August 2019 Newsletter

Donald Lee
GCBA President 2019-2020
President's Corner 
By Donald Lee  
Welcome to the new bar year!  I am excited to get started, and behind the scenes, the officers have been working hard to get our programming together for the year.  We've got all of our luncheon dates scheduled with great featured speakers, all of which will occur at the renovated 1818 Club at the Chamber building.  We've also nailed down dates and venues for the Law Enforcement Appreciation Picnic (October 26th at Rhodes Jordan Park) and Holiday Party (December 6th at the new E-Center in Sugar Hill).
I'm happy to announce that there are four new projects that we are starting this year.  First, former Past President Lyle Porter will be the point person for a second award display case located at GJAC, to better display our historic awards and include all of our new awards.  We hope to have that completed by the end of the calendar year.  Second, Immediate Past President of the Criminal Bar section Sean Goldstein will be the point person for a GCBA Legislative Day at the Capitol.  That will of course coincide with the new calendar year when our legislators are back in session in the Spring of 2020.  Third, Immediate Past President Jon Setzer and current President-Elect Dodie Sachs will be the point people for activating the YLD portion of the bar.  Their focus will be to create more informal social opportunities for engagement and fellowship.  Fourth, Past President Gerald Davidson is now the Chairman for the Gwinnett County Judicial Application Review Board.  Whenever the Governor appoints new judges, his office seeks input from various local attorney organizations.  The formation of the new Gwinnett County Judicial Application Review Board will allow our members to provide input to Governor Kemp (and future governors), as he makes future judicial appointments.  We all know that Governor Kemp has to make another judicial appointment for Superior Court soon, and we'd like to help aid the JNC in their formulation of a short list with member input.
In closing, it is my goal to meet as many members (and former members!) as possible during the year.  I've been reaching out to almost all of our elected officials and many Past Presidents in an effort to get to know them personally and encourage attendance at our upcoming events.  I have high confidence that your attendance shall be rewarded.
August Luncheon
August 16, 2019 at 12pm, at
The 1818 Club
6500 Sugarloaf Pkwy.
Duluth, GA 30097
We are honored to present U.S. Attorney B-Jay Pak,
from the Northern District of Georgia, and former State House Representative as our featured guest speaker.
Brent Bohanan is the Executive Director of 
Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity, who will make a short  
presentation about getting involved with GHH.
2019-2020 GCBA Board Members


Donald was born in Silver Spring, MD, went to Cornell University for undergrad in biology, and then attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego for law school. Donald was a public defender in Fulton County Superior Court for three years and then in Fulton County Juvenile Court for another three. For the past five plus years, he has been a GAL here in Gwinnett Courts handling DFCS, child custody and guardianship cases, and in doing so, he became a Certified Child Welfare Law Specialist. He and his spouse, Allison, have been married just short of 9 years. They have three young boys and Max, their 8 year old standard schnauzer. Donald is a Leadership Gwinnett 2016 graduate, a former board member for KABA (Korean American Bar Association), board member of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, and a Planning Advisory Committee member for Gwinnett 2040 Unified Plan. He loves Gwinnett and wants nothing but to see our community thrive.


Dodie Sachs practices family law at Chandler, Britt, & Jay, LLC in Buford, Georgia. Dodie grew up in North Carolina and received her undergraduate degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and went to the Tulane University School of Law. Dodie serves our local community not only as an officer of GCBA, but also as a member of the advisory board for Gwinnett Legal Aid, and a frequent volunteer.  Dodie created the Family Law Information class taught at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in partnership with Gwinnett Legal Aid in 2015, and remains active in teaching the class. Dodie is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars for family law and litigation matters. Dodie was appointed by the Supreme Court of Georgia as a mentor for the Transition into Law Practice Program. In 2017, Dodie was recognized by Atlanta Legal Aid for providing more than 50 pro bono hours to the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project, which is part of Atlanta Legal Aid. In her spare time, Dodie enjoys spending time with her husband and children, reading, and teaching at her synagogue.


