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GetLegal to rollout the innovative Bazaarify platform to thousands of law firms in U.S.
Sunnyvale, CA October 31, 2013
Bazaarify, an emerging leader in Business Reputation Management (BRM), today announced that it has partnered with GetLegal to provide reputation management to the legal vertical. GetLegal will rollout the innovative Bazaarify platform to thousands of law firms in the U.S. Several GetLegal clients and premier law firms have already adopted the best-in-class Bazaarify platform to gather real-time client feedback and proactively amplify their reputation on social media and search engines.
GetLegal is a comprehensive and reliable destination for online legal information and services. With a vision to become the “WebMD of Legal”, the company has assembled a veteran executive team with decades of combined experience at Thompson and Find Law. GetLegal, a recipient of 2009 Webby Award for best website, has a track record of launching innovative products and is now gearing to rollout yet another industry-first product.
“For law firms, reputation is everything. Our highly anticipated partnership with Bazaarify allows us to offer law firms a unique, cutting edge technology that leverages social media to amplify their online business reputation,” explained Jeffrey A. Rattikin, President of GetLegal.
“After a successful 12-location rollout at Bailey & Galyen, one of the largest consumer law firms in the State of Texas, we are ready to offer the Bazaarify platform broadly to thousands of law firms. Bazaarify’s vision and expertise in the digital marketing arena is very valuable to us as we become the pre-eminent source for online legal information, forms and legal professionals across the country,” echoed Phillip Galyen, CEO of GetLegal.
“Our strategy is very simple. We are partnering with category leaders and innovators,” said Naveen Gupta, CEO of Bazaarify, “We’d like to offer the Bazaarify platform to one million lawyers in US. For this, we need a partner who understands the legal industry much better than we do. GetLegal was a natural choice for us.”
Learn more about Bazaarify’s all-inclusive service at http://bazaarify.com.
Bazaarify (bazaarify.com) is an emerging leader in Business Reputation Management (BRM). Bazaarify’s innovative platform allows businesses to amplify their reputation to get more word-of-mouth referrals, leads and repeat clients. Businesses can monitor reviews from all major sites, gain new reviews, manage customer feedback and automatically promote their good reputation across the web, social media networks and search engines. The company is based out of Sunnyvale, CA, and led by entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds in Internet and social media from Silicon Valley companies such as Yahoo, Google, Amazon, and Cisco.
GetLegal is a comprehensive and reliable destination for online legal information. The company is creating the most innovative global platform for online delivery of legal content, forms and services to public. With a stated vision to become the “WebMD of Legal”, GetLegal has assembled a veteran executive team with decades of combined experience at Thomson and FindLaw. GetLegal, renowned for launching innovative products in the legal vertical, has been the recipient of Webby Awards for best legal websites.
Jeffrey A. Rattikin, a partner at Rattikin & Rattikin, LLP, has joined Dallas-based GetLegal.com/The Attorney Store as a partner, and as its new president. A commercial and residential real estate attorney with a quarter century of practice experience, Jeff also serves as co-owner, escrow officer, and general counsel for Rattikin Title Company, a privately-held title company that has served individuals and businesses in Texas for 70 years.
Jeff brings a wealth of business experience and acumen to his leadership role at GetLegal.com. In addition to his accomplishments as an attorney and title industry executive, he is also the founder, owner and president of Alliant National Exchange Services, LP and Rattikin Exchange Services, Inc., two highly successful companies that provide qualified intermediary services to regional and national clients involved in §1031 tax-deferred exchanges. Most recently, Jeff created and developed TexaLegalDocs.com, an online legal services company that offers legal advice and documents to consumers across the State of Texas.
Jeff’s experience and success in launching TexasLegalDocs.com led to his involvement with and decision to join GetLegal.com. A national leader in providing online legal information, products and services, GetLegal.com has been the recipient of three Webby awards for best legal websites.
“I am thrilled to join the team at GetLegal.com,” said Rattikin from his new office on Monday. “I believe we are well-positioned to expand into new markets, and am extremely confident that our firm will launch the most innovative platform ever developed for the online delivery of legal information, forms and services to the public”.
Jeff has long been recognized by his peers as an innovator and leader. Board-certified in real estate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, he is AV-rated under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System, and was named a Top Real Estate Attorney for the 11th consecutive year in 2013. Texas Monthly Magazine has named him a Texas Super Lawyer, an honor accorded to only 5% of attorneys in the state.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a B.B.A in Finance, Jeff obtained his law degree from the Southern Methodist University School of Law. He has long been active in local, state and national professional organizations, and has volunteered his time and talents to local civic organizations, as well as faith-based initiatives around the world, from Ethiopia to Brazil. He is regularly in demand as a speaker, lecturer and presenter at meetings, workshops and conferences in Texas and across the country.
A father of four children, Jeff and his wife make their home in Fort Worth, Texas.
The majority of states have laws providing that marriages are only recognized when created with a marriage license and official marriage ceremony. Such laws are very important because many rights depend on the existence of a valid marriage. For instance, only a wife is entitled to an equitable share in the couple’s marital property upon divorce, and only a husband will inherit from his wife if she dies without a Last Will and Testament.
Many situations exist, however, where a couple lives as husband and wife without ever formalizing their relationship with a marriage license and ceremony. Such situations are referred to as “common law marriages.” In these cases, the parties will have marital rights only if their common law marriage is recognized under state law. The states that recognize common law marriage include Pennsylvania, Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Ohio and Florida.
New York’s Recognition of Out-of-State Common Law Marriages
Although the State of New York has abolished common law marriage, the state may still recognize common law marriages established in other states pursuant to the “full faith and credit” clause of the U.S. Constitution. For instance, if a common law couple lives in New York and merely vacations briefly in Pennsylvania, a state that recognizes common law marriage, New York State courts may very well recognize the marriage as valid because “Pennsylvania [does] not require that the couple reside within its borders for any specified period of time before their marital status will be recognized.”
