LMHQ Co-Working Space Openning at 120 Broadway

by Fred Abramson on June 24, 2015 · 1 comment


There are a crop of companies opening up in downtown Manhattan that rent communal offices tailored to individuals and startup companies. Crain’s reports that WeWork rival Cowork|rs two months after signing a lease for nearly 30,000 square feet at 55 Broadway has signed a lease for about 40,000 square feet at 60 Broad St. The company is adding the location to create a place for more established office tenants and companies that outgrow its other facilities.

Just this morning I was invited to take a tour and engage (unbeknowst to me) in a 40 minute meditation session of LMHQ, which located next to my office at 120 Broadway. LMHQ sells itself as a space to brainstorm, socialize, network and collaborate. Here is the group ready to get focused.

IMG 1028 e1435168037532 225x300 LMHQ Co Working Space Openning at 120 Broadway


LMHQ is trying to differentiate themselves from the competition by billing themselves as an extension of your workplace with additional amenities such as event space, a coffee shop and a living room.

What do you think of co-working spaces? Have you ever worked in one? What are you thoughts on LMHQ? Do you think they will succeed or are there just too many of them?

California says Uber drivers are employees, not independent contractors.  This could dramatically change Uber’s business model and have broader implications upon the rest of the sharing economy. Uber maintained that it was simply an app and they are in the business of creating less friction between the passenger and driver. The court noted that drivers were provided a cellphone, which demonstrated that Uber asserted control.

As independent contractors for companies such as Lyft and Uber, drivers pay all their expenses out of pocket: gas, maintenance, insurance, and detailing, just to name a few.

The drivers, should they win lawsuits against Uber, could be entitled to hourly wages or a regular salary, as well as reimbursement for the money they have spent on things like gas and insurance as drivers for Uber and Lyft. This could cause Uber to also increase its prices that it charges to its customers.

If you are thinking about starting up a Uber clone, I would strongly advise factoring the costs of paying your workers as employees into the equation. And if you know anyone who drives for Uber of Lyft, tell them to give me a call :).

Improperly classifying a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee can be a huge headache. Just this morning, I received a phone call from a potential client who owns cellphone stores in NYC. He is accused of not properly classifying his workers as employees. He is now subject to tens of thousands of dollars in fines. This could be the nail in the coffin for his business.

If you are thinking about starting up an Uber clone, I would strongly advise factoring costs of classifying your workers as potential employees into consideration. If you own a business, I would conduct an audit of all workers to ascertain their proper employment status.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: I was recently listening to the Tim Ferriss Show podcast via my iPhone’s Stitcher app. Tim Ferris is basically a cross between Elon Musk and Rick Rubin. He was having a conversation with Kevin Rose. Kevin Rose is an Internet entrepreneur who co-founded Revision3, Digg, Pownce, and Milk. Kevin Rose recently stepped away from his role as an investor at Google Ventures to work full-time on his mobile app development startup.

Tim and Kevin both meditate. Let’s look at the meditation tactics from Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose:

– Meditate 1x or 2x per day

– Meditate for 15 to 20 minutes

– Meditate consistently (Tim Ferriss has been meditating for over 1.5 years)

– You can use an app like Headspace or calm, for guided Meditation

Check out the video of the conversation here:


 New Uber Ruling. Meditation, Tim Ferriss and the Beatles.
Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose talking about meditation

Back in the 1970’s when I was still a kid, my parents dragged me along with my sister to Mineola for transcendental meditation (TM) lessons. Back then, the Beatles were most closely associated with TM. The Beatles were searching for answers to some of life’s larger questions. This search would lead them to meditation. Now meditation is associated with the highest achieving entrepreneurs.

My mom still meditates daily. Me, not so much. I find it great as a relaxation tool. Meditation is also the ultimate power nap. If you are tired work, try it. However, I do find it challenging to do everyday when there are so many other things need to be accomplished.
Do you meditate? If so, do you see any improvement in your life? Has your business performance improved?

If you do not meditate, why don’t you? Does it have too much of a bad rap? You don’t have the time?

Pursuit of Happiness

by Fred Abramson on November 5, 2014 · 0 comments

I’m happy to report that last week I raised in conjunction with my friends Tommy Tam andRebecca Pfaffenbach over $3000 for our networking/benefit for the Crime Victim Treatment Center. The event was held at the Heartland Brewery located at the Empire State Building.