Danielle was born and raised in Buford, Georgia.  After receiving her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia and her law degree and Advanced Legal Writing certification from Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law, Danielle practiced criminal defense and family law in Northwest Georgia, where she also served as the defense attorney for the Tallapoosa Circuit Drug Treatment Court Program and the President of the Tallapoosa Bar Association.  In 2014, Danielle and her husband,  John A. Mays, Jr. , returned to Gwinnett County and both joined her father, Walt M. Britt, at  Chandler, Britt & Jay, LLC, in Buford, Georgia.  Danielle practices family law and criminal defense and serves as defense attorney for  Gwinnett County's Drug Treatment Court Program .  Danielle and her husband welcomed their son John Walt Mays into the world in 2018, and Danielle is loving her new role as "mom". In her spare time, Danielle enjoys yoga, cycling, hiking, kayaking, reading, traveling, being a foodie, and spending time with her dogs, Darla and Braxton.


Amina Bakari grew up in Richmond, VA. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Hampton University in Hampton, VA in 2010. She moved to Georgia and received her J.D. from the University of Georgia in 2013. While studying in Athens, she interned at the Athens-Clarke County District Attorney's office during her 3L year. Upon graduation she completed a fellowship with the Gwinnett County District Attorney's office. Amina was admitted to the Georgia Bar in October 2013 and began working at the Gwinnett County Solicitor's office. In 2019, she became an Assistant District Attorney with the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office, and enjoys getting to know and working with the members of the Gwinnett County criminal law community. She is looking forward to serving the Gwinnett Bar as Treasurer this year.


Nhan-Ai (pronounced Young-Eye) attended the College of William and Mary for her undergraduate studies and Cumberland Law School at Samford University for her law degree. Her career began as a defense attorney and then a prosecutor trying both misdemeanor and felony jury trials. When the new Juvenile Code was enacted in Georgia in 2014, Nhan-Ai began clerking for a juvenile judge in the Piedmont Circuit, and also sat as the Juvenile Traffic Judge. She then came to Gwinnett and has been a juvenile prosecutor for the past five years. She is currently the Managing Assistant District Attorney in the Juvenile Division, and lectures and teaches prosecutors, law enforcement and the community on juvenile law. Nhan-Ai's family history is one that brings her pride and purpose: she is first generation Vietnamese who arrived in the U.S. in 1980, with her family having survived the treacherous escape from South Vietnam as boat refugees. In her home in Dacula, she loves sharing her history and heritage with her husband Jonathan and young son Lucas.


Melissa is an attorney at Meriwether & Tharp, LLC, where she works primarily with divorce, child custody, and child support matters. She earned her Juris Doctor at Jones School of Law and her bachelor's degrees in Professional Writing and Theatre at Auburn University. While attending law school, Melissa worked in the Family Violence Clinic, where she represented victims of domestic violence and developed a deeper passion for helping those in need. In addition to her active participation in the family law clinic, Melissa was also a member of the Public Interest Society, where she volunteered her time and knowledge to help those who were unable to afford private representation in legal matters. These experiences led her to pursue a career in family law where she continuously strives to make a difference in the lives of others. She enjoys helping her clients navigate the difficult processes of divorce and other family law matters. Melissa is excited for the opportunity to give back to the community by serving as the Law Day Chair for the Gwinnett Bar.
2019-2020 Section Chairs

RICHARD ARMOND - Criminal Defense Section

Richard is a Gwinnett native now practicing as a trial attorney in his solo firm.  He is a former Gwinnett County Assistant Solicitor-General and Assistant District Attorney with significant jury trial experience.  Since venturing into solo practice, he has added wrongful death/serious injury cases to his repertoire.

JUNE LYNN - Family Law Section

June owns the Lynn Law Firm.  She exclusively serves clients going through divorce, modification of custody and child support, and other family law issues in Gwinnett and Barrow Counties. June also acts as a Guardian Ad Litem, serving the Courts to investigate and advise on issues of custody.

DINA KHISMATULINA - Family Law Section
Dina works for the Manely Firm, PC and heads their downtown office as well as Gwinnett office.  She has been licensed in Russia since 1999 and in the State of Georgia since 2014.  Dina specializes in Family Law and International Family Law, including complex international divorces, Hague convention cases and international child support cases.  She does Guardian Ad Litem work especially in Fulton County.

