In a few prior blogs I have been writing about the mental health of lawyers practicing in Georgia. There seem to be an increasing concern or preoccupation with our ability to function in an increasingly hostile world with our depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse, and drug dependency, highly caffeinated mental and possibly suicidal condition. In other words, how can we properly represent our clients if we suffer from these conditions? In Georgia, the Board to Determine Bar Fitness asks applicants who want to be a lawyer the following question: “Do you currently have any condition or impairment (including, but not limited to, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, or a mental of emotional or nervous disorder or condition) that in any way affects your ability to practice law in a competent, ethical and professional manner?”
Georgia has a system whereby we, the people, vote for who we want to serve on the Georgia Supreme Court and on the Georgia Court of Appeals. We have a non-partisan election in May of every other year and anyone with 5 years of law practice experience can run for any of the vacancies. I’ll bet you did not know that what really happens is when a Judge or Justice wants to retire from the Court where they serve, they announce they are leaving earlier than the end of their term. This allows the sitting Governor of the State of Georgia to appoint a replacement to fill the balance of the term. Then the appointed person runs for a new term as an incumbent. The statistics over the last 30 years demonstrates that the incumbent ALWAYS wins.
There is lot of ‘splaining’ to do here” U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler was appointed only 3 months ago by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, to fill the recently retired Senator seat of Johnny Isakson. She is now one of 4 US Senators who should be in extremely how water for selling massive amounts of personal stocks based on inside knowledge she received as part of her position as a US Senator before the Corona-19 Virus hit the USA. She has stated that she did not personally sell these stocks but that her advisors did so without her knowledge. How could that be? The timing could not have been better for her. She has been briefed as part of her new job assigned to the US Senate Intelligence Committee about the coming effects of the Corona-19 Virus.
Why don’t pharmaceutical companies establish new and ultra-modern manufacturing plants in the USA, not dependent on China whatsoever, using unemployed and disabled US workers? The President and his daughter, Ivanka, have been pushing for vocational re-training here in the USA which would employ US workers with or without disabilities. In 2002 we stopped making aspirin here in the US. Who makes it now? China. In 2004 we stopped making penicillin and Vitamin C. Who makes it now? China. Antibiotics, antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, cancer drugs and many more are made in China and sold here in the USA. All as a result of the policy of globalization.
I continue to be amazed at the reaction to the proposal that all lawyers should have to purchase legal malpractice insurance. The State Bar of Georgia, the governing body of all of Georgia’s lawyers, has had multiple committee meetings on this subject and they still cannot reach a conclusion as to what to do.
I have issued a few recent blogs on the efforts of the Trump Administration to push large companies to provide vocational rehabilitation for young folks out of high school and to those who need to upgrade their skills when the manufacturing jobs return from overseas (especially from China). Sunday night, March 15, 2020, an episode of 60 Minutes featured the driver less 18 wheeler tractor trailer. There are thousands of truck drivers across the USA, union and non-union workers, who will stand a good chance to lose their job. So what are these folks going to do if replaced by a computer in the front seat of their big rig?
Have you ever read The Psalms, in the Old Testament of the Bible? The first Psalm, verse 1-3 is beautiful. It states: V1-Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers V2-but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. V3-That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
Chief Justice Harold D. Melton of the Georgia Supreme Court commended the State Bar of Georgia for reaching out to offer confidential counselling related to depression, stress, and alcohol and drug abuse among lawyers in Georgia. The Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism will commence in April 2020 to discuss this issue statewide. The Chief Justice stated: “I am also concerned about the mental health of our judges and lawyers. Our own dirty secret is that the job of dealing with society’s problems, in addition to our own, sometimes takes a toll. We are often not healthy ourselves.”
I recently wrote about lawyers and their mental health struggles…but apparently I underestimated this problem greatly. In a recent article in the Fulton County Daily Report, dated February 2, 2020, 32% of the 3,800 lawyers who responded to their poll said they were depressed, 64% feel they have anxiety, over 10% say they have an alcohol problem and almost 3% say they have a drug dependency problem. Those who conduct these type of surveys say that most likely these numbers are low because most people participating in the survey under reported their problems. Why is this so? The article cites to 4 reasons for these increasing mental health problems: being always on call and unable to disconnect, billable hour’s pressure, lack of sleep and client demands.
