36. Government at fault? Now what?

Ever heard of someone getting hurt by, or on, city, county, or government property in Florida?  Suing the State of Florida is not the same as suing a private person or a private corporation and there is a lot of “red tape” you have to deal with.

These procedures need to be strictly followed.  For example, you have to first provide notice of your intent to file a lawsuit to the Florida Department of Financial Services; you cannot just sue right away, as is the case in most civil actions against a private person or corporation.  Once the notice is filed, the government then has the opportunity to conduct its own investigation of the incident and injury prior to you being able to file a lawsuit.

Another difference is how much you can sue for.  The government does not have to pay a claim that exceeds $200,000.00 for one person, or more than a total of $300,000.00 for all claims that arise out of one incident.  Anything over this amount, needs to be addressed through a claims bill, where the state legislature has to authorize a payment that exceeds the cap amounts.  Different state agencies can be sued if they are negligent and cause injury.  They include: executive departments; the legislature; state university trustee boards; counties; municipalities and corporations that act primarily for the state or their agents.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to file suit against a government entity, do not hesitate to contact Mackey Law Group to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

By: Jose Estigarribia, Esq.

35. Spanish Language Representation

 

Going through a divorce, or any legal dispute for anyone is a difficult process. If English is not your first language, it can be especially overwhelming. Over 20% of Floridians converse in Spanish at home; yet, many find that the judicial process has few resources to accommodate those with limited English skills. At Mackey Law Group, we understand the importance of being able to hear and read the legal jargon in your native language.

In a recent divorce case we handled, the parties were able to successfully reach an agreement after going through multiple drafts of it in Spanish. Being able to read and understand the agreement in your native language can be a key component to settling a case.

Further, being able to go into court with an attorney you can understand is, unfortunately, a luxury in our State. But we at Mackey Law Group are able provide such a service to our clients all the time in that two of our lawyers are fluent in Spanish. If you need legal services in Spanish, call us today.

 

Representación en español

Pasar por un divorcio o cualquier disputa legal es un proceso difícil para todos. Si el inglés no es su primer idioma, puede ser especialmente abrumador. Más del 20% de los floridanos conversan en español en casa; sin embargo, muchos encuentran que el proceso judicial tiene pocos recursos para acomodar a aquellos con inglés limidado. En Mackey Law Group, entendemos la importancia de poder escuchar y leer la jerga legal en su idioma nativo.

En un caso reciente de divorcio que manejamos, las partes pudieron llegar a un acuerdo con éxito después de haber revisado varios borradores en español. Ser capaz de leer y comprender el acuerdo en su idioma nativo puede ser un componente clave para resolver un caso.

Además, el hecho de poder acudir a los tribunales con un abogado que usted pueda entender es, lamentablemente, un lujo en nuestro estado. Pero nosotros, en Mackey Law Group, Podemos brindar tal servicio a nuestros clients todo el timep, ya que dos de nuestros abogados hablan español con fluidez. Si necesita servicios legales en español, por favor llámenos hoy.

 

By: Jorge Martinez, Esq.

34. Mackey Law Group collects six-figure payment from large agricultural conglomerate!

Mackey Law Group litigator Jose Estigarribia just completed a case involving a local agricultural conglomerate that was refusing to pay for its crop insurance, which had been reduced to two (2) promissory notes. Jose was able to quickly collect a large six-figure payment, which included the amount due to Mackey Law Group’s client; plus all interest, and all attorney’s fees and costs.

When dealing with promissory notes, it is critical to understand the law, causes of action available, and how to position one’s client to get paid in an expedited manner; remember, no one pays unless they are painted into a corner. In this case, the defendant was wealthy and had continuously stalled and ignored Mackey Law Group’s client.  Jose was able to immediately “apply the legal pressure needed” to quickly and efficiently collect the monies owed to our client.  If the defendant did not pay, it was looking at having a judgment against it and having its assets attached. Do not be intimidated by large corporations or the large law firms those corporations hire (in this case the defendant chose the largest law firm in the County, assuming that would make a difference).