JODI MILES - Solo and Small Firm Section

Jodi coaches individual attorneys and small firms on every issue involved in running an efficient, profitable practice.  She graduated from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Jodi is admitted to the Bar in Florida; is residing and working in Atlanta, Georgia; and loves helping clients nationwide.

KELLY KAUTZ - Juvenile Section

Kelly is an attorney in the Guardian ad Litem's office who zealously advocates for the children and citizens of Gwinnett County.

MELODY GLOUTON - Estate Planning and Probate
Melody is a Partner with the law firm of Andersen Tate & Carr in Duluth.  She specializes in Estate Planning, Probate Administration and Litigation, and Guardianships and Conservatorships.

SEAN GOLDSTEIN - Legislative Day Chair

Sean practices traffic ticket and criminal defense, and personal injury law primarily in Gwinnett County.  As Legislative Day chair, he looks forward to working with legislators to provide GCBA members with an excellent experience at the Capitol.

LYLE PORTER - Awards Display Case

Lyle was born and raised in Gwinnett County.  He chose to practice law to continue the legacy established by his father, William J. Porter Jr., who was well-known for his commitment to legal excellence.  Lyle was sworn into the Georgia Bar Association in 1991 and has since built a positive reputation of his own for getting results in complex, high-profile cases.


Rachel is a Staff Attorney for Atlanta Legal Aid Society's Gwinnett County office, where she has practiced since 2007, and directs the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project.  As director of the Pro Bono Project, Rachel works with the private bar throughout Gwinnett County to increase pro bono representation and help ensure access to justice.

SAM D'ENTREMONT - Community Service

Sam works in the Appellate Unit of the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office, after previously serving as a prosecutor in Forsyth and DeKalb Counties.  As Community Service chair, he looks forward to helping build bridges between the Bar membership and our shared community in Gwinnett, and demonstrating that we lawyers are in service to both the law and our fellow citizens.

GERALD DAVIDSON - Chairman of the Judicial Applicant Review Board
Gerald has actively practiced in Gwinnett County for over 43 years.  For over twenty years, he has been included in "Best Lawyers in America," and is consistently named by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of Georgia's "Legal Elite."  Since 2004, he has consistently been named "Super Lawyer" in general personal injury.  While his practice in family law is limited to select cases, he was elected as a Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, in 1995.

Solo/Small Firm Section Update
by Jodi Miles - Section Chair
The Solo and Small Firm section is brand new, finally birthed at the end of the last year!  We decided to meet bi-monthly and to have speakers on topics of interest when possible.  I created this section because I worked as a solo and small firm attorney running my own firm in Florida before becoming a national practice management coach in 2006.  I think solos and small firmers have unique issues that attorneys in mid-size and large firms do not face.  We often must wear multiple (or all the!) hats and juggle many competing demands.  I was hoping to create a space where we can share best practices, trade referrals, and generally support each other in our journeys.  Our first meeting will be on August 21, 2019 at noon at Dominick's in downtown Lawrenceville.  (Lunch invites are sent through the Gwinnett Bar's Constant Contact account.  We also have a Facebook group for folks who want to gather that way.  It is called "Solo/small firm section of GCBA" and is a closed group.)  Interested folks need to be paid members of the Gwinnett Bar and answer a few questions to be approved.  There will be a minimal dues requirement like all sections require starting in August 2019. 
Estate Planning and Probate Section Update
by Melody Glouton - Section Chair 

The Gwinnett Estate Planning and Probate Section (EPPS) will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, September 10.   The meeting will be at 12:00 noon at LongHorn Steakhouse, 800 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30043.  Guest speaker TBD.  Please email Melody Glouton if you plan to attend. 
Please note that you do not have to be a member of the section to attend the meetings (please feel free to forward the message or bring a friend!).  If you are interested in joining the section, or simply being added to the section email list, please email Melody Glouton.  Please remember to volunteer for the Probate Court Pro Bono Clinic on either the first or third Thursday of each month from 1:30pm - 4:30pm at GJAC.  Please contact Elizabeth Strupe with questions.
Family Law Section Update
by June Lynn - Section Chair 

