Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Retainers and Invoices

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.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Some Folks Have Made the Tenant Attorney Shortage Even Worse

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.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Correcting Rental History, Rental Reports, and Credit Reports

The Firm no longer handles demand letters and litigation to correct erroneous information on a consumers credit and rental report unless it is part of a larger lawsuit for other claims that does not have to be filed in Federal Court.  It is more efficient to have an attorney who normally handles FCRA claims if that is the sole claim in the case.

A consumer can find attorneys who practice in this area by Googling "Fair Credit Reporting Act" and attorney.


The McGill Law Firm is busy with calls, meetings, hearings, and trials.  When a client wants to go to another attorney because of delays, just say, I want a refund for my unprocessed work.  Some folks get so dramatic about a simple request.  Think of it as returning a blanket at Target.  The only difference is services already performed are taken out of the refund.   You really don't even have to tell me why you want a refund for your unused retainer.

I have about a 10% quit or fire rate (either I fire the client for many reasons or the client fires me because they can't wait).  Those slots are quickly filled (within the week) with other people who need legal advice and representation.   Most of those new clients have just received notice of a potential eviction.  Therefore, as much as I would love to have 100% completion rate, it's just not realistic.  Delays happen all the time, including having a 5 minute screening call turn into a 30 minute screening call; preventing an eviction with a trial in a week; a morning trial that turns into an all day affair; or a motion that takes much longer to complete. 

I get those same calls from people who are impatient with their current attorneys.  If you want to call me because your landlord-tenant attorney is moving too slowly, you may be calling the wrong attorney.  If you are impatient with an attorney with a paralegal and legal assistant because he's not getting to your case fast enough, you will be impatient with this solo attorney. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

New Rates for Initial Consultations

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.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Anti Retaliation Law to Protect Renters

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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Dispossessory Trial Days

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.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Additional Requirements on Attorneys Mean Additional Fees to Client

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.