Did My Lawyer Commit Dram Shop Notice Malpractice?

Did my lawyer commit dram shop notice malpractice?

Far too many folks are injured as a result of drunk drivers. Many of these drivers are visibily intoxicated when they are being served alchohol at a bar. In that case a person may be able to recover money for harms and losses against both the bar and the driver. This is known as a dram shop claim. 

A person must  to file a notice of a dram shop claim within 120 days of the date of the injury.

Notice must be given within a 180 days if the person is dead or incapacitated.

Failing to file notice means a claim cannot be made against a dram shop for damages.

If notice is properly filed then a person has one year from the date of an injury to bring a claim.

In an initial consultation, an attorney must make inquiry into whether or not a dram shop claim exists. If an attorney fails to do so or does and fails to file notice to a bar and you are harmed as a result, you are likely the victim of legal malpractice. Your lawyer may have cost you up to $250,000 in recovery (the statutory limit on a dram shop claim).

In order to protect your rights, you should immediately speak with a Connecticut Legal Malpractice attorney.

Know your dram shop law legal malpractice rights.

At McKeen Law Firm, LLC we are presently handling such a case. We can help. Call Attorney Ryan McKeen at (860) 471-8333 for a free consultation.

Buy This Pen For Your Law Practice

Are you going solo? Opening your own firm?

Everything matters. You must sweat the details. Right down to the smallest details. Perhaps especially the smallest detail.

Your firm is going to be great. Your pens should be to. Your clients are going to use them to sign important documents.

Buy this pen for your law practice, the Pilot G2 (blue ink):

It screams that you care. That you care that your clients are writing with a smooth instrument that moves across paper with grace.

I’m not paid by Pilot. This isn’t an ad. You will be amazed how many times your clients comment on this pen. Having this as an office plan shows your client that you care. And the details matter.


Ryan McKeen is A Connecticut Attorney.

What Does A Real Estate Attorney Do?

by Allison McKeen

What does a real estate attorney do?

Your guide to the role of an attorney in a Connecticut Real Estate closing.

Throughout this process, your attorney will work closely you and your real estate agent to keep you informed and work with you.

Four Things A Real Estate Attorney Does For You When Buying A Home:


It starts with the contract. Make sure your Real Estate agent attaches an attorney approval rider to your purchase and sale agreement. Once the contract has been signed, have your agent send it to us. We review the contract with you within 24 hours.

We make sure the seller has good title to the home you are buying. We do a title search to see if there are any liens or defects on the property. If there are, we force the seller to fix them.

We represent you at the closing. This means we prepare closing documents, cut checks, and represent you at the closing table. We explain all of documents to you.

Title Insurance
At closing we issue a title policy. A title policy protects what’s likely your largest investment.


Allison McKeen is a CT Real Estate Lawyer. She can be reached at (860) 471-8333

Going Solo: 4 Unexpected Expenses

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. – Don Rumsfeld

Going solo?

When you start a law firm for the first time, one of the hardest things to get a handle on in the planning phase of your firm is your monthly expenses. What’s this going to cost? How much do I have to make in order to bring money home?

When you start your law firm there are going to be a lot of expenses that fall squarely into the “things we know that we know” bucket. You are going to know a lot of your expenses. For example, you’re going to know your rent is $______ or your phone service is $_______. These are easy numbers to know.

Then there is “there are things that we know we don’t know” bucket. You don’t know how much paper you are going to use in a month. You don’t know how many times the shredding service is going to come. There are many of these kinds of expenses. But most of them are of the small variety assuming you are a solo or small firm.

The last category is the killer. It is the unexpected bill. These are bills that take you from having a great month to breaking even – the “unknown unknowns”.

In this post, I’ll share with you some unknown unknowns of the early part of my practice. Plan for these four expenses:

1.  Deposit For Electricity

Both times, I’ve opened accounts for electricity, my provider has required me to pay a 6 week estimate of usage as a deposit. A deposit that is refunable after a year of on time payments. Last week, I cut a check for $600 for my deposit.

2.  Commercial Eletricity Can Be Spendy

It is hard to make any blanket statement about electrical rates. But I’ve paid significantly more for commercial rates than I have for residential rates in the same area. Check with your supplier before opening. See what the difference is in price per kwh. It can add up. The first commercial electricity bill that I received was shocking.

3. Malpractice Premium Jump

When you first hang your shingle, malpractice premiums are relatively low. They are a claims made policy and the world of possible claims is small. Between years 1 and 2 of my practice my premium jumped 35%. I had planned for a 5 to 10% jump.  Speak with your broker about this. Plan for it throughout the year. It is much easier to save a little every month than get hit with a large bill all at once.

