City/County Attorneys Meet September 13

The annual City/County Attorney Institute is not quite as much fun as getting continuing legal education credits while cruising, but it is its own kind of fun. It is like a family reunion because many local government lawyers have been dedicated public servants for many years.

This year the annual get together will be held September 13th and 14th at the Georgia Continuing Education Center in Athens, Georgia. I hope to see you there.

Urgent Legal Matters At Sea

India Brantley and O.V. Brantley cruising through the Tracey Arm Fjord.

One of the most pleasurable ways to get your continuing legal education hours is to take one of the State Bar cruises. My daughter India and  I  took the State Bar cruise to Alaska on the Celebrity Infinity in June. The CLE schedule was arranged so that there was plenty of time for sightseeing and other activities. There was time for interaction with other lawyers, so I met people from around the state who I probably would have never met.

I understand there is a cruise to the Caribbean in the fall. You may want to check it out. If you must get CLE credits, you might as well have fun while doing it. As an added bonus, it is probably tax deductible.

For the workaholics who read my blog, a CLE cruise is a great way for you to take a break and still be working!

Do You Have Integrity?

For me, the highlight of attending the State Bar Annual Meeting, which was held recently in Savannah, is listening to the judges talk about the lawyers. The State Bar Annual Meeting is one of the few places where judges turn into people too, and they have very strong opinions about lawyers.

My takeaway this year was that judges place lawyers in two boxes: With Integrity or Without  Integrity. In determining which box to put a lawyer in, judges evaluate such things as whether you tell the truth about the holding in a case even if it goes against you, whether you lie about needing a continuance because of illness and whether you treat your colleagues with professionalism.

Being labeled as a lawyer without integrity makes it twice as hard to win for your client. To be a truly great lawyer, you must always strive to have integrity.

Patrise Perkins Hooker Wins Treasurer of State Bar

Patrise Perkins-Hooker

Patrise Perkins Hooker won her recent campaign for Treasurer of the State Bar of Georgia. She will be sworn in during the annual meeting of the State Bar which will be held May 31, 2012 – June 3, 2012  in Savannah, GA.

Patrise currently serves as General Counsel for the Atlanta Beltline.

Congratulations to Patrise!

Nina Hickson Named Atlanta Ethics Officer

Nina Hickson

Nina Hickson was recently confirmed as the Ethics Officer for the City of Atlanta. Nina will start her duties in late June.

Nina currently serves as the Interim City Manager of East Point, GA. She assumed that post in January after serving six years as the City Attorney of East Point.

Congratulations to Nina on her new position!

Do You Like Your Co-Workers?

Forever Young by O.V. Brantley

Being back at work has reminded me how important it is to like your co-workers. Liking your co-workers makes all the difference between a job that is tolerable and a job that is wonderful.

When you work with positive people who you like, even the most stressful day can be fun. When you work with whiny, negative people, they seem to be able to turn a wonderful day sour.

Are you a likeable co-worker? If not, turn yourself into one. Smile, be positive and go the second mile for the team.

Brantley Appointed Interim City Attorney of East Point

The Mayor and Council of the City of East Point appointed me to served as Interim City Attorney. Nina Hickson, the former City Attorney, was appointed Interim City Manager in January.

This appointment is temporary, and I expect it to last no longer than July 1, 2012. The City will not need my services full-time, so I will maintain my local government practice.

I am deeply humbled by the confidence the Mayor and City Council have placed in me. I am looking forward to my next adventure in public service.

Best Lawyers

I am grateful that I am listed as one of Georgia’s best municipal lawyers  in the 2012 edition of  Georgia’s Best Lawyers .

Thank you to everyone who said something good about me!

Try Mediation For Employee Grievances

Recently I mediated several disputes between employees and their supervisors. I think more employers should use mediation to resolve employee grievances.

Almost every business has a grievance procedure. However, most of these procedures focus on who is right and who is wrong. While conducting an investigation to find one person at fault may solve the problem of having appropriate personnel procedures should the company get sued, investigations and grievance procedures rarely create an atmosphere that allows employees to work together  harmoniously in the future.

Mediation can go farther than a grievance procedure or an investigation. It can get to the root of what is really bothering the employee and, possibly, come up with a more long-term solution. Sometimes the solution is an apology. Sometimes the solution is the ability to speak a truth to one employee that others have been unwilling to voice. Sometimes the solution is to listen and let someone vent.

Consider mediation if you want not only a resolved grievance, but a harmonious workplace.

Would You Act Like That in Front of Your Grandmother?

O.V. Brantley and Mayor Chuck Shaheen with "Martin's Dream"

Yesterday, I presented Would You Act Like That in Front of Your Grandmother?  at the Warner Robins City Council retreat. My presentation focuses on the importance of Council/Staff relations and illustrates my points through quilts.

I am a huge proponent of civility and professionalism in the work place. Often in political environments people forget the basics of good manners, or they decide that good manners are not necessary in the rough and tumble world of politics.

While I was Fulton County Attorney, one of my quilts hung in each conference room. I observed that quilts seemed to have a calming effect on people as they reminisced about their grandmother’s quilts. That is how I came up with the title of the presentation.

Whether my audience agrees with me or not, they always love the quilts.

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