Not only that, but “behavior in New York before and after a New York couple’s visit to a jurisdiction that recognizes common-law marriage, like Pennsylvania, may be considered in determining whether the pair entered into a valid common-law marriage while cohabiting, even briefly, in the other jurisdiction.” Evidence of either actual cohabitation in Pennsylvania (like hotel receipts) or the renewal of the private marriage vows in Pennsylvania would still be required.
Because New York only recognizes a common law marriage where that marriage is valid under the laws of a state that validates common law marriage, it is important to understand what the elements of a common law marriage are in that state. This will determine what one must prove in order to have the marriage recognized in New York. Using our Pennsylvania law example, there is one primary requirement that must be met to validate a common law marriage.
Common Law Marriage Under Pennsylvania Law
“A common law marriage can only be created by an exchange of words in the present tense, spoken with the specific purpose that the legal relationship of husband and wife is created by that.” “Present tense” means that there must be evidence that the couple made a verbal commitment to enter a marriage at the time of that verbal statement.
Where one or both of the parties are unable to testify that words were spoken in the present tense to create a marriage, Pennsylvania law creates a rebuttable presumption that a common law marriage exists if the party alleging the existence of the common law marriage offers “sufficient proof” that the couple was (1) in constant cohabitation and (2) had a reputation of marriage that “is not partial or divided but is broad and general.”
Interestingly, in September of 2003, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in its PNC Bank decision purported to abolish all common law marriage going forward. However, other Pennsylvania courts may not be bound by its decision, and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania declined to abolish common law marriage, deferring that decision to the legislature.
But even assuming that the PNC Bank decision were binding, many common law marriages will still survive. If the facts that gave rise to the common law marriage took place before September 13, 2003, when PNC Bank was decided, the marriage would still be valid. This means that if the couple made private statements creating the marriage, cohabited in Pennsylvania, and had the general reputation of being married prior to September 13, 2003, then their common law marriage would still be recognized under Pennsylvania law, even if PNC Bank were binding precedent.
If a couple has (1) made statements to each other to create a marriage, (2) lived together continuously (and at least temporarily on vacation in a state like Pennsylvania that recognizes common law marriage), and (3) has held themselves out and has had the reputation generally of being husband and wife, then New York Courts may indeed recognize their marriage as valid for the purpose of equitable distribution in divorce, a spousal share in an estate, and many other purposes.
Benjamin Wolf is a Law Clerk at The Law Offices of Elliot Schlissel, a multi-service law firm serving clients in the five boroughs of New York City, as well as Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties.
Carpenter v. Carpenter, 617 N.Y.S. 2d 903, 904 (N.Y. App. Div. 2nd Dept. 1996)
In re Landolfi, 727 N.Y.S. 2d 470, 472 (N.Y. App. Div. 2nd Dept. 2001)
Staudenmayer v. Staudenmayer, 714 A.2d 1016, 1020 (1998).
PNC Bank Corp. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, 831 A.2d 1269, 1272 (Commw. Ct. Penn. 2003).
Has the SOPA/PIPA protest and blackout killed the bills?
The anti-SOPA/PIPA movement has enlisted the support of millions of Internet users, who have signed petitions and contacted legislators with objections to the bills. Will petitions and demands of constituents effectively halt passage of the bills? The New York Times reported on January 18 that 30 legislators, including a co-sponsor of the Senate bill, had withdrawn their support for the bills as written. The White House issued a statement that, although recognizing online piracy by foreign websites as a problem, expressed concern about “legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.” The House of Representatives will continue consideration of SOPA in February. The Senate is expected to begin the voting process on January 24 as scheduled, but without the most controversial measures.
Those events suggest the bills, if passed, will do so in altered forms. It remains to be seen to what degree that will represent victory for the Internet community and a loss for the entertainment industry.
Opponents cite SOPA and PIPA as dangers to free exchange of information, small businesses and Internet security
Objections to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) suggest the bills will restrict Internet access by innocent parties, expose accused websites to damage without due process, and threaten Internet security. It is hard to understate the impact of the Internet on American social and commercial activity. Innovation and growth in telecommunications, consumer sales and information sharing rely on agile, secure Internet-based services. Under the bills as written, a court order could force search engines to block access to a website that linked to a site accused of violating copyright law. An innocent, intermediary site would have little recourse or compensation for loss of business or customer base.
Taking the protest beyond the Internet
The SOPA and PIPA protest movement achieved peak visibility on January 18. On that day, Internet giants serving hundreds of millions of users joined in active protest against the bills. Wikipedia, a community-generated encyclopedia, blacked out its site for 24 hours—during which traffic exceeded the average by 50%. Others, such as Google, displayed black censorship bands, linked to anti-SOPA/PIPA petitions and exhorted visitors to contact their legislators with objections to the bills. The movement spread from cyberspace to the streets as protestors gathered in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. to call attention to their cause.
Will government controls quelch the Internet as an engine for social and economic growth?
At one time the Internet was the playground of a splinter of society. Today it hosts our primary channels of communication. Most legislators who reversed their positions on SOPA and PIPA made their announcements through Twitter and Facebook, sites that expressed concern that the proposed legislation would put them at risk. Cyberspace offers entrepreneurs and niche marketers an environment that allows them to connect with and serve customers in new and productive ways. Government controls on economic activity have traditionally favored large enterprises rather than small and innovative players. When Jimmy Wales switched Wikipedia off on January 18, he quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on Twitter, emphasizing the importance of grass roots defense of liberties:
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