4.  Sponsorship Expenses

Local businesses sponsor all sorts of things and you will too. When you start you’ll be out and about. Meeting all sorts of folks. You need to do this. It is vital to the success of your business.

But maybe even before your first fee comes in, you’ll get asked to sponsor something. It will be some worthy cause put forth by some worthy contact. You’ll feel bad not doing it.

My advice on this is to pick one cause and focus your sponsorship on that cause. At McKeen Law Firm, our biggest sponsorships are to “The Race To Fill The Pantry” and “Achilles CT“. For every other cause, I basically buy the small ad in the program.

There’s no right answer but have some plan to deal with this pressure. When you are starting out $250 here and $500 there really adds up.



Ryan McKeen is A Connecticut Attorney. He can be reached at (860) 471-8333



A Full Day, A Heck of Day

To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day, a heck of a day. Jim Valvano

I get in the office about 7:30. The day is going to be a busy one. This morning, I’m getting a client divorced, testifying as an “expert”, and trying a breach of contract case in the afternoon. 

I begin making sure that the documents for the divorce are in perfect order. As I’m working on this, I get an email notifying me of this review.  I break down in tears. The burden of representing a family who has sustained such a loss is heavy. Most of the time I repress this burden. But it’s there. And sometimes it hits me. This is one of those times.

After everything is in order, I talk with another lawyer in my office suite. We work through a problem that he has in one of his cases. Helping another lawyer makes me feel good.

I drive to court. It’s going to be a long day. I shun street parking in favor of the lot near the court. The lot isn’t paved. There are rocks.

As I get out of my car, my phone falls out of my pocket. Right on to a rock. In the game of rock v. phone – rock wins. My phone is smashed. Worse it starts malfunctioning. It’ll be a day without my lifeline.

I head into court and finalize the divorce documents with my clients and opposing counsel. We head in before the judge. As I start questioning my client my phone rings. Before the hearing – I had set my phone to mute. But the rock not only beat my screen it beat my mute button.

The judge is not pleased. “Counsel…that’ll be $25 to the charity of your choice. You have 7 days to get proof of payment to the judge’s sectretary.”

I’m thrown off my game. I bumble through an easy uncontested divorce hearing. Suddenly finding myself unable to pronounce “irretriveable”.

But the divorce gets finalized. My client is happy.

I dust myself off and head over to housing court. For the first time, I am taking the witness stand in court. I’ve questioned dozens and dozens of witnesses. Never taken the seat next to the judge. Never sworn an oath.

I’m nervous. The testimony I’m about to give is not complicated. But I’m still nervous. I’m being asked to testify about housing law. I know I’m going to be cross examined. I try to be the witness that I want as a lawyer. Clean and crisp answers to questions.

I give about 15 minutes of testimony. It is uneventful. I head off the witness stand and out of court.

It’s about 11:45. I walk over to the Kitchen at Billings Forge. Their curry chicken salad is all kinds of awesome.  I order it. I enjoy it.

Over lunch, I access the Kitchen’s wifi on my Macbook. I login to Achilles CT‘s site and make my $25 donation. Because my phone rang, an athlete will get a paid entry fee. This makes me happy. I fax my receipt to the judge’s secretary. Penance has been made.

As I’m sitting there in the Kitchen. I think of my life. My practice. The richness of it. The blessings in it. Eating lunch by yourself is underrated.

There’s still some time before my 2:00 hearing. I head over to criminal court. I meet up with a friend who is a public defender. We talk about the futility of the system. Seeing a friend is always nice.

Then I head into Superior Court. I meet my client. We review the documents for the hearing. In a few minutes the defendant joins us. We talk about the case. Civilly. We reach an agreement on what is owed. Everyone is happy. A hearing will be avoided.

We go into court. There are about 40 cases on the docket. I stand up at the call and tell the court the word’s it likes to hear “we have an agreement, your honor”. Our case was number 32 on the list. We jump to the first position. The judge calls us up and we enter a fair and just settlement as an order of the court.

We leave the court together. Making small talk about children, schools, and weather in Southern California. Meeting folks is one of the great joys of this job.

I head  back to my car. Two cases resolved. Testimony given. Lunch eaten.

Using the time that would have been spent trying my case – I do something far better. I head to Toys R Us and pick up my son’s birthday present. It is a Big Wheel. Lil guy is going to be thrilled. He’s two.

I buy him this helmet.

I contact my wife, Allison. We decide to meet for an early family dinner. There is much laughter at dinner.

It is a full day. It is a heck of a day.


Ryan McKeen is A Connecticut Attorney.