It took three times in separate actions by the Georgia Supreme Court before disbarred attorney “Action Johnson” of Lithonia was formally disbarred. Why? “Serious misconduct in 5 client matters and multiple violations of the State Bar of Georgia’s ethics rules. The Supreme Court also said that Johnson “has shown contempt for the disciplinary process” since he refused to respond to the State Bar’s investigators’ request for information. In the matter of Melvin T. Johnson, S20Y0257, decided February 10, 2020, the Supreme Court cited 5 separate offenses:
President George H.W. Bush appointed Justice Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court in 1991, 28 years ago. Justice Thomas is a very quiet man. He was present at the opening ceremony on February 13, 2020, of the new Georgia Judicial Building, the home of the Georgia Supreme Court and the Georgia Court of Appeals. Justice Thomas is a strong, conservative Justice who is known by all as a strict Constructionist of the US Constitution. His short speech at the opening of the Judicial Building emphasized three things:
n a recent Wall Street Journal article (2/14/2020) the author argued that the increasingly robust economy is growing up opportunities for the disabled that was not present a year ago. Technology advances are attributed to this increase of opportunities. This article states that only 20% of disabled workers can find a job in 2018. Yet this number is the highest in 20 years. Stated another way, 80% of those with disabilities are not able to find alternative employment. This is regrettable.
A potential client expects a live person, a friendly person to answer the telephone inquiry during normal business hours. A potential client would like to ask his/her questions to an attorney although this probably happens in most firms only 10% of the time (or at least with a call back from a lawyer within the same day or early the following day).
Many would like this title…Ivanka Trump has this title. What does she do to leverage this title for good? This is what she said at the one year anniversary of her Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative: “In the coming year, we can work to empower millions of women to lift their families out of poverty, to grow the economies and to deliver on the promise of greater peace and prosperity.” This is not just talk. Ivanka has a way of getting the attention of those in power, those in a position to make a huge difference for good in societies all over the world.
Employers commit to train 3.8 million workers under President Trump’s Executive Order signed on February 10, 2020
This is marvelous! And long overdue! A college education is overrated and overpriced. After 4 years of a liberal arts education, in 90% of our colleges and universities, the graduate still has no skills. I had no skills!! And furthermore, the students have been fed a pack of lies by their ultra-liberals college professors that has heavily influenced the graduate’s world view. Vocational training gives many high school graduates excellent opportunities to find a field of training so they can actually find quality employment after the training. And they will not have to earn a graduate degree before possibly become employed! According to what I am now reading as reported in all news outlets, FedEx, General Motors, Home Depot, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and a number of other companies signed a pledge to expand aprentenship programs, increase on the job training and educate both high school students and workers to transform their careers.
America is a country of working people, hard-working people indeed. For years, we have been sold a “bill of goods” that the only way to really be successful in our choice of careers is to go to a 4 year college. Then, if we want to genuinely be successful, we will attend graduate school in business, the law, medicine and engineering or computer sciences. The astronomical debt that is accumulated achieving this level of education causes an unbelievable amount of stress on the graduates, some with $200,000 or more of student loans to pay back over the next 20 years (while interest accumulates as well).
About two weeks ago I began interviewing for another paralegal for my law office. I have been quite worried that I will not be able to find a person with a soft heart and who exhibits grace and mercy. It is my fervent desire to find such a person, to continue the wonderful tradition of my current staff who does exhibit these qualities. I want my potential and active clients to be able to call in to my office and “feel” positive and welcoming energy from whosoever is on the other end of the call.
I genuinely enjoy helping clients fight for their Social Security Disability Benefits. But once I convince a Judge that my client is due these benefits by providing many high quality disability documents, I do advise and insist that my client continues to be treated by the doctors that “helped them to get their disability status.”
Do not think for a minute that Ivanka Trump is just another daughter of a powerful person. Ivanka is, of course, the daughter of The President of the United States. And she is passionate about a number of issues, many of which are close to my heart. One of Ivanka’s initiatives (the term that is used by the Trump Administration to refer to a White House or Administrative “hot button” issue) is worker training.
The second President of the United States of America was John Adams. He wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Religious convictions, acknowledging an Almighty God, is the foundation of our Country. Morals, learned and passed down through religious teachings, are the guardrails to our behavior.
Many times Judges at all levels in the court system, either in the workers’ compensation system or in the state court in automobile accident cases or the Court of Appeals, would like to tell us lawyers a “thing or two” about how we present our cases to them.
There is a group of liberal lawyers, members of the American Bar Association, who are trying to get the rest of us lawyers to “protect our courts.” What they really are trying to do is to resist the many judicial appointments President Trump has made (with consent by the US Senate) to the Federal Court system.
Section 104 (a) (1) of the Internal Revenue Code clearly states: “…amounts received under workers’ compensation acts as compensation for personal injuries or sickness are not taxable.” If so, then your receipt of a workers’ compensation settlement is NOT taxable.
I had a Nurse Case Manager e-mail me recently, stating she needed my permission to work directly with my injured client. This is the law. However, the NCM can speak to the doctor without my permission. I hate that Rule that allows this!
For your lawyer to be awarded assessed fees in a case that goes to court means that the insurance company's defense of your case was UNREASONABLE.