Archive for March, 2012

17
Mar
12

Evidence CLE coming soon

March 23, 2012 – Evidence CLE by NBI at Cobb Galleria Centre, Two Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia 30339. 

See prior notice here.

You can sign up on the day of the seminar.  Kim Jackson will speak on the ethics hour and will discuss the new Georgia rules of evidence to take effect in 2013.

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10
Mar
12

Douglas Chandler Starts Relevant LinkedIn Group

Douglas Chandler has recently gone solo and has started a Linked In group called Attorney Ethics and Professional Liability.  Douglas (I can shoot a gnat in the butt at a 100 yards) Chandler is an outstanding attorney in the professional liability arena, roots for Auburn and is a Navy man. 

Douglas contemplates a tough ethical question during his Navy days.

Here is a description of the group:

Areas of discussion will include:

 Ethical practices and professional responsibility

  • State Bar grievances
  • Attorney disciplinary proceedings
  • Professional liability

In this era of social media, it is beneficial to reach out and leverage the knowledge, experience and insight of our peers to stay informed on such important topics. We will discuss ideas, concerns, experiences and common questions like: 

  • What should we do to protect our reputations?
  • How do we make the correct decisions today to positively impact our practices and help us stay clear of conflicts? 
  • In the event that we were faced with an issue, what are the best practices and correct steps?

Network, learn, and share your experiences regarding these matters. Please keep in mind that this closed group is limited to attorneys as well as non-attorney individuals who work in the industry. 

Douglas has some good discussions started here and here.  If you are a linked in person that practices in this area, this is an obvious group to join.

06
Mar
12

Attorney Receives Public Reprimand Arising Out of Notary Duties

"King George won't accept this Declaration unless it is notarized? What is he going to do? Go to war?"

The Supreme Court accepted a voluntary petition for a public reprimand of an attorney with an interesting fact pattern.

The attorney was preparing an irrevocable trust for a client’s father who was in a hospital outside the state of Georgia.  The client went to the hospital and obtained the signature of the father, but it was not witnessed or notarized.  Time was of the essence, and the client could not return to the hospital with the document in a timely manner.  The attorney called the father on the phone with two witnesses and asked the father if he signed the irrevocable trust.  The father confirmed that he signed the document.  The attorney and the witnesses signed the document, and the attorney notarized the document.

The attorney petitioned for the discipline in question.  He acknowledged the wrongdoing of the conduct, and noted that no one was defrauded nor was there any effort to defraud anyone.

The statute that primarily defines the duties of a notary is as follows:

§ 45-17-8.  Powers and duties generally 

   (a) Notaries public shall have authority to:

   (1) Witness or attest signature or execution of deeds and other written instruments;


(d) A notary public shall not execute a notarial certificate containing a statement known by the notary to be false nor perform any action with an intent to deceive or defraud.

(e) In performing any notarial act, a notary public shall confirm the identity of the document signer, oath taker, or affirmant based on personal knowledge or on satisfactory evidence.

The opinion does not state what about the attorney’s notarization of the document was deceptive.  At least as to the issues raised in this statute, it would appear that the attorney confirmed the identity of the document signer “based on personal knowledge or on satisfactory evidence.”  A notary power is a power of the state, and a Georgia notary is only permitted to notarize a signature in the state of Georgia.  Thus, there would be deception to the extent that the notary seal implied that the signature was done in the state of Georgia.  There does not appear to be a requirement that the notary actually witness the signature however.

In defending attorneys, our office has had to defend a number of law firms arising out of disputes related to notary public seals and allegations of forgery.  While the statute appears to be more forgiving than many people may realize, it is wise to follow a strict procedure when notarizing documents, especially if you have any question about the authenticity of a signature.




Kim Jackson Cleans Up The Mess

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