This Review Moved Me To Tears

This review moved me to tears. Representing a family of a loved on who has died tragically – carries with it a heavy burden. All I’ve ever hoped is that I can bring some measure of comfort to the family by representing them with dignity, compassion and respect.

These cases take a toll on me. Reading this review of my work moved me to tears on Friday. I will carry it with me forever.

Ryan handled the wrongful death suit related to my dad’s death in a motor vehicle accident. When we were trying to decide which lawyer to go with, he was the only lawyer that took a real interest in us as people, and did the research before we even told him that we had selected him. All through the case, lasting in total almost 3 years, he catered to our family, always sensitive to our loss and our emotional needs. He was tireless in fighting to give us peace, working non-stop with the state troopers, private detectives, mechanics, accident reconstructionist, doctors, and various other experts to foresee and anticipate all eventualities and ensure a successful case. Today I am very pleased with our selection and I stand sure that my dad would have been too. Avvo.

I firmly believe that in wronful death cases it is not the death of a member of a family. It is the death of the family itself. And it is my job to understand that. That means getting out of the office and spending time at the family home, at the place the person worked, and with the family.

I am blessed to have worked with this amazing family. I am forever grateful.

Fly Solo But Not Alone….Join Us In Glastonbury

I open my office door. I turn on the lights. Put my brief case down. Make some coffee. And then I get to work. That was pretty much my life for over a year working in an office by myself. It was isolating.

There was no one to talk about the latest news. No one to share a coffee with. No one to bounce ideas off of. There was also no coverage. If I wasn’t in the office the office was closed. This makes things like receiving Fed Ex deliveries difficult. On numerous occassions I would pick packages up at Fed Ex near Bradley Airport.

And for witnessing things, I’m so lucky my parents are fantastic and retired. And wiling to drive 20 miles to witness and notarize documents for me.

I enjoyed being solo. It was fun to chart my own course. To make the calls. To not have to worry about anyone else. That part, I loved.

When I started thinking about buying an office, I started thinking about a legal collaborative. A space where folks had there own individual offices but shared resources such as law books, technology, and most importantly ideas. Ideas on cases. Ideas on the practice of law.

Ideas and also support. Support that there would be witnesses when needed. Someone would probably be there for the Fed Ex man.

Another idea that I’m in the early stages of developing is law firm consulting. Specifically advising folks looking to start their own firms or practices. I have spent and continue to spend a lot of time and resource developing my practice. The idea, my idea, is that sharing these ideas with office mates will boost everyone’s business. Things like: use this vendor, try this software, avoid doing this at all costs, and this is really working for me.

If you want to learn how to save yourself time and money by going paperless – I’ll show you how to do it.

One of the pieces of advice I would always give to folks looking to start their own firms is – go to a place where there are other lawyers in the building. It can be a great way to start building referral relationships.

Those ideas converged to form the basis for the design of our new office. We are fortunate to open with two like minded, kind and progressive solo firms with us. We are also fortunate to have an opportunity for a third person to join us. We have one office left.

The office is 127 square feet. It includes access to a storage loft. Common areas not included in the square footage calculation but for your use are a reception area, a conference room, a break room, a bathroom (with a shower).

Utilities are included (electricity, internet, water, heat). You bring your own phone.

We are open to  the possibility of sharing administrative staff.

You will have your name on the door. Common areas are neutrally decorated and do not reference any one firm.

Amentities include a shower, dishwasher, coffee maker, microwave, soda stream, an electric hot water heater for tea (Allison loves tea – we also have some sort of fancy tea press that I won’t try to describe) refrigerator, conference room tv, apple tv, HDMI wiring in the conference room, a cable hook up in your office if you want cable and parking.

In addition to your private wireless router there is a guest network for your clients.

We also have silverware, plates, bowls, forks, knives, spoons, coffee mugs, tumblers, wine glasses, and regular glasses. All for your use.

The office is in a prime location in the heart of Glastonbury’s business district. It is less than a half mile from Max Fish, Max Amore, Starbucks, Chipolte, B Goods, J Gilberts and Fed Ex Office. Staples and Home Depot are about a half mile in the other direction. We have easy highway access to Route 2 and Route 3.

The office was built in 2015. It is new construction. We have hardwood floors throughout. Each office has wainscotting. It looks amazing. Your clients will love it.

Rent is $950 a month. This is not triple net. There are no hidden fees. The office is move in ready.

And there’s always someone to bounce ideas off of or talk about the issues of the day.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please let me know and we can talk further. All inquiries are confidential.  Call me (860) 471-8333.

