A Legal Blog Sponsored By The Maitland Law Firm - www.Maitlandlaw.com

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Audio Clip of Rob's 4th Circuit Argument

Here's the link to the oral argument I made before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in the John McCormick Bankruptcy Case on December 7th. I represent Mr. and Mrs. Macky who lent $60,000 to John McCormick. My part is about 2/3 of the way through, after the attorney for Suntrust Bank opens and my colleague, David Rooks, speaks for the trustee. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life! But I think my argument was well received, and the judges seem to hammer the Suntrust attorney afterwards, even saying "Mr. Maitland said...." Keep your fingers crossed, we have been fighting this case for 5+ years!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Rob Maitland to argue before United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals!

Rob Maitland is one step away from the United States Supreme Court!

It is estimated that approximately 88 million cases are filed at the state level in the U.S. annually. Less than 1% of all cases are appealed to the intermediate state level. So it's very rare when your case is appealed from State Court to Federal Court and then chosen to be heard for oral arguments at the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The only appeal higher is the United States Supreme Court.

On December 7, 2011, Rob Maitland will be arguing for Marc and Maryann Macky in Suntrust Bank, N.A., v. Macky, Northern, et al before the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The case arises from a case of first impression involving Orange County's real estate recording index which is unique to all other counties in North Carolina. Rob represents Mr. and Mrs. Macky who properly recorded a deed of trust in first position to secure a loan.

The problem? Suntrust Bank thought it had recorded a lien on the same property and one other several years earlier, but only put one Parcel Identification Number (PIN) on the deed of trust when it was recorded. Because Orange County registers all properties only by PINs, the Suntrust deed of trust was only effective against the one property and not the property the Mackys placed their lien upon. So, the Mackys are protected and Suntrust is not.

To make things more interesting, this case arises from the bankruptcy of John McCormick, a notorious local attorney who allegedly absconded with several million dollars of clients' trust funds. If Rob and the Mackys prevail, the Mackys will be paid the full amount owed to them by Mr. McCormick's bankruptcy estate and Suntrust will not be considered a "secured creditor" by virtue of its defective deed of trust. Suntrust will join the pool of "unsecured creditors" to be paid from the bankruptcy estate on a prorata basis. If Suntrust prevails, the Mackys will still be in a secured position but the Suntrust lien will likely swallow any equity remaining in the property and thus the Mackys will effectively become unsecured creditors.

So far, Rob and the Mackys have won at the Durham Federal Bankruptcy Court (twice) and the Greensboro United States Middle District Court. Keep your fingers crossed they win in Richmond!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

9/27 Chapel Hill 2020 Meeting- East Chapel Hill HS

Rob Maitland is proud to have been appointed to be a leading member of Chapel Hill's 2020 Project, a new Comprehensive Plan to reexamine the vision for Chapel Hill and our community's future. The new planning and visioning document will create a framework for the community to guide our Town Council in managing Chapel Hill's future over the next 20 years.

Rob believes that too often politics can be controlled by vested interests on the extreme 10% of each side of an issue. Chapel Hill 2020 is committed to hearing the voices of the "80% of us in the middle" and that's why we encourage you to participate in the process. Now is your chance to make a difference!

The first meeting is from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on September 27th at East Chapel Hill High School. Please come for all or part of the meeting, child care is available. You can get more information at http://www.chapelhill2020.org/

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hire Power

Hiring A New Employee Takes Preparation

If you want to grow your business, sooner or later you're going to have to get some help. But hiring can be tough. Sure, it's nerve racking when you're the one looking for a job. But surprisingly, it's also intimidating when you're on the other side of the desk, looking to hire just the right person to help grow your company. With the proper preparation, however, you'll find just the perfect person or people to add to your team. You won't have to do everything alone, and they'll help take your business to the next level.

