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Author archives: Jessica Perdue

3
Jan
2020

When is the last time you updated your employee handbook?

Join us for a free upcoming seminar: Employee Handbooks. Will Yours Make the Grade?

February 13th, 2020

  • Time: 8:30 am –10:00 am
  • Location: Paul Davis training room- 44601 Guilford Dr, Ashburn, VA 20147

Join Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C.’s employment law attorneys Kris Spitler and Brendan Cassidy for a presentation on how to create an effective and compliant employee handbook.

Whether you are creating a brand new handbook or revising your current handbook, spending the time to properly craft the policies in your employee handbook can help ensure that they fit your Company’s business needs, do not expose it to liability, and provide employers with defenses against common charges brought by employees.

To reserve your space, please complete the form below:

Employee Handbook Seminar
30
Dec
2019

7 Reasons Good Attorneys are Worth Their Weight in Wine

According to WVTF, Wine Spectator Magazine named Virginia a top world destination for wine lovers to visit, along with places like France, Germany, Spain, and New Zealand so it’s no wonder wineries are popping up all over Virginia. In Northern Virginia, in particular, wineries and breweries have gained popularity because of their access to interstates and tourism traffic. Agritourism combines 2 of Virginia’s top 3 industries: agriculture (#1) and tourism (#3) providing a boon to rural economies and helping preserve small to mid-size farms.

If you’re considering starting a vineyard, winery, or brewery you probably already know you have to comply with Virginia alcohol laws and regulations. What many aspiring entrepreneurs forget is that it’s also worthwhile to learn about the “non-alcoholic” side of winery and brewery ownership. An experienced business attorney can take the guesswork out of the agritourism business law and protect your winery from common risks that nearly all businesses face.

Read on to learn 7 things lawyers can do to help your agribusiness’s growth and sustainability.

1. Attorneys Can Help You Incorporate & Reduce Personal Risks.

If you want your winery or brewery to be taken seriously, you’ll need to form a business entity.  When handled properly, incorporation can protect your personal assets from business losses and reduce your tax liabilities. Deciding which corporate structure will work best for your business is a balancing act that requires the insight of an experienced attorney. Trying to use legal forms without the advice of an attorney could lead to your winery paying more than its fair share in taxes, or worse, the loss of your business and personal assets for simple legal mistakes.

2. Attorneys Can Help You Obtain Business Loans to Grow Your Winery.

If you have never applied for a business loan, it’s worth noting that business lending is quite different from the personal loan process. Lenders want to protect their investment, so they often require business owners to submit substantial paperwork and sign numerous guarantees before any money is distributed. In addition to many lenders requiring a business plan, incorporation, and other business documentation, they may apply multiple contingencies throughout the life of your loan. Such as a requirement that you maintain your corporate entity, have a life insurance policy, or submit annual financial data.

An agribusiness attorney can help you prepare the right documentation to improve your chances of obtaining a business loan and ensure you’re not signing predatory loan agreements that set you up for failure.

3. Attorneys Can Help You Acquire Land & Construct Facilities.

Land acquisition and usage is always a hot legal topic for Virginia wineries. Zoning issues and private legal restrictions, such as covenants, may limit or prohibit some uses of your property.

Trying to navigate all of the different rules, regulations, and procedures involved with land use regulations is complicated and time-consuming. The time to consult an attorney is before you acquire land.

4. Attorneys Can Help You Draft Contracts that Protect Your Business Interests.

Every business needs contracts. At some point, you will deal with suppliers, vendors, employees, and other professionals. Each relationship that your business relies on will need to be governed by some form of an agreement so that you can take action if the other party doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain.

The world of contract law is highly specialized within every industry. Even the most experienced contract attorneys may not know the nuances of the agritourism industry. Working with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of agritourism will set your business up for success and mitigate risks.

5. Attorneys Can Help You Hire & Retain Good Employees.

If you want your business to grow and succeed, at some point you will need to hire employees. Finding, hiring, training, and retaining good employees is one of the most important (and daunting) aspects of business ownership. Even business owners with past management experience often do not know the best ways to secure trustworthy employees. What’s worse is that employees are one of the biggest sources of business lawsuits in the United States.

