Phyllis Law - October 2019 | 404.514.3397

Protecting Bright Futures


Bright Futures Bulletin

Happy 15thAnniversary toMe!

T his month, I celebrate my 15th year practicing law. On Oct. 25, 2004, I was admitted to practice law in the state of Georgia. One of my most admired role models, the Honorable Judge Mary Staley, serving the Cobb County judicial circuit, administered the oath. My boss and mentor Barry E. Morgan, solicitor general of Cobb County, presented me to the court for admission. My parents Billie and Phil Gingreywere present as well as my uncle James Gingrey, who is also an attorney. Also present were my brother Billy, my husband Jerry, and my longtime mentor and professional coach, Attorney Greg Stokes. Just four days later, I delivered my first child, Grey. It was an exciting time! As I celebrate this anniversary, I reflect on my career as a lawyer and the many blessings it has provided. My first job was prosecuting in Cobb County State Court. In 2006, I left that job to start my own law firm, defending those facing criminal prosecution. During that same year, I gave birth to my second child, Marian. Owning my own business was scary but provided me with the flexibility I needed as a working momwith a growing family. I give thanks and praise to God for giving me the courage to take that leap of faith. In 2008, I added an additional practice area to my firm: consumer bankruptcy protection and debt settlement. We also welcomed our third child, Ruby. My family and my law firmwere growing in similar fashion. In 2010, we welcomed our fourth child, Ley, and our familywas complete. We continued to grow the firm and added another practice area focused on students. There was

a growing need for representation of students facing disciplinary actions at colleges and high schools, and we have thoroughly enjoyed making a difference in these young lives. I am excited to announce that I will start my 15th year in practice in a beautiful new space. We have moved our office to 531 Roselane Street, Suite 200, in Marietta. It is a former factory converted to a beautiful office space with exposed brick, piping, and rafters. The firm experienced so much growth in the last 18 months that we needed more space for our growing staff. We are still conveniently located close to the courthouse with easy access to I-75. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in my life who played a critical role in my success. There are too many people to list here, but I would like to acknowledge those mentioned above. The Honorable Mary Staley has had an amazing career as assistant district attorney, chief magistrate court judge, state court judge, and superior court judge. I am sure she has no idea how big of a role model she has been to me and countless other people in our great community. Barry Morgan hired me as a prosecutor when I was eight months pregnant. I will never forget that he took a chance on me and gave me the invaluable experience of prosecuting on behalf of the citizens of Cobb County.

my endeavors. Now that I am a parent of four children, I understand much better the personal sacrifices they both made and continue to make for me and my three siblings. I am forever grateful and hope that I can do the same for my children. My husband, Jerry; my Uncle James; and my siblings, Billy, Gannon, and Laura Neill, have always been my biggest cheerleaders. Having a strong foundation of family support makes all the difference in the face of adversity. Attorney Greg Stokes has been encouraging and advising me since 2000 when he hired me as his paralegal, despite my total lack of experience. I would not be a lawyer today if I had never met Greg Stokes. I can truly say I have never met anyone as open, honest, and genuinely interested in making the world better than Greg Stokes. I am very excited about the next 15 years. I will continue to grow and provide the highest level of service to my clients. Thank you to all my

friends and familywho have made the success of my firm possible.

My parents, Billie and Phil Gingrey, have advised, encouraged, and supported me in all

–Phyllis Gingrey Collins

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Talking to Your Kids About Cancer ADifficult Discussion

I am currently serving as a regular guest of Court TV as a legal analyst. We recently covered the trial of Ohio v. Skylar Richardson. Skylar was a senior in high school when she gave birth to a daughter at home, in secret, without ever telling anyone she was pregnant. She claimed that she learned of the pregnancy late in the third trimester, delivered a stillborn baby eight weeks before her due date, and buried her in the backyard in attempt to conceal everything. The State of Ohio believed the child was born alive and charged Skylar with first-degree murder. It was Court TV’s most highly rated trial, doubling the ratings of other trials they have covered. This was a polarizing trial. Many people believed Skylar was a cold, heartless killer. Others believed the State overcharged this case and that Skylar had suffered enough after losing a child. Ultimately, the trial ended in a not-guilty verdict on the murder and guilty The Fine Line Between Fear and Trust Always Tell the Truth Telling a child that you or a loved one has cancer can be complicated. To start, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends giving yourself time after hearing the news of a cancer diagnosis to process this new reality. Two-parent households should tell their children together, while single parents are encouraged to ask an adult with a positive influence on the child’s As pink-clad products line store shelves this October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, children are bound to be curious. Since they rationalize the world around themwith what they already know, kids may ask silly questions like, “Is cancer contagious?” Whether you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer or you just feel it’s time to educate your children about the disease, answering questions can be difficult. These tips can help you prepare.

