Help! My Attorney is on Vacation.

As a busy attorney for many years, I realize the necessity of going on vacation and getting away from the grind. I firmly believe that this time away allows me to rejuvenate and recommit to the practice and makes me a better attorney.

Unfortunately, this is little solace to those clients that need answers NOW. Having practiced for over 25 years, I have taken many steps to assure that the clients’ needs are being met and that the wheels of justice continue to turn.

Planning for a vacation, here are steps I’ve taken:

  1. Advise clients. I do not keep it a secret that I’m going out of town. This allows most clients, judges and opposing counsel to set realistic expectations.
  2. Have office staff available. My paralegal, Emily, does most of my scheduling anyway and has a general knowledge of most of my cases. As such, she is more often available during my trips.
  3. Have other attorneys available for emergencies. I have spoken to my partner, Kris Nevels, as well as a few other local attorneys who can cover in case of emergencies. For example, no one plans to get arrested for DUI and have court in 2 days. If that happens, plead NOT GUILTY and wait for return. Alternatively, call the office and we will do our best to have someone present for your arraignment.
  4. Plan down time both before and after vacation. This allows for clients in crisis or with emergencies to schedule in a timely manner.
  5. Allow minimal communication. Even when leaving the country, I schedule 15-30 minutes 2-3x/week to communicate with the office. While this is not ideal, it is similar to times when I am in the middle of trial. It allows my paralegal to prioritize and get answers to crises.

Another key to getting away is getting another professional do handle all of the planning and preparations. Julie@islandgirlvacations is exceptional at travel planning and finding the best deals. Full disclosure: she’s also my wife.

If you have questions or concerns or need legal assistance, contact Michael Bouldin by filling out the contact information, call 859-581-6456 (581-MIKE) or email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com. Of course, you can also contact Emily@bouldinlawfirm.com for scheduling.

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What To Do If You Cannot Get Ahold of Your Attorney

Attorneys are notoriously difficult to get in touch with and the successful and busy ones even more so. So here is a list of dos and don’ts if you are having difficulty.

Do:

1. Be patient. This sounds simple but calling 3-5 times does not make the return call any quicker. From the attorney point of view, if everyone called 5 times, it would take five times as long to return everyone’s call.

2. Schedule. It may be difficult to get a hold of the attorney, but generally you can speak with a secretary, receptionist or paralegal. Tell that person that you are having difficulty and need to schedule a meeting or phone consultation. Once you are on the book, your chances are probably near 100% that the conversation can occur.

3. Ask the Paralegal. Similar to #2, the paralegal for the attorney often has great insight into your case and can answer most questions. Sure, some are better saved for the attorney, but others can be answered, handled and even resolved by the paralegal and often at a greatly reduced fee.

4. Discuss with the attorney their caseload and how they prioritize. If I explain that I’ll get to your post decree issue later, that a client is facing 20 years in prison this week, most clients can and do understand.

Don’ts:

A. Do not call repeatedly and leave multiple messages. This ties up the time available to return calls.

B. Do not call another attorney seeking free advice. The attorney handling your case knows about your case. If you seek free advice, you often get what you pay for.

C. Do not immediately change attorneys and give up. You chose this attorney because of their skill, experience among other things. If you want a new attorney who will text you back and immediately take all calls, then hire that attorney from the onset. If you want an attorney with a track record and busy clientele, you may have to occasionally wait.

If problems persist, discuss your concerns and set out expectations of both the attorney and the client. Most often, a compromise can be reached where the client knows that their problems are being addressed and concerns are handled in a timely and efficient manner.

If you are a client, call Emily at 859-581-6453 to schedule. If you need legal advice and do not have an attorney, contact Mike@bouldinlawfirm.com.

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How to Value a Family Business in Divorce

Valuing a family business can be difficult in any instance, but particularly difficult in dealing with Divorce. The value will likely have an impact on settlement and division of assets as the business is often either a marital or a mixed-marital asset. The value and compensation of the officers may also impact resolution of child and spousal support.

The value of the business may be zero, as is the case of many self employed individuals who have limited assets. This may include self-employed accountants, lawyers, repairmen, construction workers, trainers as well as many other groups. The “value” is that the person running the company IS the company. The LLC or corporate oversight only gives them the ability to earn a certain annual income. The question is: If that person left the company, would there be any company to sell?

Often there is a value to the business. The client list, email distribution and goodwill are assets in addition to the physical assets such as buildings, vehicles, equipment, furnishings and computers. Other assets may include leases and contracts.

The value may be agreed to between the parties, so it is good to understand what and how the business works. If not agreed, the parties may agree on a business valuation expert as is often the case in collaborative divorces. Alternatively each party may hire a business valuation expert and/or the court may appoint its own expert.

If you or your spouse owns a business, it is important to have an attorney familiar with business valuation in order to resolve your divorce. Michael Bouldin has a business degree in economics and 25 years handling divorce/dissolution cases in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. For consultation, please email mike@bouldinlawfirm.com, call 859-581-6453 (*581-MIKE) or fill out the contact form.

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What Does a DUI Cost?

I am often asked, What is the cost of a DUI? The answer is not simple. According to national surveys, the cost of a DUI typically exceed $10,000. The question remains as to what does that cost involve.

A defendant should expect to pay $2,500-$5,000 for an experienced DUI/criminal defense attorney to represent on a first offense DUI charge. The cost may vary depending on the complexity of the case, whether it is a negotiated plea, suppression hearing, bench trial or a jury trial. The cost often also increases if it is a second, third or greater offense.

Other costs which should be considered in Kentucky. A typical assessment for DUI includes a drug & alcohol assessment and is $60. Once assessed, a standard 20 hour class will meet 10 times and costs $25/session.

If convicted, you will lose your license for 30-120 days and face mandatory costs, fees and court costs. The fine for a DUI, 1st offense, will range from $200-500. There is a mandatory DUI service fee in addition to court costs. The total for a minimum ($200) fine will be about $750. If you wish to obtain an ignition interlock device to continue full driving privileges, you will spend an additional $600.

The above examples are for Northern Kentucky. Each state has different mandatory fines as well as court costs. Kentucky charges $40 for reinstatement, while many states vary from $100-1500 for license reinstatement. None of this includes the increase in automobile insurance which is sure to follow a conviction.

If you have been charged with DUI, you should hire an experienced DUI attorney that regularly practices in your county of arrest. The attorney can guide you through the process and give you advice on how to best proceed. This may include a plea, but should include why a plea deal may be better and the consequences of a suppression hearing or trial of the matter.

For consultation in Northern Kentucky or Cincinnati, contact Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email info@bouldinlawfirm.com.

Selected by SuperLawyers for criminal defense in state of Kentucky.
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