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Monday, August 12, 2013

New look to JDDuncanLaw.com



It's a new week, and a new look for my main website, jdduncanlaw.com.  You get the same great content with an updated look and (finally) some color.  Let's not get crazy, there's only a little color.  Still, I'm happy with the results and am excited to be doing something new.

As an added change, my new hosting provider (squarespace) gives me a better and easier way to blog and receive comments from my readers.  What does this mean for Esquire by Day?  To be honest, I'm not sure.  I have enjoyed the sort of second identity that this blog gives me, so I won't say it will be abandoned completely.  I plan to write more often to my main site, however, and maybe I'll come back here and maybe I will transfer everything else over.

Until I make up my mind, take a look at the new site and please leave comments!  I don't care if you say nothing more than "it's great" or "this is the worst place on the internet."  Let's start the dialogue I always wanted to start.

Until next time,

JD

John D. Duncan is president of J.D. Duncan, PC, founding partner of Prater, Duncan & Craig, LLC in Newnan, Georgia, and is Esquire by Day.  You can find him at www.jdduncanlaw.com, or follow him on twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Speeding in Georgia is now up!



I love handling speeding tickets.  Maybe it's because I got my fair share when I was younger, maybe it's because I appreciate fast cars, and maybe it's because not many lawyers even want to handle these cases.  In any event, I like representing clients for speeding as well as advising prospective clients.

With that being said, I have created a new website, Speeding In Georgia, which is geared solely toward handling and advising individuals on speeding tickets.  This site is unique in that its purpose is not to persuade folks to hire me full-time, but to provide a way to get fast legal advice without breaking the bank.  I have a "shop" on the site that people can pay for fifteen minutes of my time and get their speeding ticket questions answered.  It is my hope that people will find this site and use it to decide whether they need to hire counsel or can handle the case in some other way.

Take a look and let me know what you think.  And of course, use the service if you need a speeding question answered.

Best,

JD


John D. Duncan is president of J.D. Duncan, PC, founding partner of Prater, Duncan & Craig, LLC in Newnan, Georgia, and is Esquire by Day.  You can find him at www.jdduncanlaw.com, or follow him on twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Booze in the Office?



I love AMC's Mad Men.  The wife and I are finishing up the fifth season on Netflix (we typically run behind on our stories) and I am really getting a kick out of Don's newfound hunger for excellence.  Because I work every day in an office setting, I find myself furnishing my space after Sterling Cooper Draper Price's decor as best I can, which of course includes a bottle of good booze.

Man, those folks can drink!  Watch any episode and you will see that the first thing they do is poor a glass of whisky or vodka before meetings in each other's offices.  And this seems to be at all hours of the day.  Bourbon in Don's office, vodka in Roger's, and cognac or gin in Lane's.  The liquor itself tells a little about each character, but their always "neat" pours of booze convince me that there was never an edge to take off.

Fast forward to today.  Sure, Mad Men is a tv show that celebrates perhaps the fringes of Madison Avenue, but the drinking all seems fairly common and well-received.  If I met with a client today and offered a glass of Scotch (Laphroaig Triple Wood at present) I imagine the result would not be landing the Jaguar campaign.  More likely, I would be refused, maybe not hired at all, and at best my client would always assume I'm sitting at my desk with a glass, hacking up their case.  Why is it that our American society has become so much more liberated in the past fifty years, yet so much less intolerant to imbibing in the liquors of the world?

Don't get me wrong; I am not advocating working intoxicated.  I practice the law, and my clients deserve me at my best.  I just want to point out how things have changed in the US so that anyone not at a bar that offers a drink is looked down upon like an alcoholic.  I suppose many on the show would be considered alcoholics by today's standards, but I still think it's odd.

I do have a bottle of Scotch in my office, and it rarely sees the light of day.  Just having the bottle and glasses on my bookshelf gets the occasional comment.  I don't drink during the day, and I don't drink with clients.  It just seems strange to me that what once was such habit has become taboo in the business community (at least my business community).  Weird.

Slainte'

JD


John D. Duncan is president of J.D. Duncan, PC, founding partner of Prater, Duncan & Craig, LLC in Newnan, Georgia, and is Esquire by Day.  You can find him at www.jdduncanlaw.com, or follow him on twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why we don't make copies of your Last Will and Testament



Estate planning and writing wills have been things I enjoy ever since my first doctrinal class in law school.  I don't get to write wills often enough, but when I get a client that needs one I am more than happy to put together a custom plan to fit his or her needs.

The one thing that clients are always surprised about, however, is that we don't make copies of our clients' wills prior to or after execution.  This is not an issue with saving paper; no, this is a principled decision based on our knowledge and expertise.  Even though Professor Van Detta would hate me to use example to explain why, I think this case makes better sense by contrasting two different situations.

Scenario 1:  You get your will written to your liking and you go to your lawyer's office to execute it.  Assuming all goes well at execution, you leave the office with a single original copy of your will.  At least in Georgia, you can take your will to your probate court for safe keeping, or you can put it anywhere else you know things will be safe.  As the years go by, maybe you make little scribbles on your will and maybe you don't, but either way when it comes time to probate the will the judge will understand your intentions because there is no contradictory document.  Done, and all goes as you might want it to.

