New office in the Atlanta area to accommodate clients' schedules during my Winter and Spring break.
The Firm understands that not everyone has a Monday - Friday 9am to 5pm life.
New office in the Atlanta area to accommodate clients' schedules during my Winter and Spring break.
The Firm understands that not everyone has a Monday - Friday 9am to 5pm life.
Recently, a veteran, who had diabetes, was found dead in his Texas apartment. The man died approximately three years ago, but nobody knew. He was on the floor for three years unnoticed.
In Georgia, this could happen to renters.
Right before his death, the veteran had moved into a new place without telling his family. Apparently, the family didn't know his friends and vice versa.
The tenant had direct deposit for his military retirement and automatic payment for his rent. The reports haven't said how his utilities were paid in those 3 years. Apparently, he had automatic payment for his other bills or the creditors never reached out to his listed contacts.
The one issue that has perplexed internet laypeople is the lease. Although a significant number of leases are one year, in Georgia, the standard apartment lease has an automatic renewal clause. In those instances, when neither the landlord nor the tenant sends a nonrenewal notice, the lease is automatically renewed for another year or month to month. That continues until a nonrenewal notice is provided. So, in a perfect storm, this could happen in Georgia.
In the Texas case, he was a month to month tenant. There was no indication that he ever signed a one year lease. More likely than not, the landlord thought he was the perfect tenant because he paid his rent on time and never complained.
If you have medical issues like he had, you should remain close to at least one person and provide that person with an emergency contact. That person should know where you live and your telephone number. Both of you should keep in regular contact.
This article isn't connected to the law directly. However, it should have implications for those who want to understand night owls and allow them to work at peak times.
For students of course, the alternative to early morning in person classes is online classes. Allowing night owls to attend late online classes would maximize their potential and learning.
Even the law has caught up with 24 hour e-file in many courts. Court that have efile benefit late workers who work in the evening. Now they can file documents up until 11:59pm and meet the deadline while most sleep.
Unfortunately, 9-5 people don't understand why anyone would want to work while everyone else sleeps. This article should explain it. Now, with this information, adjustments should be made to antiquated thinking.
Offices could make it easier for employees to choose when to clock in, when feasible. Flexible hours, with imagination, would still comply with state and federal laws without costing the employer. In fact, the employer may benefit if it catches its worker at peak mental capacity each day.
For small business owners like myself, it means finding a facility that has 24 hour access for late night work. Not everyone sleeps between midnight and 6:00 am. Facilities miss opportunities to make their tenants happy when they have narrow views of office hours.
Last week someone told me he talked to several other lawyers and their work hours in the office were different from mine.
Yes, the lawyers I know he spoke with don't have a landlord-tenant practice. So. The comparison on time was worthless.
The general public understands the specialty areas in the medical profession. A heart surgeon's hours can't be compared to the hours of a ER doctor, a pediatrician, a podiatrist, or a gynecologist. We all understand this.
Similarly, if you want to discuss reasonableness of office and work time with your lawyer, talk to lawyers who practice in that same area of law. A divorce lawyer or corporate lawyer can't really comprehend the hours of a patent lawyer, public defender, or residential tenant lawyer.
So, call around to compare apples and oranges. You do yourself disservice when your preparation on an issue falls short of reality.
It will be interesting to see how the project works out.
Those in hotels and other bad living arrangements can pay their monthly obligations, but are often stuck because they can't afford to save enough money for the security deposit and 1st month's rent.
The Firm still takes a limited number of dispossessory actions for residential tenants. However, if there is a counterclaim, it has to be $15,000 or less. Right now, I have an overabundance of former dispo actions that were moved to State and Superior Court because of the size of the counterclaim.
After you ask a question on a legal position or strategy, listen to the explanation and take notes. Even better, record the conversation. Unless the lawyer is being paid by the hour, no attorney wants to waste time explaining the same thing numerous times.
Before you hang up or leave a meeting, ask questions. If you don't understand it, ask the attorney to put it in layman's terms. After you get home, if you have additional questions, ask.
However, there is no excuse to have to ask the same question 5 times over numerous weeks because you don't listen and take notes.
The balance between work and everyday enjoyment should be a goal for employees and employers.
The last paragraphs of the article concede that 25-40 hours per week are ideal. Anything over 40 may decrease productivity.
Of course, as long as wages are held artificially low, those at the bottom of the income scale need to work beyond 40 hours. However, that can be changed with a mandatory minimum wage that is tied to inflation and the cost of living.
This Firm has decreased its hours to allow for this work-life balance. It has also eliminated weekend and extended office hours for routine calls and inquiries. Therefore, if you are looking for legal services or if you are a returning client, please take this into consideration.
This small firm lawyer couldn't be happier. Effective today, I am booked up. Except for dispossessory and wrongful eviction cases, I will not be taking new cases until July.
If you have already contacted me about your case, you have a spot. So, don't worry. This is limited to those who are contacting the Firm for the first time from June 11-June 30th.
