As the new year begins in earnest, I want to take a few minutes to look
back at the year that just flew by to figure out what happened to us in 2013.
2013 stormed in just three weeks after my argument before the United States
Supreme Court. The Supreme Court was true to its word in wanting to expedite
Hague Convention cases and
handed down its unanimous decision in February, overturning the 11th Circuit's nearly decade old decision
that our courts lose custody when children are no longer within our borders.
That the U.S. Supreme Court handed us a 9 - 0 decision early in 2013 was
certainly a harbinger of the rest of the year to come.
Just a few days after we won our victory in the U.S. Supreme Court, the
Supreme Court of Costa Rica also ruled for us. Two Supreme Court victories
on two continents in one week is probably some kind of a record, not just
for a family law firm, but for any kind of law firm, anywhere.
In April, I had the honor of being the key note speaker for Georgia State
University's Law Week.
Shelia graduated from Law School at Georgia State University's College of Law.
2013 also saw the addition of attorneys Cherese Clark in Atlanta, Darrin
Keaton in Marietta, Wesley Wilson in Lawrenceville, and Dave Purvis in
Savannah to our ranks.
In July, we bought our new HQ right off the Square and next to the Courthouse
in Marietta. We moved from our 1,700 square foot, "attorney noir"
digs on Atlanta Road to our nearly 12,000 square foot palace, affectionately
known as Club 211, on Roswell Street. If you haven't come to visit
us there, you really, really should. We are exceptionally proud of our
new location and all of the great work that we can do for our families
In September, we moved our location in Savannah from the 600 square foot
incubation space provided to us by our excellent friends at Capital City
Bank, to a 5,000 square foot former ballroom in the heart of the Savannah
shopping district on Broughton Street, on the third floor above the Paris
Market. This space is incredible, even to die for. It is one block from
the Federal Courthouse and about five from the Superior Court. Very convenient.
Very lovely. Tres bien.
2013 saw the opening of the
Justice Cafe©. We first opened our doors in March in Atlanta on the corner of Peachtree
Street and Martin Luther King, Blvd. September saw us expand the CafÃ©
into Savannah and we expanded yet again, this time into Marietta, in October.
The attorneys and staff of our Cafe's have provided flawless service
for our wonderful clients who, thanks to the a la carte service, can manage
their legal fees like never before. Every budget works at the Justice
CafÃ©. This is the wave of the future in providing legal services.
In the fall, we launched our new practice areas of Wills, Trusts and Estates
and Probate, providing further access to justice for families with legal
needs. Autumn also saw the Justice CafÃ© expand from just
the practice of family law into the additional areas of criminal law and
Throughout the year, I have traveled throughout the Southeast trying Hague
Convention cases. The Firm has continued to re-write what it means to
practice family law with our common sense, family centered, strategic
and intelligent approach to helping our families. I believe we are having
an impact in how other attorneys approach their family law cases as well.
I'm excited to see more attorneys actually concerned about their client's
budgets. I'm ecstatic to observe more attorneys become aware of their
impact on the family's future relationships and become less attracted
to the destruction they can bring into a family's life.
In November, the Firm brought in psychological experts from around the
country to train our attorneys about discernment counseling so that we
could further assure ourselves that we were
not advocating for couples to divorce and could even better serve our clients and their spouses (ex and otherwise)
as they worked through the issues which brought them through our doors.
During the course of the year we held three art exhibitions, displaying
the fantastic work of Bruce Johnson, Helen Johnson, Andrew Edwards and
Tim Cole who devoted himself to lovingly restoring the iconic photographs
of Ralph Sosbee. And, by the end of the year, Godfrey and Guy had all
but become our house band.
By the end of 2013, our once small firm had grown to 36 employees and,
not even counting the Justice CafÃ© clients, we had helped
over 300 good people with their family law matters.
As you can tell, every day there is a lot going on at The Manely Firm,
P.C. In summary, 2013 has been a heck of a ride.
Now, on to 2014! I think we are ready for the challenge. What can we do for you?