If you have money owed to you, do not hesitate to contact the Mackey Law Group to enforce your rights!

32. Victory for Anna Maria Island General Contractor!

After two years of litigation, Mackey Law Group just attained another favorable verdict; this time for an Anna Maria Island general contractor!

The wealthy beachfront homeowner refused to pay for the last draw on the remodeling contract and then spent over $200,000 in attorney’s fees (far more than what was owed to the contractor) in an attempt to break our general contractor client.

The homeowner had three local lawyers manning his side of the case. These lawyers went to great lengths to attempt to pull out a victory; among other things these opposing lawyers and the homeowner: (i) went to the local papers, repeatedly placing our general contractor client in a bad light and stating how confident they were in their case; (ii) took discovery, obtained from our general contractor client during the case, and went to the City of Anna Maria and involved many other families in the dispute in an effort to gain an advantage; (iii) even solicited past customers of our general contractor client in an attempt to get our client’s past customers to testify against our client; and (iv) repeatedly stated that they were “going to put your client out of business”.

Despite all of the above, Mackey Law Group’s lawyers hung in there with the general contractor during this exhausting and very expensive two-year process. No matter how much money an opponent can throw at a case and no matter how down and dirty other lawyers can be, the truth usually prevails if you have the right lawyers on your side. The general contractor obtained a verdict in its favor and the principals of the general contracting company also obtained verdicts as well, in defense of the personal claims made by the homeowner. Most importantly, Mackey Law Group positioned the general contractor to not only win; but, to now be able to proceed to get the general contractor all of its attorney’s fees and costs that the homeowner forced the general contractor to spend in pursuing payment for the work it did.

If you are a contractor facing a non-paying client who has a lot of money and has “lawyered-up”, don’t be intimidated. Hire an experienced construction attorney and stick to your guns. Victory can be yours.

By: Peter J. Mackey, Esq.

31. Legal Father vs. Biological Father

In today’s society, it is common for couples to have children prior to marriage.  As a result, it is extremely important for fathers to know their rights.  Although it may seem as though a biological father and a legal father are one in the same, that is not always the case.  Believe it or not there is a distinction between a biological father and a legal father, and the distinction can have financial consequences.

A biological father is identified by the man that indeed “fathered” the child, whereas, a legal father is the man that has the legal rights and resulting responsibilities to the child. A child’s legal father can be established by biology, marriage, adoption, or court ruling.

Florida law establishes a legal father to be a man that is either the natural (biological) father, adoptive father, or the man who has contracted to care and support the child.  Contracting to care for a child is becoming more and more prevalent in our society; therefore, this is a topic that all men and even mothers should be aware of.  For example, if a man allows himself to be listed on the birth certificate and holds the child out as his own for a significant period of time, the man may be deemed the legal father and be responsible for child support obligations.  Of course, this legal father would be entitled to visitation with the child.

If you have such an above situation, you should hire an experienced family law attorney.  Mackey Law Group’s highly skilled attorneys can assist in determining exactly what your rights are.  Call us: (941) 746-6225.

By: Alison Breiter, Esq.

30. Paternity: Birth Certificate Enough?

Mackey Law Group has handled hundreds of paternity cases in Florida.  A common misconception in paternity cases is that if the Father’s name appears on the birth certificate of a minor child, that automatically means he is legally the Father and is entitled and/or accountable for all the rights, responsibilities, and privileges relating to that minor child without further action.  However, that is not the case when a child is born out of wedlock.

In order for either the Father or the Mother to establish timesharing, child support, etc. with the court for a child born out of wedlock, there must first be a determination and actual order by the Court establishing paternity for the Father.  This is often established via an agreement of the parties, which is then approved by the Court; the birth certificate does play a part by at least creating a presumption that the Father on the birth certificate is the actual legal Father. However, sometimes a DNA test is required if the parties do not agree on who the Father is.  This leads to yet another common misconception that any DNA test will suffice.

