Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Layoffs This Time of Year

Unfortunately, the end of the year is the time for layoffs. If you are one the many chosen for termination, think twice before signing any separation agreement. Most corporations will allow you to take the termination home to review. If this option is given, take it, read it over carefully, and seek legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer.

Pitfalls in a Separation Agreement

1. Waiver of all discrimination and worker's compensation claims;

2. No limitation on what the employer can say in a call from a prospective employer;

3. No obligation for the employer to provide a neutral reference letter for the employee;

4. One sided non-disparagement clause;

5. Nonpayment of vacation and sick leave time;

6. Low severance pay;

7. No information on COBRA rights; and

8. Prohibition on seeking future employment with the company.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Despite bruising, spanking daughter, 12, with wooden spoon wasn't child abuse, appeals court rules

Despite bruising, spanking daughter, 12, with wooden spoon wasn't child abuse, appeals court rules

Interesting result for a so called liberal state.
Georgia has statutory protection for parents who use reasonable corporal punishment.
The courts have decided this statute gives parents pretty broad authority to spank their children.

Indeed, with limitations on who can administer punishment, schools can spank children unless parents put their objections in writing.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Attorney Updates


Clients are entitled to updates about their cases.  However, at many points during the life of a case, there are long lulls because the attorney is waiting for a judge to issue an order, a court date, or responses to discovery or motions.  Check in with counsel if you haven't heard anything for 2-4 weeks.  However, checking in once a week is normally unnecessary.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Why So Many Offices in Atlanta?

In August 2011, I decided to open up several virtual offices around Atlanta. Virtual offices are created under agreements with office suits that give companies the ability to receive mail at designated locations(s) and meet in offices or conference rooms. This set up is cost efficient and convenient.
Moreover, it benefits the clients by having a close place to meet during lunch or after work.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Recent Answers from Justia's Question and Answer Webiste

Q: Is a set fee that an attorney gives you before they begin a probate matter the same if they are unsuccessful?
A: Look at the contract/retainer agreement. If the contract does not specify a decreased rate if the matter is unsuccessful, you have to pay the agreed upon rate.

7 August 2013Q: If I go see a child-custody Lawyer in NYC, must I retain him to get client-laweyr priv or am I protected either way?
A: With the little information you provided, you should be protected by the attorney-client privilege. The attorney client privilege is created when you seek legal advice from an attorney. You don't have to necessarily pay or retain an attorney to create that privilege. If you're truly concerned about it, ask the attorney.

7 August 2013Q: Dad died two years ago and his spouse sold the house as a quick sale. Are living children entitled 2 the money
A: It all depends. She may have automatically obtained full ownership of the house through rights of survivorship or his will may have left it to her. If you have concerns, determine if he had a will. Also, deeds are public records. Check with the county land records where the house is located.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Step Parent Inheritance of Father's Estate (Maryland)

Blended families always lend themselves to problems when parents don't discuss with their adult children their wills and other property transfers.


Monday, April 15, 2013


I am 22 years old & was adopted in GA. I contacted the GA adoption reunion registry to search for my biological mother. It's been 4 months since the start of the search. The agent says she has sent two letters to my biological mother with no response. I'm thinking my last resort is to petition it through the courts. How do I go about this & what are the ballpark fees ?

Paula McGill's Answer Plus Additional Commentary.

You may want to circumvent the court since the government doesn't care that your identity was stolen when you were young. Little by little states have realized the error in their ways and have allowed adult adoptees to open their records. Those states recognize natural rights require every person to know their birthrights and identities. Unfortunately, Georgia isn't one of those states.

As a result, you may not want to waste your money, time, and emotions by going through the courts. There are other ways to find your family, including searching through gene collection services and adoptee groups. The gene service that may assist you is 23andMe. There is a small fee for analyzing your genes and determining if there are other family members who are also in this service. More and more people are interested in finding their ancestors and close family members regardless of whether they are adopted. Even a second cousin may know the circumstances surrounding your birth and adoption. Another option is to hire a private detective. However the 23andMe service and a Georgia adoption listserve, with search angels will serve you better than going through the courts. Once you get a collection of close cousins, a private detective may be able to find your mother, father, and/or siblings.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New York Family Law Cases Involving Georgia Residents-Niche Market

Georgia is a magnet for New York transplants. Oftentimes, these new Georgia residents have open child support matters in New York. Additionally, frequently New York transplants cannot take the southern culture shock and make a U-turn to return to the North. While these reverse transplants may return to their home state, but their children may return to Georgia.

Once these splits occur, the parents have to deal with New York and Georgia courts. It is much easier to have one attorney for both jurisdictions. This is especially so when the proceeding is in New York. Indeed, New York recognizes that parents cannot simply pick up and drive or fly for hours just to appear for a 10 to 15 minute interaction with the court. In fact, the money used to fly or drive could best be used on the children. As a result, New York allows parents who are at least two counties away from the court to appear by phone. For those Georgia residents who hire me, we can sit in my office and appear and participate in trials and hearings that are occurring 900+ miles away. An additional benefit to hiring local Georgia/New York counsel is a client can discuss the matter with me face to face in one of my offices. For initial consultations and trial prep, this type of interaction is invaluable.

At the other end of the drive, I have office access in NYC, Long Island, and Westchester County. I am available to meet with a New York client in person to discuss his case that is before a Georgia court. Unfortunately, Georgia law doesn't guarantee appearance by phone. However, it is still invaluable to have counsel who is licensed in both places. This is especially true when there are young children involved and the parent can expect to be before the court many times before the children reach majority. Starting a relationship with counsel at the beginning of the journey should save time and money over the years.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Time Crunch for Attorneys and Clients

My preference is to work with clients who understand an attorney's time is valuable. As a result, corresponding by e-mail to obtain short updates and to ask quick questions are ideal. Similarly, I understand clients are busy with work and families. They don't have time for frequent long explanations or telephone calls during office hours. Moreover, they don't have time to take off from work for long tedious office visits. This is especially so, when an evening or weekend telephone conference will provide the same information as a face to face meeting. For those who believe long essays are required for any communication between attorneys and clients, an hourly rate charge of $350 to $450 bill will probably break you of that belief.