I got a call from a potential client who lives and works in Covington, Georgia. It is about an hour’s drive from Atlanta. She said she had a lawyer but fired him because he didn’t care about and didn’t spend any time on her case. This lady worked in a manufacturing company and made good money. She described a lifting and twisting incident that caused her immediate low back pain.
We have all heard of carpal tunnel syndrome. That is a tightening of the muscles around the nerves in a person’s wrist. Once the muscles tighten due to extended repetitive motion such as production work, then that could be considered a job injury. There are many other situations like this with regard to someone’s low back or elbow or neck. However, people tend to think that unless they have a specific one-time incident of lifting or falling or twisting, then their injury will not be considered a job injury. That is wrong. Job injuries occur whenever a person’s need for medical treatment is the result of their job duties. There are many people who fail to report this type of injury or who believe they have not had a job injury or they just don’t want to get into a fight over whether they have actually had a job injury.
A very frustrated Hispanic client came to see me just recently. He signed a contract with a law firm in Atlanta but never met with the actual lawyer. He was represented by this law firm for about one month. He dealt with two different legal assistants and they were giving him conflicting legal advice. First of all, this is a violation of the State Bar of Georgia’s Code of Ethics, which states that only a lawyer can give legal advice and practice law. Additionally, attorneys are responsible for the actions of their non-lawyer assistants and must keep in mind that they “do not have legal training and are not subject to professional discipline.”
Many folks in the US today want instant gratification. They want to tap the cellphone and get news, sports, entertainment and weather in an instant. Click on Google and get your question answered instantly. Unfortunately, that is not how the law works. I wish I could tell you that “One Call Gets It All”, as some of the big TV advertisers suggest. This catchy phrase is so far from the truth that I think almost everyone now understands this.
There are many of time when a client comes to me in an automobile accident case and they are treated by a doctor who has not ordered any diagnosis testing. How on earth can one establish a diagnosis when the doctor will not take the time to order a CT scan, an MRI, EMG, or a nerve block or any other diagnostic testing? It just cannot be done.
How many of us measure our work by what job we do? American society measures too quickly our worth this way. There is a separation between mental and physical work. Those doing the mental work get paid more. Those doing the labor jobs, which are just as important as any other, get paid less. The mental jobs seem to have greater status.
In the case of Denise Hemmann, attorney in Jackson, Georgia, things did not go well. She has been sanctioned by the Supreme Court of Georgia four previous times for abandonment, failure to properly withdraw from representation and failure to communicate with certain clients about her withdrawal. All this was reported in the Fulton County Daily Report, Friday, November 1, 2019. Attorney Hemmann sought to receive public sanctions for her behavior, hoping that would be sufficient punishment. The Supreme Court said that was not enough of a punishment. The Court acknowledged that this being her 5th violation, disbarment was appropriate.
An American Bar Association’s National Task Force on lawyer well-being in 2018 reported that”…too many lawyers throughout the nation are expressing high levels of stress and are unhealthy and unhappy, which is adversely affecting their professional and personal lives.” (See the complete report @ www.lawyerwellbeing.net). Too many lawyers are depressed, dissatisfied with their career path, the type of clients they have, their office situation and this affects their personal life as well. Many lawyers resort to drinking alcohol, sometimes to excess and regularly so. This is never a good thing but it is socially acceptable to do so. Younger lawyers, having grown up in a different set of cultural circumstances, turn to marihuana to mask their depressive symptoms. They would vehemently disagree stating that marihuana in this age and time is for recreation only and has no other purpose and, of course, is not habit forming.
When I attend a legal seminar (lawyers are required to get for 12 hours of continuing legal education yearly) I usually learn a few new things, even in my areas of expertise. On November 8 and 9, Carmen and I attended a business builder seminar that was client centered in New Orleans. While it was not a “legal seminar” and I cannot receive credit for it as part of legal education, we both learned far more than any seminar I have attended in the last 5 years.
Big law firms, those TV law firms, who you see all the time on billboards and on TV ads at all hours of the day and night, enticing you to let them handle your automobile accident or job injury case, what are they really all about? The large law firms with 25 to 200 lawyers or larger might be great for big business clients, corporations and government. But for the little person who is injured, do not think for a moment you are getting better results because of the size of the law firm. Big is not better. In fact, I submit that you are worse off with a large law firm. He is why:
What should a new client expect from the time they pick up the phone to call the law offices of Thomas F. Brown? It is safe to say the caller expects a nice greeting from a person with a caring voice and not a receptionist who is just waiting to go to lunch or to go home at the end of the day. The caller does want to tell their story. They want a sympathetic ear. And they would like to tell it all to a lawyer.
