Author Archive

Get to Know the Team – Mindy Horne

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Q: Why did you decide to become a paralegal?

Mindy: I enjoyed Mock Trial in High School. I always wanted to be an attorney, but couldn’t finish school when I started a family. I have had different jobs over the years, but spent over 12 years in the Mortgage industry and management. I heard about this part-time/flex position with Shirl and I have loved working here with him and the others in his office. Learning more about the legal field has been wonderful and very educational.

Q: How long have you been with the firm?

Mindy: I started in 2013.

Q: Where did you go to school?

Mindy: I started at BYU on campus and have studied through their BGS program since then. I am looking into their new online program to finish.

Q: What is your favorite type of law and favorite aspect of law?

Mindy: I love to help with the Adoption process. I have seen where we can help people in many different types of law and enjoy helping others when they can’t do it themselves.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?

Mindy: It is hard to see people in times of hardship. In most cases, if you are seeking the help of an attorney, it is not for a happy occasion. It helps knowing that we can offer assistance that they need.

Q: What’s your favorite hobby?

Mindy: I love to play the piano. I used to teach on the side. I also love to read, when I have the time, but my greatest accomplishment in life are my children and now the joys of having grandchildren!

Q: What is your favorite restaurant?

Mindy: Café Rio is my favorite Mexican. I love R&R BBQ, Mo’ Bettah’s and Chubby’s Café depending on what I am in the mood for. Still looking for a “to die for” Chinese place nearby!

Q: Where is your favorite place to vacation?

Mindy: My husband and I love to go to Cancun every year. We love to go to Southern California with the whole family. I love to take my kids to Disneyland for a couple days while we are down there too.

Q: What is a typical day look like for you?

Mindy: I catch up on the work that was done by Jackie when I was out. I read the client notes and follow-up on emails and phone calls. I also manage the office, so I pay the bills, invoice clients and keep supplies stocked. We manage the office buildings in the complex, so I also handle the day-to-day operations of that as well.

Q: How has your work affected your life and the decisions you make?

Mindy: I have learned a lot since starting to work here. I look back and see that it would have been very difficult for me to be an attorney and have had the life and time with my children that I was able to have. I do see things in a different way after being here and understand the consequences of certain choices in a different light.

Q: After working in law, what advice would you give your friends and family from the things you’ve seen and experienced?

Mindy: Be smart and if you ever have any doubts about anything, consult an attorney before you try to handle things on your own. It is much easier to do it the right way from the beginning than trying to clean up mistakes after the fact.

Get to Know the Team – Shirl LeBaron

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It is essential to do your research when looking for the right attorney to handle your case. You need to be aware of their practice, what they specialize in, and how they can help you. It’s also important to be able to relate to them and their values, but more importantly, for them to be able to relate to you.

Getting to know your attorney shouldn’t have to be difficult. We decided to get to know Shirl a little better this month and help others understand a little bit more about who he is as a person and as a lawyer.

Q: Why did you decide to become a lawyer?

Shirl: I enjoyed HS debate and went to state both junior and senior years and erroneously thought there would be a lot of that. I also had the mistaken idealistic belief that I could change the world. As I settled into my career, I realized I could actually help people within the framework of the law and constitution.

Q: How long have you been in practice?

Shirl: In October it will be 33 years, 29 years with my own firm.

Q: Where did you go to law school?

Shirl: LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Yes I am a fan of the LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints.

Q: What is your favorite type of law and favorite aspect of practicing law?

Shirl: Personal Injury. I enjoy seeing people get well and compensated through accidents of no fault of their own. A close second is adoption law.  My favorite aspect of the job is working and meeting people and helping them solve their problems.

Q: What is the most challenging case you’ve ever worked on?

Shirl: A catastrophic case in which four children were severely injured in a motor vehicle accident in Wyoming, when they were returning to Pennsylvania from a vacation in Utah.

Q: Why do you think lawyers get such a bad reputation?

Shirl: Greed and misunderstanding. Attorneys do a lot of good that go unreported. There is a lot of pro-bono. (no-fee representation). I try and keep one pro-bono and one “low bono” case in my case files at all times. Also lawyers represent purportedly guilty criminal clients to ensure they are treated fairly by the state. And further that constitution guarantees are afforded them. Anything else and we are then like any other third world country.  

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?

Shirl: Helping clients understand the complexities and slowness of the legal system. The wheels of justice do indeed turn slowly but usually correctly.

Q: What’s your favorite hobby?

