What Do You Need For A Paperless Law Office?

It’s easy to overlook the small things. I spent two years designing and improving on my paper-less firm. Yet…..just last week, I purchased a low tech piece of equipment that makes a big difference. A power cord.

Taking notes on my laptop is great. However, until battery life significantly improves or wireless charging hits the market – power will always be an issue. While you are busy deciding on hardware and software it is easy to forget about power on the road.

Watch the video below for a $4.99 low-tech must buy tool for your paper-less law office. I carry one of these with me when I know laptop battery may be an issue. Great for your practice, cheap, and it may help you make friends at a conference, coffee shop, in an airport, or at court.

A Connecticut Bicycle Accident Attorney On Protecting Yourself Before An Accident

Not only are drivers distracted – they are often uninsured or underinsured. Watch the video below to find out how you can protect yourself before getting on a bike.

In Connecticut, your automobile policy will cover you on a bike. Having the right insurance makes a big difference in the event of a collision. Ask your insurance agent about maximizing your underinsured coverage and purchasing a conversion policy. Protect yourself – it’s dangerous out there.

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Attorney McKeen represents injured pedestrians, runners, and cyclists throughout Connecticut. Ryan can be reached at ryan@mckeenlawfirm.com. You can read more about CT Bicyclist Accident Law on www.ctroadsafety.com

Buying or selling a home in Connecticut? Three Things You Need To Know.

In many cases, a brief conversation with a client prior to signing a real estate contract can prevent problems. At the very least, attorney review of a contract provides a client with a clear understanding of the terms and conditions.

Contact Attorney Ryan McKeen at McKeen Law Firm ryan@mckeenlawfirm.com or (860) 560-8163. We review contracts with clients within 24 hours. We work weekends. You can read more about our Connecticut Real Estate Law Practice.

Guardian Ad Litem Reform In Connecticut

Just finished reading “GALs are Withdrawing From Cases As Court Reform Tensions Grow” in the Connecticut Law Tribune.  The article states that some lawyers and firms are no longer accepting court appointed cases:

Other lawyers and law firms that are bowing out of the court-appointed work for the time being include Glastonbury-based Brown, Paindiris & Scott, Budlong & Barrett in Hartford, Jeffrey Mickelson in Hartford, and Barry Armata.

This is most unfortunate. I’ve handled several high conflict custody cases over the past 8.5 years. Fortunately, none are occupying my life at the moment. I avoid them unless I think my representation can make a difference for the children involved.

I’ve read some of what has been posted online about Guardian Ad Litems. Frankly, I understand some of the frustration. Messy child custody cases are inherently frustrating because there is no solution. There is only fighting.

Some years ago, I have a case with the potential to get very messy. There are the usual allegations. There are disputes over money. This case has everything it takes to turn into a mess.

Barry Armata gets involved. I forget how. Either opposing counsel and I discussed having him appointed as GAL or the court ordered it. But how he gets involved is a lot less important than what he does.

The court we are in has a cafe. Barry sits down with opposing counsel and me over coffee while court is in recess. He begins laying out a framework to solve some of the issues in the case. He listens to us. He then meets with our clients. Barry recommends getting the case into an “early intervention program” which everyone agrees to. Court ends and our clients have meetings scheduled with Barry.

I wasn’t at my client’s meeting with Barry. But I know my client felt listened to and treated with respect. I know this made a difference to my client.

When we arrived in court for a full day of early intervention, Barry had the trust of both parents. The issues in the divorce were for reasons beyond the scope of this post – highly sensitive and emotionally charged. Barry laid the groundwork for those matters to be discussed in a rational and sensitive manner.

Our full day of early intervention was exhausting. There were many problems to be solved. Many issues to confront. And times everyone thought it discussions would fall apart. They didn’t in large part because of Barry.

By the end of the day, there was an agreement. An agreement that spared the parties a fortune in both time, money, and energy. An agreement that spared a child from years of her parents fighting. An agreement that 4 years later, nobody has sought to modify.

For this, Barry was paid a very modest fee. There are many other ways both in the practice of law and out of the practice of law that he could have earned more money for less hassle.

It’s important for the General Assembly to understand the important work of Guardian Ad Litems in divorce cases. Not all cases turn out like mine. But in many cases, trained GALs can save a lot of money, time, and aggravation.

Court appointed cases are often the most challenging for GALs. Parties are often not represented. These are often high need cases. Cases where skilled work, like that regularly done by Barry Armata is most needed. I hope this storm cloud passes and lawyers like Barry Armata return to accepting appointments.

Attorney Leo Diana Nominated To The Bench

Governor Malloy is nominating 16 attorneys to the Superior Court Bench.

One of those Attorneys is Leo Diana of Manchester.

I’ve known Leo for nearly 9 years. We have been on the opposite sides of several cases during that time. I’ve had a few highly contested hearings opposite Attorney Diana. And I can’t recall the last time I’ve appeared in family court and not run into Leo.

In early January of 2014, Leo was defending a post judgment motion that I had filed. The case was complicated to say the least with very significant problems and very limited resources.

