September 2017
President's Corner: September 2017, "Me 2 We" 
Throughout the past month many of our family and friends were adversely affected by the natural disasters throughout our country. The recent emotional and economic loss faced by so many highlights the importance of each of us doing something to improve our community to strengthen it and to bring us closer together.  Whether we are passionate about community service, mentoring, raising awareness and/or raising needed funding, we each can explore ways we can help.
With that in mind, the guest speaker this month, Mr. Terance Mathis, exemplifies excellence professionally and socially. I expect that he will share with us examples of surpassing gridiron obstacles while he played with the Atlanta Falcons and following his stellar NFL career, the inspiration that spurred him into action raising awareness and needed funding for ALS research locally.  I hope you will join us at the 1818 club to meet Mr. Mathis during our September Bar Meeting.
Once again, we have a number of service and social events planned for this month:
  • September 15th Monthly Bar Meeting - 12-1pm, 1818 Club, Duluth
  • September 15th Happy Hour - 5:30pm at McCray's
  • September 28th Legal Aid CLE - "Don't Just Settle! Learn to Settle the Right Way"
  • September 30th Atlanta United Watch Party (details TBA)
  • October 28th      Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (LEAD) Picnic - Rhodes Jordan Park
As always, I look forward to serving as a resource to you and I will do my best to address any interests/concerns that you may have moving forward.  As always, thank you for your commitment to this organization, your input and your support.
Should you wish to contact me directly, you can email me at:

Best Regards, 
September Bar Luncheon: Football and the Law

Please join us at our monthly meeting this Friday, September 15 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. at the 1818  Club, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, Georgia 30096.
September in the South means Football! We're getting in the football spirit with guest speaker, Former Atlanta Falcon Terance Mathis.  To learn more about Terance Mathis, click here (bio).

We will also be honoring this month's Judge of the Month, the Honorable Patricia Muise.

To register for this month's meeting, click here.

Note from James Rayford regarding August Bar Meeting

" Thank you for the opportunity to present! It was an impressive crowd and I  do believe there will be an increase in participation!" 

To contact James Rayford, you may email him at or call him at 770.277.4485.
August Bar Luncheon Photos

Gwinnett Bar Association receive awards at State Bar meeting

Below:  State Bar of Georgia President Patrick T. "Pat" O'Connor, from left, congratulates former Gwinnett County Bar Association President, state Rep. Chuck Efstration, and association member Dodie Sachs on one of the local lawyer organization's two awards that it received at the State Bar's Annual Meeting last month.

News & Events
Drug Court Graduation, September 25th 
The Gwinnett County Drug Treatment Court will graduate participants from the program on Monday, September 25, at 6 p.m. in the GJAC Auditorium. We invite the Gwinnett legal community to come celebrate the hard work, transformation, and achievement of our participants.

Follow GCBA!
Follow us on social media to stay updated on our most recent events and news and to connect with other Gwinnett attorneys!
Facebook:           @GCBAorg 
Instagram:         @GwinnettBarAssociation

Attorney Referral Lists
We just updated the 2017-18 attorney referral list on the GCBA website. If you are a member and would like to get more information on our attorney referrals list, visit our website at

Upcoming Golf Tournaments
Click below for each tournament to get more information including details, sponsorship opportunities, and registration sign up. 
Vietnamese Bar Banquet 

The Vietnamese American Bar Association of Georgia held their 3rd Annual Scholarship Banquet on Saturday, Aug 19th at Nam Phuong Restaurant in Norcross.  Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge Ruth Rocker McMullin was the Keynote Speaker; she delivered a heartfelt speech that included advice from her late father.  Emory Law Student, Ray L. Tran, received the inaugural Trinh Huynh Scholarship.
Among other GAPABA members attending were President Judge Carla Wong McMillian, Court of Appeals of Georgia, Judge Alvin T. Wong (DeKalb County State Court), President-Elect Cherish Dela Cruz, Secretary Quynh Truong-Johnson, New Lawyer & Law Student Committee Co-Chair Paul Nam, Attorney Ethan Pham, Candidate for Congress (7th District), and Emory law student Clau Chafloque-Siu.  Other notables included Rep. Pedro Marin, Rep. Rep. Brenda Lopez for HD 99, Judge Dax Lopez, (DeKalb County State Court), Judge Mike Jacobs(DeKalb County State Court), and Bee Nguyen, Candidate for GA House District 89.
Gwinnett Pro Bono Project CLEs

Supreme Court of Georgia, S17F1231, 2017 WL 3468517, August 14, 2017
by Margaret Gettle Washburn, Sr. Contributing Editor

This very recent case deals with the issues of equitable division of property, finding same to be an allocation to the parties of the assets acquired during the marriage, based on the parties' respective equitable interests; the trial court must classify the disputed property as either marital or non-marital, as only marital property is subject to division.  Also, a good lesson learned:  Do not purchase property for your paramour, unbeknownst to your spouse, and then testify to the Court that you are "merely a broker."