Federal and State governments regulate what can be asked during interviews, how employees are paid and taxed, how employees are to be treated, and when employees can be fired. An attorney can help ensure you’re in compliance with all employment laws and regulations. They can also help create employee agreements that protect your business from adverse actions of employees,  like opening a competing business, sharing your trade secrets, or recruiting co-workers for a competitor.

6. Attorneys Can Help Your Protect Your Name, Ideas, Reputation, and Designs.

Your business’s name, ideas, and reputation are its lifeblood. If a competitor steals your ideas or an employee shares your proprietary information, your business could lose its competitive advantage. This is why intangible assets, like intellectual property (IP), are some of the most valuable components of a newly formed business.

You will want to ensure your unique ideas maintain their value by taking advantage of intellectual property laws that protect trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Even your marketing campaigns can be protected property. A seasoned attorney can help you maximize the value of your business by protecting your ideas. As well as help you avoid fines and lawsuits by ensuring you are not infringing on other businesses ’ IP rights.

7. Attorneys Can Help You Avoid Lawsuits.

Many business owners believe they don’t need lawyers until a problem arises. You may have caught yourself thinking, “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” Unfortunately, this is one of the most expensive mistakes business owners make. All businesses face the risk of lawsuits and agri-business is no exception. If you’re selling alcohol on your property, you face even greater risks.

The good news is, experienced business attorneys can help you protect your business from litigation and limit your liabilities, proactively. They can help ensure you have the right protections in place, legally, financially, and contractually to protect your business from lawsuits and regulatory penalties.


Our experienced team of attorneys at VF&N are able to assist you with all aspects of your agritourism business, from startup to growth and beyond. If you’re interested in starting a winery or brewery in Virginia, or would like to protect your existing agribusiness, contact us for personalized advice designed to meet your unique goals.

By: Martin Crim, VF&N Attorney

17
Dec
2019

Six Attorneys Named Legal Elite in 2019

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. is proud to announce that six of its attorneys have been recognized by the Virginia Business Magazine as being among Virginia’s “Legal Elite” within their various practice categories. All of the attorneys named have been nominated as Legal Elite in the past and we’re extremely honored to celebrate their continued success and exceptional work!

Litigation & Construction– Randolph Frostick

Land Use & Real Estate– Michael Vanderpool

Intellectual Property– Christopher Collins

Employment Law– Kristina Keech Spitler

Young Lawyer (under 40) – Brett Callahan

Business Law– V. Rick Nishanian

31
Oct
2019

Blast From The Past- 2002 VF&N Building Ground Breaking

February 12th, 2002

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C.  groundbreaking ceremony of the current VF&N building in Old Town Manassas. Brought to you by the magic of VHS conversion.

Mr. Vanderpool speaks to the vision he had for his firm and surrounding community.

Paraphrased:

Today represents an intersection of two different visions; my vision to create a top-notch law firm for businesses and residents of this area and, about that same time, Historic Manassas inc had a vision of what old town could become…. All those things we hoped would happen in old town Manassas have happened.

And with good attorneys like Rick and Randy and all the attorneys of the firm, we have been able to begin the process of growing the law firm that we are very proud of. We look forward to being a big participant in the city of Manassas.


Fast forward 18 years and it would seem the attorneys of VF&N have kept that vision alive.

2006- Arthur Sinclair Award from the Prince William County Bar Association

2007- Community Outreach Award from the Prince William Regional Chamber of Commerce

2008- Loy E. Harris Award from the City of Manassas for service to the community

2009- Name one of Virginia’s largest law firms by Virginia Lawyers Weekly

2017- Prince William Chamber Business Excellence Award

2019- Leadership Prince William Vision Award

17
Oct
2019

Avoiding Litigation: Free Seminar

Wednesday, Oct. 23rd
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Centerfuse in Manassas

Join VF&N’s litigation attorney Brett Callahan as she presents at the Oct. YPNOVA Success Series Seminar: Avoiding Litigation.

Ms. Callahan will cover common mistakes businesses make that can lead to or increase the risk of litigation related to contracts, real estate, employment, intellectual property, business formation, and compliance.

Open to the public, YPNOVA membership not required.

25
Sep
2019

Four VF&N attorneys rated AV Preeminent®

Congratulations to our team of AV Preeminent® attorneys Randolph Frostick, Olaun Simmons, Michael Vanderpool & Kristina Keech Spitler! AV Preeminent® is Martindale-Hubbell’s highest professional achievement, a designation trusted worldwide by buyers and referrers of legal services.