Already, I've had to turn away people who can't find satisfactory lawyers to represent them. Unfortunately, I've had to abandon the triage and number system as I described in my prior posts. Oftentimes, complainers cause unlimited harm by their complaints. This is just one example of the problems caused by those folks. The triage method worked for nearly 10 years, and assisted over 10,000 people who called and received assistance or retained the firm.
All retainers for work more than 7 days out must be paid by certified check, money order, cash, Money gram or Western Union.
The Firm will no longer accept debit or credit cards for IOLTA retainers
Invoices for completed work, initial consultations, or dispossessory actions can still be paid by debit and credit cards. Cash App and Venmo can also be used for invoiced completed work and initial consultation.
Effective June 1, the Firm will phase our its residential tenant practice. I personally like the practice area, but financially and otherwise, it's not worth it anymore. Over the years, I have been told that other lawyers have stopped their representation in this area out of frustration. Some people can't be helped and others aren't worth helping.
Effective June 1, the landlord tenant practice will focus on the following:
1. Commercial Tenants
2. Commercial Landlords
3. Residential Landlords
4. Management Companies
Also, I'll be expanding my representation of homeowners and Homeowners' and Condo Associations.
These groups tend to understand business, time constraints, and the court system. Furthermore, they understand the importance of paying for quality services and extended statute of limitation periods. They tend to be more realistic about goals, return calls, start and termination timing, and other procedures.
I've met, talked to, and helped numerous good residential tenants. Like everything else today, the slaggers have ruined it for them and everyone else. Therefore, if you are a tenant and can't find a lawyer to assist you, you can thank them.
Although I will still be accepting new residential tenant cases through September 15, if I don't think the case will end by September 30th, I will not start it.
Effective June 1, 2019, the rates for initial office consultations will increase to $200/hour. 30 minutes is $100.
Tenants with pending dispossessory actions filed against them will be charged $85 for 30 minutes.
Nothing paid in the initial consultation will be applied to the retainer.
The rate for contract and lease reviews will be $275/ hour. This rate also applies during the first office visit.
The Georgia governor signed the renter anti-retaliation bill into law. The law goes into effect July 1, 2019. It's a good start, but a well drafted lease and careful planning by the landlord should prevent liability. Of course, not punishing tenants when they complain will also prevent liability.
If you are a small landlord and need assistance on understanding the new law, call me for an appointment. (770)367-1234.
Although many dispossessory hearingd take about 15 minutes once a case is called by the judge, what needs to be done to get to the podium to defend a tenant case takes hours.
Night before - copies and file organization
9:00 trial times normally means an 8:00 arrival time.
8:00 - review file again
8:30 - discuss matter with clients, assuming they show up on time
9:00 - calendar call and case announcement
9:45 -wait for mediation or discuss the matter with landlord's counsel
10:00 - discuss reasonable terms with the tenant/client that she can comply with during the remainder of the tenancy
10:30 - if the case settles, draft an agreement and present it to the judge
10:30 - if the case doesn't settle, wait for a hearing.
11:00 - hearing.
(some dockets are so large, they go into the 1:00 session).
12:00 - off to the 1:00pm dispossessory calendar, to start the entire process over again.
For new cases, additional time in the courthouse or time to scan, prepare or copy orders means additional fees charged by the Firm.
The fees are as follows:
1. Preparing a final order $300/hr
2. Scanning the order in court because of mandatory filing requirements $100.
3. Copy and certified fees will be charged to clients with admin fees of 10%.
The Firm tries to be mindful of budgets. However, additional time and costs have to be passed to clients.
I successfully defended a $24,000 damages case filed against a tenant and helped her receive a nearly $2,000 judgment.
Of course, not all cases end this well, but having an experienced attorney may help you navigate court evidence and procedures. Representing yourself in court is not as easy as tv arbitration shows like Judge Judy and Judge Mathis portray.
Court rules and procedures trip up attorneys from time to time. This is especially true in State and Superior Court.
The Firm no longer files lawsuits. However, it will assist the client in drafting the lawsuit. Once the client files and serves the lawsuit, he or she can hire the Firm for discovery, hearings, trials, and appeals.
This will cut down on the backlog. Once the Firm is retained, if an amendment is needed to supplement or correct your original complaint/statement of claim, we can do that at that time.
Business innovation and unique business models benefit other businesses and consumers. Nevertheless, there are those who hate new ideas.
Although I personally despise Facebook, nobody can dispute the business has reunited friends who would not have remained in touch but for the company, helped solve crimes, and opened up communication to third world countries.
Yes, regulators needed to step in to protect certain aspects of users' privacy. Nevertheless, as always, government folks can't help themselves. I see overstepping and overregulation that will do more harm than good for that company and it's satisfied users.
The victims of bad laws to come will be Amazon and Uber. These companies are relatively young services that have changed the face of this country. I don't know anyone who hasn't used these services. But for the innovation of the founders of these companies, we would all be worse off in one way or another. They deserve the billions they have made.
Yet, the government is hell-bent on clamping down on these businesses.