Shirl: Golf and playing with my two year old granddaughter.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant?

Shirl: Market Street Grill and Maglebys

Q: Where is your favorite place to vacation?

Shirl: Hawaii or anywhere there is a golf course and a quiet place to read an espionage or civil war book.

Q: What is a typical day look like for you?

Shirl: Answer emails & phone calls, read staff work reports and client notes, look at task lists from the previous evening and then will start working on a prioritized list. That list includes drafting documents, reviewing, revising documents, meeting with clients and prospective clients, attending court hearings, legal research, meeting with staff members, reviewing and posting social media, returning afternoon phone calls and emails. It can also include reading, going for a walk, reviewing the calendar, miscellaneous admin items, and preparing next day’s task list. If work is done, I then go golfing or catching a power nap or late p.m. matinee or bike ride.

Q: How has your work affected your life and the decisions you make?

Shirl: It has at times been all consuming. I learned to not take work home with me at an early age. I would if needed come home, eat dinner, put little ones to bed and go back to the office or get up very early, but be back for breakfast and see them off to school. Decisions were made in answer to; how would this affect my family, my clients and thirdly, me?

Q: What advice would you give to those studying law?

Shirl: Don’t let it be you. Achieve balance in your life.

Q: After working in law, what advice would you give your friends and family from the things you’ve seen and experienced?

Shirl: Take 15-30 minutes to talk to a lawyer about a question or problem you are facing. It could save you thousands of dollars and endless hours of heartache. Read everything before signing and invoke your right to silence and counsel before speaking to law enforcement.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog

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One of the most informative law related blogs is found at The Wall Street Journal. “Law Blog” http://blogs.wsj.com/law/ covers the legal arena’s most important and interesting cases, the people behind them, and emerging trends in the broader industry. It’s brought to us by lead writer Jacob Gershman with contributions from across The Wall Street Journal’s staff. We would invite you to peruse this blog and the topic links such as Law School, Constitutional Law, Supreme Court, Lawyers & Law Firms, State Legislation and Intellectual Property.

Guidelines for Choosing a Lawyer

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Suppose you need a lawyer. What should you consider when choosing one?

    What are the duties and responsibilities of your attorney? What is your role?

    Do you feel comfortable with the lawyer? It is important that you have full confidence in your attorney and be able to communicate with him or her.

    To help people in consulting a lawyer, the American Bar Association has published a consumer information booklet, “The American Lawyer: When and How to Use One,” that is detailed and clearly written.

    A recently revised version of the booklet says lawyers in private practice include many general practitioners who will handle any type of legal case, but observes that the “family lawyer” is becoming harder to find.

    Most lawyers are likely to specialize in one or a few areas, the publication says, listing these areas of specialization:

  • Domestic relations (representing clients in separation, annulment, divorce, and child custody matters).
  • Criminal law (Defending those accused of crime).
  • Personal injury (representing clients injured intentionally or negligently).
  • Estate planning and administration (advising clients in property management, wills and probate matters).
  • Real estate (representing clients in developing property, rezoning, and buying, selling or renting homes or other property).
  • Taxation (advising clients in local, state and federal tax matters).
  • Immigration (representing clients in citizenship and naturalization matters).
  • Intellectual property law (representing clients in trademark, patent, and copyright matters).

    The publication suggests some question you might want to ask when evaluation a

lawyer and deciding whether to hire him or her:

  • “Ask about the lawyer’s experience and area of practice. How long has the lawyer or firm been practicing law? What kinds of legal problems are handled most often? Are most clients individuals or businesses?
  • “Ask who will be working on your case. Will non-lawyers such as paralegals or law clerks be used in researching or preparing the case, and if so, will there be separate charges for their services? Who will be consulted in the lawyer is unsure about some aspects of your case? Will another lawyer or firm be recommended if this one is unable to handle your case?
  • “Ask about fees and costs. How are fees charged – by the hour, by the case, or by the amount won? … About how much money will be required to handle the case from start to finish? When must the bill be paid? Can the bill be paid in installments? Ask for a written statement of what will be charged.
  • “Ask about possible outcomes of the case. Beware of any lawyer who guarantees a big settlement or assures a win in court. Remember that there are at least two sides to every legal issue, and many factors enter into how it will be resolved. Ask for the lawyer’s opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Will the case most likely be settled out of court or will it go to trial? What kind of experience does the lawyer have in trial work? If you lose at the trial, will the lawyers be willing to appeal the decision?
  • “Ask about how you can participate. When you hire a lawyer, you are paying for his or her legal advice – he or she should make no major decision about whether and how to go on with the case without your permission. Pay special attention to whether the lawyer seems willing and able to explain the case to you and answer your questions clearly and completely. Also ask what information you will be supplied. How, and how often, will the lawyer keep you informed about the progress of your case? Will you be sent copies of any of the documents that have to do with your case?
  • “Ask about resolving potential problems. Find out whether the lawyer will agree to binding arbitration if a dispute arises between the two of you … By agreeing to binding arbitration, both the lawyer and client consent to present their cases to an outside panel and abide by its decision.”