Ten Hiring Do's and Don'ts:

DO write a clear job description. It is tempting to just jot down a quick job description when it's time to place a help-wanted ad. But developing a clear job description is actually key to hiring success. It helps you attract exactly the right applicants, saves you time and helps you understand exactly what interview questions to ask and what tasks you'll assign to your new staff member.
DO be realistic. While it's typical in a small business for people to wear many hats, consider whether one real live person can manage very different tasks.

DO interview several candidates. Even if you're really excited about on applicant, you'll have a better idea if he or she is really the right person for the job if you interview at least three prospects in person.

DO be prepared. When interviewing, have a list of questions ready and be sure to ask the same questions of every candidate, as well as questions based on each individual's own resume.

DO hire for attitude, train for skills. If you find someone with a can-do and will-do attitude, that'll be more important in the long run, than someone with exactly the right experience or education. Look for willing, eager-to-succeed employees and train them for the specific job tasks.

DON'T be in a hurry. Keep looking until you find the right person. Of course, you'll never find someone who's exactly perfect, but filling a position just because you need someone now is likely to lead to problems later.

DON'T do all the talking. When you're conducting an interview, it's typical to just start talking. You'll want to tell the applicant about the job and your company, but you won't learn enough aout an applicant if you do all of the talking.

DON'T be overly impressed by credentials. It's easy to be swayed by names of big corporations or leading universities on a resume. But remember, you're looking for the best candidate, not the best resume.

DON'T be swayed by your first impression. For important jobs, arrange for a second in-person interview with your top prospects. Also be sure to check references.

DON'T make - or imply - promises of job security or future raises. For legal reasons, be careful not to say anything that can be misinterpreted as an implied contract, such as "I never fire anyone," or "You'll be here for at least five years." It's a good idea to give new hires an offer letter by spelling out their pay and benefits and making it clear that they're an at-will employee (meaning you can terminate them without cause).

We hope that these tips helped! If you would like to see the original article, check out The Costco Connection, Hire Power, by Rhonda Abrams.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Updated News on Interest Rates

Great News! Interest Rates have hit new low for 2011

We want you to know that rates have moved to their lowest levels of the year.

30 year fixed rates are back in the low to mid 4's

5 year arms are in the high 2's and low 3's

Jumbo rates have moved to their lowest levels ever with 30 year fixed rates in the mid 4's.

If you have been thinking about refinancing or buying a new home, now is the time. Remember, we recommend that you always use a local lender. Please feel free to contact Rob Maitland for recommendations or to discuss your current financing needs.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How To Estimate Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Using This Chart

1. Find your weight in the left hand column

2. Match your weight with the number of “Drinks” you have consumed

3. Subtract .015 for each hour that you have been drinking to compensate for alcohol that your body has processed during that time

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Get Out of Jail Free!

Our Special Offer to You - Don't Miss Out!

As your hometown law firm, we are proud to ofer a big discount through our famous "Get Out of Jail Free Card!"

Buy a voucher for just $75 and you will be entitled to $175 in attorney's fees. That's enough to cover a traffic ticket defense - and let's be honest there is a good chance you'll get one of those within the next year!

Think of this special voucher as a "Keep My Insurance Points Minimized Card." We can't guarantee results, of course, but we do promise to vigorously defend your rights!

Also keep in mind that the card is not limited to traffic tickets. You can use the "Get Out of Jail Free Card" for many other legal services - maybe drafting your will that you've been putting off, or help with a real estate closing that you know is just around the corner.

This voucher is good for one year, so why not take advantage of this rare offer and save big the next time you need legal help! But don't wait long - you have until Wednesday May 11 at 11:59pm to purchase the voucher!

Click here for purchasing and other important information!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Make Like a Dragonfly

The Dragonfly Effect is what happens when you coordinate four small activities to produce BIG results. It is named after the only creature that is able to move in any direction with tremendous speed and force when its four wings are working in concert.

In their book, The Dragonfly Effect:Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media, Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith teach readers that "small actions create big change" and help them harness social technology to achieve a single, focused, concrete goal. The authors remark, "It is remarkable how many businesses don't take the time to collectively understand why they are on Facebook, why they are on Twitter and what is their single-purpose goal.