First, a few folks in Queens who have probably never come up with an original business thought in their lives decided to quash a deal after it had been awarded. What business person in his right mind would ever want to do business in Queens as long as that crew is anywhere in that borough?
Now, the government has set its sights on Uber. NYC is taking sides between Uber and the taxi services. As someone who had been passed by taxis in several cities, have suffered through loud phone conversations between drivers and God know who, and smelly cabs, I'm delighted those folks have gotten their walking papers. Government shouldn't step in to protect them by excessive regulation or by imposing high taxes on Uber riders. The cab business model is antiquated and deserves to be downsized until they change and become more consumer friendly.
I believe my business model is somewhat unique just because a significant number of cases I handle are Landlord-Tenant cases. This Firm represents small landlords and all tenants. These cases are 65%-85% of the Firm's business. The high call numbers have increased with Atlanta's increasing population. My theory is to try to assist as many as possible and expect a 90%-95% appreciation rate through repeat business, referrals, and/or good ratings. The 5-10% disgruntled class is the cost of doing business and having the unique business model I have.
Indeed, people are willing to wait for me because there aren't too many experienced landlord tenant attorneys who offer low reasonable rates. Additionally, I've been told callers do not get the comfort level they expected when they called other firms or they don't get a return call at all from other lawyers.
My business model was reaffirmed recently when someone called me for a case after a client had "gushed" about me to her on a MARTA ride.
No, I don't have paralegals or legal assistants. This helps me to know my clients, know their stories, and establish a comfort level and relationship with them. As a result, a scheduled one hour meeting may turn into a 1-1/2 or 2 hour meeting.
For those who want the plain vanilla attorney, don't call, write, or stop by here. This Firm has a different business model. If you hire me and don't like it, ask for your money back and leave. There are too many clients who understand what's going on here to change voluntarily. After 17 years of being in solo practice, I must be doing something right. As long as allowed by regulators and the government, this model of service will continue.
I had thought about changing the model, but I talk to callers who haven't received any assistance in their plight and I change my mind. These people make too much money for legal aid, but don't make enough to pay a large retainer. These "donut hole" folks who would receive zero assistance, but for me, keep my business model alive and thriving.
Spring & Summer Hours
Monday - 1:00pm - 6:00pm
Tuesday - 10:00am - 6:00pm
Wednesday - 10:00am - 6:00pm
Thursday - 10:00am - 6:00pm
Friday - 9:00am - 1:00pm
Saturday & Sunday - Closed
Holidays & Vacation - Closed
Many courts in Georgia are not closed for Presidents' Day (Monday, February 18th). If you have a filing deadline that falls on Monday, call the court to see if it will br opened.
Extreme caution should be exercised for dispossessory answers that are due this Monday. Unlike regular court actions, opening a default in an dispossessory action is nearly impossible. As a result, a landlord may apply for a writ on Tuesday if an answer isn't filed timely. Once the judge grants the writ, it's only a matter of time before the Sheriff/Marshal comes to supervise the eviction.
The fees below are subject to change without notice. Also, the Firm offers lower hour rates for established clients.
Effective September 30, 2019, the Firm will no longer represent residential tenants.
Initial Consultation (first office visit only) - Residential - $170/hour
Initial Consultation (first office visit only) - Commercial - $350/hour
Review leases - $250/hour
Draft a demand for repairs $450 + postage
Increased effective 4/1 to $600.00
Draft answer and counterclaim for tenant to file - $150/hr.
Effective 4/1 -
Dispossessory answer - $250.00
Magistrate statement of claim answer - $350.00
Draft counterclaim - $350.00
Represent tenant with counterclaim - 25% of what is recovered in Magistrate Court
35% of what is recovered in State/Superior Court without jury
45% of what is recovered in State/Superior with jury
Preparation for case in magistrate court - $200 for one hour and $250/hour for each hour thereafter
Copies, parking, transportation are charge to the courthouse and meeting
Trial date residential - $600 first two hours and $275/hour for each hour thereafter
Trial date commercial - $350/hour
Tenant is responsible for all expenses in the case.
Phone calls, e-mails, texts - $250/hr.
Any activity not listed above $300/hr.
APPEALS (STATE OR SUPERIOR)
$250/hr. with a $2,500 initial retainer
REMOVALS TO FEDERAL COURT
$300/hr with a $3,000 initial retainer
The Firm does not handle cases that are in bankruptcy.
APPEALS (APPELLATE OR SUPREME)
$300/hour plus copies and posta
The Firm gives free 5 minute screening consultations for several reasons:
(1) the schedule limitations of the attorney and the potential clients prevent emergency meetings;
(2) a brief explanation of the matter by the caller can often tell us if the Firm cannot assist;
(3) 50% of callers' questions can be answered in 5 minutes;
(4) a brief conversation can often tell both parties if their personalities can mesh to form a long-term attorney-client relationship; and
(5) nobody wants to waste time, travel, PTO, and $85.00/30 minutes to be told within 5 minutes of the office consultation that the Firm cannot help.