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Practice Description

  • Sumo


APPEALS – Make sure the decision stays in your favor, or goes that way if it is unjust

DIVORCE – Stand up for the life YOU have built and the people and property YOU want to fill YOUR life with

CUSTODY DISPUTES – Control your peace of mind about who your child lives with, who they visit, and what they are doing when you aren’t around

CRIMINAL DEFENSE – Hold the State to their burden, and avoid a wrongful conviction

My practice includes divorce, child custody cases (including contempt of divorce settlements), and criminal defense, and ALMOST ALL LEVELS OF APPEAL.  I have an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and I am a former prosecutor, and I am capable of representing you in seeking removal from the Georgia Sex Offender Registry.   As I said, I have significant proven proficiency in contested adoption matters.  I have been admitted to practice in both the Court of Appeals of Georgia and the Georgia Supreme Court.  I have also been admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, and can represent persons in the Northern District of Georgia, as well.  I am known for being both knowledgeable and effective.


Due to a consistent pattern of failure by clients to pay (I will continue working on the matter, as long as you are consistently giving attention to it), all work requires payment of an initial deposit of money up-front (my minimum retainer is $2,500).  This is NOT the total cost, but instead represents your initial deposit on the case.  I apply a $75/month fee in every case to cover costs of necessary materials and supplies, and this lasts through the life of the case.


This money paid up front will be placed in my trust account, with the $2,500 retainer (plus the monthly fees for material or travel costs) deducted and an agreed-upon sum of the remainder withdrawn each month, adding up to the total agreed cost for the representation based on my best estimate (I have considerable experience at a variety of different areas of practice, and charge based on the going rate for that type of work).  You will be notified when less than two installment payments are available on your initial deposit, and we will then discuss further representation.  The total cost will vary depending on the matter I am retained on and your individual circumstances.  Justice is INDIVIDUALIZED, and not a one-size-fits-all issue.

Details of monthly charges

I will arrange a regular payment plan, with a cap on the maximum monthly fees that you are responsible for paying (though it does not limit the work that I perform on your case, as I will work to meet deadlines to ensure your case continues to progress) toward the total amount of the representation.  I set a total price for my hourly work on the case, which depends on your individual circumstances and resources (be aware of the adoption tax credit, which provides reimbursement for expenses associated with a qualified adoption).  I would rather help you than see you suffer, but I generally do not file any offensive pleadings until my retainer is paid in full.  My hourly rate is $200 per hour, and there is a $75 document/miscellaneous fee per month for costs associated to the pens, paper, discs, and other matters that are involved in operating a legal solo practice.  ALL COSTS (such as filing costs, document fees, etc.) ARE THE STRICT RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CLIENT.  Further, if the case requires any travel outside of my home county, there will be $50 per month charge, to be included in any monthly billing.  There is a late fee of $50 per month for statements not paid in full by the 25th of each month.  If any funds remain in my IOLTA Trust account at the conclusion of my representation of you, they are considered to be mine unless we have mutually agreed otherwise.

 I accept cash,check and credit card payments (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express).


On the morning of  July 3, 2003, I was driving to cover Court for another attorney during a tropical storm, when I was blown off the road by the intense rain and high winds.  I was informed by a third party whose judgment and observation I trust that my estimation of time during that period was very wrong.  I spent a short time in a medically-induced coma, followed by about three weeks of being unconscious.  The accident left me paralyzed on my right side, and I spent approximately four to five months after I awoke re-learning how to walk, talk, etcetera, so that I could return to work as a self-employed attorney. I started working again less than eleven months after my accident, and most people cannot even begin to guess at this upon meeting me, I am pleased to say.

I had previously spent approximately a year as an Assistant District Attorney for the Enotah Judicial Circuit, assigned to prosecute felony and misdemeanor crimes in Towns and Union Counties. Before that, I was an Associate Attorney with a local law firm practicing many different areas of law, but primarily child custody and divorce, real estate work, and incorporations.

I also worked from June 2007 until May 2009 as the Hall County Law Librarian, operated by the Superior Courts of the Northeastern Judicial Circuit.  As a consequence of this employment, I could not appear for anyone or sign any pleadings under my own name in Hall or Dawson Counties, though.