The book teaches 4 key skills - focus, grab attention, engage, and take action. The book also explains how to coordinate them with social technology to spark measurable results.

Get Personal. Find personal hooks that range from physiological to self-actualization needs. Make sure that the personal hooks can be understood within seconds to make them work best.

Deliver the unexpected. People like consuming and then sharing awe inspiring information. Draw them in by piquing their curiosity. You can do this by re-framing the familiar in a creative way.

Visualize your message. Show, don't tell. Photos and videos speak millions of words. Synthesize your thoughts with quick visuals and show them to your point of view for feedback.

Make a visceral connection. Design your campaign so that it triggers senses - sight, sound, hearing, and taste. Music is powerful and can often tap underlying emotions.

This simple tips and ideas can work magic! Try them out and see for yourself.

Citing "Make like a dragonfly". The Costco Connection: April 2011. pg 13.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's almost Friday!

Fun Fact of the Day: Approximately one sixth of your life is spent on Wednesdays.

We hope that everyone is having a great week so far!

Monday, April 25, 2011

What's up with Real Estate?

Since interest rates are creeping up, now may be a good time to sell or buy a home. Yes, we said now may be a good time to sell or buy a home. As long as interest rates remained stable, potential buyers and sellers could afford to remain indecisive. Even though rates are still at an all time low, people are motivated to take action since waiting could mean a higher rate and a larger mortgage payment.

According to Scott Dixon, president of the real estate division of Network Communications Inc., in the real estate market, inventory and selection are good, home prices remain flat and sellers are motivated and more likely to work with buyers on price. So whether you are a first time buyer, looking for a move-up home or hoping to downsize, now is a good time to make a decision.

Interest rates are not going to double this year, but they are going to continue inching up. The more rates go up, the more people will feel the pressure to make a decision about buying. This is a great thing for the real estate market, for home buyers and for home sellers.

So, what is the bad news? New and pending regulations in repsonse to the mortgage lending crisis mean new loans and refinancing will be more complicated, more time-consuming and more expensive. Expect higher fees, higher mortgage insurance payments and bigger down payments. This means that there will be fewer 0 to 5 percent down-payment loans. Instead, there will be more 10 percent down requirements.

The federal government is also working to shrink its footprint in the housing market. During the lending crisis of the last few years, the federal government has guaranteed more than 9 out of every 10 new mortgages. The Obama administration said earlier this year that it wants to move more mortgages back to the private sector. The administration plans to gradually reduce new loans made by the federally controlled lenders popularly known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Meantime, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will be strengthened but won't take over the market share left by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Some of the regulations took effect late last year. Others, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, take effect this spring and later this year. Additional rules take effect in 2012, and others are still in development. All in all, the sooner you act, the more likely you are to dodge at least some of the new and upcoming requirements. This could mean less hassle, and more smooth sailing, which is always a good thing.

The new rules are intended to protect consumer, hut they also are incredibly confusing and contradictory. It is guaranteed that the cost of doing a mortgage is going to increase and it will be a longer process on top of that. Borrowers will have longer to review all of the disclosures in their mortgage loan; however, this means that they will need a longer lock-in period for the interest rate, which costs more money.

Most borrowers want to know two critical things: their total monthly payment and how much cash they will need to bring to the table at closing. But the new three-page-settlement forms that replaced the former one-page form don't break down this information. As for refinancing, most people who could and should refinance did so by the end of 2010. When rates hit 5 and 1/4 percent in December, refinancing ground to a halt. If you decide to do refinance, just allow for more time - just as you'll need to do for a mortgage. The days of getting it all done in a week are long gone.


  1. Fewer loans from the federal lending programs popularly known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

  2. Higher fees for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

  3. Gradually increasing down payments for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans to 10%

  4. Higher mortgage insurance payments on FHA loans

  5. Higher credit scores required to qualify for the FHA's most favorbale loan terms

  6. Longer disclosure forms

Citing Karen Haywood Queen's article "What's up with real estate? in The Costco Connection. p 27. April 2011.

