That is what I am supposed to say, right? "Hello World." It is the first sentence most programmers learn to display in basic programming courses, so it only seems appropriate that it comes as the first sentence in my blog.
Seeking professional services is always daunting. Whether it is personal accounting or home improvement, we all think we can do it without "professional" assistance. Believe me, I do it too; I have multiple DIY renovation projects ongoing. Legal services are no different.
In my opinion, one of the reasons people tend to shy away from seeking legal assistance is because, in most people's eyes, attorneys are intimidating. At least, when we are not the butt of a good ole "lawyer joke." But attorneys are just people too. We have our quirks like any "normal" person. (I say "normal" because we joke that anyone who chooses to go to law school is not normal because no rational person would willingly put themselves through that kind of torture.) My wife will tell you that I ruin any TV show that has legal aspects by providing unwanted commentary on its accuracy. (Don't get me started on "How to Get Away with Murder.") We also always think about what the legal consequences of everyday actions are, purely for our own abnormal sense of amusement; others do not find it as entertaining as we do. If you ever spend time with attorney friends, you will experience this.
Anyway, what I am getting at is, contacting an attorney should not be a nerve-wracking experience. Just talk to them as you would any other individual. So to help you out, I am kicking off my blog with a little personal "get-to-know-me."
Where are you from and where did you go to school? I am a Georgian, born and raised in Macon. Up until last year, my parents had lived in the same house since 1985, so I grew up in the same house for all my years in Macon. I went to a small, private school, First Presbyterian Day School. Don't know why the designation "day school" was necessary; are there many night schools for grades K-12? After high school, I made my way to Athens for college at the University of Georgia ("UGA"). Once a Dawg, Always a Dawg. How sweet it is! My last stop on the education trail was Georgia State University in Atlanta for law school. And Atlanta, Smyrna to be exact, is where I finally settled. Now that small talk question is out of the way, you can get to know me, personally, a little better, unless you just can't get past the whole UGA thing.
Are you a dog or cat person? I love all animals (I still eat them, though), but dogs especially (I do not eat them)! If you have a dog, I want to meet it, I want to play with it and love on it! Dogs turn my head in public, which has made for funny conversation with my wife: Ashley: "Were you just checking out that woman?" Me: "No, the guy behind her has a cute dog. LOOK!" Now the conversation goes something like this: Me: ~turns and looks~ Ashley: "Dog?" Me: "YES!" I absolutely hate seeing things related to animal abuse, but I must read all the stories because I love reading about/seeing the rescue and how happy the dogs are in their new homes! On the other hand, I cannot watch those Sarah McLachlan "In the Arms of the Angel" commercials. They destroy me.
Since we are talking about dogs, I have to share pictures of and tell you about mine. Up until recently, I have only had Boxers my whole life. My parents had one, Ginger, when they brought me home. She was great. Ginger passed away when I was in 5th grade (I think). It was not until a few months before my 16th birthday that we got another Boxer, Misty. She was small for a Boxer, but she was the smartest dog I have ever had. Too smart for her own good, we used to say. I had Misty for almost 12 years. But sadly, in her last year, we found out she had a disease called Degenerative Myelopathy. It slowly robbed her of the use of her legs. We were fortunate to get her a set of wheels she could use to get around outside. She loved zooming around on them. We had to say goodbye to her in April, though, and it broke my heart. A few weeks later, Grady came along. We saw him at the rescue shelter near us and could not resist his cuteness. He has a huge personality and loves getting snuggles, which helped us heal from the loss of Misty.
What kind of music do you like? Do you play any instruments? They say you can tell a lot about a person by the music that they listen to, but I do not know what my tastes would tell you about me. I listen to everything from classical music to metal to jazz. The only thing that I refuse to listen to is country. If I had to pick one band as my favorite, I would have to go with Coheed and Cambria. You may or may not have heard of them. If you haven't, I would definitely encourage you to check them out. Listen to at least one song from each album because their sound has evolved from album to album, it even even changes song to song within albums.