In a paternity lawsuit, establishing paternity is just the beginning, but it can be the most important component.  The timing and need to establish paternity can be critical in the beginning of a case, especially if one parent is threatening to move away.  Hiring an experienced lawyer in paternity, timesharing, and child support matters can make all the difference in obtaining a great result.

Mackey Law Group’s skilled attorneys are in Manatee and Sarasota courts on paternity cases winning day-in and day-out. Call us: (941)-746-6225.

By: B. Kyle Stalnaker, Esq.

 

29. Reinstatement of Local Star’s Player Eligibility

Panel chair urges full reinstatement for McDaniel

Grady Irvin Jr. urges FHSAA executive director to intercede to let Braden River’s Knowledge McDaniel participate in playoffs

The Knowledge McDaniel saga may not yet be over.

The chairperson of the Section 3 Appeal Committee hearing for McDaniel wrote a letter to the Florida High School Athletic Association director in support of “full reinstatement” for the Braden River High student-athlete.

Grady Irvin Jr. of the Irvin Law Firm, who chaired the Sept. 6 hearing in Bradenton, said the committee would have “supported the action of full participation without limitations if, as a committee, we were confident that as executive director you would not have exercised your right to appeal (to the Board of Directors) such a determination by the committee,” he said in his two-page letter to FHSAA Executive Director George Tomyn.

Irwin wrote, “Despite the investigation I am confident that none of the committee members wanted to see student-athlete McDaniel not participate and therefore we attempted to fashion a remedy that we hoped would be palatable to the office of the executive director and the Board of Directors in the event of an appeal.”

In a case that was scheduled to take 20 minutes but lasted more than two hours, the committee first offered a motion that McDaniel, a senior football player, be allowed to play in the remaining regular season games and not the playoffs, but a vote never was taken.

After a short recess, a new motion proposing that McDaniel participate in only non-district games and not the playoffs passed by a 3-1 vote. Lenny Paoletti, the Saint Stephen’s director of athletics who made both motions, since has resigned from the committee.

Braden River High appealed the decision and obtained attorney T.R. Smith of the Mackey Law Group in Bradenton to represent McDaniel at a mediation hearing Thursday in Gainesville.

There the sides agreed with a decision to permit McDaniel, an athlete with more than 20 college offers, to play in all of the remaining regular season games, but not the playoffs, if the Pirates qualify.

Irvin penned his letter after Thursday’s decision. He concluded, “Once again, it is my very strong recommendation that in your capacity as executive director you exercise your authority and set-aside the rules and bylaws, something we as a committee were not empowered to do, and allow this young man to play without restriction. To do anything less would, in my opinion, be an unjust outcome in light of your authority. And yes, sometimes as a chair all one can do, inadvertent or otherwise, is provide the groundwork for reconsideration of an outcome.”

A final appeal for McDaniel was set for 1 p.m. Sunday, but canceled after the results of Thursday’s mediation.

This letter will not prompt the McDaniel side to reschedule the appeal.

“We don’t want to undo the agreement we currently have,” Smith said. “We don’t want to back out of that and go back to the two games left. We want to make sure he plays in at least six games.

But because of Irvin’s letter, Smith wants to keep the hopes alive of Tomyn exercising his authority and reinstating McDaniel for the playoffs.

“Of course, we are requesting that the executive director uses his authority to reinstate him in the playoffs at this point,” Smith said.

When asked if he would have approached mediation hearing differently had Irvin written his letter before Thursday, Smith said, “Probably not. It’s still an unknown what would be done at the next level.”

Smith said it would have helped McDaniel’s cause had Irvin sent the letter to Tomyn prior to the mediation, “To let him know how he felt about it,” Smith said of Irvin.

Smith added that had he not received Irvin’s letter he would not pursue it further, since the mediation hearing was deemed the final decision in the matter.

