Archives for November 2013

Preparation is Key!

Recently, I called a client to set up a block of time to prepare for a mediation. The client didn’t understand why we needed to meet and thought you just go in and see if the dispute can be settled or not. This common misconception regarding mediation speaks to an important topic: preparation.

I had to explain to the client that the two most important times in a lawsuit are mediation and trial. Mediation is the last time a party has any control over the outcome of a lawsuit because you have no real control when it is in the hands of the judge or jury. Why wouldn’t you prepare for such an important event??

It begs the question as to why you wouldn’t prepare for any important event or conversation, such as a mediation, a year end meeting with a supervisor regarding performance, salary or bonus issues, a job interview, an important conversation with a child, co-worker, spouse, etc. For real.

In all situations know the message you want to communicate and you stand a better chance of making sure you and your position(s) are understood. This will enhance your position and put you in a better place to achieve any goals or desired results. It also will bolster your reputation and what others who deal with you think about you. And reputation is everything.

So prepare, prepare, prepare, and see where it gets you, because, as Benjamin Franklin smartly said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

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Do Something Different

It is a Friday heading toward the holiday season. It is a time of year when phrases such as “goodwill to all men” are used. But we know what is happening in the world around us and that in the fast moving world we live in not everyone treats people well.

Here is a link to a video (thanks to Kasten Spethmann of!) that shows we can sometimes learn lessons, or at least be reminded, by teens and pre-teens that everyone should be treated well and deserves to feel special:

Please think about this as you make you way to and through your weekend. What can you do to make someone else’s day?

Of course this relates to the business topics I usually write about, but I know all of you can figure out how this applies in your business and professional lives without me explaining it.

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Schedule Your Annual Contract “Check-Up”: Arizona Law Change on Confidentiality, Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Provisions

Most employers and employees are familiar with restrictive covenants. I am referring to confidentiality/trade secret provisions, non-compete provisions and non-solicitation provisions (if you don’t know what one or more of these provisions is used for and want to know, feel free to contact me). These type of provisions come up in contexts other than employment, such as when a business is sold, but the main place you probably will have encountered one is as an employee, employer or independent contractor.

For employers, it is important to have the agreements  and contracts you use with employees and otherwise reviewed by an attorney annually to make sure changes in the law don’t require revisions or render some or all of a contract unenforceable. For employees, independent contractors, sellers or buyers it always is a good idea to have an attorney review these type of provisions or agreements at the time they are being negotiated. Or now, because the law change may affect enforceability of contracts to which you are a party too.

Based on an October 2013 Arizona Court of Appeals decision it makes sense for any person or business who is a party to a contract or agreement containing these type of provisions to have them reviewed by an attorney because the law has changed for now. How it may affect you depends on the specific provisions you have agreed to, no matter whether you are an employer, employee, independent contractor, seller, buyer, etc. I strongly suggest you make this part of your year-end planning heading into 2014 because of the change in the law. And make it part of the annual legal “check-up” you should be doing to protect yourself.

Let me know if you have any questions on this topic or want to schedule a time to review restrictive covenants in documents you use or are a party to.

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