The process of Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ has been the gold standard in the rating of attorneys’ legal ability and high ethical standards for more than 100 years. One of the reasons this award is such an honor is that it is only bestowed on a select few, about 10% of all attorneys. Because of this, it is a designation that can be trusted by clients and those who need to refer clients for other legal services.

For more info visit: https://www.martindale.com/ratings

19
Jul
2019

So What Did Change with the New Proffer Law?

In our first blog post on the 2019 Virginia proffer legislation, we told you what hasn’t changed with the new law. As promised, now we will address what has changed.

Myth: Under the new law, localities have no liability exposure for unreasonable demands unless the governing body requests one in writing, so planning staff can talk to developers again. 

Reality: The new legislation says that developers and localities can talk, but the old legislation didn’t say they couldn’t. The reason why local government attorneys warned staff against talking to developers was the Koontz decision from the US Supreme Court, and specifically Justice Kagan’s dissent in that case which warned that “no local government official with a decent lawyer would have a conversation with a developer” because of the risk of liability. (That hasn’t changed.) There’s also the question of whether a local governing body authorizes or ratifies a written request from a staff member.

The bottom line is that the new law changes the liability exposure of localities, but localities should still exercise caution.

Myth: Under the new law, localities can expect to receive proffers for facilities in addition to the four enumerated facility types of transportation, schools, public safety, and parks.

Reality: The new legislation allows for proffers to be deemed reasonable if signed by the applicant and property owner, even if they are for off-site proffers that aren’t for the four kinds of public facility. However, beware that the new law takes away with one hand what it hands out with the other. Right after the language about the owner and applicant being able to make any offsite proffer reasonable just by signing it, the General Assembly wrote the following:

2. Failure to submit proffers as set forth in subdivision 1 shall not be a basis for the denial of any rezoning or proffer condition amendment application.

This raises an interesting question if the locality relies upon impacts on facilities other than transportation, parks, schools and public safety to deny a rezoning.

Myth: Under the new law, an applicant has to object in writing to a proffer request in order to challenge it later. 

Reality: Challenges based on violations of “this section” (Va. Code Section 15.2-2303.4) require a written objection to the governing body before the aggrieved applicant can file suit. This limits the availability of the legal remedies under that code section, but does not limit the remedies available for a constitutional challenge or a challenge based on another statute.   It is also important to note that this section does not extend to conditions imposed pursuant to a special use permit.

Localities still need to do their own analysis on whether a proffer request is reasonable. Maybe not as much changed with the new law as some people are hoping.

By the Proffer Professors: Mike Vanderpool & Martin Crim

16
Jul
2019

Eighth Annual Employment Law and HR Summit

 

Eighth Annual Employment Law and HR Summit
Vision 2020: The Future of HR

 

Friday, October 11, 2019 – 8:00am-5:00pm

Foxchase Manor: 8310 Chatsworth Drive, Manassas, Virginia 20109

 

REGISTER HERE 

 

As a human resource professional, business owner, executive, manager or administrative personnel tasked with dealing with HR issues, you need to stay on top of recent developments in the field of HR and employment law that may impact the future of your business. This Summit is designed to provide you with critical information in an engaging and useful format. Being informed about what is going on in the world of employment will help you stay on top of your company’s evolving HR needs.

The Employment Law & HR Summit is an easy and affordable way to summarize and highlight the most up-to-date information employers need to address issues currently impacting their workforce and organization, and identify issues that can have an impact on tomorrow’s workplace.

Jointly Presented by Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C., and Prince William SHRM, Inc.

Speakers & Topics

Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq.- Vanderpool, Frostick & NishanianHottest employment law issues and trends of 2019 as well as significant court decisions.
Christopher D. Silva – Assistant District Director US Department of Labor/Wage & Hour DivisionLearn important information from the DOL on topics including FLSA exemptions, wage deductions, independent contractor classifications, overtime requirements, and minimum wage issues. This is also the opportunity for attendees to gain a clearer perspective about common employer violations and trends in DOL enforcement.
Jinnae Monroe – Managing Principal, Professionals by DesignGain a deeper richer understanding of generations in the workplace and best practices for accepting roles and responsibilities of each generation. The session will discuss the importance of HR’s role in leading and guiding other organizational units in embracing generational differences.
Mauricio Velasquez – CEO & Owner The Diversity Training GroupThe HR professional in 2020 must understand the concepts of Change Management and have the skills and knowledge to guide their organizations through change. This session will address how HR professionals can help their organizations identify the impact of change, assess and manage the ripple effects that change can cause across the organization, and how to communicate change across throughout all levels of the organization.

