www.matthewdunaway.com · 205-705-3590
WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT How Do We Spend Our Time?
When I was in college, I labored over what I would do with my life. I remember having conversations with my parents about whether I should become an engineer, a doctor, or join the military. A trip to Washington, D.C., ultimately helped with my decision. After seeing where the laws of the land were made, I started on the path to law. However, that wasn’t the end of my laboring. Today, I am a bankruptcy lawyer, and I have the privilege of helping people determine what’s best for their situations and how they can get a fresh start financially. But there are times when I have wondered if I should have become a professor.
teaching history, English, or philosophy. In fact, a few years into practicing law, I considered getting my Ph.D. and becoming a professor of economics. But already getting into the swing of being an attorney and with two young kids at home, I decided to stick to my path. There is something interesting about the decisions we make, why we make them, and the road that leads us on. The choices we make in life can automatically cross out the other options. There is simply not enough time to do it all. I’m a lawyer, which means I’m not a doctor or a professor or anything else. This idea can be paralyzing. What if you make a decision and your life ends up all wrong? How do you know if the choice you’re making will be the best in the long run? Well, you don’t. Only God knows the outcomes. So, I believe that since there’s only so much time in a single lifetime, it’s important that when we make a choice, we are choosing something worthwhile. Look at the time you have and ask how you can spend it on what’s important. Look for the best things in life. Yes, there are necessary things we do that we might not want to do, like go to work, exercise, or eat a salad, but these necessary things empower us to focus on the important things. After all, if you don’t work, you don’t eat, and it can be difficult to spend quality time with your family when you’re worried about your next meal. And once you have made your decision and
picked what’s important, you don’t want to run yourself ragged trying to take care of it all.
Not long ago, the preacher at our church delivered a very good sermon. The lesson was about how we’re only human and we need to remember to pace ourselves. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, and if you try to race through everything, you’ll burn out and be no good to anyone. I took this lesson in particular to heart because I’ve struggled with trying to do too much all at once. I don’t want to run out of time. But life is a marathon and the race isn’t over yet. Lord willing, I’ll enjoy another 40–50 years on this earth. I still have plenty of time to focus on what’s important and put my life to good use, whether that’s helping my clients get out of bankruptcy or becoming a professor once my kids are grown.
There is something interesting about the decisions we make, why we make them, and the road that leads us on.
I have always been a sort of polymath, and though I’m not an expert in a wide range of fields, I do enjoy learning a little bit of everything. Last year I read Greek classics, this year I’m reading poetry, and last week, I watched a documentary about sushi! I like learning, and I believe I’d do well
Call today – 205-705-3590 1. –Matt Dunaway
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JURY DUTY MYTHS Summoned to Court
There are so many rumors about jury duty that it can be difficult to know which ones are true. Here are three of the most popular speculations, debunked.
Sudoku Admitting Bias Will Ensure Your Dismissal If you admit that you are biased when you serve jury duty, it does not guarantee your dismissal. In fact, a judge cannot dismiss you for being biased — but an attorney can. In addition, attempting to portray yourself as a biased person can put you in a troubling situation. Attorneys and judges have been selecting jurors for a long time and know when someone is lying to them. Your best bet will be to give honest answers to the questions they ask. No Voting, No Jury Duty According to another circulating myth, if you aren’t registered to vote, you don’t have to serve jury duty. Many people believe this myth because voting enters you into the jury duty pool, but there are other means by which citizens are chosen. Other ways you’re entered into the pool include buying a home, paying
taxes, and getting a driver’s license. Even if you aren’t registered to vote, you’re still liable to be summoned. Serving Jury Duty Will Get You Fired If you’re worried about getting fired for serving jury duty, you can breathe easy. Your employer cannot fire you once you’ve been selected for jury service. In fact, if your boss threatens to fire you for it, they will face the penalties, which include fines and even jail time. Many employers know and understand this, but if yours doesn’t, you can submit a file of complaint to the trial court administrator, and they will take care of the rest for you. The system to select jurors has been around for a while, and those involved know what they’re doing. It’s best to go in with an open mind and be completely honest. After all, it is your civic duty to do so.
“Mr. Dunaway helped us through our bankruptcy. He told us upfront what would take place, and in the end, everything went according to plan. He didn’t try to take us for more money than the original quote. If you are having financial trouble, I strongly recommend giving Mr. Dunaway a call.”
Who Are the Best Fictional Lawyers? ON THE CASE!