Happy Easter!

We hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend and enjoyed spending time with loved ones!


Maitland Law Firm

Monday, April 11, 2011

Working with Uncle Sam:

Federal Contracts for Small Businesses

It's not as if Charlene Turczyn is outiftted in an Uncle Sam costume, hut her affinity for the federal government is undeniable: Her Springfield, Illinois-based firm, CMW and Associates, derives all of its revenues from Uncle Sam.

The federal governemnt- the world's largest purchaser of goods and services, buying everything from food to military weapons parts to management services- offers a potentially super-size outlet for small businesses. Small firms won a record $96.8 billion in federal prime contracts in fiscal 2009, representing almost 22 percent of all federal spending.

"The federal government can be a good avenue for increasing small business revenues," says Margot Dorfman, vice president of the National Association of Small Business Contractors (NASBC). The NASBC is a 200,000-member Washington, D.C., trade association that helps small firms do business with the federal governemnt and prime contractors.

It can be challenging though. For many small businesses, it may require considerable capital and effort- and patience. A recent survey by American Express' small business division, reports that it took an average of 1.7 years for "active" small companies to land their first prime contract with the federal government.

Still, for amny businesses, it is worth the effort, especially during a downturned economy. Fortunately, help with federal government procurement comes from many quarters, including agencies that sport small business outreach offices (www.osdbu.gov/offices.html). Another key source is the U.S. Small Business Administration and free online training courses on how to do contracting work. Here are some recommendations that are valueable tips for securing government contracts.

  1. Know yourself. Understand your core competencies and offer products and services that you know you can deliver.

  2. Register your interests. Any firm doing business with the government has to follow certain set procedures. The company should first obtain an "identifier," such as a Data Universal Numbering System, or DUNS, number, a unique nine-character number that the government uses to identify the organization. Companies must also be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (http://www.ccr.gov/) database. This online portal creates a formal record for companies while also enabling federal agencies and prime contractors to find small-business contractors.

  3. Know Uncle Sam. Research what types of goods and services are purchased by the hundreds of federal agencies at www.usa.spending.gov. Initially, selct one or two agencies and study their operations and needs. Since the federal government is so big, it helps to focus. Agencies periodically ask small companies to respons to bid solicitations. Even if you don't win a bid, responding to these "Sources Sought" notifications is a good way to market your goods/services. Through "Sources Sought," you get your name out there to decision makers.

  4. Start small. Successful contractors advise starting with smaller contracts, which may lead to larger opportunities. Perharps test the waters with so-called "micro-purchases." For purchases between $3,000 and $150,000, the government can use cimplified procedures for soliciting and evaluating bids. In fact, federal rules require these "simplified purchases" be reservedfor small business unless the contracting official cannot obtain offers from two or more small firms that are competitive on price, quality and delivery. Again, check with individual agencies for these and other small-procurement opportunities. A good way to learn about becoming a prime contractor is to start out by being a subcontractor because it provides you with past-performance information that you can use to pursue your own prime contract. For subcontracting opportunities, check www.sba.gov/subnet.

  5. Read the fine print. Many contracts reference the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation, both of which post rules dictating how federal contacts are executed. Read the fine print carefully in EVERY contract and follow instructions.

  6. Build relationships. As gargantuan as the federal government is, securing a contract is often tied to personal relationships. That means attending PTAC, federal agency, NASBC or other outreach events and becoming acquainted with federal small-business representatives, prime contractors and small companies that sucessfully secured contracts. If you have built up a good relationship with somebody, you have a better chance of getting a contract.

  7. Get debriefed. Whether you win or lose a contract, ask for a debriefing, where a contracting official must discuss why a business did or did not win a contract. This will help you learn how to do it better, and it will also make you familiar with a contacting official's preferences.

Ultimately, getting a contract requires time, patience, money and commitment. Don't be discouraged if you don't get the first contract that you apply for. We hope these tips help!

