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The Ins and Outs of Independent Contractors - A Joint Event with the LA Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners

 by Maria Hamar and Heather Stern


Maria Hamar                                                                Heather Stern

In today’s economic environment, many businesses, including law firms, are striving to reduce overhead and maintain a more flexible work force. One option businesses are examining is whether they can hire certain workers as independent contractors rather than employees, in order to, among other things, try to reduce expenses such as worker’s compensation payments, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment payments and health insurance costs. Additionally, certain business owners who provide services to others, including contract attorneys, are presently offering their services as independent contractors. 

While the approach of hiring someone as an independent contractor may have surface appeal, the “devil is in the details” and in this April 4, 2013 evening event at the California Club, our esteemed experts in law, accounting and insurance will be delving into those details. Among other things, our experts will be discussing the potential tax penalties of incorrect classification, wage and hour related ramifications, insurance coverage concerns, and other liability issues. Our experts will also provide tips and advice to businesses dealing with this issue, to help them weigh and avoid risk while also growing their businesses. 
The LA Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), has planned this event with WLALA.  NAWBO's mission includes empowerment of women entrepreneurs.
This event is co-sponsored by WLALA members, Nancy McCready, Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch in Century City and ARBIA Group, LLC, connecting highly credentialed attorneys with law firms and companies for on demand legal services.
The speakers include Christine A. Page, Esq., Barbara Barshak, CPA, and Karen Oxman, CPCU.  The event will be moderated by Cathy Goonetilleke of Ernst & Young LLP. Ernst & Young LLP has generously agreed to be the Venue Sponsor for this event, which will be taking place at the California Club courtesy of their generosity. WLALA thanks all of the program sponsors for their commitment to WLALA, to NAWBO, and to this event.
·  Christine A. Page is an attorney and partner with Gilchrist & Rutter, where she specializes in employment law and alternative dispute resolution. Her employment practice includes advising employers on compliance with state and federal employment laws and defending employers against claims of wage and hour violations. On January 1, 2013, Ms. Page was appointed to serve part-time as a mediator for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s enhanced mediation program. Ms. Page is also a Board member of WLALA.
·  Barbara Barshak is a CPA and a principal at Katz Cassidy, a Los Angeles based CPA firm with offices in Los Angeles and Sebastopol, California. She has a special expertise in the hospitality industry and her clients include a wide variety of restaurants, bars, bakeries and cooking schools. She has written articles for the California Restaurant Association on such subjects as tip reporting issues, sales tax audits and tax planning ideas. 
·  Karen Oxman is a principal with GNW-Evergreen Insurance Services, LLC, and has been in the insurance industry since 1985.  Ms. Oxman holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) professional designation, which is similar to the CPA designation for the accounting profession. She has held a number of leadership positions in her industry, including serving on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Chapter of CPCU and serving as a member of the IBA West Board of Directors, the premier State Association for independent insurance agents and brokers. Her firm specializes in four key areas: Commercial Insurance, Personal Insurance, Entertainment including Business Managers, and Benefits. Karen’s particular expertise is in Manufacturing, Real Estate, Professional Liability, and Research and Development including Product Liability as well as Fine Arts, and Personal Asset Protection and working with Business Managers to protect their clients. She is an active member of NAWBO.
·  Cathy Goonetilleke, our moderator, is a Senior Manager in Ernst & Young’s Human Capital practice in Los Angeles. She is focused on global compensation, payroll and HR risk issues, including advising numerous multinational companies on the design, administration and implementation issues surrounding HR programs and technology to over 100 countries.
This event is the first of what we hope will be a series of joint events with NAWBO on topics of interest to both women lawyers and women business owners. Networking among all program attendees will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., followed by a moderated conversation with our panelists from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with plenty of opportunities for “Q&A” with our experts. Please join us on April 4, 2013, for this exciting and interesting event. MCLE credit of one hour is provided.
In addition, WLALA is actively seeking an additional sponsor for this event. Sponsors will obtain certain exposure to both the membership of WLALA and the membership of NAWBO-LA. For additional information, please contact WLALA Board members, Maria Rivas Hamar of Hamar Family Law Corp. or Heather E. Stern of Kralik & Jacobs LLP.                          
Maria Hamar is chair of WLALA's Family Law Section and is with Hamar Family Law Corp.  Heather Stern is co-chair of WLALA's Pro-Choice and Reproductive Rights Committee and is a partner at Kralik & Jacobs LLP.