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Happy Holidays!

Topics: From Our Office

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]From all of us at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth, have a happy and safe holiday season! Our offices will be closing at 12:30 on Christmas Eve and will be closed all day on Christmas Day.  We will be open normal business hours and providing free legal consultations on December 26 and 27. Happy holidays![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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2020 H-1B Lottery (FY 2021) Adds Registration Period

Topics: Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finalized a significant rule change to the H-1B application process effective in 2020 (fiscal year 2021).  Employers who wish to file H-1B petitions subject to the annual application cap must now register electronically between March 1 and March 20 and pay a $10 fee to be eligible for the H-1B lottery selection.  The electronic registration process requires only basic information about the company and requested workers.  The lottery process will only select from these registrations, and only those whose registrations are chosen will be eligible to file H-1B petitions subjected to the annual cap. In previous years, to be considered for the H-1B lottery, petitioners would need to submit fully completed applications.  If those applications were not chosen in the annual lottery, the time, effort, paperwork. and money was essentially wasted.  Now, petitioners will know ahead of time, before filing their full paperwork, that they are eligible to receive a visa.  The overall H-1B caps remain the same.  85,000 H-1B visas can be issued, with 20,000 of those visas being reserved for petitioners holding advanced degrees. USCIS will post instructions on how to use the new registration system as time approaches the open period.  Looking at the number of applications received over previous years, it is expected that more than 85,000 electronic registrations will be received between March 1 and March 20.  It is not know when exactly the lottery selection will take place. See the full announcement here. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps businesses and prospective employees complete their H-1B applications successfully, from the new registration process to submitting your complete visa application.  Call us today at 888-517-9888 for a free immigration consultation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Calculating SSDI Benefits

Topics: Workers' Compensation

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Many people who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are unsure of how much compensation they would receive should their application be approved.  Unlike personal injury claims or work injury benefits, the severity of an injury does not play a role in determining SSDI benefits.  SSDI benefits are determined instead by calculating applicants' average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) and running that amount through a predetermined mathematical formula.  Benefits are based solely on work and salary history. Calculating AIME is a bit intensive and is typically done by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  For the year you turn 21 years old and every year after, the income on which you paid Social Security taxes is multiplied by a number called an indexing factor and averaged.  For example, let's say someone earned $40,000 in 2010 and 2011.  In 2020, the income that person received in 2010 would be multiplied by 1.2512841 and the income earned in 2011 would be multiplied by 1.2132683.  For the purpose of calculating AIME, 2010 income is now considered $50,051 and 2011 income is now considered $48,531.  The AIME for just these two years would be $49,291.  To calculate a full AIME, one would need to make this calculation for every year in which you've earned income. Once an applicant's AIME has been calculated, determining benefits become much easier.  SSA follows a formula to determine an SSDI benefit amount.  In 2020 the formula is:  90 percent of AIME up to $960 plus 32 percent of AIME over $960 and under $5,785 plus 15 percent of AIME over $5,785.  The values of $960 and $5,785 in the formula are called 'bend points' and change every year.  So if a 2020 SSDI applicant's AIME is $1500, the benefit amount would be $864.00 + $172.80 + $0, or $1,036.80.  For an AIME of $7000, the benefit amount would be $864.00 + $1,544.00 + $182.25, or $2,590.25.  The average SSDI benefit in 2020 is expected to be $1,258.  SSDI benefits are also subject to a maximum amount. Are you curious about your expected SSDI benefit level?  Anyone aged 18 and up who has an email address, Social Security number, U.S. mailing address can create an account with the SSA to view their work history and see what their estimated SSDI benefit level would be.  The SSA website itself disclaims that it cannot provide your actual benefit amount until you actually apply, but the estimated benefit level should provide a good idea of what you would receive after a successful SSDI application. The amount of SSDI benefits an injured worker is expected to receive doesn't do very much if the worker does not submit an SSDI application that is approved by the government.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps people applying for SSDI benefits and appealing SSDI application denials.  For a free consultation with a Social Security Disability attorney, call our offices today at 888-517-9888.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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Who is Attorney Scott Warmuth?

