Obiorah Fields, LLC - March 2020

OBIORAHFIELDS.COM | 404-994-6218 | MARCH 2020

REMEMBERING WHO CAME BEFORE US THE FEMALE ATTORNEYS WHO MADE OUR CAREERS POSSIBLE

“Every Woman lawyer who actually earns her living in the practice of law is an exceptional woman. To survive the hard grind of study, and the worst grind of private practice or the demands of public office, requires good health, good brains, and most importantly, good luck.”

three years later as the valedictorian of her class. Mansfield took the bar exam at a time when only men were legally allowed to do so, and she earned high scores. After that, she challenged that law in the courts and won, making Iowa the first state in the Union that allowed women to practice law. She spent the rest of her career teaching at Wesleyan College and DePauw University as well as taking part in the women’s suffrage movement alongside Susan B. Anthony. Just three years after Mansfield’s admission to the Iowa Bar in 1872, Charlotte E. Ray broke down even more barriers for women who wanted to study law. She became the first black female attorney in the United States as well as the first female attorney to be admitted to the District of Columbia Bar after she graduated from the Howard University School of Law. Unlike Mansfield, there is evidence she was active in court and some considered her to be “one of the best lawyers on corporations in the country.” Seven years after Ray’s admission to the District of Columbia Bar and 10 years after Mansfield’s admission to the Iowa Bar, Belva Ann Lockwood became the first woman to be allowed to practice in front of the United States Supreme Court. While this in and of itself is an incredible achievement, Lockwood’s accomplishments stretched

–Rosalind Goodrich Bates, Editor, National Women Lawyers’ Journal, 1932

Someone posted this quote on their Facebook page the other day, and it got me thinking about just how remarkable it is that we live in a society where a woman can make a living as an attorney, especially considering that it was uncommon or even impossible not so long ago. If it hadn’t been for some of the brave women who pursued a career in law in the face of societal opposition, there would probably be far fewer female attorneys working today. In light of March 8 being International Women’s Day, what better time to celebrate these women and their stories? The first woman to become an attorney in the United States was Arabella Mansfield in Iowa in 1869. She began studying law at Wesleyan College in 1862, at a time when universities were admitting more women because so many men were leaving to fight in the American Civil War. She graduated

ARABELLA MANSFIELD

beyond her capacity as an attorney. Like Mansfield and Ray, she was also a major player in the women’s rights and women’s suffrage movements. Lockwood ran for president in 1884 and 1888, becoming the first woman to do so, as a member of the National Equal Rights Party. Because of these women and so many more after them, Teri and I can pursue careers in law. It’s because of them that Obiorah Fields exists. We’re grateful for all the female attorneys before us who continue to inspire future generations to fight for justice and equality through the practice of law and, in turn, push for a more equal society for everyone.

–Danielle Obiorah

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In civil suits where the plaintiff claims the defendant failed to perform a key part of their legally obligated responsibilities, the plaintiff will also request that the defendant pay damages. In short, damages are an amount of money the defendant pays the plaintiff if a judge or jury finds any fault on the part of the defendant. There are many different types of damages, and exactly which types of damages are awarded can vary case to case. Here are three of the most common forms of damages. AND HOW DO I FIND OUT HOW MUCH I’M ENTITLED TO? WHAT ARE DAMAGES

WHOSE PICKS WILL GO ALL THE WAY? MARCH MADNESS FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY One of the greatest things about March Madness is that you don’t have to be a huge college basketball fan to get in on the fun. Kids of all ages can fill out brackets — or have a parent fill one out for them — and watch their picks duke it out on the court. While healthy competition among family members can be fun all on its own, check out the following tips if you’re looking to go the extra mile and reap as much fun from March Madness as you can. Not every kid may like watching basketball, but if they fill out a bracket, then they might gain at least a passing interest in who will win each game. To elevate their interest, turn each March Madness matchup into a little party. It doesn’t have to be fancy; make fun snacks to eat while you watch or bet pieces of candy on who will have the most points to create great family bonding opportunities. Offer prizes to each round winner as well as the overall bracket winner to get the whole family involved. Small prize ideas for each round can include a homemade dinner of the winner’s choice, a week’s supply of their favorite snack, or a coupon for getting out of a chore. Whoever wins the whole tournament (or makes it the furthest with their bracket) deserves a bigger reward. Offer them the chance to see a movie of their choice in theaters or to eat a meal at their favorite restaurant. TURN EACH GAME INTO AN EVENT. REWARD THE WINNERS WITH PRIZES.

SPECIAL COMPENSATORY DAMAGES

Also known sometimes as “economic damages,” special compensatory damages usually equal the exact cost of medical bills, property damages, loss of wages, or any other quantifiable loss related to the case. These are the most common damages demanded because they’re the easiest to quantify.

GENERAL COMPENSATORY DAMAGES

These damages are similar to special compensatory damages but refer to the less quantifiable losses involved in a case. Some losses that a plaintiff might seek general compensatory damages for are a loss of comfort (pain and suffering), a loss of peace of mind (undue stress and anxiety), or a loss of companionship or consortium. These damages might also be referred to as “noneconomic damages.” These damages are less common than compensatory damages and are typically only awarded in cases where the at-fault party was willfully negligent or wantonly malicious. Some examples of this type of behavior might be financial fraud or aggravated battery. Sometimes, when the at-fault party has deep pockets, like a drug manufacturer or major tech company might, juries will award punitive damages to plaintiffs who suffer harm from one of their products. Figuring out exactly which damages you’re entitled to in a medical malpractice, personal injury, or workers’ comp case can be complicated. Talk to the experienced attorneys at Obiorah Fields, LLC today to find out how much compensation you’re entitled to. Call 404-495-5258 for a free case evaluation. PUNITIVE DAMAGES

CREATE A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY.