Now, Smith hopes Irvin’s letter along with a letter from his law office requesting full reinstatement will sway Tomyn to make an executive decision and permit McDaniel to play the remainder of the season, including playoffs, without restrictions.

Grady Irvin’s letter to the FHSAA:

Re: Braden River High School / Knowledge McDaniel Support for Full-Reinstateinent without Restrictions

Dear Mr. Tomyn:

It is my understanding that the FHSAA (“Association”) has reinstated Knowledge McDaniel of Braden River High School for the rest of the “regular season;” however, it also my understanding that the young man is prohibited from participation in the playoffs. I would implore the Association to (a) rethink its position, (b) for you as executive director to assert your authority, and (c) for this young man to be fully reinstated for the full season. including district playoffs. I am certain that the entire committee would have supported the action of full-participation without limitation if, as a committee, we were confident that as executive director you would not have exercised your right to appeal to the Board of Directors) such a determination by the committee.the exercise of which would have kept alive” the possibility that Mr. McDaniel’s prep playing days would likely have ended prior to the school’s next scheduled game on September 28, 2018 versus Venice High School (as your exercise of appellate rights to the Board of Directors would have had the full weight of your office and the staff that conducted such a damning investigation behind it; as a committee I can assure you we didn’t like those odds).

In this my sixth and final year of two three-year terms as chairman of the Section Three Appeals Committee I have seen an array of cases that have come before us, many of those cases have brought tears to the eyes of committee members. However, during these six years there has never been a case that staff seemed so strongly for the imposition of discipline, including the exclusion of student-athlete McDaniel for 365 days. I believe that the committee placed its confidence in the investigation conducted by staff with regard to this student-athlete and the information that was shared with us pertaining to incidental benefits to this student-athlete,  another student-athlete who has since graduated, the imposition of a $40,000 fine against Braden River, and the suggestion that there was a lack of full candor during the investigation and subsequent inquiry. Despite the investigation I am confident that none of the committee members wanted to see student-athlete McDaniel not participate and therefore we attempted to fashion a remedy that we hoped would be palatable to the office of the executive director and the Board of Directors in the event of an appeal.

Once again, it is my very strong recommendation that in your capacity as executive director you exercise your authority and set-aside the rules and bylaws, something we as a committee were not empowered to do, and allow this young man to play without restriction. To do anything less would, in my opinion, be an unjust outcome in light of your authority. And yes, sometimes as a chair all one can do, inadvertent or otherwise, is provide the groundwork for reconsideration of an outcome. I remain,

Sincerely,

Irvin Law Firm

Mackey Law Group letter to the FHSAA:

September 20, 2018

Via e-mail to EmailExecutive Director@fhsau.org

Florida High School Athletic Association Attn: George Tomyn, Executive Director 1801 NW 80th Boulevard Gainesville, FL 32606

Re: Knowledge McDaniel; September 20, 2018 Mediation

Mr, Tomyn:

As you know, we represent Knowledge McDaniel. We are in receipt of the enclosed September 20, 2018 letter from Section Three Appeals Committee Chairman Grady Irvin, It is clear that the FHSAA’s entire procedure and determination of Mr. McDaniel’s eligibility is greatly flawed. Within two hours of the conclusion of today’s mediation, your Section Three Appeals Committee Chairman admits that the Appeals Committee made its September 6, 2018 ruling only to avoid a potential override by you? This letter is a bombshell.

Knowledge McDaniel reluctantly agreed to the FHSAA’s offer today only because: (i) he had a reasonable fear that the Board of Directors would not rule in his favor; and (ii) any legal proceeding to overturn the FHSAA’s decision would last well beyond Knowledge’s senior football season. This is all an incredible injustice to an innocent young man that is unsupported by the record evidence, the FHSAA’s rules, and Florida law.

We do not want to back-out of our agreement reached today; but, we strongly recommend that you exercise your authority to amend our agreement to fully reinstate Mr. McDaniel’s eligibility, without restriction as to the football play-offs.

Sincerely, Mackey Law Group, P.A.

Braden River High principal Sharon Scarbrough letter to FHSAA:

Braden River High School would like to formally request that as executive director of the FHSAA, you exercise your authority and allow Knowledge McDaniel to be eligible to compete in all athletic contests with no restrictions. I make this request as a result of the attached letter and the information and recommendation it contains from Grady C. Irvin, Jr., who served as the Chair of the Section 3 Sectional Appeal Committee held on September 6, 2018.

We appreciate the time and results of the recent Formal Mediation and want to maintain his eligibility for the regular season. However, I would like to echo Mr. Irvin’s request for you to reconsider this situation and see the opportunity for a positive result for all parties.

Attorney T.R. Smith’s interpretation of the rules:

The Florida statute on the requirements for the FHSAA Bylaws (Section 1006.20(2)(i)) provides that ”[t]he FHSAA bylaws may not limit the competition of student athletes prospectively for rule violations of their school or its coaches or their adult representatives. The FHSAA bylaws may not unfairly punish student athletes for eligibility or recruiting violations perpetrated by a teammate, coach, or administrator.” This statute prohibits the FHSAA from punishing student-athletes based on a violation by the school or any of the adults involved.

In our opinion, the FHSAA is basing its position on FHSAA Policy 36.5.2, which provides that a “student who is found to have accepted an impermissible benefit will be ineligible for interscholastic athletic competition for one or more years.” However, Knowledge cannot be found to have accepted a benefit when he had absolutely no knowledge of the rule. The entire record from the FHSAA’s investigation and Section Three Appeals Committee hearing is devoid of any finding that Knowledge knew about this rule. In fact, in the transcript from the September 6, 2018 Section Three Appeals Committee hearing, the Chairman acknowledges the fact that Knowledge did not know the rule.

There are also concerns of whether the FHSAA conducted a proper investigation before making its initial ruling to suspend Knowledge for 365 days. FHSAA Policy 39.3.1 provides that ”[a]pproved FHSAA Investigative Consultants will make every reasonable effort to interview every individual implicated in a potential violation”. It is our understanding that a formal investigation never occurred. Instead, the FHSAA based its ruling on unsworn written statements.

This young man is innocent of any wrong-doing and is being punished for an alleged violation that he did not create. The FHSAA is supposed to protect student-athletes. In this case, they are wrongfully punishing Knowledge McDaniel.

Knowledge McDaniel saga takes another turn. Here’s how the Braden River senior got to this point

BRADENTON – Roughly two hours after Braden River High senior Knowledge McDaniel had his eligibility increased to the final six regular-season games, the chairman for the Section 3 Appeals Committee penned a letter to Florida High School Athletic Association executive director George Tomyn imploring him to use his authority to allow McDaniel to also play in the playoffs if the Pirates qualify.

“I am certain the entire committee would have supported the action of full-participation without limitation if, as a committee, we were confident that as executive director you would not have exercised your right to appeal (to the Board of Directors) such a determination by the committee — the exercise of which would have ‘kept alive,’ the possibility that Mr. McDaniel’s prep playing days would likely have ended prior to the school’s next scheduled game on September 28, 2018 versus Venice High School,” the letter from Tampa-based attorney Grady C. Irvin Jr. stated.

“As your exercise of appellate rights to the Board of Directors would have had the full weight of your office and the staff that conducted such a damning investigation behind it; as a committee I can assure you we didn’t like those odds.”

Irvin sat on the four-person committee on Sept. 6 to hear McDaniel’s appeal of the FHSAA’s original 365-day suspension for receiving impermissible benefits from a booster club member. The committee voted 3-1 in favor of allowing McDaniel to play in three non-district games and no playoffs. He scored two touchdowns and had more than 130 total yards of offense in Braden River’s victory over Manatee on Sept. 7.