Citing Meyer, Harvey. "Working with Uncle Sam: Federal contracts are out there for small businesses." The Costco Connection. April 2011: 23-24. Print.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Get The Most Bang for Your Buck

How does an unlimited fund dedicated towards remodeling your home sound? Most of us would gladly accept such an offer; however, the reality is that most of us are on a budget of some kind. The good news is that home improvement projects don't have to break the bank to yield effective results. Here are some helpful hints to point you in the right direction (towards improving your home for as little $ as possible that is):

1. Give your kitchen cabinets a makeover! ($1000)

- Give your cabinetry a new look with a fresh coat of paint (or wood stain)
- Automatically improve their appearance by installing new hardware
- Get professional help for about $540 or do it yourself for the bargain
price of about $200

2. Create an office nook! ($250)
- If you don't have an empty room to use for an office, try making room for
a nook in a room corner or unused closet
- Closet kits, shelves, hanging hardware, and rolling file carts are all
perfect igredients to create an office nook that maximizes utility and
minimizes cost

3. Organize and de-clutter your garage! ($1000)
- Invest in slatwall systems to organize your garage
- Look for systems that allow you to hang hooks, shelves, and baskets so you
can increase space
- A garage organization project is an extremely low cost, high yield project
- Learn more about storeWALL units and how to order them here and here

4. Give your closet structure! ($500)
- Empty your closet and decide what to keep, what to trash, and what to
- Go online at Rubber Maid and choose an organization system that fit's your
closet's measurements

If it is value that you are trying to add to your home, try these helpful hints:
1. Replace a window! ($500)
- If you have a window that is leaky or extremely difficult to open or
close, replace it and add value to your home in the process
- Tip: If you purchase an Energy Star-qualified window before December 30,
2011, you can claim a tax credit for %10 of the cost!

2. Hard-wire a room! ($1000)
- A hard-wired system is a small prject that will payoff when selling
- Hard-wired system will provide faster data transmission and more security
and reliability

If you are not planning to sell, and are looking to add style to your home, read below:
1. Remodel an entrance! ($250)
- Brighten up your home';s front entrance by paiting the front door with an
accent color
- Install new hardware on your front door for even more style
- Replace your old, beat up mailbox
- Make your house unique and personal by adding customized house numbers to
the front exterior

2. Update your lighting! ($500)

- Get rid of outdated light fixtures and put fashionable fixtures in their
- If you don't have the budget to update all of your light fixtures, start
with the fixtures in the most noticeable spots (Ex. Dining-room table)

We hope our tips help and we wish you happy home re-modeling!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Maitland Law Rocking the House- Tar Heel Style!

Maitland Law congratulates the Tar Heel Men's and Ladies' Basketball Teams for their berths in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA National Championships. GO HEELS! We are also celebrating our own "March Madness" by hitting our 3,000th real estate closing this month!

Can't make it to the basketball games this weekend? How about UNC baseball's home series vs. Dook? Game times have been adjusted as to not conflict with the basketball games, Friday now at 3:00, Saturday at 2:00, and Sunday at 1:00. GO HEELS!

Friday, March 18, 2011

No More Warnings!

As of November 30, 2010, there will be no more warnings given out by North Carolina State police/authorities for obscured license plates and illegal license plate covers. Those unlucky enough to be caught with an obscured license plate will be subject to a $100 fine and court costs. This new law, which applies only to vehicles that are registered in North Carolina, has been implemented to ensure law enforcement safety. It may seem unimportant, but in reality, there are several states that use the same license plate color schemes as North Carolina. It is a safety issue if police officers and state troopers cannot see the state name or registration information on license plates, because it could mean that the tags are falsified. In order to avoid being stopped and fined, be sure to take a second look at your own vehicle. If any information is obscured by a license plate frame, do yourself a favor and remove the frame! Find more detailed information about the new law here.

Example of what NOT to have on your vehicle:

Example of an APPROVED license plate: