Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton Law - January 2020

January 2020

What’s Changed andWhat I’m Looking Forward To


s we closed out 2019 at HareWynn, we sat down with a HareWynn attorney and partner to reflect on their past decade.“I’m reminded of many significant moments of my life, both

professionally and personally,”said Mike Ermert.“Both big and small events in our lives can have an impact on us. It’s important to reflect on these life events so we can learn from them, appreciate them, and also realize what we have to look forward to. “The last decade has been significant for my career, as I was involved in several substantial cases and a number of Bar-related events. For example, I worked with the state legislature to ensure that the rights of people who need our services were protected. I served as President of the Alabama Association for Justice, the organization of attorneys, who represent families, individuals, and businesses who have suffered harm as a result of the negligent or intentional acts of others. It was rewarding to know we helped the people of Alabama through these efforts.

As I look back over the past ten years, the most significant change has been the technology we now use routinely every day. When I started my practice in 1990, we worked exclusively on paper, but today, we can handle cases almost entirely with digital files. This allows us to access case files anywhere we can get aWi-Fi connection, giving us the flexibility to work for a client regardless of the time of day, or where we may be. Now I can address issues in a timely manner, even if I’m traveling or in depositions a long way from the office.” On a personal note, several years ago, I was fortunate enough to serve on my church’s successful capital campaign committee. Since my family is very active in our church and has benefited frommany close relationships we have developed in our congregation, I was honored to give back in that capacity. In addition, my wife, children, and I have gone on several mission trips, and we love being active in our community. One of our core beliefs is that if you’re given a chance to serve your community, it’s your duty to do so.”“As a boy, I saw this dedication to church and community in my grandfather. He took an active role in working to better the city where he lived. So, in turn, I have tried to live my life similarly, being involved in my community, both on a personal and professional basis. This has enabled me to fulfill some of my life goals and continue my grandfather’s legacy. Like he did, I want to leave this world a better place when I leave it.“ “Looking at the next ten years, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for my daughters. They’ve matured into wonderful young women! My oldest daughter became engaged on Christmas Day, so now wedding plans will be a big part of 2020. As for me, I hope I can continue representing those who have setbacks in their lives and making a difference for the better. Happy NewYear, everyone!”

“Looking at the next ten years, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for my daughters.”

–Mike Ermert

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Lawyers Helping People—Since 1890

Tips for National Clean Up Your Computer Month

Organize Your Files

Back Up Your Computer

Everyone relies on technology. Computers, laptops, tablets, and phones are staples of modern life. However, it’s easy for these devices to become cluttered with old photos, files, and general disorganization. Luckily, January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month and an excellent time to get your technology in order. Over time, computer towers can become clogged with dust, which creates additional, unwanted heat within your computer. Regular cleanings will increase the lifespan of your computer and protect its essential components. Compressed air is great for removing most of the dust and other particulates. If the fans or filters are too dirty, you can remove them from the tower to clean them better. If you use water or liquid cleaning products on them, be sure they are completely dry before placing them back into your computer. Start by Dusting

Naming and arranging the files on your computer in such a way that they’re easy for you to find can end up saving you a lot of time. Declutter your workspace by creating one file for pictures, one for Word documents, one for spreadsheets, and one for programs to eliminate the hassle of frantically searching for the files you need.

Be sure to back up your computer before you start deleting things. This acts as a safety net in case you delete something you didn’t mean to. Additionally, consider installing a second hard drive. The extra space can help with storing important files without having to worry about how much room is left.

Clean Up Space

Any files you’ll never use again should be deleted. Likewise, any programs you haven’t used in a while should be uninstalled. Check your hard drive for files that might be taking up unintended space on your computer. And remember to empty the recycling bin — it’s easy to forget just how much goes in there.

being served by hospitals across the world. Families travel far to spend weeks or months with their kids for treatment. This is a long time to be away, and there is nothing scarier to a kid than facing a medical issue they don’t understand. When your children are sick, you need the best care possible, regardless of how far away you have to travel to get it. Ronald McDonald House enables these families to have access to specialized medical treatment by providing a home for them, so they can stay close to their children at little to no cost. These houses are built on the idea that when a child is sick, nothing else should matter to the family. It’s an idea we share, which is why we were honored to partner with them to help those families in need in our community.

Not only does Ronald McDonald House provide housing for families but they also provide an assortment of other services. Some of these include home-cooked meals, private bedrooms, and playrooms for children. Ronald McDonald House goes beyond these services with educational programs, fun activities, sibling-support services, and even unique suites for children with weak immune systems. The Railroad Park event is a great way to take families’ minds off of the challenges they face every day. It’s hard for them to stay positive and enjoy the holidays, so we’re grateful we can do our part for them. If you want to get involved, visit RMHC.org/get-involved for more information.

