The Balams Firm - June 2023

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404-445-2005 | June 2023

My Dad, My Safety, My Cornerstone

Wear the proper footwear. If you look down at your feet right now, are you wearing proper shoes? Are you wearing shoes at all? Besides providing comfort and protection, shoes also help prevent slips and falls! When choosing your shoes for the day, you should always consider the weather and surrounding conditions. If it’s raining or snowing, opt for something with proper grip and protection. If you’re hiking, ankle support is paramount. If you’re heading to work, comfort and protection both take priority. Stay alert. Always keep your head on a swivel and an ear to the ground. The more awake and aware you are of your surroundings, the less likely you are to get hurt or accidentally injure someone else. Be sure to get ample sleep, avoid texting while walking or driving, and continually scan your surroundings. Lift correctly. Did you know that roughly 1/3 of injuries that occur at work result from overexertion or improperly lifting an object? It’s important to avoid lifting with your back and straining those muscles. Instead, lift with your legs and glutes while keeping your back straight. Be sure to avoid hunching over!

Growing up, my father gave me the greatest gift anyone could have ever provided — he believed in me. About eight years ago, I lost my dad. While my mom and I were sorting through his things after his passing, we found something that truly warmed my heart. In his desk, he had saved copies of my SAT scores and report cards from over the years. My dad was extremely instrumental in my life from an early age. He challenged me to be a better person, improve upon myself, and work hard, and he was extremely supportive of my education and, later in life, my decision to obtain my law degree. I have many fond memories of growing up with my dad by my side as a great role model and protector. If there’s one thing my father encompassed for me, it was safety — a dad will always fight until the end to ensure the safety of his child, and I knew this was true of my dad.

In honor of Father’s Day and National Safety Month, I wish you all a happy and safe month spent honoring your dads,

grandfathers, and all fatherly figures in your lives! To all the great dads out there, thank you! Happy Father’s Day!

Speaking of safety, we celebrate National Safety Month this month, when we can remember how important it is to keep ourselves and everyone around us safe, whether in the workplace, at home, at an amusement park, or in the grocery store. With so many preventable injuries lurking, just a few simple tips can ensure that you, your children, and your loved ones lead a safer and fuller life. I’d like to remind you of some basic (but sometimes forgotten) safety measures you can take daily.

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Struggling to Pay Your Bills? How an Attorney Can Help

Paying your bills on time isn’t always an easy task. If you’re going through financial difficulties, it can sometimes be impossible to pay your bills on time. Yet, there are still some ways to minimize the damage that can occur when you can’t pay your debts. When your bills pile up, you should always contact your creditors to learn if you can receive any extensions on payment deadlines. Being proactive is critical when managing debt. However, if they are unwilling to offer you leniency, you may face a creditor lawsuit; if that occurs, you should contact a debt settlement lawyer. What does a debt settlement attorney do? A debt settlement attorney can reach out to creditors and negotiate a way to reduce your debt or lower your payments. Finances can be confusing, but there are plenty of protocols and strategies out there — most of us just aren’t aware of them. Debt settlement lawyers are experts in consumer rights and know precisely what lenders can and cannot do. While debt settlement attorneys can assist you in various ways concerning your debt, they will often review your financial status, income, and conflicts in order to negotiate effectively with your creditors. However, hiring a debt settlement lawyer does not guarantee your debt will be reduced; it will give you a greater chance of doing so. What types of debt can they settle? You may not know about the multiple kinds of debt and their particular characteristics. These lawyers primarily work on unsecured debt, which is any debt that doesn’t require collateral. Some examples of unsecured debt include:

While debt settlement lawyers often work to reduce these debts, they can also provide legal assistance on other issues such as car repossession, wage garnishment, debt collection lawsuits, debt collector harassment, and more. If you’re struggling because of debt, they’ll most likely be able to help. Is it expensive to hire an attorney? There’s no simple price tag for hiring a debt settlement lawyer. Plenty of factors influence legal costs. For example, how much debt you have affects a lawyer’s total charge. Also, how many creditors require negotiation and how much you save in your settlement affect your cost. Additionally, if you need to file for bankruptcy eventually, it involves another set of charges to engage that process. You should contact a debt settlement attorney if you’re struggling to keep up with your bills and know you can’t pay them on time. Whether mapping out a payment plan or negotiating with creditors, these attorneys will work to ease your financial stress. Many of these lawyers offer free consultations so you can better understand your situation. If they can help you reduce your debts, they will be a great asset.