Learning math or geography might not sound like your child’s idea of fun, but it can be when they learn it through the lens of March Madness. See if your kids would be interested in understanding the inner workings of the ranking system or studying where some of the qualifying colleges are located on a map of the United States. They may find it so interesting that they don’t even realize they’re learning valuable skills.

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DO I NEED AN ESTATE PLAN EVEN IF I’M NOT WEALTHY?

When many people think of estate planning (or even just the word “estate,” for that matter), they envision lavish dinner parties where guests talk about summering in exotic locations. But the fact of the matter is anyone from any income level can benefit from some sort of estate planning. Even if you don’t think creating an estate plan is worth your time, here are three reasons it’s worth considering.

is a crucial element of an estate plan if you have young children, and the courts won’t always agree with your last wishes if they’re not legally binding. When you put your wishes for guardianship in your estate plan, you can ensure your children will be taken care of even if you’re gone.

YOU CAN ALLEVIATE THE BURDENS OF YOUR SURVIVING FAMILY.

YOU CAN DECIDE WHO GETS YOUR ASSETS (AND WHO DOESN’T). Without a legally binding estate plan, you won’t have any say in who gets your assets after you’re gone. Say a woman who isn’t very close with her surviving family dies and wants to donate her estate to a favorite charity instead. If she doesn’t have an estate plan, her assets will more than likely go to her surviving family against her wishes. YOU CAN DECIDE WHO WILL BECOME YOUR CHILDREN’S GUARDIANS.

Grieving over the loss of a family member is hard enough. Adding the stress of discerning your final wishes without any direction will only aggravate any conflicts over how your assets should be divided. While many people would like to think their families could figure out how to fairly distribute assets amongst themselves, chances are that won’t happen. It will benefit both you and your family to have a plan in place.

Throughout the estate planning process, it’s smart to have an experienced attorney to go to for questions and advice. The attorneys at Obiorah Fields, LLC can be those attorneys for you. Give us a call today.

Thinking about who would raise your kids if you die isn’t fun, but is it a decision you want to leave up to the courts? Guardianship

At Obiorah Fields, LLC, we’re not your standard, run-of-the-mill law office. We don’t just do what’s required of us — we go the extra mile to make sure justice is served in every case we take on. If you’ve worked with us before, and you know somebody who could benefit from taking us on as their legal team, please don’t hesitate to give them this newsletter and show them who we are! We want to help as many people as we can. We’re just one phone call away from new potential clients. If they contact us through our website and give us their name, contact info, and a brief description of their situation, we will give them a free case evaluation and report. Don’t hesitate to refer us! DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO NEEDS OUR HELP? GIVE THEM THIS NEWSLETTER!

NEED A SPEAKER? If you are interested in having Teri Fields speak to your organization about legal issues, please contact us at 404-994-6218.

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Remembering America’s First Female Attorneys March Madness Fun for the Whole Family

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Common Types of Damages Awarded

3 Reasons To Have an Estate Plan

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Do You Know Someone Who Needs Our Help?

The Evolution of St. Patrick’s Day

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COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ROOTS CELEBRATING ST. PADDY’S DAY IN IRELAND VS. AMERICA

From extravagant parades to green-dyed rivers, something about St. Patrick’s Day feels quintessentially American — despite its Irish heritage. That’s because many common St. Patrick’s Day traditions actually originated in America, evolving beyond their roots in the Emerald Isle in a few key ways. On March 17, Irish folks commemorate the death of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to pagan Ireland during the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Historically, these religious origins make for a more somber observance of St. Patrick’s Day. Many Irish families go to church and eat a modest feast as the extent of their celebration. However, St. Patrick’s Day in America is not so much about venerating Ireland’s patron saint as it is about celebrating Irish heritage in a foreign land. When Catholic Irish immigrants first came to the United States, they faced persecution from a largely Protestant population. In response, Irish Americans began using March 17 as a day to publicly declare and celebrate Irish heritage with parades and demonstrations. The observation of St. Patrick’s Day grew in popularity in cities with large Irish populations, like Boston, New York, and Chicago. Then, in the booming post-World War II economy, various businesses

aggressively marketed the holiday to Americans of all

heritages. Thus, it became a day when anyone could celebrate Irish American heritage, or at least it gave everyone an excuse to drink like they believe the Irish do.

Ironically, imbibing was not a part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland until relatively recently. Due to the religious nature of the holiday, pubs and bars closed down on March 17 until 1961. Additionally, the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage is another American addition. In Ireland, pork and cabbage was actually more common, but impoverished Irish immigrants substituted less expensive beef for pork, and the tradition stuck. Even though the most widely observed St. Patrick’s Day celebrations originated in America, many of them have found their way back to Ireland. Starting in 1996, the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin now attracts over 1 million attendees with all the drinks and revelry that Americans love. You’d be hard pressed to find a green beer, though. In the hallowed birthplace of Guinness and whiskey, some traditions may be better left across the pond.

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