Beyond raising money for a worthy cause, which is crucially important, I created the event because I believe that there is a genuine human need that we are all looking for which is the desire to have better relationships. Sharing a drink and discussing ways that we can try to help each other out is an inherently worthy endeavor. I believe that expanding the strengths of our relationships is vital for not only the goal of accumulation of more capital, by helping each other build our businesses, but more importantly to our own pursuit of happiness.

There is much debate as to what pursuit of happiness actually means. I remember my constitutional law professor Marty Margulies pontificating about the topic for hours due to its importance as a constitutional right.  The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, saying his recipe for human happiness amounted to an individual being able to gain three core things: community/friendship, the chance to be independent, and the chance to think continuously about an inner life in order to reduce personal anxiety.

Why, on a philosophical level, has Facebook been so staggeringly successful? A startup that swelled into a multi billion dollar revenue generating business in a relatively short span of years, one which continues to attract billions of users every month?


According to writer and philosopher Alain de Botton the company’s success can be explained by the fact it tapped into a genuine human need that was being overlooked and underserved by the rest of the business community: the desire to have better relationships.
Alain de Botton states that “Until Facebook came along we didn’t know how much we wanted to connect with other people. We didn’t even know it was a need, we didn’t know it was a business. That need to send people messages all the time about more or less nothing – we didn’t know that was a need. That’s what businesses do, they latch on to our needs and there is an enormous area of opportunity waiting to be discovered.”

Talking generally about opportunities that entrepreneurs can capitalize on within a more virtuous model of capitalism, de Botton suggested even something as basic as making a list of things that make you unhappy could offer the germ of a business idea.

“There are so many needs which we haven’t yet learned to satisfy and a full economy will be one which properly delivers happiness across so many areas. At the moment we are just scratching the surface. We have managed to satisfy people’s basic material needs… but we’re unhappy, we’re squabbling, we’re looking for meaning. These are all businesses waiting to be born. Waiting for the ingenuity of entrepreneurs to harness human unhappiness and connect it up to profit.

Any when it comes time for you to hatch that business, you know which law firm to call.

What you need to know before entering into a contract

by Fred Abramson on October 9, 2014 · 1 comment


Hope you are having a great Thursday afternoon. Today, Tesla and SpaceX C.E.O. Elon Musk said he was worried that people didn’t understand how fast artificial intelligence was progressing, and expressed his concern that, in a worst-case scenario, a “super-intelligent” machine might decide to destroy human life. I’m a big fan of Mr. Musk, but do you think he is right?

In similar news, nj.com wonders if computers will replace lawyers.  From registering a trademark to drafting a will, the Internet provides the tools to perform many legal tasks that were once reserved for attorneys like myself. Whether these internet tools actually do a good job is debatable, but there is no question that technology will play a significant role in the future of the legal industry.

Let me get this straight, first computers will take my job, then “super-intelligent” will take my life. Oy vey!

In the meantime, let me tell you what you should be on the lookout for when reading a contract. If you need any help reviewing a contact, feel free to call me, your lawyer, because that is what I do for a living and I’m super fantastic at it.

1.      Know the Other Party

Be sure that the business you are contracting with is registered to do business in the state in which you operate your business.  Should there be a problem later on, it will be much easier to institute a lawsuit as the states maintain addresses for service of process on registered corporations.  In addition, if the business is not properly registered in the state, there could be legal issues with your contract.  The business should also be licensed in the specific type of business it conducts, if this is required.

2.       Pricing Issues

If you are a buyer or a seller, know what you are paying or getting paid, when the money is due, how it is to be paid, where it is being paid to.

3.      What is the Exact Product or Service

While this may seem obvious there are thousands of lawsuits on just this issue.  Be sure you and the other party are on the same page, literally and figuratively.

4.      Delivery of the Goods or Services

Specify exact time frames for delivery of the product or service and when payment is due in relation to this time frame.

5.      Condition of the Product or Service

Are the items new or used?  If used, how much?  If new, in original packaging or repackaged?  If a service contract, specify who will be doing the service and his or her credentials?

6.      Warranties

What are the guaranties on the product or service?  What period of time do they cover?  What is the procedure for repairing or replacing an item or correcting a service mistake?

7.      Getting out of the Contract

While most contracts are made to avoid getting out of them, you can sometimes negotiate an “out” clause for poor performance or lack of proper delivery or other essential things.