of abuse of a corpse for burying her baby. I do not know exactly what happened in Skylar’s house that night, but I do know that the State did not prove a murder beyond a reasonable doubt. That is why the jury returned a not- guilty verdict. I also know that Skylar was too young and lacked the maturity to handle a pregnancy alone. life to join the conversation. Remember, your child will be experiencing the same emotions as you but in a kid’s body, where hormones and developmental changes are already wreaking havoc. Monitor their emotions and offer them space and opportunities to discuss their feelings with a professional. When it comes to explaining the disease and its consequences, younger children may require fewer details and broader concepts, while older kids may need more comprehensive answers to their questions. A 5-year-old is going to have different concerns than a 16-year-old, so your approach must be different. However, regardless of your child’s age, always tell the truth. Focus on Prevention Education A loved one doesn’t have to be diagnosed with cancer for you to educate your family about

stay out of trouble, but we also want them to trust us enough to tell us when they need help. I think it is important to impose consequences on kids who make mistakes, discuss why the conduct was wrong, explain why the punishment is appropriate, and move on. I do not think it is helpful to have a period of silence or anger or constant rehashing of the facts. While the punishment may last several weeks, the discussion of it need not last that long. In fact, we should take times of punishment to do more things together as a family and grow in that relationship. It is an ideal time for family movie nights, attending sporting events together, doing home improvement projects, etc. Just because they have lost their privilege of spending time with friends does not mean they should be totally isolated. It can also be helpful to lay out some ground rules with kids before any problems arise. If they know the consequences ahead of time, we eliminate fear of the unknown, and hopefully they will be more likely to seek our help when needed. It is an honor and a privilege for me to be a parent to my four kids and to represent young kids who need my help. I learn so much from each one of them. It gives me great joy to see young people overcome their mistakes and thrive in their efforts to achieve their dreams. the disease and its prevention. Studies have linked prevention efforts, including anti-smoking campaigns and healthy lifestyle programs, to actually preventing cancer. (In fact, half of all cancers can be prevented!) Teach your child about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and excessive sun exposure to foster healthy habits and lifestyles. Organizations that host walks, benefits, and other events for cancer prevention and research can be great sources of education for families, too. The ACS has resources for families living with cancer or those wanting to learn more. Visit for more information.

This was a very emotional trial for me. Not only do I represent many teenagers who make mistakes, but I am also the mother of four children, two of them teenagers. I could not stop thinking about the real tragedy of this case. This young girl was so fearful of disappointing her parents that she hid a pregnancy from them, despite the knowledge that a baby was coming within 10 weeks. I keep thinking, “Would Skylar’s daughter be here today if she told her parents about the pregnancy when she discovered it?”

There is a thin line between fear and trust. We want to instill a little fear in our kids to

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SUDOKU BREAK Solution on pg. 4

The Envelope System of Budgeting ActuallyWorks A bout 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Dave Ramsey is famous for pushing the envelope system of budgeting. It is based on the concept that people spend less money if they are using cash. This system helps you adequately budget discretionary expenses. If you spend $500 a month on groceries, withdraw $500 from your bank account after you deposit your paycheck. Take the $500 in cash and put it in an envelope labeled “groceries.” When you go to the grocery store, only use cash from that envelope. Do not cheat. Do not use your debit card and then replace the cash. You must really use the cash from the envelope. You need to feel the pain of parting with cash. If the bill exceeds what is left in the envelope, put something back. Make other envelopes for remaining expenses such as gas, eating out, entertainment/movies, clothing, beauty/grooming, hobbies, etc. Put fixed expenses like your mortgage, utilities, and car payments, on automatic pay. Do not borrow from one envelope to pay for things in another category. Do not bring your other envelopes with you to the grocery store. Likewise, when you go out to eat, do not bring the other envelopes with you. That reduces the urge to borrow from other envelopes. You may end up figuring out you have not been budgeting accurately. It is okay to amend the budget, but not in the middle of the month. Once you make the commitment for the month, stick with it. This is all about discipline. The envelope system forces you to plan before you go shopping, and it reduces the likelihood of you falling victim to impulse purchases. In general, experts suggest allotting 50% of your after-tax income for your needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings and debt repayment. I used the envelope system about 10 years ago, and it was very effective. I have decided it is time to do it again. I encourage you to join me. Good luck! As Dave Ramsey always says, “Live like no one else, so that later, you can live like no one else.”