F or families with little ones in the hospital, it’s hard to enjoy the holidays. We’re always looking for new and exciting ways to give back to our community. This holiday season, we were honored to provide tickets for 50 families currently staying at Ronald McDonald House to Railroad Park’s BrrrminghamWinter Adventure, which includes ice skating, a giant ice slide, and winter games for both adults and children.

If you’re unfamiliar, the Ronald McDonald House provides crucial resources to children and their families

Due to the inconsistency of the winter months, we don’t always have the equipment to keep the roads clear, making driving dangerous. Here are a few tips for navigating a snowy, icy, and cold winter. Watch the weather forecasts carefully. Make it a part of your nightly routine so you always know what to expect in the morning. Check the weekly and monthly forecasts as well. That way, you can plan vacations or trips to see family between the blizzards. If you do have to be on the road during a snowfall, make sure you have an emergency kit. A roadside emergency kit should include blankets, gloves, coats, and chains for your tires. Tire chains are very helpful, but four-wheel drive is always the best advantage when driving in snow. It’s also important to know that if a road is closed, its closed for a reason. If you decide to drive on a closed path, it could void your insurance coverage in the event of an accident. When starting your day, do a walk around your car. If you see a rear-view mirror askew or a tire slightly lower than the rest, address those things before driving to work. You should check the wear on your tires regularly. Worn tires increase the risk of slipping and sliding, so make sure you have enough tread. Look for streaks on your windshield when you use your wipers. The last thing you want is to realize that you need new wipers during a snowstorm. It’s the little things that can make a difference in harsher weather conditions. These are just some of the tricks you can use to navigate the inconsistent weather we get! Check out NHTSA.gov/winter-driving-tips for more information.

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A traditional New Year’s favorite in the South, Hoppin’ John includes black-eyed peas that are said to represent coins, a sign of prosperity for the coming year. It’s usually served alongside collard greens, which represent cash.


• • •

1 cup dried black-eyed peas

• • •

1 smoked ham hock 1 medium onion, diced 1 cup long-grain white rice

5–6 cups water

1 dried hot pepper, optional (arbol and Calabrian are great options)


1. Wash and sort peas. 2. In a saucepan, cover peas with water, discarding any that float. 3. Add pepper, ham hock, and onion. Gently boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until peas are just tender, about 90 minutes. At this point, you should have about 2 cups of liquid remaining.

4. Add rice, cover, drop heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, undisturbed. 5. Remove from heat and let steam for an additional 10 minutes, still covered. 6. Remove lid, fluff with a fork, and serve. Inspired by Epicurious.

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www.hwnn.com 855-997-9319


2025 3rd Avenue North, Suite 800 Birmingham, AL 35203


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A Look Back and a Look Forward

Tips for National Clean Up Your Computer Month

Partnering with Ronald McDonald House


Hoppin’ John

Tips for an AlabamaWinter


Tips to Establish a Family Media Use Plan


With 24/7 media exposure from TVs, computers, and smartphones, it feels like life is dominated by screens. Consider implementing a media use plan for your family so they don’t miss out on the real world.

goes away. Teach them to be smart with their decisions. Connect with them on social media if it helps you keep an eye on things.

Construct a ‘Media Diet’

Set a Curfew

Take an active role in what your children watch by co-viewing programs with them. You’ll have a better sense of what they’re seeing and can point them toward the programming that’s right for them. Look for educational media choices that teach good values. There are a lot of great educational opportunities on the internet, but there’s also a lot of room for negative exposure. If this is a concern, keep the family computer in a public part of your home so you can see what they’re accessing online. It’s important to educate your children about proper media health, but it’s even more important to encourage your kids to be healthy in other ways. Beyond the tips mentioned above, encourage them to play outdoors and read physical books so they can participate more actively in the real world.

Limiting the time your children spend staring at a screen is good for their health. Try to keep screen- time usage to under two hours per day. Implement a rule for no screens at mealtimes, and keep all screens out of bedrooms at night. Keep track of the devices by having a communal charging dock in a shared area where you can make sure everything is plugged in for the night.

Have a Chat

Don’t shy away from warning your kids about what exists in the digital world. Explain to them that certain content isn’t age-appropriate, and teach them what movie and TV ratings mean. Remind them to be careful about what they put on the internet because anything they upload never really

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