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.

Can Lawyers Advertise With Yodle?

This lawyer won’t.

Yodle is an online advertiser. They “provide local businesses with a simple and affordable way to promote their services and generate new leads using internet marketing.”

I find buying keywords from Google to be complicated. Am I buying the right ones? How many should I buy?  How much should I spend? I went to law school not marketing school. I have no idea what’s a good approach with Google. Yodle attempts to solve this problem buy doing it for you.

For example, if I were interested in marketing a real estate practice, I tell Yodle this, we set a budget, they create a website for me and buy keywords. In theory, it is a great service for a small business – I have no idea whether or not it works but the concept is good.

The problem for lawyers is in the details. Yodle sets up a phone number for you and then records your calls. Yodle monitors the calls.

Here are Yodle’s terms of service:

6. Call Recording and Monitoring
For quality assurance, Yodle records and/or monitors calls between Customer (including the Locations) and Yodle agents, employees and/or its affiliates regarding the Services (the “Service Calls”). If the Services include call recording or monitoring, Yodle will record and/or monitor incoming calls and e-mails between the Location, or the Location’s agents, employees, and/or its affiliates and people who contact the Location through the tracking telephone numbers or contact forms Yodle provides (the “Inbound Calls” and, collectively with Service Calls, “Call Recording and Monitoring”). By this Agreement, Customer, on behalf of itself and each Location, consents to any and all Call Recording and Monitoring performed by Yodle or its agents, employees and/or its affiliates.

In speaking with Yodle, they advised me that the call monitoring service could be dropped. However, when I pressed the sales representative to remove the above clause from the contract they refused to do so. I then refused to hire Yodle.

Why?

Rule 1.6 of the ABA Code of Professional Conduct requires lawyers to protect the confidentiality of client information. The relevant comment reads as follows:

Paragraph (c) requires a lawyer to act competently to safeguard information relating to the representation of a client against unauthorized access by third parties and against inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure by the lawyer or other persons who are participating in the representation of the client or who are subject to the lawyer’s supervision. See Rules 1.1, 5.1 and 5.3.  The unauthorized access to, or the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, information relating to the representation of a client does not constitute a violation of paragraph (c) if the lawyer has made reasonable efforts to prevent the access or disclosure.  Factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of the lawyer’s efforts include, but are not limited to, the sensitivity of the information, the likelihood of disclosure if additional safeguards are not employed, the cost of employing additional safeguards, the difficulty of implementing the safeguards, and the extent to which the safeguards adversely affect the lawyer’s ability to represent clients (e.g., by making a device or important piece of software excessively difficult to use). A client may require the lawyer to implement special security measures not required by this Rule or may give informed consent to forgo security measures that would otherwise be required by this Rule.  Whether a lawyer may be required to take additional steps to safeguard a client’s information in order to comply with other law, such as state and federal laws that govern data privacy or that impose notification requirements upon the loss of, or unauthorized access to, electronic information, is beyond the scope of these Rules.  For a lawyer’s duties when sharing information with nonlawyers outside the lawyer’s own firm, see Rule 5.3, Comments [3]-[4].

Yodle’s promise to “turn off call monitoring” while insisting on maintaining it in their terms and conditions presents an interesting problem for any lawyer seeking their services.

Any lawyer can tell you clients leave all sorts of highly personal information on voicemails. Especially, calls for initial consultations. Lawyers never know what they are going to find when they check their morning voicemails.

Any lawyer looking to advertise with Yodle should at the very least contact their malpractice carrier. My carrier provides free advice on such matters. Lawyers should also consider seeking an advisory opinion with State ethics counsel.

In the meantime, this lawyer will not be advertising with Yodle.

CT Lawyer Cyclists, Pedestrians, and Runners

Ryan McKeen founded ctroadsafety.com and is working to make the site a resource for Connecticut cyclists, runners, and pedestrians.

Presenting Food Bank with Check

Ryan McKeen at the 2013 McKeen Law Firm “Race To Fill the Pantry” 5k presenting the Glastonbury food bank with a donation.

Ryan enjoys running in Connecticut. He is a veteran marathon runner. What he sees on Connecticut’s roads scares him – drivers choosing to drive distracted. These drivers needlessly endanger runners, cyclists, and pedestrians.

He understands the rights of runners because he loves running.

The purpose of www.ctroadsafety.com is to educate readers of the rights of runners, cyclists, and pedestrians. Ryan believes awareness is the first step in making Connecticut’s roads and highways safe.

The second step is accountability. Ryan regularly trades his favorite running shoes and the road for a suit and court. Ryan takes great pride in holding drivers who needlessly endanger the public accountable for their choices. He represents injured cyclists, pedestrians, and runners – and their families. It is his passion.

