Author Archives: Andrew Weltchek

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About Andrew Weltchek

Andrew Weltchek is an attorney & partner at Cohen, Hochman & Allen in New York, New York.

EMAIL: aweltchek@chalegalteam.com

BIO: About Andrew

PHONE: 212-792-6579

One Man’s ADA Troll is Another Man’s Civil Rights Activist
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One Man’s ADA Troll is Another Man’s Civil Rights Activist | Andrew Weltchek

No one likes getting sued. Period. And if you think the plaintiffs are just pursuing a hustle it can make you even angrier. That’s how restaurant owners and landlords often feel about being sued by disabled plaintiffs — especially if they are serial plaintiffs. That is, if they’ve sued other restaurants — and gotten their legal fees paid by the defendants — because the front steps are too high, or the bathroom is downstairs, or the tables are too low, or whatever violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Why Do I Have to Pay My Neighbor to be Able to Work on My Building?
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Why Do I Have to Pay My Neighbor to be Able to Work on My Building? | Andrew Weltchek

Because he can’t stop you from setting up your scaffold on his property, if that’s the only way to finish your job. It’s a trade-off. This is New York City, after all. Sometimes—in fact lots of times— the only way to work on your building is to set up on your neighbor’s property.

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Do You Have Real Estate Problems?
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Do You Have Real Estate Problems? | Andrew Weltchek

Yes you do. If you own real estate in New York City, you have problems. Your boiler breaks down. Your basement gets flooded. Your contractor screws up. Your neighbor sues you. You and your commercial tenant get sued to provide handicapped access. Your neighbor won’t let you put up a scaffold to fix your wall. Your condo board won’t let you see its financial records. The list goes on.

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Should I Go to Law School?
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Should I Go to Law School? | Andrew Weltchek

{Time to Read: 3 minutes} Don’t do it unless you think you’ll enjoy it, and then don’t do it unless you can afford it. “Should I go to law school?” is a common question. When occasionally asked my opinion, I have a standard answer: “Not unless you’ve worked in a law office.” I don’t care if that means you’re the copy boy or the girl who delivers papers to the courthouse. Work in a law office and see if you can stand it. See if you’re the least bit interested in what the people do there.

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Negotiations Commence upon Signing of the Contract
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Negotiations Commence upon Signing of the Contract | Andrew Weltchek

An agreement depends more than anything upon the honor of the parties.

The title of this article expresses how some people approach contracts:

It’s more important to tie up the other party entering the agreement than it is to worry about whether, in fact, I have to honor the terms – because once I have them roped in, I can exploit that leverage to get further concessions later on.

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What’s Wrong with a Special Interest Campaign?
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What’s Wrong with a Special Interest Campaign? | Andrew Weltchek

The New York Times recently published an article about claims of wage theft. The article concluded with two quotes from employer representatives: “This is a classic special interest campaign by the labor unions.” “These are opportunist, opportunistic lawsuits.” To which I say, “So what?” So what if these individuals are protesting and forming special interest campaigns?

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When Do the Rules Allow You to Think Outside the Box?
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When Do the Rules Allow You to Think Outside the Box? | Andrew Weltchek

You want a lawyer who can figure out when the rules allow you to think outside the box.

There’s a public radio show called Radiolab. They did a feature on a game show in England called “Golden Balls,” which had an episode that was put on YouTube and went viral.

The long-running show is an amazing lesson in negotiation. The rules of the game are that contestants play the game for a while to determine the size of the final pot of prize money.

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Who Are You Calling a Liar?
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Who Are You Calling a Liar? | Andrew Weltchek

It seems to be verboten to flat-out call an opposing lawyer, or client, a bald-faced liar – but in fact, lies are told. Clients lie to themselves, to their lawyers, to their opponents. Lawyers lie or abet their clients’ lies. It is frowned upon to call people liars. Clients don’t want to hear it from their lawyer. They get even more upset if they are caught in a lie, or are accused of lying by their opponents. In all my years of practice, I don’t believe I've ever seen the word “liar” applied to an opposing attorney.