Jennifer Walters, Marvel Comics Unless you happen to be a big fan of comic books, you’ve probably never heard of Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, who hails from the pages of Marvel comics. Don’t let the big green muscles fool you. Walters is a respected attorney with a knack for fighting crime. She’s been prosecutor and defense for superheroes and supervillains, working on cases revolving around anything from slander to sexual assault. (Comic book writers don’t know the word “specialty.”) Setting aside the more fantastical elements, Walters certainly takes the phrase “super lawyer” to a whole new level. Atticus Finch ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ It’s not a best-lawyer list without Atticus Finch. Harper Lee created the greatest fictional lawyer of all time when she wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Faced with an impossible challenge, Finch never gives up on his client, and though Finch ultimately loses the case due to a biased jury, it’s not his ability to win cases
Hollywood loves to embellish things, and even when something is “based on a true story,” you’d be surprised to learn how far storytellers like to stretch that truth. Take the law for example. Most popular fictional lawyers would be a mess in a real courtroom! But there are rare occasions when even Hollywood manages to get it right. Here are a few of the best fictional lawyers of all time. Jack McCoy, ‘Law & Order’ In the law part of the TV series “Law & Order,” attorney Jack McCoy was a fan favorite for years. You wanted McCoy on your side, because if you found yourself against this ruthless prosecutor, you were in for the harshest sentence possible. Not one to become emotionally attached to his work, McCoy listened only to facts and the strict letter of the law. No amount of money or power could sway him. From common criminals to crooked politicians, McCoy believed everyone was the same in the eyes of the law.
that makes him great. Throughout the novel, Finch displays wisdom, intellect, and a strong moral compass both in his work as an attorney and as a father. This fictional attorney has inspired generations of real-life attorneys to make the world a better place.
Late-Summer Panzanella Recipe of the Month
Panzanella, a Tuscan favorite, is a salad that features hearty chunks of bread instead of leafy greens as its base. What could be better for a late-summer cookout?
Galatians 5:22-23 “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self- control.”
Ingredients • 1 small loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups) • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil • 2 large tomatoes, cubed • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cubed Instructions 1. Place a large sauté pan over medium-low
• 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced • 1 cucumber, sliced into rounds • 20 basil leaves, chopped • Salt, to taste • Vinaigrette
2. In a large bowl, mix vegetables and herbs. Toss in bread and your favorite vinaigrette and mix again. 3. Serve immediately, or let sit for up to 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld together.
heat and add olive oil. Add bread and 1 teaspoon salt and toss often for 10 minutes, or until toasted.
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Inspired by Food Network
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NSIDE What’s Most Important? .............................. page 1 Falsities You’ve Been Told About Jury Duty ...................................................... page 2 Our Clients Say It Best .................................. page 2 The Best Lawyers in Pop Culture ................ page 3 Late-Summer Panzanella ............................ page 3 Finding Truth in Fiction ............................... page 4
‘In the Shadow of the Banyan’ by Vaddey Ratner A Page FromMatt’s Bookshelf
One of my favorite contemporary novels is “In the Shadow of the Banyan” by Vaddey Ratner. The book is a work of fiction, though it is based on real-life events the author herself experienced as a child growing up in Cambodia in the 1970s, when the Khmer Rouge took control and murdered over 1.5 million people. “In the Shadow of the Banyan” tells the story of a 7-year-old girl named Raami whose childhood ends the morning her father arrives with news of a civil war that has overtaken Cambodia’s capital. The book follows her family’s odyssey across Cambodia after being expelled from their home in the city, forced into the countryside, and held in various camps where they must fight for survival. Horrible things happen, and when reading, you can be overwhelmed by the atrocities people commit against each other.
This is a heavy book, but I also describe it as a tragically beautiful novel. Ratner’s writing is amazing, and while Raami and her family may be works of fiction, you can feel the truth behind the words. There are times when nonfiction does. You could read a history book on the Khmer Rouge regime and the Cambodian killing fields, but it doesn’t seem real until you get fiction sheds more light on truth than
a personal look at the people who lived through the tragedy — and those who didn’t. That’s the power of a story. As this is inspired by the author’s life, you know the young girl in the story will survive. The book does have a happy ending of sorts, but getting to that ending is a ride. It will rip your heart out and leave it on the floor. But I could not recommend this book more highly. If you love good writing and a good story, you will not regret reading “In the Shadow of the Banyan.”
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