Stacy N. Lilly News

Feb 9

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced some good news for women-owned small businesses.  Beginning February 4, 2011, women-owned small businesses and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses can begin applying to a new federal program designed to provide women-owned businesses with greater access to federal contracting opportunities.  Under the new program, specific government contracts will be set aside for certified women-owned businesses.  Instructions on how to participate in the new program will be released on February 4 on the SBA website at www.sba.gov/wosb.  Further information about the program and how to become a certified woman-owned business can also be found on the SBA website.

Jan 25

UPDATE:  Here is the Columbus Bar Reporter’s article about the panel discussion — “Going Solo: A True Do-It-Yourself Venture

The Columbus Bar Association’s Women in the Profession and Solo & Small Firm Management Committees teamed up to host a panel today to discuss the strategies for starting your own law firm.  I had the opportunity to serve on the panel, along with several other amazing solopreneurs.  We had a terrific turnout and lively discussion about law firm marketing, finances, and the many benefits of being a sole or small firm practitioner.

For those who missed it, the bar association will publish the podcast soon.  In the meantime, I wanted to share a list of reference materials that was distributed to the group:

Small Business Resources:

Legal Resources:

Websites and Blogs:

Jan 17

New causes of action pursued to compensate owners for killings of pets:

It may come as a surprise to some that the majority of U.S. jurisdictions continue to limit the damages recoverable for a pet’s killing or injury to the animal’s net worth, treating them only as personal property.  I recently published an article in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly discusses efforts to change this.  You can read the full article here.

Jan 10

This summer I wrote an article about constitutional challenges to the Health Care Reform Law spearheaded by the attorneys general of thirteen states. At the heart of the dispute is whether the law’s Minimum Essential Coverage Provision, which will require all citizens and legal immigrants to maintain health insurance or pay a penalty, is beyond Congress’ power.  Last month, a federal judge in Virginia ruled the law unconstitutional, holding that “the unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision would invite unbridled exercise of federal police power. At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage—it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate.”

Judge Henry E. Hudson, a George W. Bush appointee, is the first judge to strike down the law which has already been held constitutional by two democratic-appointed judges.  His decision creates a clear conflict in the courts about the law’s constitutionality.  Stay tuned.

Nov 3

In recent months, I have settled several litigation matters that have reminded me of the importance of counseling clients about settlement options early in litigation.

One commercial dispute I resolved involved numerous claims and counterclaims, with the parties each demanding damages in excess of half a million dollars.  As with most complex business litigation matters, document review and production, depositions, and pre-trial submissions would have resulted in considerable attorney’s fees and expenses.   Recognizing these potential costs, and the risks involved with proceeding to trial, the parties and counsel worked diligently to work out an agreement satisfactory to everyone involved before unnecessary costs were incurred.  This only could have happened if both sides were well-informed by their counsel and made the effort to consider all options and possible outcomes.

Compare this positive experience to another lawsuit where I became involved only on the eve of trial.  Several attempts at resolution had been made over the years, however, a settlement was never finalized – even though it was clear that most, if not all, of the parties involved wanted to settle the case.  Unfortunately, the lengthy litigation caused the parties to incur expenses and fees that were likely at least triple the settlement value of the case.

It is every attorney’s obligation to have a candid conversation with her clients about the possibility of settlement at the earliest opportunity.  Clients should be advised of the potential costs and expenses involved in litigating a case through trial at the very beginning of the case.  Whenever possible, I will discuss an anticipated budget with potential clients before I forward an engagement letter.  The risk of losing the case, or not recovering as much as a client may want, must also be considered early on.  Indeed, the possibility of resolution should be discussed at each stage of the litigation so the client remains advised of the cost and risk involved with proceeding.   Otherwise, clients are not well-informed and can ultimately spend thousands for unnecessary legal fees.