Phyllis Law - September 2019 | 404.514.3397

Protecting Bright Futures


Bright Futures Bulletin

SteppingOutside MyComfort Zone Looking Back at a Fateful Day

T his summer, I did something way outside my comfort zone. It turned out great, so I wanted to share my story and hopefully encourage you to do the same. I never thought I would do TV, but here I am — guest commentator for CourtTV. CourtTV relaunched in May of this year in Atlanta. I was contacted by one of the producers in June and had my first appearance that same month. The day of the first appearance, I put the studio address in myWaze app and headed south to Buckhead. As I entered the parking lot, I realized it was the same building I worked at in 1999. I had graduated from Georgia Tech two years prior and was working for a financial planner, trying to decide what career path to take. Seeing that building brought back so many memories for me. The first and most jarring memory was the horror that took place there on July 29, 1999, almost 20 years prior. I will never forget sitting at my desk that morning and receiving the call from my coworker, who had stepped out to grab some food on the first floor. She called to say, “Lock the door and hide. We have an active shooter in the building.”

I was in shock. I do remember that I hid under my desk and called my mom to tell

I gave God thanks and praise for protecting me on that fateful day of July 29, 1999 and for all the blessings in my life since that point. I also thanked God for helping me face my fears, like taking the LSAT, applying to law school, going to law school, taking the BAR exam, trying my first jury trial, starting my own law firm, and many other fears along the way. I realized that life is full of fears and that, if we are going to live our best life, we must recognize that fear and do it anyway. I decided that being on TV wasn’t so scary after all, so I did it again soon after. I am appearing weekly on the show now and enjoying every minute of it. I encourage each of you to take chances in life, to do things outside your comfort zone. You never knowwhat you are capable of until you try. We teach our kids this but, as we grow older and set in our ways, we tend to forget to apply it to our own lives. May we all embrace our fears as we grow into our highest versions of ourselves.

her not to worry, that I was okay. I have no idea how long I was under that desk. It could have been five minutes; it could have been five hours. But, eventually, the SWAT team entered and escorted us out of the building, and no one from my company was hurt. Sadly, nine people in that building lost their lives that day. I was so lost in the memory when I arrived at the studio that I forgot all about my nerves of going on TV for the first time. I was on the air for three hours, but it seemed much faster than that. I felt a huge level of accomplishment when it was over, and I had gotten through without any serious blunders. I couldn’t help but think God had me focus on that memory to help me put things in perspective. As I was driving home, I had more time to reflect about what happened in that building and what my life was like at that time. I was a 25-year-old starving college grad, working in a job way below my skill level, struggling to find my confidence. My boss wasn’t particularly supportive, and when I finally quit to go to law school, she laughed and replied, “You don’t have what it takes to be a lawyer.” I couldn’t help but think, I wish she could see me now .

–Phyllis Gingrey Collins

I have no recollection of how I felt physically or emotionally during the time we were hiding.

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What You Can Do to Help Is Your Child Being Bullied?

is a common tactic bullies use to avoid teachers. ● If their grades suddenly change, it may be the result of constant harassment. ● Anxious or depressed moods can be the result of bullying as well. If you spot one or more of these signs, it’s time to talk to your child about what’s happening to them at school. Listen When your child does open up, the best thing you can do is listen. It can be tempting to try to give them advice or question the way they handled the situation, but doing this can give your child the impression that it’s their own fault they are being bullied. Let them tell you the whole story, without judgment, and then help them come up with ideas on what to do next.

As we celebrate Labor Day in September, in appreciation of the American worker, I think it’s appropriate to talk about the importance of protecting your future career options. Criminal convictions can place you in jeopardy of getting the job you want and/or obtaining the licensing you desire. Felonies and “crimes involving moral turpitude” probably have the most negative impact on professional licensure and jobs. Crimes involving moral turpitude include the following: fraud, theft by taking, murder, solicitation, voluntary manslaughter, sale of narcotics or other illegal drugs, failure to file tax returns, use of bad checks, and false reporting of a crime. Crimes that are not classified as “involving moral turpitude” include these: public drunkenness, Protecting Your Career Options HowWeWork to Keep Your Future Bright A new school year is a prime opportunity for kids to make new friends among their classmates. Unfortunately, kids also form connections during the school year that aren’t always positive, and many children become the targets of school bullies. If you suspect your child is being bullied, there are a few things you can do to help. Know the Signs Kids usually don’t open up about being bullied right away. However, there are some common signs that your child is being harassed. Here are a few of them: ● If they’re refusing to go to school or ride the bus, they may be dreading their bully. ● If they’re rushing to the bathroom after school, it may indicate that they’re being bullied in the bathroom, which

Any criminal convictions may keep you from being able to enter the military, and no one on probation is eligible to join. Additionally, any conviction (even those that are not “crimes involving moral turpitude”) can limit your ability to get a job. Obviously, if you and another applicant are equally suited for a job and you are the only one with a criminal record, the job is going to the other candidate. This is precisely why it is so important to hire an attorney if you are ever arrested, even if it seems like a minor offense, like public drunkenness. There are opportunities to keep such arrests off your record through diversion, conditional discharge, first offender, or motion to suppress. These options are not available post-conviction. It is important to hire an attorney immediately upon arrest so all your options can be explored. At, we specialize in keeping records clean. We take it one step further and file motions to seal the record at the courthouse. This ensures that investigators hired to do background checks are not able to access records at the courthouse for cases that cannot be seen on a criminal record. Our firm's mission is to protect bright futures, and a big part of that is protecting your chance to pursue all your career goals. ways you can help your child to deal with bullies, so talk to them about what approach they would be most comfortable with, such as de-escalation strategies or a buddy system with their friends. As with most conflicts, the sooner you handle the situation, the better. Finding the Right Solution Once you’ve been informed that your child is being bullied, you should inform teachers as soon as possible. Apart from that, there are several

driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, carrying a concealed weapon, unlawfully selling liquor, fighting, battery, assault, criminal trespass, child abandonment, obstruction, and marijuana possession. Even though it is not classified as a “crime involving moral turpitude,” driving under the influence of alcohol, while only a misdemeanor, can have a devastating effect on those planning to obtain professional licensure or jobs that require you to drive a company vehicle. It is usually not an absolute bar from professional licensure, but you may have to jump through some additional hoops to obtain licensing, or if you already have a professional license, you could face temporary suspension. The more time that has passed since the arrest seems to make a difference in the outcome, but pilots and commercial drivers with DUI convictions will likely lose their jobs without any opportunity to work again in that field.

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SUDOKU BREAK Solution on pg. 4

Many Georgia Counties No

Longer Arresting for Misdemeanor Marijuana Cases P rosecutors in Gwinnett and Cobb Counties have announced they will not be prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases under the current law, citing uncertainty created by Georgia’s new hemp farming law as the reason for their decision. They say that under the new Georgia Hemp Farming Act, it’s hard to determine whether the chemical composition of a suspected contraband makes it legal or illegal. Prosecutors say they can’t distinguish between what is hemp and what is marijuana. In July, it became legal for hemp to be grown in Georgia. Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force Commander DeWayne Brown told reporters the new law made it legal for certain CBD products to contain 0.3% or less of THC. The Georgia Department of Agriculture lists the threshold THC concentration level separating hemp from marijuana is 0.3%. Anything less than that is classified as hemp. Gwinnett County Solicitor General Whiteside said Gwinnett officials are facing a testing issue: If they find something that could be hemp or marijuana, they don’t have the tools to determine the THC level. “There is no machine that we have certified in Georgia at this point for plants — that I know of — that is up and certified and can differentiate cannabis from hemp,” Whiteside said. Although the production and sale of hemp is now legal in Georgia, the state does have some limitations on who is allowed to grow it. Only growers licensed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture will be allowed to grow and produce it. The Georgia Department of Agriculture is still developing regulations for hemp production, and the agency is not issuing hemp production licenses until those rules are established. Supposedly, the Georgia Crime Lab is working to develop a test to distinguish between hemp and marijuana based on THC percentage. Currently, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation uses a test for the presence of THC and not for the concentration of THC. Look for Georgia legislature to correct this problem in the next legislative session, which begins in January, as they did not anticipate this when they originally passed the bill during the 2019 session. But for now, it appears that folks can possess small amounts of pot without fear of prosecution.

Basil Berry Sorbet

Inspired by Good Housekeeping

Unlike standard ice cream recipes, this delicious sorbet doesn’t require fancy equipment or difficult prep. It’s also entirely dairy-free, making it the perfect vegan treat for the end of summer.


1 cup sugar

1 cup fresh basil leaves

6 cups frozen mixed berries

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice


1. In a saucepan over high heat, combine sugar with 1 cup of water, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves, creating a syrup-like consistency. 2. Remove syrup from heat, add basil, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain syrup into bowl and refrigerate until cold. 3. In a blender, combine syrup with frozen berries and lemon juice. Purée until smooth. 4. Transfer to a square baking pan, cover in plastic wrap, and freeze until set, about 2 hours. 5. Scoop and serve.

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Solution from pg. 3

Inside This Issue

Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone 1

How to Respond to School Bullies

Protecting Your Career Options 2

Many Georgia Counties No Longer Arresting for Misdemeanor Marijuana

Basil Berry Sorbet 3

The Vibrant Colors of America’s National Parks 4

The Best National Parks toVisit This Fall

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina Further south, the autumn colors of the Smoky Mountains are no less breathtaking than those in the Northeast. This park offers many scenic lookout points accessible by car, so don’t worry about hoofing it into the forest if that’s not your thing. Park wherever you like and watch the warm colors of ancient maples, oaks, and cedars change before your eyes. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming While theWest might typically be associated with evergreen pines, the deciduous trees of the relatively small Grand Teton National Park pack a colorful punch starting around the third week of September. It’s also breeding season for elk in the area, and their high, eerie whistles can be heard in the evenings. Popular destinations in the park include the Christian Pond Loop and String Lake. Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite national parks until next summer. The natural beauty of America can be experienced at any time of the year, so start planning your next autumn outdoor excursion!

Have you ever wanted to experience the colors of a Boston fall while enjoying the peace and tranquility of the great outdoors? Autumn leaves are a universally appreciated sign of the changing seasons, and there’s no better place to see those vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds on display than in one of America’s national parks. So, if you’ve got some free time this autumn, here are some parks worth seeing. color in September, mid-October is the best time to witness autumn in full swing. The park is crisscrossed with unpaved trails that date back to a time of horse-drawn carriages, preserving an idyllic setting. If you want to see the colors in full effect, take a drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point along the North Acadia National Park, Maine While the maple, birch, and poplar trees of Acadia begin to change

Atlantic seaboard, and watch the sun crest over the vibrant leaves. To fully experience fall in the Northeastern U.S., Acadia National Park is a must-see.

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