• Car loans • Student loans • Medical bills

• Credit card bills • Personal loans


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“Kawaii” is the Japanese word for “cute,” which apparently alters our brains more than we thought! During The Power of Kawaii study, Hiroshima University researched the effects of viewing images of cute animals, and what they discovered was shocking. Researchers found that these adorable animals can help us improve our concentration, especially on detail-oriented tasks. Participants who viewed images of puppies and kittens could accomplish tasks with greater care and attention than those shown other pictures. How did they measure concentration, and why cute animals? What method was used in the initial experiment? In the first experiment, researchers split a group of 48 participants and had each person play a surgery game similar to “Operation.” Using tiny tweezers, the participants had to grasp small objects without touching the edges. Afterward, one group observed images of puppies and kittens, and the other viewed photos of adult dogs and cats. After viewing the pictures, both groups played the game again. The result? The first group had a significant improvement when playing the game. They approached the game more deliberately and at a slower pace to carefully remove the objects without touching the edges. Meanwhile, the second group showed no difference in their performance. Why do these cute images affect us? After more experiments with increased difficulty, the researchers concluded that the sweet animals made a noticeable impact on our brains. Participants showed higher levels of focus, concentration, and carefulness both mentally and behaviorally. The reasoning may be that seeing baby animals triggers our nurturing side and, in turn, makes us more careful and alert. We sense something needing protection, care, and focus. At a subconscious level, you likely will become more cautious in how you think and behave after looking at pictures of baby animals. So, the next time you need to do something tedious or detail-oriented, prep yourself with a cute puppies and kittens slideshow to ensure you get the job done right!


Inspired by


• 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts • 3.5 oz firm goat cheese • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, plus 2–3 sprigs

• 4 pieces of thin-sliced bacon • Olive oil • 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 2. Split the chicken breasts almost in half along the long side, open them like a book, then flatten the sides out. 3. Put the goat cheese on the “open book” side of the chicken and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Fold the chicken over to enclose the cheese, then wrap each breast in 2 slices of bacon. 4. Lightly oil a shallow gratin or casserole dish, then arrange overlapping rows of zucchini and tomatoes on the bottom. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then set chicken on top. Place thyme sprigs on chicken. 5. Bake for 40–45 minutes until the bacon is crisp and golden and the zucchini is tender.

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404-445-2005 310 Maxwell Road, Suite 500 Alpharetta, GA 30009 INSIDE THIS ISSUE

My Dad — My Safe Place


Do You Need a Debt Settlement Lawyer?


Goat Cheese and Thyme Stuffed Chicken Cute Puppies = Concentration


You’re Legally Obligated to Walk Your Dog?


Walk Your Furry Friend or Get Fined A PECULIAR ROMAN REQUIREMENT:

If you live in Rome and feel too lazy to walk your dog, you better think twice before breaking the law. Wait, the law? Yes! In 2005, the city of Rome passed a law requiring every dog owner to walk their furry friend at least once a day if they wanted to avoid a fine. This was one of the multiple laws protecting the safety and well-being of Roman animals. The city had been dealing

with ongoing problems due to dogs being cooped up in small apartments or abandoned in the streets. Monica Cirinna, who created the law, explained, “It’s good to do whatever we can for our animals who, in exchange for a little love, fill our existence with their attention.” She also told the Roman newspaper Il Messaggero that “the civilization of a city can also be measured by this.” How authorities in Rome can enforce this law is still unclear, but the city also passed other less-ambiguous animal welfare laws. Aside from the mandatory daily dog walk, docking an animal’s ears or tails and selling animals at fairgrounds are also illegal acts. While Rome may seem dog-biased, cat people will be happy to learn the Italian city didn’t forget felines. They passed another law to make declawing a cat for aesthetic

reasons illegal. Additionally, the city will recognize those feeding and caring for the countless stray cats roaming the stone- paved streets. And last but not least, round fishbowls are also illegal, as the circular shape forces the fish to swim in circles, which is disorienting and can affect the fish’s mood and behavior. But Rome isn’t the only city in Italy with animal-friendly laws. In Turin, for example, dog owners are required to walk their pets at least three times a day or face a fine of $650. Meanwhile, in Reggio Emilia, it is illegal to boil live lobsters. The city officials considered this cooking method “useless torture.” Even though Italy is known for stunning landscapes and delicious cuisine, it can also take credit for holding pet owners accountable and ensuring they take proper care of their animal companions.


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