Thursday’s ruling meant the scheduled meeting with the FHSAA Board of Directors on Sunday was canceled. According to FHSAA spokesman Kyle Niblett, what was mutually agreed upon on Thursday is the final outcome.

“Back in June, we were led to believe it was a non-issue,” said Todd Thoma, the father of the family that McDaniel stayed with.

Thoma’s wife Regina added: “I believe the district told the FHSAA that they didn’t see any issue with impermissible benefits, and we were only asked to give statements just to back that up, but then somehow it escalated into the original suspension

Regina Thoma said McDaniel was given the 365-day suspension without the FHSAA conducting an investigation that involved talking to them, McDaniel or his family.“We were really shocked,” Todd Thoma said about Irvin’s letter. “But actually also happy, because it verified what we thought was going on. That there was something wrong.”

Last week, McDaniel sat out the Pirates’ 31-28 victory over Palmetto. On Thursday, McDaniel and other Braden River representatives — principal Sharon Scarbrough and Bradenton lawyers Peter Mackey and T.R. Smith — were in Gainesville for a mediation hearing.

Tomyn and the FHSAA’s lawyers sat in a separate room for the mediation hearing, an FHSAA spokesperson said. A judge went between the two parties before mutually agreeing to let McDaniel play the final six regular-season games, starting with next week’s Class 7A-District 11 showdown at Venice, but no playoffs.

“At the end, they gave me two options,” McDaniel told Bold TV via a Skype interview Friday afternoon. “They said I could either switch to the school I’m zoned for, or I could just play the regular season with no playoffs.”

McDaniel’s residence switched to Southeast High’s zone in January 2018. At the Sept. 6 section appeals hearing, Manatee County superintendent Cynthia Saunders explained a hardship waiver is automatically granted to students moving zones to remain at their previous school as part of district policy.

Hours later, Irvin wrote his letter asking Tomyn and the FHSAA to rethink its stance.

The lawyers for McDaniel also stated they do not want to back out of their agreement, but are asking Tomyn to amend it to fully reinstate McDaniel without restriction.

“Their own staff is disagreeing and saying that they were conducting a damning investigation,” Mackey said. “They basically were making Knowledge McDaniel the scapegoat for what Braden River coaches and staff have gotten this young kid into. They’re punishing the kid.”

McDaniel’s case picked up national steam after ESPN personality and Lakewood Ranch resident Dick Vitale heard what was happening.

Vitale used social media to fan the flames toward the FHSAA for how McDaniel’s appeals hearing and Thursday’s mediation hearing turned out.

National media members such as ESPN’s NFL reporter Adam Schefter, ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi, ESPN’s Josina Anderson and others have shared Vitale’s tweets.

“This kid’s been treated so unfairly, it’s unbelievable,” Vitale said.

Vitale said he first met McDaniel when the Braden River senior started working at the Broken Egg restaurant Vitale frequents.

“He’d been there for weeks and I didn’t know he was a football player,” Vitale said.

One of the Broken Egg managers relayed what was happening with McDaniel to Vitale.

“He’s getting a raw deal,” Vitale said. “He’s coming from a tough, tough situation. I’ve been in sports all my life coaching high school, college and pros. We’re supposed to be in the business to help kids, not hurt them. …

“What did he do? He didn’t go from Manatee to Braden River, if you want to talk about recruiting. He’s been there the (entire) time at Braden River, all four years. To me, that’s not recruiting. He was just looking for a place to have food, to have a roof over his head, to be able to study. I don’t understand the logic of those people. Anybody that has a heart would be like, ‘Wow, what a story.’ ”

28. Another Trial, Another Victory! Mackey Law Group wins trial for Cortez dock builder!

Mackey Law Group has once again prevailed at trial; this time on behalf of a Cortez dock builder.  In 2015, a wealthy English hotelier contracted with a Cortez dock builder to install a high-end dock out at the English hotelier’s summer home in Holmes Beach. After the dock was installed, the English hotelier predictably did not fully pay and started to complain about various aspects of the dock installation. This was despite the fact that the Cortez dock builder even had the product manufacturer write an opinion letter as to the great job the dock builder had done. This was, once again, an example of a wealthy person attempting to take advantage of a local contractor, via costly and lengthy litigation.