    Sometimes people expect too much of a lawyer. The ABA booklet says to keep in mind “that lawyers cannot work magic. No lawyer can be expected to win every case, and quite often the best legal advice may not be exactly what you want to hear.”

Nora Norris wrote this in 1987 which is still applicable today.

What Paralegals Want You to Know

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Prospective Clients

            Unfortunately, most people will have an event occur in their life which will bring them to the question of whether or not they should hire legal counsel. There are a very few circumstances when it may not be necessary, but in most situations involving a legal matter it is best to avoid the risks of going at it on your own. Hiring representation can help you avoid situations that could potentially end in disaster. The law is complicated and online “fill in the blank” pleadings are not in your best interest.

            Before contacting our office you will want to be sure that you can explain and define your issue. You will also want to be sure to keep copies and records of all paperwork and documents pertaining to your matter. It will help make the process quicker and more efficient to have things readily available.

            Determine the urgency of your situation. Don’t wait until it is too late! We cannot tell you how many times we have been contacted by clients whose deadlines have run. It is better to prevent problems from the start rather than trying to fix them later.

            Do not give a statement to police officers, insurance, or other until you speak with our office. You may incriminate yourself by simply saying the wrong thing or be misunderstood.

            Do not sign legal documents or agreements without having them reviewed first………..

            Be realistic about legal fees and expect that there may often be other practical fees involved, such as court filing fees, postage, and copy costs. Remember to consider that trying to take care of your matter on your own can potentially cost you more than if you would have hired an attorney from the beginning.

            When you contact our office, we will most often times offer you a free consultation which can sometimes be done by phone.  We also have forms available on our website that you can fill out and bring with you to your appointment if you choose to do so. At your consultation, be prepared to explain your situation and have a list of questions you would like to ask. Everything you tell the attorney is confidential.  The attorney will explain the game plan and the process to complete your matter. We will also verify that there are no conflicts of interest. You may want to be prepared to pay a retainer fee to ensure that you have counsel.

Current Clients

            Once you have hired our office, depending on your matter, we may have some forms for you to fill out or documents that we ask you to provide. We can get started on your matter the sooner you get the items we request.

            Communication is very important between clients and attorneys. We will often leave phone messages and emails that need a response from you. It is very important to stay in contact with your law office. Depending on your matter, there may be spans of time when things are idle on our end. During these times you may feel that you need to call and checkup, but sometimes we are simply waiting for something from opposing counsel, a waiting period to pass, or waiting for other parties to provide records we have requested. We will always contact you when there is something you need to be updated on.

In Case of a Motor Vehicle Accident

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(You may copy, paste, reduce and place in glove compartments of all of your vehicles along with registration papers and proof of insurance if you would like).

• Call 911 to notify police and obtain any medical attention needed.

• If you do not need immediate medical attention, don’t move vehicles unless notified by police. If vehicles need to be moved for safety reasons, take pictures of vehicles after impact (include pictures of damages to both vehicles) with your camera on your phone.

• If the police ask for a written report. Tell them that you do not feel like giving one “at this time,” as you might be shaken up and not at your best.

• Do not admit fault (even if you think you are at fault). This admission can be used against you. Discuss accident only with police, YOUR insurance company, medical providers, family and your lawyer.

• Write down pertinent facts (see space below):

     a. Names and addresses of all persons involved:

     _____________________________________________________________________________________________

     _____________________________________________________________________________________________

     (drivers, owners, witnesses, injured parties, etc.)

     b. Date, time and location of accident.

     _____________________________________________________________________________________________

     c. License plate numbers of all involved vehicles.

     _____________________________________________________________________________________________

     d. Insurance information on all involved vehicles.