My hope for this year is that the Family Law Section will be a trusted resource with relevant speakers on topics of interest to our section.  I hope to encourage respect and cooperation among family law attorneys by providing a chance for us to get to know each other as friends and people first so that we can work productively when we are opposing counsels.   
We will have the first Family Section Breakfast Meeting  "What Judges Wish Attorneys Knew About Family Law Trials"  in Breezeway of Gwinnett County Court on Wed, Aug 28, 2019, 7:30AM - 9:00AM (7:30AM - 8:00AM registration and check-in and 8:00AM to 9:00AM judges' panel with Gwinnett County Superior Court Judges). $5.00 for  section members and $10.00 for  non-members.  We are only able to accept payment via cash or check.  RSVP to by August 26.  We highly encourage all non-members to attend and check it out!
Pro Bono Update
(Membership forms will also be available at all CLEs.)
Thank you to this summer's Pro Bono volunteers!

Pro Bono Representation
Sequoia C. Ayala
Cha'Ron A. Ballard-Gayle
Scott A. Boykin
Clarissa Farrier Burnett
Tracy S. Drake
Regina I. Edwards
William E. Fields
Martha Sue French
Vanessa I. Kosky (2)
Kevin G. Moore (2)
Michael C. Murphy (4)
Jessica N. Oates
Terri B. O'Neil (3)
Donald W. Osborne
Gloria Smith-Grimes
David M. Wittenberg

Family Law Information Class
Dawn Deans
Jae J. Kim
Nicole Lewis
Donald W. Osborne
Dorothy "Dodie" Sachs   
Probate Clinic
Walter J. Clarke (3)
Dawn Deans
Martha Sue French
JB Hilliard
Donald S. Horace
Tamika M. Johnson (2)
Sherley Joseph-Roper
Amanda N. Moyer (2)
Raina Jeager Nadler
Terri B. O'Neil (4)

Consumer Law Clinic
Kerry E. Hand (2)
Michael C. Murphy (3)
Craig W. Sherrer
Brent D. Stamps
Christina D. Wagner
Crystal S Wright
Juvenile Law Section Update
By Kelly Kautz - Section President
On behalf of our officers, we are excited to be creating a Juvenile Law Section of the Gwinnett County Bar Association.  As you know, Juvenile Court is much different than anything else practiced in State and Superior Courts.  Whether it is a delinquency, dependency or custody transfer case, Juvenile Court has its own uniform rules and procedures including its own legal terms, discovery procedures and rules of evidence.  This can be daunting for experienced and beginning attorneys alike.  It was important to me to begin this Section to create a platform for attorneys practicing in Juvenile Court to share resources, exchange ideas and to learn from one another.  It is our goal to offer informative meetings and CLE's that will be an opportunity for all of us attorneys practicing in juvenile court to learn and grow our knowledge including attorneys from the DA's office, defense attorneys, parent attorneys, SAAGS, GALS and custody attorneys.  We will explore laws, topics and community resources that are unique to Juvenile Court.  We will meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month in the Juvenile Court Building.  Every other month we will strive to provide an hour CLE meeting for our members.  Once we have established our Section, it is our goal to create a law library for attorneys in Juvenile Court, to create a database of forms and filings for attorneys to use, and to begin a mentorship program for attorneys new to Juvenile Court.
Criminal Defense Section Update
By Richard Armond
The Criminal Defense Section's first meeting of this bar year is Friday, August 23, 2019 from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm.  It will be held in Classroom B of the Gwinnett County Detention Center at 2900 University Parkway, Lawrenceville, GA 30043.  Our speaker will be Sonya Lawhorn.  Ms. Lawhorn works at the jail as a Discharge Planner and Re-Entry Specialist for Wellpath.  She has a wealth of information that can assist us as criminal defense attorneys to find treatment programs in the community, especially for clients with mental health issues and those who are indigent.  Lunch will be provided and will be $5 for section members and $15 for non-members.  Kindly RSVP if you plan to attend to section president Richard Armond at  
Judge Tadia Whitner is sworn in as the newest Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge

History was made on July 15, 2019, when Governor Brian Kemp swore in Judge Tadia Whitner as the newest Superior Court judge in Gwinnett County.  She is Gwinnett's first African-American to take the bench in the county's highest local court.  For more, read the AJC's full article.
Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity

This year, we are proud to announce that the Gwinnett County chapter of Habitat for Humanity will be our Bar Association's non-profit beneficiary.  Brett Bohanan, Executive Director of the Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity will speak to us at the August Luncheon about how our members can get involved in the program.
From Brett Bohanan:  In 2014, Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity began addressing the growing need for home repairs in our community through A Brush With Kindness, a home preservation service.  Many seniors are living in unsafe and unhealthy conditions because they can't afford the maintenance and upkeep on their homes.  Due to the overwhelming support of our community, over 98 low-income homeowners can now stay in their homes and feel safe because they experienced a brush with kindness!  For more information about our home repair program, visit our website
The remainder of this calendar year's events: 
  • Aug. 16, 2019 - luncheon
  • Sept. 20, 2019 - luncheon
  • Oct. 18, 2019 - luncheon
  • Oct. 26, 2019 - Law Enforcement Appreciation Picnic
  • Nov. 15, 2019 - luncheon
  • Dec. 6, 2019 - Winter Party (no Dec. luncheon)
Staff Attorney (Division 1) - Gwinnett State Court
Judge Emily J. Brantley of the Gwinnett County State Court is seeking an attorney to provide assistance by conducting a variety of legal research, analysis, and document preparation related to cases, statutes, records, and related information.
To apply, go online to, or submit your resume to:
Kimberly Ciccaglione
Director of Court Services
Gwinnett Judicial Circuit
75 Langley Drive
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Full-time Juvenile Judge - Gwinnett County
The Judges of the Superior Court of Gwinnett County are accepting applications for a full-time position as a Gwinnett County Juvenile Court Judge.  This appointment will be for a four-year term, commencing on or about Oct 1, 2019.
To be considered, applicants must hold a law degree; must be 30 years of age; must have been a citizen of the State of Georgia for a minimum of (3) three years prior to the application date; must be a member in good standing with the Georgia Bar and have practiced law for a minimum of (5) five years; and, must be a resident of the Gwinnett Circuit at the time of appointment.
Closing Date: 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 21, 2019.  Applications must be received by this date/time, not postmarked.
To apply, please submit a copy of your resume online to, or via USPS to:
Philip Boudewyns
Court Administrator
Gwinnett Judicial Circuit
75 Langley Drive
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Letter writing campaigns are discouraged. Please address all questions and inquires to  
Philip Boudewyns, (770) 822-8564.
Attorney II (Appointed) - Gwinnett County Law Department
The position of Senior Assistant County Attorney will primarily be working with matters arising from the judicial system (Court System, District Attorney, Solicitor General and Administrative Office of the Courts), the Tax Commissioner, pro se litigation, excess proceeds claims, and interpleader matters, as well as other duties as assigned under the general supervision of a Deputy County Attorney.  
  • Juris Doctorate and 10 or more years of experience as an attorney;
  • Member in good standing of the Georgia Bar and admitted to practice in the Superior Courts of Georgia, United States District Court, Court of Appeals for the State of Georgia,  Supreme Court of Georgia and other courts as necessary;
  • Substantial experience working as a local government attorney;
  • Excellent writing skills
To apply, go to 

Lori B. Duff is the managing partner of Jones & Duff, LLC and the Municipal Court Judge for the City of Loganville.  She is an award-winning columnist and the author of three books.   
This article was originally published on as part of Lori's bi-weekly Legalese column.

