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.
In May, Shelia graduated from Law School at Georgia State University’s College of Law.
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 from there.
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 Café. 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 Café 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 Café. 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 Café expand from just the practice of family law into the additional areas of criminal law and juvenile law.
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 Café 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?