Yeargan & Kert - November 2020


NOVEMBER 2020 404-467-1747


If you remember the school days when we’d learn presidential facts during election season, like I do, then you might appreciate what I’d like to talk about this month. Not many people realize that we’ve had several presidents who were attorneys but who also taught themselves law. It used to be a more common practice before we had more law schools available in the States. Most educated attorneys had to take a voyage to England to study before returning to the colonies. One of the most famous U.S. presidents who practiced law and never got a law degree is Abraham Lincoln. He grew up on his father’s farm but always had big aspirations. He attempted entrepreneurship, but after getting stuck in debt from closing a store he owned, Lincoln needed to choose a career path to pay off what he owed. Luckily, he learned a strong work ethic and studied previous legal cases and law books. Only a short while later in 1836, he obtained a law license and became an attorney at the young age of 25. Keep in mind that teaching yourself law, also known as “reading law,” is a tremendous accomplishment, whether done in today’s digital informational era, or back then, when learning resources were far more limited. You’d be surprised at the long list of presidents who became attorneys through reading law, or some combination of being self-taught and a year or two in law school.

Some men were brilliant and well-educated, but reading law was just their most efficient or preferable way to learn. For example, Thomas Jefferson entered the College of William & Mary at age 16 and studied mathematics, metaphysics, and philosophy. He graduated after two years and read law under George Wythe’s tutelage. Jefferson would work as a law clerk at his office for a few years while studying to get his own law license. There was another perk to the apprenticeship: Jefferson, who was a fanatic for books, adored Wythe’s collection of books. (Later, Wythe would gift Jefferson his entire library! Jefferson had a collection of 6,500 books that he’d later sell to the U.S. government after the Library of Congress burned down in the War of 1812.) U.S. presidents who were attorneys without law degrees will find themselves in similarly good company throughout history, including John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin

Van Buren, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, James A. Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and, the most recent president to have done so, Calvin Coolidge. If you’re wondering whether or not you can read law today and skip law school, you can! However, there won’t be many places where you can practice. By reading law yourself, you’ll only qualify to test for the bar exam and practice law in a very limited selection of states, including California, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington. It’s very much a dying path toward becoming an attorney, although it’s deeply rooted in American history. From everyone at Yeargan & Kert, we hope you enjoyed these presidential legal facts — have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

–Jim Yeargan



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How many leaders do you know who will admit to their mistakes openly and honestly to their team? How many leaders have you heard ask their team for direction? How many leaders are willing to step aside so someone else can shine? Chances are if you know that leader — or if you are that leader — then you understand the future of leadership, according to author, researcher, and teacher Brené Brown, Ph.D., author of “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” In this book, Brown details her seven years researching and gaining a better understanding of leadership. She interviewed business leaders at both small and large companies, asking questions that revealed what great leadership looks like. Together with her research team, she learned why certain workspaces thrive and grow while others, with seemingly just as powerful of ideas, wither and die. And it all boiled down to one thing, Brown says: courage. In “Dare to Lead,” Brown examines the four pillars of courageous leadership and how business leaders today can practice and perfect it. Brown teaches the four pillars through her consulting work and has seen radical changes in organizations that practice courageous leadership. Brown offers examples — from well-known CEOs and within her own business — to walk readers through real-life applications of courage and how to create stronger teams through vulnerability.

Brown exposes how business cultures that don’t practice vulnerability are ineffective as a result. She theorizes that often, these workspaces are filled with fear, uncertainty, and scarcity. To remove these negative traits, Brown offers leaders a road map to build their courage while practicing vulnerability and creating happier work environments.

Brown has spent the past two decades researching and breaking down emotional concepts into tangible goals for her readers and followers. She is the owner of The Daring Way, a consulting firm that helps businesses develop vulnerability in leadership and the workplace. She is also the host of the podcast “Unlocking Us” and has one of the most-watched videos of all time, “The Power of Vulnerability.” You can learn more about Brown’s work and find “Dare to Lead” at

3 Most Effective Ways to Practice Gratitude

NO. 1: GRATITUDE JOURNALING A couple studies done in the early 2000s, and several since then, show that taking five minutes a day to record your grateful feelings can improve your long-term happiness by 10%. Simply taking time to recognize the good things in life can greatly improve our ability to appreciate and take advantage of the opportunities we tend to overlook. NO. 2: GRATITUDE WALKS If staying in one place isn’t for you, consider physical alternatives: walking, jogging, or even running. To notice the powerful changes that gratitude can have in your life, you need to make time to pause at some point in the day and think about gratitude regularly. Taking gratitude walks on the same routes can help draw your attention to gratitude because while you’ll see the same landmarks,

you might notice different birds, flowers, and people each time you go. It just might draw out a stronger appreciation for the natural beauty of the world around you. NO. 3: GRATITUDE MEDITATION Gratitude is, ultimately, a form of meditation. When we sit and reflect on our present, past, and future, we might be drawn to think about all the terrible worries and pains that plague our hearts and minds. However, by meditating on things we feel grateful for, we put our emotional and psychological energy into a much more positive emotion, or vehicle, that can keep us going stronger than ever. We hope these tips help your 2020 end on a great personal note. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Scientists and religious scholars can agree on one thing: Gratitude is one of the most inexpensive ways we can improve our daily positivity, motivation, happiness, and even our blood pressure and heart health. Studies have shown that gratitude can also make us more likable by improving our personal relationships and making us far more likely to maintain a wider network of friends. There are plenty of ways to practice gratitude. Hearing about the scientific and emotional benefits of gratitude might be intriguing, but you might ask yourself: Where do I start?