The third step is community. McKeen Law Firm, LLC pledges 10% of any fee it earns representing injured runners, cyclists, and pedestrians will go to charity. After a settlement or verdict, Attorney McKeen and the client will meet and mutually decide on a charity.

Justice is healing and protecting the community. McKeen Law Firm, LLC relentlessly seeks justice.

Ryan can be reached at ryan@mckeenlawfirm.com or by calling (860) 560-8163.

Connecticut Wrongful Death Verdict Amount

Connecticut juries have the difficult task of assigning a dollar value to a life in a wrongful death case.

In January of 2014, a Connecticut jury awarded a total of 8 million dollars in loss of life and loss of life’s enjoyment for a middle aged man who died as a result of a defendant violating safety rules designed to protect the man.

The jury found 4 million for loss of life and 4 million for loss of life’s enjoyment.

Connecticut Wrongful Death Verdict Form

Connecticut Wrongful Death Verdict Form

Growing

I’m thrilled to announce Ruth Deslauries is joining the McKeen Law Firm team. Ruth will be working as a litigation paralegal. Ruth brings 30 years of litigation support experience to the table. In the course of her career, she has worked tirelessly to provide the highest quality assistance to very talented lawyers and firm clients.

When I started practicing law she was my assistant. Ruth helped break me in as a lawyer. In addition to producing a first rate work product, I saw first hand the ways in which she connected with and cared for clients.

In addition to assisting clients and handling litigation matters, Ruth served as a sounding board. Whenever I have a case, I try to hone and refine arguments. Starting out, Ruth was the closest person to my office. She heard all of my first drafts. Talking a case out with her helped my clarify issues and focus arguments.

Ruth will be working part-time with me. I’m grateful she agreed to join the team. Her addition is a tremendous asset to the firm and the clients we serve.

McKeen Law Firm’s “No Wait Policy”

Earlier this month, I had a doctor’s appointment. When I scheduled the appointment, the receptionist tells me to arrive 15 minutes before the appointment to complete my insurance paperwork.

Bacon! What does bacon have to do with waiting in a doctor’s office? Read on!

The day of the appointment, I arrive 15 minutes early. I complete my paperwork and take a seat in the waiting room. Forty-five minutes after my scheduled appointment, I’m called in to see the doctor. My schedule is booked solid. Most days like most people – my schedule is booked solid.

In the grand scheme of life that 45 minute delay is nothing. It is a minor inconvenience. While waiting for my appointment, I reschedule my meeting. Life marches forward.

That doesn’t mean I have to like waiting.

As a business owner, I respect my client’s time as valuable. I have a lobby in my office. I strive to keep it empty.

When a client schedules a two o’clock appointment – I do everything I can to start the appointment at two o’clock. This doesn’t mean that I’m perfect. Sometimes emergencies happen. Sometimes an important phone call or meeting goes longer than expected and there’s nothing I can do about it.

If you have a regularly scheduled appointment (not a real estate closing where times often change out of my control), show up on time, and and our meeting begins more than five minutes from its scheduled time- I will buy you an appetizer and a beverage at a Max Restaurant. I will hand you a $25 gift card to the Max Restaurant Group for your inconvenience. 

I’m a big fan of the candied bacon lollipops at Max Burger.

How To Print A Single Check From Quickbooks

Opening an office requires overcoming challenges. One of the challenges that I faced was printing a single check from QuickBooks. I buy checks, three to a page. Printing that “third” and single check was a problem.

The video below provides you with a no cost (other than a piece of paper that can be reused) solution.

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Ryan McKeen is an Attorney at McKeen Law Firm, LLC in Glastonbury, CT.

Starting A Law Firm? Find A Bank Near Your Office

As an associate at a 5 lawyer firm, I never dealt with the firm’s bank – we had a bookkeeper. She went to the bank.

Opening a law firm means spending time in the bank. Initially, you will spend hours setting up the right accounts. I have an operating account and two IOLTA accounts. The bank also extends me a line of credit. Lawyers trust accounts are highly regulated and are time consuming to open.

My bank is a half mile from my office. Even in the age of online banking being able to scan checks – I can’t convey the convenience of having my office close to my bank.

I can only wire money from my bank. When I have a real estate closing, I need to deposit certified funds at my bank. Almost always, I’m pressed for time.

Your relationship with your bank is important. I always go in to deposit checks. This allows me to build relationships. This helps when I have an emergency and need quick assistance. It has also earned me cases and referrals.

If you are opening shop, be sure to know what banks are within 2 miles of your office. Locating near the right bank is smart business.