That cold early January morning, Leo showed up in Hartford Family Court on my motion. He was volunteering his time. He had no obligation to be there, whatsoever. Serving as mayor of Manchester and running a busy law practice – Leo has lots of places to be. Yet on that morning, with no other case on the docket, he was in Hartford. He was there as best I can tell – to help someone who needed help.

I talked the case over with Leo. I educated him about my client’s position. He listened. He spoke with his client. Then he used his many years of experience to propose a solution. It was a solution that was radically different than anything the parties had considered before. After thinking it over – Leo had proposed probably the only workable solution to a complex problem. To use a painfully over used term, it was “outside the box”.

For reasons beyond Leo’s control, his solution did not resolve the case. However, both me and my client appreciated his involvement and thoughtfulness. Leo managed this result while at the same time advancing his client’s interest and protecting her legal rights.

At a time when family law attorneys, and GALs are under attack, it’s important to for the General Assembly to be reminded of the outstanding and unsung work that attorneys like Leo Diana did on that January morning.

Leo Diana is fantastic attorney who is going to make a fantastic judge. He will listen. He will help solve problems for those who appear before him. 

Leo’s nomination reflects well upon Governor Malloy and his commitment to strengthening Connecticut’s courts.

 

McKeen Law Firm “Race To Fill The Pantry” 2014

“It’s a great event. It’s what we’re about.” – Ryan McKeen

Ryan McKeen at the 2013 "McKeen Law Firm Race To Fill the Pantry."

Ryan McKeen presenting the Glastonbury Food Bank with a check at the 2013 “McKeen Law Firm Race To Fill the Pantry.”

McKeen Law Firm is proud to announce it is sponsoring the 2014 “Race To Fill The Pantry”.

The McKeen Law Firm Race to Fill the Pantry, a 5K  course/ 2-mile course/ 1/4-mile children’s race hosted by the Glastonbury River Runners, will take place on Sunday, November 9th, 2014 at Riverfront Park in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

$5 from every registration fee will be donated to the Glastonbury Food Bank. Runners and walkers are asked to donate a non-perishable food item.

The Glastonbury River Runners were able to collect a trailer full of food for the Glastonbury Food Pantry as well as a check for $1500.00. In addition, I presented the food pantry with a check for $305.00, or $1 for every consecutive day that I ran in 2013.

The course is accessible and registration fees are waived for all Achilles International (Connecticut chapter) guides.

The weather is usually great. I have run my two fastest 5ks on the course. We hope to see you in Riverfront Park on November 9, 2014. Click here to register.

Thoughts on Divorce Reforms In Connecticut

Connecticut’s divorce laws, courts, and judges have come under significant scrutiny in recent weeks. The system is in need of reform.

I’ve practiced in the area of family law for the past 8 and a half years. Right now, my family practice consists of helping parties in a divorce solve problems. I cannot deal with the anger and frustration that comes with some cases. Life is too short.

In no particular order here are my thoughts:

1. There should be a mediation center – not in court. Family relations is overwhelmed. Parties often sit around for hours waiting to speak to a mediator for 15 minutes. Mediations should be scheduled at set times and less rushed. Early intervention works. Combine housing, foreclosure, and family mediators into a building suitable for mediation.

2. If mediation is not successful, then promptly assign hearing dates. Family courts can use more judges but that’s likely not in the cards. Judges resolve problems. They don’t solve them. In the event the parties are unable to take control of their own affairs – prompt resolution is the best course.

3. Create a Guardian Ad Litem office. Pay Guardian Ad Litems through the State. In the event parties need a GAL, they should contribute to the cost on a sliding scale.

4. Eliminate the 90 day waiting period. For some parties, the 90 days is purgatory. They have their affairs in order. They reached a fair and equitable resolution of their affairs. Let them get divorced.

5. Set alimony by guidelines. This works so well for child support. Parties should have certainty in this respect. Alimony disputes often spill into custody disputes. Take away the alimony fight.

Connecticut family courts have great people serving in capacities on the bench, at the bar, in family relations, and as guardian ad litems. They do lots of good within the existing framework. But that framework needs to be fixed.

Maligning Judges, attorneys, and guardian ad litems with vicious attacks is poor advocacy. They aren’t the problem. Structural changes are needed.

McKeen Law Firm’s Commitment To Potential Clients

McKeen Law Firm, LLC cannot help everyone with a legal problem. We are small.

We only take cases when we know we have the experience, competence, and resources necessary to make a difference.

This means we turn down work. All of the time.

Our commitment is to turning down work in a good way. At McKeen Law Firm, LLC you’ll never get “no, we can’t take your case”.

Clients and potential clients call us for help. We will never turn you away without trying to help you.

We may often be able to put you in the hands of a competent attorney who handles your kind of case. We know lots of good lawyers. We may be able to put you in contact with a no cost legal services provider or point you in the direction of an appropriate non-profit. We may be able to point you to an online resource.

Whatever your problem – big or small – we are happy to speak with you.