Topics: From Our Office

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Scott Warmuth has made it his life’s work to bridge the gaps between cultures and nations through service.  His 50 years of service include community activity, political causes, education, and helping those in need.  Based in the San Gabriel Valley, Mr. Warmuth has led one of the most successful legal firms in the State of California for more than three decades. Mr. Warmuth received his Bachelor of Arts degree from New College of California in 1978.  While attending college, Mr. Warmuth was elected city councilman for the city of Lake Forest Park, Washington, becoming one of the youngest ever elected officials in the country.  Upon graduation, Mr. Warmuth served as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea.  He received his law degree cum laude from the University of San Diego in 1983.  He was also a student at the Institute of Comparative and International Law of Oxford University. Conversant in Mandarin, Mr. Warmuth spent the mid-1980s as a Foreign Law Expert and Professor of Contract and Corporate Law in China. From his first steps into community service, Mr. Warmuth has been motivated by several concepts: helping people in need, giving a voice to those who have none, being on the frontier of new ideas, and helping others achieve their dreams while protecting their rights.  As an attorney, he has developed a love and passion for the various legal practice areas, witnessing first-hand the satisfying ability to change people’s lives for the better in each.
“Law is one of the great healing professions.  While medicine heals the body and the clergy heals the soul, the law heals societal rifts.” -Steven Keeva, Author of Transforming Practices: Finding Joy and Satisfaction in the Legal Life
As an attorney and business leader, Mr. Warmuth has used his abilities to help those in need of legal services. He has served those seeking to become American citizens and provided scholarships for deserving young students. He has dedicated his life to making a positive impact, giving back to the community, mentoring those who love to learn, and growing as an individual along the way. Mr. Warmuth’s accomplishments towards his goals have been widely acknowledged by his peers.  Over his storied career, Mr. Warmuth has received numerous awards and honors, including a congressional recognition from Congresswoman Judy Chu, the International Inspiration Award from the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation, “Small Business of the Year, 2015” from Assemblymember Ed Chau, the Inspiration Award from the American International Education Foundation, and the Litigator Award from the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents. Mr. Warmuth continues to make it his personal mission that everyone deserves to have their voices heard and legal rights protected.  Even after 50 years, his dedication to service remains steadfast.  Whether your case is related to immigration, personal injury, workers’ compensation, criminal defense, consumer law, or intellectual property, the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth is on your side, all the way.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Topics: Auto Accident

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Drowsy driving results in tens of thousands of car crashes annually.  The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 91,000 crashes in 2017 involved drowsy drivers.  NHTSA also believes that this number is underestimated.  These drowsy driving crashes have resulted in an estimated 50,000 injuries and thousands of fatalities.  Just as alarming, according to surveys, 4 percent of drivers indicated that they had fallen asleep behind the wheel over the past 30 days. We understand that avoiding drowsy driving is much easier said than done, but even so, it's important to understand the risks, warning signs, and remedies. Drowsy drivers can fall asleep behind the wheel.  This poses obvious risks.  But even if they technically do not fall asleep, drowsy drivers may fail to notice an obstacle ahead or that they are drifting off the road.  Indeed, many car crashes involving suspected drowsy drivers show no indication of evasive maneuvers or braking.  Drowsy drivers can also have delayed reaction times and could face similar challenges to drunk or distracted drivers. Much like drunk driving or distracted driving, the best remedy for drowsy driving is to avoid it.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and NHTSA offer some tips to avoid driving drowsy.
  • Get enough sleep!  Experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep every night.  Teen drivers should sleep at least eight hours.
  • If you have a long trip ahead of you, be sure to get a good night's sleep beforehand.
  • Also for long trips, avoid driving by yourself.
  • Avoid drinking any alcohol or taking any medications that cause drowsiness.
  • Be prepared when driving during natural circadian rhythm periods of drowsiness.  The body is naturally more tired during the late afternoon and between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Manage any potential sleep disorders.
If you experience any of the following, you could already be driving drowsy!
  • Yawning behind the wheel
  • Blinking frequently to keep your eyes open
  • "Autopilot", or forgetting the last few minutes of driving
  • Inability to stay in your lane
  • Missing a turn or exit
There are some potential quick fixes if you begin to notice becoming drowsy while driving.
  • Find a rest area and take a quick nap.
  • Caffeine!
  • Let someone else drive.
The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps the victims of car accident recover physically and financially.  For a free car accident legal consultation, call our offices today at 888-517-9888.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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The US Provisional Patent Application