Equitable Caregivers
For many years in my law practice, I have had to disappoint a lot of wonderful people.  These people are step-parents, same-sex partners, and friends and relatives who have stepped in to take over when traditional parents cannot.
Consider this: Imagine you are a step-father to a little girl who has never known her biological father.  You married her mother when she was a baby, and you love her like she is your own.  She calls you "Daddy" and has never known another.  Suddenly, when she is 13, her mother is killed in a car accident.  Since you are legally unrelated to her, you now have no rights to her and can't get custody to her.  The child is whisked off to live with an Aunt she barely knows.  The same thing can happen to the other same-sex parent, or when there is a grandparent or a church member or neighbor who has raised a child when the parents simply failed at the task.  You can dream up a hundred scenarios in which these non-relatives, or non-parents would be a much better place for the child than the biological parent or relative.  The child considers these people parents.  The child knows them as Mom or Dad, wants them to hug when things go south, looks to them to set boundaries, and considers their house 'home.'
Until this year, the law did not allow these people to get custody.  Thankfully, House Bill 543 was passed and signed by the Governor. It allows for the court to adjudicate a person as an 'equitable caregiver.' Under this new law, codified as O.C.G.A. 19-7-3.1, an equitable caregiver is someone who:
  1. "[H]as fully and completely undertaken a permanent, unequivocal, committed, and responsible parental role in the child's life;
  2. Engaged in consistent caretaking of the child;
  3. Established a bonded and dependent relationship with the child, the relationship was fostered or supported by a parent of the child, and such individual and the parent have understood, acknowledged, or accepted or behaved as though such individual is a parent of the child; and
  4. Accepted full and permanent responsibilities as a parent of the child without expectation of financial compensation."
Once the court has found these factors to be in place, the court may then establish parental rights for that person, including custody and visitation.  This doesn't take away the rights of any biological or legal parent, just adds another person with parental rights.  The theory being, I suppose, that the more people willing to love and support a child, the better.
This law was a long time in coming.  I have personally witnessed too many situations in which a child was separated from a parental figure to the detriment of the child, simply because of a matter of biology and feelings of ill-will brought on by divorce, break-up, or death.  It takes someone special to commit themselves to a child they have no obligation to commit to, to open their hearts that wide.  This law does nothing more than recognize that relationship.
Five FREE Things To Do This Month To Uplevel Your Firm Marketing
By Jodi A. Miles, Esq.
Practice Management Coach
Carpe Argentum, LLC

  1. TAKE/UPDATE YOUR HEADSHOT: If you are a new attorney, yes, you need a professional head shot.  A cropped personal photo from your last vacay won't cut it!  If you have been practicing for a minute and your last one is more than 3 years old, you need to update it!  I highly recommend using a professional hairstylist and makeup artist to give you your very best look.  The board of GCBA plans to offer on-site headshots by a local photographer at a luncheon this fall.  Stay tuned for details!
  2. CLAIM OR UPDATE YOUR AVVO PROFILE: This is easy and takes little time.  Avvo ranks very high in Google searches, so this is definitely important to do.  See my other article on this topic for detailed guidance on getting your rating to a 10.  (  Once you claim it, be sure to keep this profile updated.  Every new publication or speaking engagement should be added.  Request client reviews and peer endorsements here too.  Delegate these tasks if necessary.
  3. UPDATE (OR CREATE!) YOUR LinkedIn PROFILE:  Like Avvo, LinkedIn is a free platform for professionals to post a headshot, biographical information, and to gather endorsements and recommendations.  Even if you are not in private practice right now, I recommend doing this.  You need a professional online presence.  Recruiters use LinkedIn daily to find new talent.  (My non-attorney husband gets recruited through this platform approximately every 18 months!)  It is also an excellent way to network with attorneys and other professionals who might be able to help you personally or in a legal matter.  I am surprised when I search for attorneys I meet at events and they do not have a LinkedIn profile or what they have is woefully undeveloped or unprofessional looking.  Post a real headshot here, not some candid your spouse took!  Like Avvo, you should keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date.
  4. CLAIM (AND BUILD OUT) YOUR BUSINESS Facebook (FB) PAGE:  Like it or not, Facebook has created a placeholder for your business (if you are in private practice & run your own firm).  If you do not claim and control this profile, it will sit out there and confuse people.  You definitely don't want that!  Post photos, video, and contact information here at the very least.  You can also request that clients post reviews here.  Once you have claimed it, educate yourself on all of the features Facebook offers and maximize them!
  5. CROSS-SELL YOUR SERVICES TO PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE CLIENTS:  Do all of your clients (and referral sources) know all of the areas of law that you practice?  If not, you are losing business and it is time to educate them!  I once discovered that my family law clients did not know I also handled criminal defense matters.  They were hiring a second lawyer while I was handling their family law cases!  So, I recommend that you start with new (potential) clients and explain what you do during the initial consultation.  Make sure all practice areas are listed on your letterhead, business cards, website, and other social media.  When you close out existing cases, be sure to remind clients to contact you should they have legal needs in other areas you practice.  This can go into your closeout letter or email.  If you make contact with past clients annually, such as at the holidays, include reference to all of your practice areas.  Be sure to also offer to refer past clients to the best lawyers in the business for any areas you do not handle.  That is a win-win.
I hope that these simple and FREE ideas will help all of you to up-level your marketing THIS MONTH.  There is no time to wait.  At Carpe Argentum LLC, we help attorneys with all of this and much more.  Call, text or email me today to book your complimentary Seize the Silver session!
Diane C. Dierks, LMFT, CFLE 
Co-Parent Tip of the Month

