others, Bar Max is traditional and lecture based. The company provides, by course topic, an in-depth outline, an audio lecture from a law professor, and when appropriate, numerous flashcards for memory reinforcement. There are 50 hours of lectures. The entire course is provided either online or within their own iOS only App (no Android or Windows), thus, if you use the App, once loaded on your device, no internet access is required.

Upon enrollment, the student receives a Welcome Packet that includes skeleton outlines of lecture notes. The Welcome Packet also includes printable PDFs of performance tests and 180 practice essays from previous exams, with 2 model answers for each essay. The company provides 1750 practice MBE questions with answers.

The student will also receive 2 free writing critiques (performance tests or essays). Additional critiques can be purchased a la carte.

Once again, the lectures are law course material based and thus, except for practicing essay, MBE and performance test questions, the students are not instructed on how to approach and analyze these questions in a way which will produce results. The student is left alone with the hope that practice makes perfect and they will learn from their mistakes.

The price for the course is $999. They provide a “public interest” scholarship of $499 for those employed in qualifying public interest jobs or in the military. They provide a 100 percent refund within 7 days of the front end purchase. For California and Uniform Bar exam takers, they provide a money back guarantee for those who fail the Bar exam, however there are numerous restrictions including tight time constraints to apply for the refund.

AmeriBar

This company provides a tiered pricing system. The course, like most of the others. is based upon course lectures. There are 80 hours of online only course lectures. The company also provides books containing the course outlines and practice essay, performance test, and MBE questions and answers. They also have an extensive MBE online data bank of questions and answers.

Although the company provides some basic writing skills and the application of IRAC to essay writing, the lectures are law course material based and thus, except for practicing essay, MBE and performance test questions, the students are not instructed on how to approach and analyze these questions in a way which will produce results. The student is left alone with the hope that practice makes perfect and they will learn from their mistakes. In fact, the company makes the following statement. “The most effective way to prepare for the essay exam is to practice answering prior bar exam essay questions. You will learn which issues are often tested, and how common issues should be resolved.” In total they provide 3400 practice MBE questions and 150 practice essay questions.

Additionally, they provide attorney phone support. They also provide eleven essay critiques within the six week period before taking the exam. The basic course regular price is $2295, they are currently running a discount for $1365. There is a book shipping fee of $25. The company website makes the claim that, “we are the least expensive full service bar review course.” This claim is not supported by the offerings of other companies like Bar Max.

There is an undisclosed book deposit fee which is only disclosed after you sign up. Although this fee is not disclosed on the website, typically when a company charges a book deposit fee, it is $250. If you return the books within a designated timeframe the book deposit will be refunded. If you wish to have the lectures on an iPod, there is an additional fee of $249. They provide a refund within 4 days after purchase, less 12.5 percent restocking fee. Their pass guarantee provides that a student will receive a free retake of the online course as long as the student provides AmeriBar with a copy of the examiner’s notification letter within 10 days of the student’s notification.