Topics: Intellectual Property

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In 1995, the United States began implementing a provisional patent application process.  Provisional patents establish an early filing date, protecting inventions with a “patent pending” designation for up to one year.  Provisional patents are completely optional and do not replace nonprovisional patent applications, but instead serve to supplement them.  There are many differences between these two types of patents. Content Formal patent applications usually include artist renderings, detailed descriptions, claims, and examples to explain the invention, which have to comply with a specific format.  Provisional patents do not have any special restrictions on the format used to provide descriptions of the invention and also do not have to include product claims.  Provisional patents are also much easier to prepare and can be submitted quickly.  As an example, a client of our law firm was anxious because he had to make a report on his new technology to a customer on the following day, but was afraid that they might copy his technology after submitting the report.  We recommended he apply for a provisional patent.  We modified his report file and submitted an application to the Patent Office on the same day, protecting his work. Cost Provisional patents cost on average much less than a typical patent.  Patent agents and attorneys would typically require 30 to 40 hours to prepare a patent application, but only 8 to 10 hours to complete a provisional patent application.  If a client provides proper documentation, the provisional patent application can be completed even faster, further reducing attorney fees.  Filing costs are also reduced.  Filing a formal patent application requires a fee of $785 while the provisional patent is only $140.  It’s important to remember, however, that provisional patents are an added cost. Confidentiality Unless specifically requested, patent applications are published 18 months after the filing date of the application.  Provisional patents are not published by the USPTO. As previously mentioned, provisional patents are valid for up to one year.  Applicants will need to convert their patent from provisional to nonprovisional during this period of time.  The effective filing date for the official patent application will be the filing date of the provisional patent.  Any new developments on the product will still have the earlier filing date.  Many inventors and enterprises have strategically used this benefit to their advantage. A more practical benefit of provisional patents is an implied one-year test period.  After filing a provisional patent application, if an inventor determines that the developed product is unfeasible, has no prospects, or has no market value, he or she can simply abandon the formal patent application and allow the provisional patent to expire.  While not the best case scenario, the inventor will not have to pay the fees associated with a nonprovisional patent. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth’s intellectual property department can help individuals, partners, and corporations protect their inventive products under patent law.  For a free intellectual property consultation, call our firm today at 888-517-9888![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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What is an L-1 Visa?

Topics: Immigration

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you haven't heard of the L-1 visa, you're probably not alone.  The L-1 visa isn't available to individuals or most workers, yet at least 100,000 have been issued every year since at least 2000.  The L-1 Visa for Intracompany Transfers is only available to certain workers of certain companies with certain skills or knowledge.  The L-1 is available to executives, managers, and specialized workers of foreign companies seeking to establish an office in the United States or existing U.S. employers with affiliated foreign officers. An intracompany transfer is a transfer that stays inside the same company.  L-1 visas are only available to companies transferring an employee to the U.S. from a foreign parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate.  L-1 visas are not available to job seekers in the same way as an H-1B visa.  L-1 visas are only available to qualified employees who have been working for the company for at least one continuous year in the past three years.  Also different from most other visas, the workers themselves do not apply for the visa.  Instead, the employer seeks the visa on behalf of their employees.  Companies that request a lot of L-1 visas even have the option to expedite the process. There are actually two types of L-1 visas.  The L-1A visa covers executives and managers being transferred to the U.S. while the L-1B is for employees with specialized knowledge.  There is only a slight difference between the visas.  Two of the biggest differences are the maximum length of stay and adjustment of status options.  The maximum stay difference is that the L-1A is maximum seven years while the L-1B is maximum five years.  And for adjustment of status, when seeking permanent residence under an EB visa, the L-1A adjusts to an EB-1 and the L-1B adjusts to an EB-2.  It's much easier to receive a green card in the EB-1 category. For employees establishing a new office in the U.S., the L-1 is valid for one year.  For employees transferring to an existing office in the U.S., the L-1 is valid for three years.  Families, specifically spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, of L-1 visa holders can enter the U.S. on L-2 visas.  L-2 visa holders can legally work in the United States after seeking employment authorization. Multi-national businesses seeking to transfer executives, managers, or workers with specialized knowledge to the United States can seek the help of an experienced U.S. immigration and visa law firm to make the L-1 visa process simple.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been helping workers enter the United States for over three decades.  For a free L-1 visa consultation, call our offices today at 888-517-9888.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]