Conservation Easements: Save Money & Keep Your Land with Your Family

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

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By Robert Townsley

Conservation easements are an excellent method for maintaining ownership of one’s land while not only prohibiting development but also receiving tax benefits. A conservation easement is a legally-binding agreement between a property owner and a nonprofit organization or a government agency that restricts development on the land covered by the easement. Usually the landowner receives tax benefits in exchange for the conservation easement but sometimes they can receive a one-time payment made by the organization to purchase the easement. Donating land via a conservation easement can provide estate tax, income tax, and property tax benefits.

Have a New York Pistol Permit? Time is Running Out to Recertify!

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

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By John A. Moscati, Jr.

A little publicized provision of the 2013 New York S.A.F.E. Act is about to become effective and unsuspecting New York pistol permit holders may find themselves in legal jeopardy if they do not act quickly to comply with the statute.

Prior to the adoption of the S.A.F.E. Act, pistol permits issued in New York were good until revoked. The S.A.F.E. Act added a new provision to Section §400.00 of the New York Penal Law creating a five year expiration term for all pistol permits in New York. Every five (5) years a pistol permit must be renewed by filing a recertification form with the State Police. If your pistol permit was issued before January 15, 2013 the deadline to submit your recertification is January 31, 2018. If your permit was issued on or after January 15, 2013, the deadline to recertify is five years after the date the permit was issued. This means that the vast majority of pistol permits issued in New York will expire on January 31, 2018 less than ninety days from now.

Marijuana In The Workplace Changing Times

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

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By Joseph F. Saeli, Jr.

1. REEFER MADNESS

Our society’s response to marijuana use is changing rapidly. Eight states and the District of Columbia now permit recreational marijuana use. The use of medical marijuana is allowed in twenty-nine states. In addition, the Canadian government plans to enact legislation in the summer of 2018 which would legalize marijuana use in all of Canada.

We have come a long way from the days of Reefer Madness!

 

A Startup Sabbatical: What I learned from 11 months in politics

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

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By Matthew Pelkey

In the beginning of 2016 my wife came to me with a proposition—she wanted to run for New York State Senate.

Against an incumbent. With a lot more money. And she wanted my help. At the time I had been immersed in the upstate startup ecosystem. That was all about to change.

We had always been a team in nearly everything we did, so by no means did this come as a surprise. A decade earlier I had spent some time in government myself so it wasn’t completely foreign to me. And of course, I had regularly attended a mélange of political activities with my wife over the years. “Why not?”, I thought to myself.

A Fresh Start for Farmers in Distress

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

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By Frederick Gawronski

Farms come in all shapes and sizes. They are operated by publicly traded companies, closely held organizations and individuals. They share many of the same successes and problems, including the booms and busts directly related to external circumstances. Weather, tariffs, trade and politics are just a few of the factors outside the day to day control of a farming operation which impact the bottom line.

New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law—Coming Soon

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

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By Joseph F. Saeli, Jr.

New York’s Paid Family Leave Benefits Law takes effect on January 1, 2018.   Most non-government employers in New York will have to comply with this law.  It is not too early to begin preparing for it.

Employees will be eligible for Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) for up to eight weeks within a fifty-two-week period.  PFL includes compensation, continued health insurance, and job protection.

PFL can be used for one of three reasons:

  1. To care for a close relative with a serious health condition.
  2. To bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed child within the first twelve months after birth, adoption or foster placement.
  3. When a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call to active duty, as provided under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).

Unlike the FMLA, PFL benefits are not available for an employee’s own health condition.

Racial Disparagement? The U.S. Supreme Court Rules on “The Slants” Trademark Refusal

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

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By Erin Gormley

Summer is often a season for music, when music lovers listen to their favorite artists at concerts, in their backyards, and in their cars with the windows down. This summer, a U.S. Supreme Court case has caused music to become a place where freedom of speech and trademark law intersect.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the rock band “The Slants,” made up of Asian-American musicians, cannot be barred from using that name, regardless of the potential of disparagement to Asian and Asian-American individuals. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”) initially prohibited the band from registering the name “The Slants” as a trademark in classification 041 for “entertainment in the nature of live performances by a musical band” on the grounds that “the applied-for mark consists of or includes matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs or national symbols.”

How Community Capital Models Can Regenerate Upstate NY

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

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By Matthew Pelkey

If you’ve spent any time in Upstate New York you have no doubt experienced an unfortunate yet common site: a row of empty storefronts lining a street which once upon a time was a bustling town center. Community capital models could be the answer we’ve been looking for to revitalize neighborhoods victim to the rust belt economy.

As Upstate NY’s economy changed, many of these storefronts became boarded up relics—scars on our neighborhoods serving as a reminder of a time since past. It is important to acknowledge that there has recently been significant progress in many upstate communities, but a brisk stroll through Saranac Lake, or Watertown, or even Main Street in Buffalo leaves these scars difficult to ignore. What exactly to do about them, however, is a difficult question.

Catching up on emerging legal practices.

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

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By Matthew K. Pelkey

At Colligan Law we believe that high growth companies should have access to a broad network across the globe which can be leveraged to assist our clients no matter what comes up, or more importantly—no matter where it comes up.

As a member of Lawyers Associated Worldwide (“LAW” because lawyers have a terrible sense of humor), we are able to do exactly that. For those unfamiliar with it, LAW is a global association of nearly 100 independent law firms located in more than 50 countries. With access to more than 4000 lawyers worldwide, LAW allows firms such as ours to service the legal needs of clients that are expanding their operations and relationships into new domestic and foreign markets.

LAW also allows us to gain a global perspective on emerging industries and how legal services may be impacted. Here are some of the latest practice areas that are emerging among our LAW network:

Common Employment Pitfalls for Startups

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

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By Matthew Pelkey

Starting a business comes with a lot of learning curves, including learning how to properly manage employees.

It is almost guaranteed that founders will run into some employment questions while growing their business. As legal practitioners we always hope that our clients will call us before making decisions with legal consequences, but alas, that is not always the case. And while every situation is unique (and you should always seek legal counsel to answer questions specific to your facts and circumstances) here are four common employment law pitfalls with startups:

  • Independent contractors must be…[spoiler alert]…independent.

The old saying goes, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. The same holds true for employees. For some reason though people tend to forget this rule when utilizing “independent contractors”. As a general rule, just because you give someone a 1099 and tell the world they are “an independent contractor”, even if they agree to it in writing, does not an independent contractor make. The true test for whether someone is an independent contractor is a far more nuanced, multi-factored test. The more factors indicating the exercise of control over a person, the more likely they are to be considered an employee.

The safest way to ensure that your independent contractor will not be classified as employee? Make sure the contractor is actually operating a business, has a proper entity formed, has an EIN, has workers compensation and unemployment insurance, and files their own payroll tax. The independent contractor should also have other clients and be able to freely compete in the marketplace.