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There are more than 7 million drivers in Georgia. When we think about car accidents, it is probably more about when than if. And, lately, public safety has been even more concerning because so many cars are speeding. At the start of the pandemic — which feels like over a decade ago — we saw the vehicle volume on interstates across Georgia drop by nearly 44% as compared to last year. On noninterstate roads, that drop was 45%, although the volume of trucks only dropped by 4%. Since there is still some degree of the pandemic going on, you’d be tempted to think more drivers are still staying home and the roads are generally safer. Nope. This assumption would be misleading as new data suggests that drivers are generally becoming more reckless. At the start of the pandemic, the Georgia State Patrol said, “[While we’re] writing far fewer traffic tickets than normal, tickets for speeding at 100 mph or more are up nearly two-thirds statewide from a year ago.” Also, during the Labor Day weekend this past September, there were nearly double the fatalities and far more citations and tickets written than in 2019 — possibly involving fewer cars on the road. In 2019, there were 523 crashes that resulted in 288 injuries and 10 fatalities. Troopers and motor carrier officers also wrote 5,897 citations, 7,320 warnings, and arrested 244 motorists for driving under the influence. In 2020 so far, 331 crashes have resulted in 176 injuries and 19 fatalities. Troopers and motor carrier officers also wrote 8,854 citations, 10,112 warnings, and arrested 309 motorists for driving under the influence. One thing is for sure: With flights becoming less popular, more people are relying on their cars to travel and navigate the chaos of the holidays. Don’t get distracted while on the road — it can take a single microsecond to change or end your life. We hope you have a very safe Thanksgiving!


Making chocolate mousse with avocados may sound strange, but we promise it’s a match made in heaven! This sinfully delicious recipe is a great holiday treat.

INGREDIENTS • 4 oz vegan dark chocolate, chopped • 2 large avocados, pitted and skinned

• 1 tsp vanilla extract • 1–3 tsp maple syrup, to taste • Fresh berries, for garnish

• 3 tbsp cocoa powder • 1/4 cup almond milk

DIRECTIONS 1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the dark chocolate. Heat in 15-second intervals, then stir and repeat until melted. Set aside to cool. 2. In a food processor or blender, combine the cooled chocolate and other ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding additional sweetener as desired. 3. Scoop into glasses and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Top with berries and serve!



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Yeargan & Kert, LLC 3715 Northside Parkway Building 100 Suite 500 Atlanta, GA 30327 404-467-1747



Meet the U.S. Presidents Who Became Attorneys Without Law School Researcher Brené Brown Helps Leaders Find Their Vulnerability — and Succeed 3 Most Effective Ways to Practice Gratitude Drive Safely! Cars Are Speeding Faster Than Ever Luxurious Vegan Chocolate Mousse 5 Thanksgiving Movies for the Whole Family



After a giant Thanksgiving meal, it can be tempting to sink down onto the couch and never get up — so embrace it! This Thanksgiving, try planning a family movie night to enjoy while the turkey settles. Movie nights are about as low maintenance as family hangouts can get. According to Elle magazine, actress Angelina Jolie credits family flick marathons for helping her survive quarantine with six kids at home. Her secrets to success are comfortable clothes like pajamas and robes, along with plenty of movie snacks. This Thanksgiving, plan your marathon around these holiday-themed films. 1. ‘Free Birds’ — This hilarious 2013 animated film stars Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson as turkeys who have escaped the Thanksgiving table. Together, they go on a mission back in time to break up the first Thanksgiving and get turkey off the menu for good. 2. ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ — This old-school television special from 1973 is a Thanksgiving classic. In it, Charlie Brown and Snoopy navigate football, an ever-growing Thanksgiving guest list, and a backyard feast of junk food.

3. ‘Garfield’s Thanksgiving’ — Everyone loves Garfield, and this 1989 television special starring Jon, Odie, and the fat cat himself is another Thanksgiving mainstay. The vet puts Garfield on a diet at the worst possible time: right before Thanksgiving. 4. ‘ An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving’ — This 2008 period drama is based on a short story by Louisa May Alcott and tells the tale of an estranged family who find themselves back together just in time for the holidays. It’s historical, heartwarming, and fit for all ages. 5. ‘A Family Thanksgiving’ — This Hallmark comedy is a funny combination of “A Christmas Carol” and “17 Again.” A high- powered lawyer is transported to an alternate universe and gets a look at what her holiday life could have been like if she’d made different choices.

With these five films on your watch list, you won’t need any other Thanksgiving entertainment!



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