The Superior Court of DeKalb County, granted a divorce to James Flesch and Debbie Flesch after a bench trial.  Thereafter, Husband's application for discretionary appeal was granted. Because the Husband filed his application for discretionary appeal prior to the January 1, 2017 effective date of the Appellate Jurisdiction Reform Act, this Court has jurisdiction over this appeal. See Ga. L. 2016, p. 883, §§ 3-1, 6-1 (c) (shifting subject matter jurisdiction over "[a]ll divorce and alimony cases" from this Court to the Court of Appeals). 

Justice Hunstein, for the Court, held that the Wife's Vanguard retirement account was a marital asset subject to equitable division; that the evidence was sufficient to conclude that townhouse purchased by the Husband, unbeknownst to the Wife, was marital property subject to division; and that the award of attorney fees to the Wife was not an abuse of discretion.  The trial court was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and the case was remanded. Click here for full article

Spotlight on Judge Patricia H. Muise,
Gwinnett County Recorder's Court
by Judge Patricia Muise and Margaret Gettle Washburn, Sr. Contributing Editor
Judge Patricia Muise was born and raised in Rhode Island, mostly on the shores of Narragansett Bay, and is the eldest of 6 girls.  Coincidentally, her father's
twin brother also had 6 children - 5 of them boys.  She attended an all-girls Catholic high school where she was active in the theater group, the drill and dance team. Both were conducted with a nearby all boys school.  The theater group put on musicals: "Music Man," "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot."  Judge Muise states that:  "...since I can't carry a tune in a bucket, my roles were minor."  The drill and dance team marched with the marching band from the boys school and performed half time shows at their football games and marched in parades.  Judge Muise and her drill team marched i n the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City, and she recalls stepping over "a pair of drunks fighting in the street."  They also marched in the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C., however, there were no drunks at that parade, at least, not in the street. (maybe just politicians?)
Now, interestingly, Patti's father thought that higher education for females was a waste because he left school after 8th grade.  However, that just spurred Judge Muise on and she graduated from Brown University with a degree in Biology at the age of 20!  While attending Brown, Patti continued to help out with her high school productions and also served as the drill instructor and choreographer for her church's drum and bugle corps.
Judge Muise's first job was as a telephone operator; like the "old movies with women sitting at a row of stations, running thick cords over the panel in front them". After graduating Brown, she worked in engineering support roles for General Dynamics' Electric Boat Division (building submarines) and later at Data General (building early computers and peripherals). Click here to continue reading full article
Thank You to Gwinnett Pro Bono Volunteers for May, June and July!

Pro Bono Representation
Barbara R. Evans
Donald W. Osborne
Anna W. Pearce
Gloria Smith-Grime

Consumer Law Clinic 
Craig W. Sherrer
Christina D. Wagner
Tamika Jones
John M. Miles
Probate Clinic
Raymon D. Burns
Walter J. Clarke
John M. Miles
John L.Welsh II

ADA Basics: When Does An Employee Have a Disability Discrimination Claim?

In 2008, Congress amended the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq., (ADA) to broaden protections against disability discrimination.  As a result many employees who may not consider themselves to be disabled or whose employers may not regard them as disabled may have disability discrimination claims under the ADA.
The ADA, as amended, defines disability discrimination to include: 1) discrimination on the basis of a current disability or 2) a record of disability, 3)  the failure to reasonably accommodate an individual with a  known disability  or record of disability --or discrimination because of the need for accommodation, 4) discrimination because one is "regarded as" having a disability-which does not mean what you think (more below), 5) discrimination because of the disability of an individual with whom the employee has a relationship or association, 6) making an impermissible medical examination or inquiry or failing to maintain the confidentiality of permissible medical inquiries; and 7) participating in a contractual relationship that has the effect of discriminating on the basis of disability.
Discrimination on the basis of a current or actual "disability" means - taking adverse action against employees who have a mental or physical impairment that "substantially limits" them in a major life activity or major bodily function as compared to most people in the general population. Under the 2008 amendments to the ADA, which broadened the scope of the law, substantially limited is not meant to be a demanding standard.  For example, a broken ankle that substantially limits someone in the major life activity of walking may be a disability under the ADA.
Whether an impairment substantially limits an employee is evaluated without the use of mitigating measures such as medication or physical therapy (, or crutches).  This means, for example, that even if an employee is not substantially limited in a major life activity if she takes her medicine, if without her medicine she would be substantially limited, she has a disability under the ADA.  In addition, substantial limitation for episodic conditions such as epilepsy, bipolar/depressive disorder, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, migraines and asthma-to name just a few, is evaluated as of when the condition flares up or is active, not when it is in remission or under control.
Click here to keep reading
Invitation to Judge High School Mock Trial 
Gwinnett County Bar attorneys are invited to judge at Empire Atlanta, scheduled for September 23-24.  The program is run by Empire Mock Trial, an education nonprofit.  Empire Mock Trial is asking attorneys to serve as a judge or juror for one, three (3) hour trial, which includes a complimentary meal and brief orientation session.  Several local schools are participating in the program, including Jonesboro High School and DeKalb Early College Academy
You can find more program information on their website  here -  it takes less than 5 minutes to register.
This is a win-win opportunity for everyone: attorneys get to empower the next generation of leaders, while students learn from the knowledge and expertise of our volunteers.
If you have any questions, they can be reached at 917-426-3682 or

