Yeargan & Kert - December 2019


DECEMBER 2019 404-467-1747

OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE RIDESHARE SUCCESS THROUGH SERVICE A s many people suspect, the legal system has a pretty dark underbelly. Coming out of law school, I met attorneys and aspiring attorneys who would actively talk up DUI defense for its job security . In their cynical minds, people were always going to make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after one too many. Police were always going to be overly vigilant for these drivers, wrongfully convicting those under the legal limit. They looked at this harmful cycle of overindulgence and overenforcement and saw profit. Then, Uber and Lyft came along. Today is a totally different world. So many people are making the smart, responsible choice to use rideshare apps to make it home safely. Drunk driving-related accidents are falling, and police have been able to reallocate resources to focus on more violent crimes. I know all this because I often hear those same attorneys from the old days complaining about this new, safer normal. This is why so many people don’t like lawyers. I, for one, am not complaining. That may sound strange coming from someone who’d earned the nickname “DUI Jim,” but the truth is I never went into the law looking for such an accolade. In fact, I fell into the DUI defense niche basically by accident. I opened the doors of this firm looking to help people — and it just so happened that in those (pre-Uber) times, plenty of folks needed help fighting DUI charges. This key difference is the reason we’ve been able to grow this firm over the years without having to shake our fists at all the good that rideshare services are doing. The real secret to job security is customer service. No matter what you need, whether it’s help fighting a DUI charge or getting a cheeseburger, you want responsive, reliable assistance. Sadly, this is something they don’t really teach in law school. I only learned the real power of customer service thanks to my many, many visits to the doctor as a child.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was four. Much of my youth was spent learning how to cope with and overcome the health challenges that come with this condition — luckily my parents were always there to support me. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in the shoes of a parent going through something like that, but I know the anxiety they’d suffer whenever a doctor didn’t return their calls. Indeed, even as a kid I’d grow nervous and impatient when care providers were late or unresponsive, especially when I was waiting on test results. This experience has stuck with me the rest of my life. To this day, I get physically irritated on those rare instances when our office isn’t able to return a call within a day. I know how hard it is to be in a difficult situation and not get answers. Long before I knew I was going to be a lawyer, I knew I didn’t want to be one of those lawyers who kept people waiting. When Julie and I started this firm, that philosophy of communication was central to what we wanted to do. We weren’t aiming to profit off a tragic cycle of crime and over-policing. We wanted to prove good customer service in the criminal justice system was possible. One review from a former client of ours really drives home to me how we’ve been successful in this mission: “You often hear people refer to an MD’s (doctor) bedside manner ... good or bad. You don’t hear people talk about that aspect too often when they talk about attorneys. I don’t wish to offer theories as to why that is, but what I do want to offer is this: Jim Yeargan and everybody he surrounds himself with are the kind of people you want to know.”

Living up to kind words like these is all the job security I need.

Here’s to a bright new year,

–Jim Yeargan



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Poor delegation is the Achilles’ heel of most leaders, who often confuse being “involved” with being “essential.” To determine if you’re holding on to work you should delegate out, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) recommends asking this simple question: “If you had to take an unexpected week off work, would your initiatives and priorities advance in your absence?” If your answer is no or you aren’t sure, then you’re probably too involved. No one person should be the cog that keeps everything in motion, no matter their position in the company. Luckily, HBR has created an audit using the following six T’s to identify which tasks can be delegated. TINY: Small tasks that stack up can undermine the flow of your work. Registering for a conference, putting it on the calendar, and booking the flight are all small tasks someone else can handle. TEDIOUS: These tasks are straightforward but not the best use of your time. Someone else can input lists into spreadsheets or update key performance indicators for a presentation. TIME-CONSUMING: These important, complex tasks don’t require you to do the first 80% of the work. Identify what they are, pass them to someone else, and step in for the final 20% to give approval.

TEACHABLE: Is there a task only you know how to do? If so, teach someone else to do it, and step in for the last quality check when it’s done. TERRIBLE AT: It’s okay to be bad at some things. Great leaders know when to pass tasks off to someone who is more skilled than they are. The task will get done faster and at a much higher quality. TIME-SENSITIVE: These tasks need to get done right now but are competing with tasks of a higher priority. Just because it has to get done immediately doesn’t mean you have to be the one to do it. Sure, some tasks only you can accomplish, but these are extremely rare. As the Virgin Group founder Richard Branson warns, needlessly resisting delegation is the path to disaster. “You need to learn to delegate so that you can focus on the big picture,” Branson says. “It’s vital to the success of your business that you learn to hand off those things that you aren’t able to do well.”

Drug Crime Myths


MYTH: JAIL TIME IS RESERVED FOR THOSE CAUGHT SELLING DRUGS You don’t have to be caught actively selling a controlled substance to be hit with a serious “intent to sell” charge. Simply being found with a high enough quantity of a substance can be enough to land you in legal hot water. Alternatively, being found with scales, plastic bags, and other paraphernalia in conjunction with a possession charge could sway a jury toward an “intent to sell” conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, very serious penalties could be on the table if you’re convicted. The move toward decriminalization of nonviolent drug crimes is encouraging. However, it’s important to not get carried away. If you find yourself facing any drug- related charges, take them seriously and call an experienced criminal defense lawyer you trust.