Not only do I love listening to music, I am also a musician. I got involved in playing at an early age when a college grad student chose me and 2 other kids from Pre-K to teach piano lessons for a semester. Later, I started piano lessons again in 1st Grade and continued all the way through Senior year of high school. Definitely wish I had practiced more and kept up better with it after high school. The skill is still there, just a bit rusty. In 5th Grade, I started playing the saxophone and became a huge band geek. (It's OK, we can call ourselves that). Our band was so small that I began marching band in 6th grade and marched through high school. Being the band geek that I was, I then continued my marching band career at UGA in the Redcoats. That was an amazing experience, and I still miss it. It was so much different than high school. We were kinda celebrities on gamedays. I remember being asked to take pictures with people a good bit. Contrast that with high school where I was once called a freak by a football player after they lost a game. That was when I was younger; things got better as I got older. Also, during college, I joined the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (ALL HAIL!). Great Brotherhood! LOVE singing with all of them! Yes, I sing as well. In 7th Grade, I began singing Bass with the Men's Quartet for school competition. We never really did well until my Senior year, but I still enjoyed singing. Finally, I also participated in Men's Glee Club in college. Total music nerd. I want to find outlets to use all of my musical talents again, so if anyone knows of places, let me know! Finally, I have just accepted my next great musical challenge: teaching my wife to read music and play the piano. Wish me luck.
What do you like to do in your spare time? I am kind of a huge nerd. I love playing video games, reading, and watching sci-fi stuff. For the video games, I really enjoy role playing games (RPGs) like FINAL FANTASY. It is just fun to immerse yourself in the worlds and stories. The Arkham Batman games are super fun as well. My go-to game when I just need a quick break, though, is LEAGUE OF LEGENDS. It is a player vs. player game where you have teams of 3 or 5 using a variety of "champions." It is (usually) fun to test your skill against others. Like any person these days, I get my TV fix via NETFLIX, and continuing with the nerd theme, I watch mostly science fiction stuff. You have your classics like "The X-Files" and newer superhero shows like "The Flash" and NETFLIX's "Daredevil." I have also found a good many independent, smart, sci-fi movies that blow most of what Hollywood produces out of the water. The last in my list of "nerd fix" activities is reading. I have always been an avid reader. In middle and high school, I would read myself to sleep at night. I can absolutely lose myself in a good book, tuning out everything around me. If I am especially engrossed, I can visualize what I am reading and forget that I am even reading words on a page. I will read anything that piques my interest, but my favorite author is Stephen King. I love the way that he develops characters and settings to the point that you feel you are there and personally know the characters. If you have not read King's "Dark Tower" series, you definitely should. Finally, I break the nerd activity streak with rock climbing and working out. My wife tells me I am a conundrum because I am such a nerd but love physical activities and staying in shape, which does not fit the nerd stereotype. While I have not been climbing in while, I still relish when I get to do it. I should really get back to it.
What is one skill you would like to master? Woodworking. There is so much I would be able to do if I could master woodworking. I can do some, but I am nowhere near the skill my dad has. His dad taught him, and it has proven extremely useful over the years. He built a sunroom onto our Macon house (before I was born) did a lot of the work when they added on the downstairs master bedroom. A few years ago he built custom closet shelving for his and my mom's walk-in closets. They look amazing. I helped him build those and the back deck, but I still have a ton to learn about it. Just recently, I went down to Macon to have him help me build a fireplace mantel and surround. I cannot wait to get it put in. Ashley and I have several more projects we would like to do at the condo, and it would be great if I was confident to do them on my own like I know my dad could.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why did you choose this profession? As a child, I always wanted to be a train conductor. I thought trains were cool and just wanted to drive them. My uncle worked on the railroad all his life, so maybe that played a part in that as well. In elementary school, that changed, and I wanted to be a banker like my dad. He always told me that he hoped I never had to that. I think it was about 6th or 7th Grade that I decided I wanted to be an attorney. I am not entirely sure what inspired me to have that goal. Maybe it was watching "JAG" with Dad. While exciting things happened all the time, I think the courtroom scenes were always my favorite parts. Being an attorney is definitely not like anything you see on legal TV shows. I knew that growing up, but it did not affect my goal. As for why I chose intellectual property (IP), music is one part of that. The other part was my involvement in the New Media Institute (NMI) program at UGA. We worked on a lot of cool projects that just ended up abandoned after the semester, and I always wondered what kind of rights the creators of those projects would have, if any, to pursue developing them further. After studying IP in school and being involved with Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, I am positive I made the correct decision in pursuing IP. I love doing the work and helping people understand what kind of protection they have in their creations.
Well, there you have it. I feel like you have a pretty good idea of what I am like, personally. So if you need help with your small business or intellectual property, I hope that you will have no fear in contacting me.