When my office staff knows who is coming to the office on any given day, then the staff will greet the client by name when they enter. We do not expect a client to wait but 3 to 4 minutes for me. We offer the client something to drink and try to have a number of options to satisfy their tastes. We do not push a bunch of forms in front of my new clients to sign and complete that are on a clip board (like in all doctor offices). I have an intake sheet and I fill it out as we progress through the interview.
AT& T has a new ad campaign that tries to imply if you settle for their competitors, it is just OK services you will get, not exceptional services. A few of their commercials are great but, by and large, the consumer doesn’t make the connection that with AT&T you get great services. But there is a message here and it applies to the lawyer out there very clearly. Here is how the as runs.
As we think through some of our daily issues in life, wisdom and the application of it, does not always follow us as we make our important decisions. I define wisdom as the application of truth to life: to do the right thing in the right moment with the right power and with guidance from the Holy Spirit of God. Intellectual preparation is how you do your daily work. Spiritual preparation is to be in tune with the Holy Spirit.
There’s a new commercial out for Burger King’s Veggie Burger. The ad shows people enthusiastically involved in a taste test. They are serving the likes of a delicious burger. As they are eating away, the announcer informs them they are eating a meatless burger, a veggie burger indeed. The folks in this taste test are all astonished. How can that be, they exclaim. We had no idea our burger was meatless.
Tom Hanks plays the part of Mr. Rogers and does a great job of it. What we see is a very kind, gentle man, who respects children, gives them hope and helps them to be forgiving and understanding of others around them. These qualities are marvelous but are they appropriate for a lawyer in a system of law that is very argumentative, contentious and hostile?
In early December 2017, my old website designer, The Veugler Group, asked me if I would like to place a video on my website. I thought about it then I read some other articles about the advantages of a video and decided to give it a try.
Why do police take general reports? The most brutal answer is because no one will remember the details in two days, much less two years and they will argue it constantly: but it is also because society needs a third party who should be an impartial fact evaluator. “Should” is emphasized. We are assuming the officer/deputy has sufficient training to determine what evidence plays into the case. We are also assuming the officer/deputy has no bias or stereotype towards the parties involved OR they do but recognize it and adjust accordingly.
My goodness!... the real question is how much time do I need spend with my clients to prepare them for deposition testimony? A deposition is one of the most important events in a client’s legal case. Most lawyers schedule their clients to come in just about thirty minutes before their scheduled deposition to prepare them. How wrong this is!
Are we tired yet of all the allegations of sexual misconduct by our leaders? The avalanche will be coming soon. The past few months have been dominated by an endless parade of revelations about sexual misconduct of powerful men. From Hollywood to New York, and from Minnesota to Alabama and just about everywhere else in the country the depths of fallen human nature can sink to have been laid bare to all of us to see. However, this should not be surprising to us. What we must not do is to allow ourselves to be partisan in our righteous indignation. Whether the person belongs to a particular political party, it does not matter.
While there is a vast difference between these two conditions, many people do experience symptoms of depression as a result of an automobile accident. There is temporary memory loss and changes in their personality. Irritability, sensitivity to noise, forgetfulness nausea are among the top symptoms of a concussion.
I recently received a newsletter from Tuck, Advancing Better Sleep. This might be because I had sleep apnea in the past. The article is dated April 2017 and the statistics are rather frightening as cited by this magazine: “Drowsy driving is a wide spread issue spread among the drivers in the US”. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving led to roughly 72,000 accidents, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2013 alone.”
I received a 2nd Award of benefits from the Appellate Division at the State Board of Worker’s Compensation, granting one year of back pay benefits and two years of full medical care to a wonderful Bosnian client that worked for Wall Mart for 19 years. The reason this Award/decision is so special to me is because this sweet lady speaks very little English, and for the past 19 years she did nothing but hard labor at Wal Mart. She never had a specific injury but her back continued to get worse every year.
On August 24, 2019, a Court of Appeal Judge, Stephen Goss committed suicide. In 2018 Judge William G. Johnson, a judge in the Griffin Municipal Circuit, fatally shot himself. A number of years ago, Court of Appeals Judge John Kelly Quillia committed suicide. Many observers believe that it is very difficult for lawyers and judges to speak out and get help. There seems to be a certain stigma associated with mental health issues and treatment. Depression seems to be the source of and the beginning of burn out, alcoholism, drug abuse and ultimate suicide.
From time to time I write about a thought provoking sermon given by my Pastor, Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church. His sermon, given on the first Sunday in January of 2020, was timely and quite inspirational. It was much more than a sermon on New Year’s Resolutions. It was all about commitment.