The landscape of drug crimes has shifted rapidly over the last few years. From

this — while Atlanta has spearheaded decriminalization efforts, some areas just outside the city are as harsh as ever, with zero tolerance policies being strictly enforced. MYTH: EVERYONE FOUND WITH DRUGS ON THEIR PERSON GETS CONVICTED On the other end of the spectrum, people overestimate the power of the government to convict them. Many people think simply being found in possession of an illegal substance is “game over.” This misconception is so strong that even those who were victims of an illegal search or legitimately didn’t know they were in possession still don’t fight the charges. But even when the evidence is stacked against someone, deferred sentencing options are often available. A drug arrest does not necessarily have to mean a drug conviction.

the decriminalization of marijuana in many jurisdictions to the emphasis on treating (rather than convicting) nonviolent drug offenders, the national conversation around these issues has changed dramatically. However, all these developments have led to some damaging misconceptions about what constitutes a drug charge, and just how serious those charges can be. MYTH: MARIJUANA HAS BEEN DECRIMINALIZED NATIONWIDE While the federal government, as well as many state and local jurisdictions, has lightened enforcement of marijuana possession charges, this is by no means universal. Georgia is a perfect example of



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There’s Nothing Minor About This Crime TAKE SHOPLIFTING SERIOUSLY

Shoplifting is alarmingly common during the holidays; to some, the season of giving is also the season of taking. The pressure to get all the right gifts, coupled with the fact that stores put some of their most valuable items on prominent display, creates the perfect environment for shoplifting. Amid the crowds of shoppers, many people are tempted to see what they can get away with. But here’s what they should know. Some people falsely believe that shoplifting won’t hurt anyone. After all, national mega stores like Walmart and Best Buy aren’t going to be bankrupt by the theft of one item, right? Wrong. In the eyes of the law, shoplifting is still a crime. Additionally, stores aren’t the ones who take the hit; stores recoup their losses by raising their prices for consumers and investing in more expensive security measures. Shoplifters can even cost employees their jobs if the theft occurs during their shift. In other words, Walmart isn’t Sherwood Forest and shoplifters aren’t Robin Hood. NOT A VICTIMLESS CRIME


Inspired by “Paleo Happy Hour” by Kelly Milton

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” is an iconic image of Christmas, but we’re willing to bet most people reading this have never eaten a chestnut. Change that this year with this awesome paleo-friendly appetizer.


INGREDIENTS • 2 8-oz cans water chestnuts • Tamari (wheat-free soy

Perhaps it’s because the most common image of shoplifting is a teenager grabbing some inexpensive object for kicks, but many believe the consequences for shoplifting are insignificant. If caught, you’ll face more than a slap on the wrist — shoplifting crimes of less than $300 can land you in jail for over a year, and items worth more can carry a felony charge.

• 1/4 cup coconut sugar • 1 lb sliced bacon, quartered

sauce), but can substitute with coconut aminos

DIRECTIONS 1. Heat an oven to 400 F. 2. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with parchment and set aside. 3. Drain liquid from canned water chestnuts, add tamari to cover, and let soak for 15 minutes in the cans. 4. Drain tamari, roll each chestnut in coconut sugar, wrap with bacon, and spear on toothpick. 5. Place chestnuts on prepared rack. Bake for 30–35 minutes. 6. Plate and serve.


A shoplifting conviction, even a minor one, can cause hardships down the road. It will show up on criminal background checks, which is a particular danger to young people. A conviction can make landing employment difficult and impact eligibility for financial aid, scholarships, and even college admissions. This is why fighting a shoplifting charge with a skilled lawyer by your side is so important. They may be able to defer sentencing and keep your record clean.



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Yeargan & Kert, LLC 1170 Peachtree Street Suite 1200 Atlanta, GA 30309 404-467-1747



Not One of THOSE Lawyers

What Great Leaders Have in Common Drug Crime Myths

Shoplifting: What You Need to Know Bacon-Wrapped Chestnuts

Yurts: Glamping at Its Finest

GLAMPING IN BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS YURT SWEET YURT The allure of the great outdoors calls to many, but pitching a tent and cooking over a fire isn’t for everyone. If that describes you, consider the yurt: a small, permanent structure often outfitted with electricity, plumbing, and other modern amenities. Expertly nestled in remote locations, they provide comforts of home in the midst of nature. Here are just a few around the United States available for rent. TREEBONES RESORT, CALIFORNIA For those new to the glamping scene, this is a great choice for an easy transition. With picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean, the Treebones Resort in Big Sur has an array of spaciously comfortable yurts to choose from. The resort has heated pools, a cozy lodge, and even a sushi bar. About an hour up the coastline, you can find a few shops, restaurants, and art galleries if you decide you’ve gotten your dose of nature for the day. SPRUCE HOLE YURT, COLORADO Nestled in the San Juan Mountains about 10 miles north of New Mexico, this yurt is a snow-lover’s paradise. Skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking trails are plentiful in this backcountry location. At the end of a chilly day, come home to comfy beds, cooking supplies, and decor made to feel like you’re camping — but with sturdy walls to keep out the cold.

FALLS BROOK YURTS, NEW YORK For the glampers who truly want to get away, hike just under 1 mile into the woods of the Adirondack Mountains to discover rustic yurts beckoning you to cook over a fire or bundle up with a book. At night, the yurt’s domed skylight offers excellent stargazing. For those keen on winter activities, skiing and snowshoeing trails start right outside the front door. In the summer, enjoy hiking, fishing, and swimming.



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