18 is the New 15
T eens are not equipped to handle too much responsibility.  Recent research is telling us that 18 is the new 15, meaning that teens are maturing at a slower rate than they were decades ago.  According to Dr. Daniel Siegel, "In a culture that says, 'Okay, you're going to go to high school, go to college, go to graduate school, and then get an internship, and you're not going to really be responsible till your late 20s,' well then the brain will respond accordingly," accounting for why teens may be waiting to get a driver's license, slower to launch from their parents' homes, or are not engaging in adult-like tasks as their parents did at the same age.  How does this affect teens in divorced families?  My personal opinion is that co-parents seem to want to blame each other for their teen's lack of responsibility or manipulative ways, but as stated above, they may be simply acting like all their friends and it's no one's fault but our current culture.  Therefore, there are a few issues that come up in divorce cases that need to be understood:
Teens don't do well when co-parents give them complete responsibility in deciding how to structure the custody/visitation time.  They will always choose themselves over a relationship with either parent, and then they'll feel guilty for not spending enough time with one or the other.  Instead, give them a schedule negotiated by the parents and then ask them to be responsible in letting either know ahead of time when they would like plans to change.  Teens are notorious for being last-minute planners, but co-parents can help them learn how to respect others' time by asking them to be proactive in their communication.
Teens are fickle. It's not unusual that they will sign an affidavit to live with one parent and be told the change will take place by one swipe of the pen - only to find out that if both parents don't agree, there is likely going to be a long court process before it's settled.  I am not a fan of having a child sign an affidavit since they have one emotion today and a completely different one tomorrow about the same subject.  Instead, it is better to be understanding, but set limits.  If a child wants to experience the other parent's home for a change, it won't do much good to block that, but let your teen know that if they don't end up liking it at the other house, they can't just go back and forth at will to manipulate the parenting.  Co-parents need to negotiate by allowing the teen to have a say, but the parents should give it a trial period (like a whole summer or school year) to allow for the teen to change his mind without being ridiculed for putting the family through conflict.
Teens are not little adults.  Their brains do not finish completely until about age 25, and the last portion of the brain to form is the frontal lobe that is responsible for complex decision-making and risk assessment.  Don't think for a minute they know what's in their best interests all the time.  I still think they need a voice, but not an absolute choice.  Guidance from both parents is extremely important, regardless of how each parent views their teens or each other.  Provide ample opportunities for them to experience both of you as they begin to formulate their adult identities.  Then let them go and trust that what you gave them prior to about age ten is really what shaped the internal values they'll carry into adulthood.
Lawyer Jokes

Articles and Updates Welcome!

If you would like to contribute to the GCBA Monthly Newsletter,  
e-mail submissions by the 5th of each month to Editor

Visit our Facebook Page and our WEBSITE to stay updated until our next newsletter.