Recent Results


We were hired to represent a husband in a conservatorship hearing against his wife filed by the State of Connecticut. The State was seeking to have our client’s wife conserved. In the process of doing so, it recklessly (in our opinion) made allegations against our client. We met with our client. We made a second trip to his home. We learned his story. Their story. The story of their marriage. And we told their story in a contested probate hearing. Our client didn’t want his wife to be conserved. After we told our story, the judge agreed and denied the State’s application.

Involuntary Commitment

Client was involunarily committed at a pyschiatric hospital. We assisted our client in a probable cause hearing. In less than 24 hours, we met with the client, reviewed the client’s records, and listened to the client’s story. We walked into a room with about a dozen healthcare professionals testifying against our client. We didn’t back down. After telling our client’s story, the judge ordered our client to be released on the ground their was no probable cause for the commitment.

Personal Injury

We continue to open files in this area. We also recently closed one at a mediation for $300,000. We’ve put some cases in suit recently. Some more to come. And we are preparing for a jury trial in August. Very active on this front.

Real Estate

Closings have been coming fast and furiously. Allison takes great joy in helping folks by or sell their homes.


We just finished a reply brief in a very high profile appeal on a case that has gained national media attention. On seperate issues, Allison is handling 5 land use and tax appeals.


We obtained judgment against a contractor on behalf of a homeowner. The contractor did terrible work. There were also defects in the contract.

Those are just a few of the things we’ve been working on in recent weeks. We are grateful to our clients. We welcome new clients. Please let us know if we can help you. (860 471-8333).


Moving. That’s what I’ve been doing since leaving court on Thursday morning.

Thanks to the help of my parents and the assistance of a two person moving company – we have fully moved into our new office at 437 Naubuc Avenue, Suite 107 in Glastonbury. By fully I mean – we still need some things for our walls, our bathroom needs a mirror, and we have a trip to Ikea to make. But if you walked in, you’d never know the space was empty on Thursday morning.

For the first time since 2008, Allison has her very own walled office. She is happy about this. I am too.

I have the best parents in the world. I’m so grateful for all of their help and support in getting the office online. It wouldn’t have been possible without them.

There were only a few problems with the move. The fridge that the big box store delivery guys insisted would fit – doesn’t. Fortunately, the big box store has been surprisingly awesome to deal with and a new fridge will arrive on Tuesday. Thank you, Becky at big box store.

The moving company smashed the glass on a twin cities marathon poster. They didn’t tell me about this. I found out when I went to vacuum out my old office this afternoon. I also found out they left their dollys as parting gifts. I’ll get a new frame. They’ll get their dolly.

Oh and the dishwasher wouldn’t turn on. I wouldn’t bet against user error but as of now I can’t get it to work.

But those things aren’t the story of the move.

The story of the move is about closings and openings.

Moving into my office on Main Street was hard. I hadn’t planned to go solo. I had left a partnership that I had formed just over a year prior. I was sad. I knew I had to move forward and I did.

And the work showed in my new office. Furniture was purchased and placed where I wanted it. Wires were tucked away. Ikea trips were made. Homegoods, too. In just under the two years I occupied the space nothing really moved.

More folks joined me. Stuff was added. But nothing really moved. Until the move.

Moving brought back a lot of feelings that I had let rest or forgotten were even there. This was Thursday night.

Life can turn on a dime. – Stephen King 11/23/1963

Friday was different. In between trips in the moving van, I received two unexpected and much appreciated emails. Those emails helped me move forward. Those emails helped me to move without baggage. Heavy baggage. They were a gift.

Tomorrow, 437 Naubuc Ave. Suite 107 is ready for business. I have my daughter’s “step up” ceremony tomorrow morning – so proud of her.  After that the builder is coming over to look at the dishwasher. A client is coming in at noon. Then I’ll meet with Becky to make sure the new fridge will fit in the space. Andrew and I are meeting with a new client later tomorrow afternoon. And at some point the movers will get their dollys and my frame will be replaced.

And I’ll do so in a new place. A better place in every way than I was in on Thursday. For this I am grateful.

Recent Client Review of Ryan McKeen

I have worked with many lawyers in my career so I have a large comparison set for judgment. Ryan McKeen truly ranks as one of the best. My family had a very difficult house closing, which ultimately fell through. Ryan helped us get back on our feet, find a fabulous new real estate agent and get us a to a second close just a few months later. He was generous with his time, exceedingly fair with his billing and gave us confidence in the process. He is as straight forward and honest as they come. And will go the extra mile to help his clients. My family and I feel very fortunate to have worked with Ryan.


We love what we do. We love helping folks. Please let us know if we can help you. (860) 471-8333. Call today for a free consultation.