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Explain It To Me Like You’re Einstein
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Explain It To Me Like You’re Einstein | Andrew Weltchek

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
- Albert Einstein

I think that is absolutely true, and I don’t think it can be overstated. If the client can’t explain the problem, then they don’t understand it.
In their distress, they may not understand their circumstances well enough to explain what it is that’s bothering them. They may not know what the problem is that needs solving.

The lawyer’s job is to draw it out of them, find the facts, and understand what their feelings, intentions and needs are. The lawyer can provide feedback to the client to help the client understand what the real situation is and what they really need and want.

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I Didn’t Know You Did That…
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I Didn’t Know You Did That… | Andrew Weltchek

I help clients with both deals and litigation. To be more specific that means buying, selling, financing, leasing, etc. — and going to court. However, those things don’t often overlap. That is, most deals don’t end up in court, and even fewer lawsuits lead to deals.

So, it sometimes turns out that when my deal clients have to go to court in an unrelated matter, or my litigation clients want to do an unrelated deal, they’re unaware that I can help them with the new matter. Putting aside whether that is bad for me, it can be bad for my clients.

I find that lawyers who are experienced in deals know better what to do if the deal ends up in court, and vice versa; lawyers experienced in court know better strategies when negotiating a deal.

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Yes, I have to say “no” a lot.
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Yes, I have to say “no” a lot. | Andrew Weltchek

Clients don’t like me saying “no” to so many of their ideas for litigation strategies and maneuvers. But, unfortunately, by the time litigation starts, there are often not many good options left. The optimal outcome for a client is sometimes the least bad scenario.

By the time you find yourself in court, most of your options may have already been foreclosed. You are now looking to limit your damage, not come out ahead.

This is why it is so important to avoid getting into trouble at the beginningof any transaction or relationship. If there is no issue to fight about in the first place, you’re less likely to end up in a fight later. Or, at least, if you’ve made a record of what you’ve done right, you’re more likely to win.

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Legal Services Without Lawyers
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Legal Services Without Lawyers | Andrew Weltchek

Technology offers an opportunity – or a steamroller, depending on how you look at it – for changing the way legal services are delivered, and therefore how lawyers charge for them. I recently attended a conference called Reinvent Law at the Great Hall at Cooper Union – famous for, among other things, Abraham Lincoln delivering a famous anti-slavery speech.

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Spoiled by Amazon, but Impressed with Steve
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Spoiled by Amazon, but Impressed with Steve | Andrew Weltchek

I’m used to online services just working and being simple and affordable – at least the few I like. So, when three LexisNexis customer service agents bug me about how my user-experience is going, and ask if I want an online training session, I say yes. What the heck, it beats working, right?

But my experience with LexisNexis takes a sharp turn downhill as soon as I start my phone session. First, the login instructions they email over, although decent, don’t work on my iPad. Steve, the customer service associate, comes to the phone and tries to troubleshoot, but he can’t make the instructions work either. So I just tell him to figure it out, and I end the call.

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Sell Me This Lawyer
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Sell Me This Lawyer | Andrew Weltchek

I admit, I loved The Wolf of Wall Street. You can put me in the “swept away” category aptly described in the NY Times review. Although, I also agree with the criticism of its voyeuristic indulgence in sexism and materialism. But, damn, it was entertaining! Overall, I was intrigued by the major theme: the power of selling. The movie perfectly conveyed the ambrosia of persuading someone to buy something — anything — from you.

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Electronically Stored Information
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Electronically Stored Information | Andrew Weltchek

Electronically stored information includes any and all documents saved to a computer, with or without hard copies. These documents include sent or received emails.

The amount of electronically stored information can be vast. Even deleted email lingers on in some form in your ISP’s servers. If you initiate a lawsuit or are a defendant, you have an obligation to preserve your information.

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