China Trade

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Prepared for the September 13, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.

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In a Legal Pickle? An HMO for Law

You get a traffic ticket that you feel is unfair. So

you call your attorney to ask who to see at traffic court and what

to say. You may not get your fine reduced, but you have a good chance

of not getting "points" on your license.

What if you don’t have an attorney? Most middle class families don’t,

says Linda Ramsey of Prepaid Legal Services Inc. "If any

kind of legal question comes up, they usually ignore it, or handle

it themselves, and the problem gets worse."

Her solution: buy a membership in her service. She gives a workshop

on Monday, September 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Robert Wood Johnson

University

Hospital at Hamilton. It is free by registration: call 609-506-1650

(or E-mail: soullegal@aol.com,

www.prepaidlegal.com/go/lindaramsey).

Ramsey’s own policy has provided various legal remedies, including

one for a teenage son’s traffic ticket. "It works kind of like

an HMO," says Ramsey. "If my daughter’s nose runs, I don’t

hesitate to call a doctor because I have insurance. If you can get

your question answered about a legal situation, you may be able to

solve the problem before things get bad. For families, I love this

service with all my heart."

Ramsey grew up in Bristol, Pennsylvania, where her father was a

carpenter.

She has two school-age and two grown children. She has had various

businesses ("the entrepreneur in me didn’t like working for

somebody

else") including travel sales. She can market this legal service

in almost all the states and says her commission income is

"healthy."

The 28-year-old service provides access to attorneys with the highest

rating ("not a hole in the wall attorney") in the United

States

and Canada. In New Jersey, the firm providing services is Mattleman,

Weinroth, & Miller. John Miller is the managing partner for the

service

in Cherry Hill, and the firm also has an office in Clinton.

Ramsey points out that the attorneys are very anxious to please member

clients. "They are graded. The firm gets a third of the membership

fees, and for 11,000 memberships that is a lot of money."

Policies in New Jersey cost $10.95 a month, or about $130 per year,

and this covers contract and document review, a letter or phone call

on your behalf, and a simple will for the primary member. Additional

wills for other family members cost only $20. Any member of your

immediate

family can get any number of toll-free phone consultations, and most

needs can be taken care of this way. Should you need specialized or

extended services, or if you need to go to court, you get a 25 percent

discount from either the original firm or the referral firm.

Also included is 24-hour coverage if you are detained by police.

Ramsey

tells of a woman in Philadelphia who was driving home at 3 a.m. from

taking care of her sick father. When the police stopped her, she

called

and was put through — at that hour — to her attorney. "If

someone in your family gets into trouble, the first thing they should

do is call the 800 number," says Ramsey. "If the problem

required

more than a letter or a phone call, there would be a charge, but at

least you would have service readily available."

In a divorce case, the first spouse to call the service gets the

contract

attorney. The other spouse would be referred to an attorney from

another

firm. The 25 percent membership discount would apply to both.

Ramsey tells of taking her son’s just-purchased used car to the

service

station and watching the mechanic damage it on the lift. When the

mechanic denied doing the damage, it was going to be his word against

hers. Her son called the attorney. "The owner of the shop said

my son didn’t have to do that," says Ramsey, "but if you are

21 years old, of course you do. They fixed the car, free, within a

week."

In another example of a client who received help, a friend’s husband

left $1,000 worth of tools on a job at the request of his boss who

promised to be responsible for them. When the tools were stolen, not

only did the boss not pay for them, but he also tried to collect

$1,000

for an insurance bill. The friend had a letter ready to send to the

boss, but Ramsey persuaded her to join the service and consult an

attorney first. When she read that letter to the attorney, he said

that the letter would have made her liable for both bills. "You

don’t know what you can do to yourself in a letter," says Ramsey.

This service is meant to protect you, not to encourage you to file

lawsuits. If you do file a suit, you would get your legal services

provided at the 25 percent discount. "Since the attorneys are

not getting $200 an hour, they are not going to try to drag things

out," says Ramsey. "They will want to solve the problem here

and now."

— Barbara Fox

Top Of Page
China Trade

The fact that China is moving towards admission in the

World Trade Organization — and that a market of 1.3 billion

consumers

is moving into a rules-based trading system — will establish a

"long-lasting and very productive relationship for the United

States, and more particularly for New Jersey," says Jose Gomez

Rivera III.

Rivera is acting director of International Trade & Protocol for the

state (U.S. 1, September 6). He will speak at a seminar entitled

"China

Trade — Seize the Moment" on Wednesday, September 20, at 8:30

a.m. at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison. Cost: $75.

Reservations

are required, and display tables can be reserved for $300. Call

973-539-3882,

extension 28 (www.morrischamber.org).

Other speakers include Robert Kapp, president of the U.S.-China

Business Council, Sheldon Feinman of International Trade

Development

Co., Laurence Harper of Ballantrae International, Steve Shaw

of Umbrellas Etc., and Antoinette Corsini of HSBC Bank.

Twenty Chinese companies will send representatives, and appointments

with these delegations are available. Among the cities represented

are Tianjing, Beijing, Geijow, and Shenzhen. Many delegations seek

export opportunities, but among the other requests are a production

line for synthetic fiber, a real estate development partner, an

investor

with $5 million to contribute to a high tech venture capital fund,

and contracts to restore historic buildings.


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