Fortunately for the Cortez dock builder, he came to Mackey Law Group. We took over for a prior lawyer and prosecuted, what is referred to as, a mechanic’s lien case. We would not back down to the English hotelier’s Bradenton lawyer, who took ridiculous legal positions, kept stalling things out, and made the whole process as expensive as he could.  Ultimately, Mackey Law Group got the case to trial and procured a verdict in favor of the dock builder! Not only did Mackey Law Group attain a verdict for the remaining amount owed for the dock, we were able to also attain a verdict for all of the dock builder’s attorney’s fees, its expert witness fees, and prejudgment interest at 18%! In addition, the English hotelier had counterclaimed for complete removal of the dock and the return of what money he had paid the dock builder. Mackey Law Group zeroed-out the English hotelier on his counterclaim.

Choosing the right lawyer is always the key to victory. One should not choose a lawyer (or keep using one) based on advertisements and T.V. commercials. Find out if the lawyer is a real “trial lawyer”, as opposed to a paper-lion.  Here at Mackey Law Group we try cases all the time; and, our track record for victory speaks for itself. There is nothing better for our clients than to have our skilled lawyers on their side and to obtain victory over these “local legends”.  Call us today if you find yourself in a legal battle.

By: Peter J. Mackey, Esq.

27. Selecting a Litigator-Trial Lawyer

For most people, when they need to retain a lawyer for a contested matter (a trial case), they go to the internet and review web sites. That’s a great place to start; but, it should only be “a start”. Nowadays, most lawyers/law-firms have glitzy websites and espouse that their lawyers are “trial lawyers” and represent that their lawyers have great winning loss  records. In many instances, nothing could be further from the truth.

Mackey Law Group’s lawyers are literally in the courtrooms every day in a variety of different types of cases. This means we are not afraid to go to trial and do not try to convince a client to settle because of courtroom inexperience. You may be surprised to hear that we never encounter most of the TV or bragging website attorneys, which logically means they are not in the courtroom as often as they would like you to believe.

Truth be told, most self-proclaimed “trial lawyers” are not experienced winners in the courtroom and most of them have never even tried a jury case. These Website Legends push paper around and then scramble to settle their cases because they are actually inexperienced in the courtroom. But how does a non-lawyer know how to select a real trial lawyer? The following are some questions you should ask and demand answers to:

  1. When was the last time you actually tried a contested case to conclusion?
  2. How many trials have you first-chaired (the first string attorney) in the past three years?
  3. Have you ever selected a jury and first-chaired a jury trial to conclusion?
  4. Do you win most of your cases? Why not?
  5. Are you a Small Claims lawyer, a County Court lawyer, a Circuit Court lawyer? Cases in each court go up in  complexity as more money is at stake.
  6. Are you admitted to the United States Federal Court? Have you tried cases to conclusion in Federal Court?
  7. Are you also a “mediator”. If so, why? Do you not have enough work in your office and/or cases to try?
  8. What types of cases have you taken to trial where there is a jury or judge verdict in favor of your client?

All of the above are fair questions. Any real trial lawyer will welcome the opportunity to answer such questions. Web site bragging should never be the reason to hire a lawyer. You may be placing your financial life in a lawyer’s hands and you need the best. My personal observation is that many lawyers are ill-prepared at trial, lack real knowledge of the rules applicable to trying cases, and are just plain lazy……not returning telephone calls, not planning-out how a case should proceed, and failing to be mentally aggressive.

Make sure that you are selecting the right lawyer. Here at Mackey Law Group we are experienced trial lawyers. We are also winners. We welcome the opportunity to answer the above questions. Make sure that you get the very best lawyer that you can afford.  Never settle for less.

By: Peter J. Mackey, Esq.