8.      Renewal of the Contract

Is there an automatic renewal?  Is there any option to renew?

9.      Default

There are several ways to default on a contract. Two prevalent ways are non-payment and non-performance.  Non-payment can include not getting paid in full, on time or at all.  Non-performance can be not doing the job properly, in full, or not how you expected it to be done.  All of these can be combated with remedies in the contract.

10.  Remedies

Make sure the contract has a section dealing with remedies for defaults.  Remedies are compensation to the injured party for such defaults.  Outside of the contract there are other ways to be compensated for default in contracts, including state statutes, federal statutes like the UCC, fraud actions and illegality of the contract, dealing with minors, duress, undue influences, etc.


Creating a Successful SOW

by Fred Abramson on April 21, 2014 · 0 comments

Getting a statement of work (SOW) right is not simple. A properly drafted SOW is vital to the success of a project. If the statement of work is too ambiguous or overboard, it can leave room for various interpretations, which will lead to problems. 

In my experience, the failure to properly execute a statement of work is often the reason parties end up in a litigation. 

What is a SOW? A statement of work (SOW) is a formal document that captures and defines the work activities, deliverables, and timeline a vendor must execute in performance of specified work for a client. The SOW usually includes detailed requirements and pricing, with standard industry terms and conditions.

What should be included in a SOW?

  • Who pays each cost and the timeline of payment.
  • A description of all deliverables and when they’re expected.
  • The tasks that support the deliverables, as well as which side – the hiring company or the service provider – will perform those tasks.
  • The project’s governance process, along with how often governing committees will meet.
  • What resources are required for the project, what facilities will be used and whose equipment will be needed, as well as testing requirements.
  • A timetable covering when each deliverable should be completed. If you are delivering the work, I would recommend that the timetable to be flexible. On the other hand, if you are purchasing the services, a strict timetable could be best. I would also recommend a time for the work to be reviewed prior to it being delivered. 
How about payment? To keep the work moving forward, I would also recommend payment contingent on the successful completion of certain benchmarks. I would also advise that full payment should not be made until it is clear that everything works properly.
Be particular.  Be specific in describing the project’s scope and requirements. If you are not clear about the work being performed, it will be difficult to litigate if there is a breach. 
Keep the language simple. Believe it or not, it is the attorney’s job to keep the language of the SOW is simple as possible. Lots of a legalize is usually a sign of a poorly drafted SOW. Technical jargon should be avoided if possible. 

The task of writing a statement of work could fall to various players on a team working in conjunction with counsel.. The best approach is for team leaders to draft it and then work with the an attorney to perfect it.. After the SOW is completed, it is then sent to the vendor. If you follow these steps, you increase the likelihood of success dramatically.  

 Creating a Successful SOW

What Should You Do About Shoulder Pain After A Car Accident?

October 16, 2013

It’s a sunny day and you are running errands in the neighborhood. You are driving straight and a car comes from your right and comes into contact with your passenger door.  From the impact, your left shoulder comes into contact with the side door.  You feel pain in your shoulder.  The impact of car accidents, […]

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The Five Most Common Civil Lawsuits in New York Supreme Court

August 16, 2013

As a civil litigation attorney located in New York City, I’ve seen my fair share of lawsuits. Since I’m in court nearly everyday, just sitting in the courtroom I get a sense of what type of cases are clogging up the courts. I also have my own caseload and handle court appearances for hundreds of […]

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Idea Litigation: When Can You Sue For Theft Of A Trade Secret?

August 15, 2013

Ideas are power. With power comes money. We all have ideas and we usually share them with others. With the explosive growth of the internet, anyone with the ability to code can take an idea and make it into a huge business. When that happens, can you sue?
Entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses are often […]

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Can You Be Held Responsible for an Agreement Without Reading It?

August 15, 2013

Admit it, we have all been in situations where we sign a contact without reading it. This happens online, when we click to agree to the terms of usage for a website. It occurs offline as well. Clients regularly contact my office after they have been sued and have asked me if they are bound […]

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What Damages Can You Obtain for Breach of Contract to Make Structural Repairs?

August 14, 2013

Let’s say that you own a business such as a bar or restaurant. You notice that there are leaks coming from the ceiling. You are forced to close your restaurant as a result of the water damage. Six months later, the landlord finally replaces the roof. Unfortunately, your business goes under in the meantime because […]

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