PricingIncludes admission, continental breakfast, lunch, written materials (online), and a chance to win prizes!!!

Early Bird Rate on or before August 31st: PWSHRM Member Rate: $129, Non-Member Rate: $169.

Regular Rate on or after September 1st: PWSHRM Member Rate: $169, Non-Member Rate: $199.

Cancellation Fee $25. No refunds will be issued after September 12, 2019. Registration closes October 3, 2019.

Credit Status: One-Day Conference is approved for 5 HRCI ( 3.75 Business/1.25 General ) & 5 SHRM PD Hours

22
May
2019

Client awarded large Australian government contract

In a press release by the Australian Minister for Defence; issued March 06, 2019 it was announced that “the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will receive a new sovereign air transportable Submarine Rescue Service capability under a contract with Phoenix International (Australia).”

Attorney Christopher Collins speaks to the proposal efforts, the due diligence performed to vet subcontractors and the importance of solid teaming agreements.

15
May
2019

How to Protect Your Business When Ice Agents Want To Inspect Your I-9 Forms

ICE Agents have been active recently in the Prince William area and other parts of the VA/DC/MD metropolitan area, investigating businesses (especially small and medium companies) to determine compliance with properly completing and retaining I-9 forms.  Employers in industries involving construction, restaurants, landscaping, and janitorial/cleaning services are frequently (but by no means the only) targets of ICE investigations. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (an agency within the Department of Homeland Security) has significantly increased its efforts to reduce unlawful immigration employment practices under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Employers are legally required to verify the identity of the person they hire and to confirm that they are eligible to work in the United States.  The law further requires that employers document this process by completing a Form I-9 for each person they hire.

ICE has focused enforcement efforts on employers who hire an illegal workforce. They follow up on tips provided by the public and conduct random and unannounced audits of employer records to determine if the company has complied with its legal obligations.  They do not need probable cause to investigate your business nor do they need to have a tip.  

I-9 Forms and ICE’s Notice of Inspection

The mandatory I-9 forms must be completed every time you make a new hire.  The form must be retained for three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later. If ICE has been given a tip or the business has been selected for an audit, ICE will present you with a Notice of Inspection.  

What to Expect from an ICE Inspection

The notice of inspection usually requests the following records from the company:

  • I-9 records
  • Payroll records
  • 1099s
  • No-match and mismatch letters

Upon notice, you have three business days to provide the investigating officers with the requested documents.

Civil and Criminal Penalties

Failure of employers to comply with IRCA can result in substantial civil fines and ultimately, possible criminal prosecution if you are found to have knowingly violated the law. 

What To Do If ICE Agents Present You With A Notice of Inspection Regarding Your I-9s

  • Do not provide records immediately or allow an immediate inspection of records as you have up to three days to respond.
  • Call your trusted employment lawyer in order to advise you on the best course of action and to timely respond with the proper documents presented in the best light possible.

Ensuring Compliance Before ICE Investigates

If you have not yet been the subject of an investigation, you can take steps to protect your business.  Employers should conduct confidential internal audits of your I-9 forms with the help of your employment lawyer.  This process can help you correct any potential problems before an inspection and avoid possible fines.  It is also beneficial to have knowledgeable employment counsel conduct periodic training of your personnel assigned to handle your I-9s.

Contact a Trusted Employment Law Attorney

Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq., with Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian is ready to help your business respond to an ICE inspection, provide a confidential internal Form I-9 audit, and/or help train your personnel to properly complete and retain I-9 forms.


Kristina Keech Spitler is a Shareholder and Head of the Employment Law Practice of Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, PC.  With over thirty years of experience, Kris has been recognized as “Legal Elite” in Employment Law by Virginia Business Magazine, as well as a “Leader in the Law” and an “Influential Women of Law” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly.  You can reach Kris at (703)369-4738 or kspitler@vfnlaw.com.

** The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.