Miso Caramel Apples

Inspired by Bon Appétit

This silky caramel recipe is spiked with miso for a complex, rich snack that won’t hurt your teeth.


● 4 Granny Smith apples

● 2 tbsp white miso, divided ● 4 Popsicle sticks

● 1/2 cup raw pistachios

• •

● 2 tbsp light corn syrup

● 1 1/2 tsp plus 1 cup sugar

• •

● 1/4 cup heavy cream ● 1/4 tsp kosher salt

● 3 tbsp sesame seeds


1. Heat oven to 275 F. 2. In a food processor, pulse pistachios and 1 1/2 tsp sugar. Add sesame seeds and 1 tbsp miso, pulsing until miso is fully broken up. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15–20 minutes and let cool. 3. Meanwhile, insert a Popsicle stick into the center of each apple. 4. In a saucepan, bring corn syrup, 1 cup sugar, and 2 tbsp water to a boil. Boil for 5–7 minutes, swirling infrequently, until caramel is a light amber color. 5. Add cream and salt to caramel, whisking to combine. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and quickly whisk in remaining miso. 6. To assemble, first roll apple in caramel, then in pistachio mixture, before resting on greased baking sheet. 7. Let cool 30 minutes and serve.

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PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411 | 404.514.3397 278 N. Marietta Pkwy NE | Marietta, GA 30060

Solution from pg. 3

Inside This Issue

Happy 15th Anniversary to Me! 1

Educating Your Kids About Cancer

The Fine Line Between Fear and Trust 2

The Envelope System ActuallyWorks!

Miso Caramel Apples 3

Green Up Your Camping Trip 4

During the 35-day government shutdown that stretched from late 2018 to early 2019, National Park Service workers were stuck at home without pay. Meanwhile, Yellowstone National Park trash cans overflowed with fast food wrappers and plastic water bottles; broken sleds and beer cans piled up in the Lassen National Forest; toilets in Yosemite National Park backed up and dumped waste into the places we’ve deemed most precious. Months later, our national parks are still struggling, but nature lovers can take steps to be more eco-friendlywhile camping in any outdoor setting this fall. Here are five green ideas for your next campout: Camping Lightly 5 Ways to Make Your Camping Trip More Eco-Friendly

1. SayNo to New Before you leave town, inventory everything you’ll need for your trip. If gear is on the list, try repairing what you have, borrowing from a friend, or buying used equipment before you head to REI. Using what you have leads to less eventual waste. 2. Go Natural When choosing soap, toothpaste, makeup, sunscreen, and bug spray for camping, always pick natural options that will biodegrade quickly and won’t pollute the water. Stay away fromwaterways while brushing your teeth, and avoid sunscreen and bug sprays that are water-soluble or toxic to animals. 3. Try DIY Making your own snacks and buying in bulk can help you avoid single-use plastic packaging, which inevitably becomes trash. Try baking your own granola bars and securing them in beeswax wrap, tossing homemade snack mixes in reusable Stasher bags, and bringing bulk oats for breakfast in repurposed jars. 4. Cook Smart Ditch gas when you camp by packing in a battery- or solar-powered burner to start your fire without harmful chemicals.

If you’re cooking over the campfire, be sure to burn smart, too. Tossing aluminum cans or random trash in with your kindling can pollute both the air and the food you’re making. 5. Pack It Out “Leave no trace” is the camper’s motto. Ideally, you should leave your campsite pristine apart from extinguished coals and flattened grass. Bring reusable bags to pack out your trash and other items to recycle and/or compost. Food scraps don’t always biodegrade quickly in nature — in fact, according to The Guardian, banana peels can take two years to decompose. There’s nothing quite like spending a few days in nature, enjoying the fresh air, lush trees, and peace and quiet. If campers do their part to preserve the health and beauty of our national parks, everyone can enjoy them for years to come.

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