Scenario 2:  Once your will is written properly, your lawyer either makes multiple originals to execute or after execution, he makes multiple copies to give out to your loved ones.  Don't get me started on why you should never execute multiple wills in the first place...  So instead of leaving with one single original copy, you may leave with three or five.  Because you have multiple copies, human nature sets in and you take less care to put one away for safety.  At some point maybe you decide to change your will, so you make scribbles on the one that you kept.  Maybe you can't find your copy, so you call your daughter and ask for hers so that you can make changes.  Big problem, however, is that if you died right then, the probate court would have to sift through contradictory versions of your will.  And based on which changes were made, your beneficiaries now have a legal battle on their hands that you could have avoided.  And the typical owner of a will wants to make some change in their lifetime.

I am not in the business of refusing to perform tasks requested by my clients, but making copies of their will is something I do not do for this reason.  I have seen all too often that, after a person dies, their family has to deal with litigation because there were multiple wills with different language.  While you might not care too much (because you'd be dead) you should at least consider the heirs you love and want to provide for.  Why create a hassle when it could be so easily avoided?  So when clients ask me for copies of their will, I tell them no, recount these stories, and let them make their own decision when they leave.

Best,

JD


John D. Duncan is president of J.D. Duncan, PC, founding partner of Prater, Duncan & Craig, LLC in Newnan, Georgia, and is Esquire by Day.  You can find him at www.jdduncanlaw.com, or follow him on twitter and Facebook.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Perry, You Will Be Missed


As the name implies, Esquire by Day is not only about legal problems or observations.  Today, instead of practicing law I spent the day with my family to mourn the passing of our dachshund-chihuahua pup Perry.  Perry had been battling a serious bone disease and he took his last breath this morning.

We have enjoyed having Perry in our life since 2006, when we found him at a rescue agency only four months old.  He was not our only dog, but he was a loved member of our family.  Perry was always ready to defend his house and family, and had the best time taking walks with the pack.  He would sprint around the house for no reason at all, but most importantly he was kind to our daughter.  When our other animals would run from little Say, Perry would sit next to our girl and let her pet him as long as she wanted.  He was a kind and loving little pup and we will all miss him very much.

I don't know if dogs go to heaven, but I hope to see you again, little buddy.

We love you Perry!

- Dad and the Pack



Monday, May 13, 2013

A Traveling Journal: Visiting Kingsland, Georgia



I have always loved riding in the car.  I can thank my Dad for that, because he never passed up a road trip, and the fact that my grandparents lived about a four hour drive away when I was a kid, so we were always in the car.  It was great, then, when a client recently asked me about a case in Kingsland, Georgia they needed handling.  I admit that I had to search for it to figure out where it was, but once I noticed how close it was to the Atlantic Coast and Fernandina Beach, I had to take it.  Sure, a five-hour trip would not make a cost-effective practice were I to handle cases there regularly, but then again there's something about the sea air that just speaks to me.

So I happily took the case and brought the family over with me to enjoy some time away from home before (and after) I had court.  While all the personal stuff is not really relevant here, I will say that I had my fill of oysters and shrimp before returning inland.

What I really want to talk about, however, is how much fun I have visiting new courthouses and meeting new judges and lawyers.  I will always feel at home in Coweta and the surrounding areas, but it's nice to stretch my legs and meet some new faces every now and then.  I also love learning the way things get done in different court settings.

In Kingsland, for example, I checked in with who I assume was the clerk of court, and she promptly gave me the city's entire file for my client, including her confiscated license.  What a breath of fresh air to have court personnel actually trust lawyers as fellow officers of the court!  She then let me know that I could have a seat at the front of the courtroom and wait for the judge to call me back for our conference.  Great! So without having made an appointment, I was able to get some individual face-time with the judge.  All in all it was quite accommodating.



And I can't forget just how nice the facility was.  Sure, Kingsland is not massive, so it does not need a huge courthouse.  The space was brand new, though, with plenty of room for everything they needed to do, and the wainscoting gave the place a distinctive coastal vibe.

It's too bad I worked out a great deal for my client that keeps me from having to go back on her case; Kingsland was great and I hope I get the chance to practice down there again.  And for any lawyers that practice down there that might be reading this, I'm happy to work out some kind of a practice swap for a week or two if and when you just get too much sea air to handle!  Gary Bacon, this means you...

Cheers,

JD


John D. Duncan is president of J.D. Duncan, PC, founding partner of Prater, Duncan & Craig, LLC in Newnan, Georgia, and is Esquire by Day.  You can find him at www.jdduncanlaw.com, or follow him on twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy Law Day 2013!





What is Law Day, you might ask?  Well, it started back on May 1, 1958 when President Eisenhower created Law Day (possibly as a reaction to May Day, but I won't get into that here).  Since 1958, bar associations across the country have used Law Day as an education tool to inform the public of just how great our legal system can be.

Unfortunately, I was stuck in court rather than a classroom teaching kids about the Bill of Rights or the 14th Amendment.  Still, today is a nice time to reflect on what has been created and cared for in the United States that tyranny and physical might is met with the rule of law.

President Obama issued a proclamation on the subject, too.


Whether you exercise your right to remain silent, enter into contract, or speak against our very government today, take some time to enjoy Law Day!

Best,

JD


John D. Duncan is president of J.D. Duncan, PC, founding partner of Prater, Duncan & Craig, LLC in Newnan, Georgia, and is Esquire by Day.  You can find him at www.jdduncanlaw.com, or follow him on twitter and Facebook.