Office Suite for Rent in Buford

Buford (near Highway 20/I-985), Office suite for lease in modern brick building in office complex, fully wired voice/data, approximately 1,000 square feet; four offices, work area and break room; $1,110.00 per month; one to three year lease.  Call Terry Williams,  678-232-7189 .
Now Hiring Experienced Attorney

The firm of Daniels & Taylor, P.C. seeks an experienced domestic attorney.  Must be able to conduct client interviews, conduct research, and prepare legal memorandums. Must also draft correspondence and pleadings, and must be able to complete discovery responses and requests. Applicant will be competent in corresponding with court officials and opposing counsels and maintaining detailed client relationships and billing records. Must attend hearings, trials, mediations, status conferences, and depositions.  Must have minimum 3 years experience.
Please email resume and salary requirements to Russell Taylor.
Criminal Defense Section Update

Upcoming Events
The section will have its next meeting on September 15 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Out speaker will be Ms. Angelique McClendon, Esq.  Ms. McClendon is general counsel for the Georgia Department of Driver Services and will be speaking to our members about recent changes in the law affecting Georgia drivers.  Lunch will be provided and will be $5 for members and $15 for non members.  One hour of general CLE credit will be available pending approval.    
Join the Section  
Interested in joining the section or want to RSVP for a monthly meeting?  Please contact section President Constancia Carter at
Estate Planning and Probate Update

September EPPS Meeting  - "Minor Guardianships and Custody in Probate Court and Juvenile Court," presented by Judge Hillary Cranford and Attorney Sherriann Hicks on  Tuesday, September 12 at 12:00 noon at Dominick's at  197 W Crogan St, Lawrenceville, GA 30046

Judge Hillary B. Cranford  is a proud Double Dawg, graduating from UGA in 2004 with degrees in Advertising and English and completing her JD in 2007.  Hillary began working as law clerk for Judge Walter J. Clarke of the Gwinnett County Probate Court in 2007.  Upon Judge Clarke's retirement in 2012, Hillary began serving as law clerk for Judge Christopher A. Ballar.  In 2014, Hillary became the Associate Judge of the Cobb County Probate Court, where she served for one year before returning to Gwinnett and accepting her appointment as Associate Judge to Judge Ballar.  Hillary lives in Suwanee with her husband, two young boys, and two old dogs.

Attorney Sherriann H. Hicks, of The Hicks Law Group, is a graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law and is a former president of the Gwinnett County Bar Association.  Sherriann focuses her legal career on adoption, guardianship, and other custody matters.  Before law school, she attended Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Georgia and received her Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Political Science in 1992 from David Lipscomb University in Nashville.  Sherriann lives with her family in Suwanee.

Save the Date : Please save the date for the following EPPS lunch meeting at 12:00pm on  November 14, 2017.  Guest Speaker will be Elaine Levine of Kwartin, Levine & Marlow, LLP - "Unusual Estate Planning Provisions"
Note that you do not have to be a member of the section to attend the meetings, but if you are interested in joining the section, or simply being added to the section email list, please contact Melody Glouton or  Lindsey Cambardella

Volunteer Opportunities! Sign-up Now!

2017 Walk to End Alzheimer's - Gwinnett County
What: Walk or Volunteer
Where: Duluth Town Green
When: Saturday, November 4, 2017, registration begins at 8am
Why: All funds raised through Walk to End Alzheimer's further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association (501(c)3)
How: Click  here to donate or join our team (Attorneys v. Alzheimer's)! 
Contact Lindsey Cambardella with questions.

Probate Court Pro Bono Clinic (Monthly)
Who should volunteer: Attorneys with probate and/or guardianship experience (need not be an expert, but some experience is required to assist attendees)
What: Provide guidance to pro se petitioners with their filings in probate court
Where: Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center
When: Third Thursday of each month from 1:30pm  - 4:30pm 
Why: To help our citizens and the Probate Court in processing petitions more efficiently and effectively
How: Please contact  Elizabeth Strupe with questions or to sign up for the Probate Court Pro Bono Clinic.
In This Issue
September Bar Details

Friday, September 15th 
from 12 - 1 pm 
at the 1818 Club
6500 Sugarloaf Parkway
Duluth, GA 30097

Gwinnett County Bar Association | | |
P.O.Box 576
Lawrenceville, GA 30046