I have experience at, and am considered proficient in, criminal practice (including work related to drug possession and to sex offense cases), international law (such as Hague Convention work and also Civil Law concepts, as well as international child support obligations), municipal law, business law, and intellectual property work, including trade secret practice and litigation of trade secret issues.  I have served as counsel for several corporations in their State law claims and defenses. I also have substantial experience at incorporations.  I have performed real estate research, title work, and real estate litigation.  I am decidedly not a tax law or bankruptcy specialist, nor do I give any advice in those areas of the law.  Lastly, I have substantial experience not listed on my abrogated resume below in the area of collections law, and I have successfully collected debts due, judgments, done lien-work, and practiced defense of such efforts.

Below is my partial resume, which better explains many of my skills and experiences:


Tulane University School of Law – Juris Doctor

Certificate of Proficiency in European Legal Studies

Graduated May 2001 – New Orleans, Louisiana


    • Association of Trial Lawyers of America; International Law Society; Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity; Moot Court Board; Moot Court Interschool Trial Team (ATLA)

       2000-2001 – Senior Appellate Champion

    • Alternative Dispute Resolution Society; Associated Student Body Chief of Staff; Inns of Court; Moot Court Board; Moot Court Interschool Appellate Team (2000 Jessup Team); Moot Court Open Chairperson; Order of the Barristers; Senior Trial Semifinalist; Fencing Club President

University of Georgia – Ars Baccalaureate (Criminal Justice)

 Athens, Georgia

Graduated May 1998 – Athens, Georgia

    • Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society; Dean’s List; Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity; President’s Scholar

Oxford University – Study Abroad

Oxford, United Kingdom

    • International Law and International Conflicts at Hereford and Baliol Colleges


Coleman & Chambers, LLP

Gainesville, Georgia

November 2001 – May 2002

    • Domestic practice, civil litigation, and research and argument on behalf of DFCS in child custody, including deprivation, and termination victories

 Law Offices of James E. Palmour, III

Gainesville, Georgia

May 2001 – November 2001

    • Investigator for the City Attorney of Gainesville – interviewed witnesses and researched issues

Office of the District Attorney (Enotah Judicial Circuit)

Hiawassee, Georgia

May 2002 – May 2003

    • Assistant District Attorney (felony and misdemeanor non-drug criminal prosecution)

Merlinus Goodman Monroe, LLC

Hiawassee, Blairsville, Rabun Gap, Gainesville, and Dahlonega, Georgia

May 2003 – July 2003, June 2004 – Present

    • As an Associate for Russell M. Stookey, P.C., and subsequently as a self-employed attorney, achieved adoptions (and won contested adoption matters in both trial courts and appellate courts), won custody disputes and divorces and did legitimations; successful criminal defense; drafted wills, codicils, and trusts, and administered complex estates

    • Have won in both the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Georgia Court of Appeals

Hall County Court Administration

Gainesville, Georgia

June 2007 – May 2009

    • As the Hall County Law Librarian, I assisted practitioners and pro se litigants with their ongoing cases and legal research; drafted Orders and memoranda for Northeastern Circuit Superior Court


  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Georgia
  • Court of Appeals of Georgia; Georgia Supreme Court
  • United States District Court (Northern District of Georgia)
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of America)
  • Master Mason
  • Limited Proficiency – Spanish, French, Arabic

I have added to the above description of my skills by clarifying my language skills a little.  It is necessary to describe my Arabic skills as very basic.  Several years ago, one of my best friends from law school, Jason Robertson, Esquire, was in the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corp during the invasion of Iraq, and sent a copy of the Koran to me as a birthday present.  He had found it in an open-air market, and it was lovely – brass-bound and beautifully-written. However, it was entirely in Arabic.  While working as the Hall County Law Librarian, I resolved to begin learning Arabic, so that I might read this Koran myself, and my studies were progressing well (being a separate system entirely from the Latin-based systems with which I had previous familiarity through my native English vocabulary, my knowledge of Spanish, and my limited instruction in French, it is especially difficult to learn to write, let alone to speak).  However, when my work as a Law Librarian suddenly came to an end and I was required to actively ply my trade as an attorney, my Arabic self-instruction slowed considerably. Though I have continued to learn the spoken language, and have communicated with others in limited fashion on several occasions, I am not comfortable describing my grasp of such a complex and difficult language as anything other than very basic.