     _____________________________________________________________________________________________

• Seek medical attention by ambulance or private vehicle if you are injured. When being treated report accurately what specific part of your body was injured. Give an accurate history. (Note that because of the epinephrine rush and anxiousness, injuries may not manifest itself for hours or days). If asked if you are injured at the scene, and at the time you may not see or feel any apparent injuries, say “not that I can determine at this time.”

• If the police give you an accident report number, write it here #__________________.

• At a later time at home, write a brief statement of the facts of the accident, how the accident happened and pertinent details. Do not give to anybody but your insurance company or your lawyer. Once given to your lawyer it becomes “privileged” and cannot be given to anyone else without your permission.

• Do not discuss the accident with the other drivers insurance adjuster, refer them to your attorney. Do not give a recorded statement AND do not sign anything.

• Contact your insurance company to report the accident. ph. #__________________________________________

• Call your lawyer. ph. #________________________________________________

• Keep receipts of medical, prescription, towing and property damage costs.

• Document lost wage information at a later time. A statement by your employer on their letterhead will suffice. Your lawyer can help with this.

• Start keeping a daily journal regarding your injuries, pain level, sleep patterns and your ability or inability to do certain things.

Disclaimer: This “Note” is for educational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship. For more information contact an attorney in your jurisdiction.

Courtesy: LeBaron Law Offices: 801.756.6288

Primer on Bankruptcy

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blogpic-2We understand that the decision to file a bankruptcy can be very stressful. At LeBaron Law Offices, we can guide you through the process of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to wipe out your debt and gain a fresh start.

First, our office will meet with you for a free consultation where we will analyze your financial situation, making note of your debt and income. We will then be able to determine if a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will be best for you. Keep in mind that some debt is not dischargeable such as child support obligations, student loans, and taxes. We will also discuss your property. Each state has exemption laws that determine what types of property or how much equity in certain property you are entitled to keep. Most people that file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy are able to keep their home and vehicle. If you have property that is guaranteed as collateral for a loan, you will have the option to redeem the property by paying a lump sum payment or reaffirm the property by continuing to make monthly payments that are worked out with the creditor. Once you retain our office, we will present you with a binder of information and a questionnaire to complete with a list of documents you will need to provide to our office such as paystubs and taxes. You will also be required to take a pre-filing credit counseling that can be taken online. We will use the information you fill out on the questionnaire to prepare your bankruptcy Petition, we will also pull your credit report for you as part of our fee.

When your Petition is complete, we will schedule you for a signing appointment to meet with the attorney or paralegal to sign the forms. The forms are filed electronically which officially starts the case and gives you a case number. Once the case number is in place, all collection activity against you must be stopped per the bankruptcy’s automatic stay protection. (FYI: Emergency filings are available.) Approx. four (4) weeks after the Petition is filed, you will attend a short 341 meeting or Meeting of the Creditors. The purpose of the meeting is to meet with the bankruptcy trustee who will review your case. Creditors may also attend the meeting if they have questions, but rarely do. The trustee may ask for additional information at the meeting which he will give a deadline to provide.

After the hearing and you have provided any additional information that the trustee has asked for, you will need to wind up any matters you may have with a secured creditor such as signing reaffirmation agreements or making arrangements to surrender property. Then you will need to complete a post filing credit counseling course which can also be taken online. The certificate of completion for the course is due within 30 days from the date of the 341 meeting. The case will then be discharged and you will receive a Discharge Order which means you no longer have a legal obligation to pay the debts and the creditors have no legal right to demand it. The entire Chapter 7 bankruptcy process takes about three to four months.

Adoption 101

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blogpic-1LeBaron Law Offices is focused on building families. Adopting a child brings happiness to families, but there can be some unpredicted turns of events that can turn it into an unpleasant situation. Attorney Shirl LeBaron has over 30 years of experience handling the legal procedures and sometimes frustrating “hoops” to jump through so that you can concentrate on your new family member.

As you try to find the attorney that is best for you, there are a few things that you should ask while searching. You should meet in person with the attorney and ask about his/her experience, the fees that are associated with adoption, and the step-by-step adoption process. LeBaron Law Offices offers free 30-minute consultations for this very purpose.

LeBaron Law Offices is prepared to help you with filing all the necessary documentation, arrange for relinquishments, home studies, and getting the health histories for you. If a paternity search is necessary, we take care of that for you too. We will help you to understand the process and help ease your mind as the process takes place. We are dedicated to making your adoption a pleasant experience and making sure that your finalization hearing is a wonderful, stress-free event.

The LDS Church has changed their adoption policies. If you would like to read more on their new process and their partnership with Adoption.com, please click here.