Tag Archives: Law

Law, Rock, and Motorcycles

Mark J. Bamberger, Ph.D., J.D.
The Mark Bamberger Co., LLC

My main law office has three primary themes; law practice stuff, rock & roll music, and motorcycle models and pictures. It is an odd concoction for some, but not really, if you think of it. The commonality is passion.
I practice law with heartfelt passion for our clients. Lets be clear, I could not afford to do this for free and I do have a fondness for being able to eat and otherwise feed and clothe my family. But at The Mark J. Bamberger, Co., we have a history of taking on cases that might not be the easiest or safest moneymakers. It can be stressful as heck, but personally, I have always liked underdogs. I am a franchise-long Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, for goodness sake! As fair as the American common law legal system can be, it is not really as equal as the scales of justice might infer. Money buys power and influence; no doubt about that. Yet, don’t you agree that there is something honorable about the single guy or gal going up against the multi-national corporation; and sometimes winning? We empathize with our clients as much as we can and battle for them. This means I will likely never be rich, but boy do I sleep peacefully at night.

Growing up and coming of age in the 1970’s, my soundtrack is steeped in classic rock. I respect jazz, classical, even some hip hop; but I consistently come back home again. It was on when I studied in high school, then college, then graduate school, then law school. It is on these days when I write briefs and prepare for trials and do accounting and paperwork around my offices. You get the point. Having always fought ADHD (we called it “hyperactivity” back in the day), the music always shot down all the distracting thoughts constantly cruising through my brain and thus allowed me to focus on the task at bar. When my daughters became able to distinguish between AC/DC and The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and Def Leppard, I knew my job as a parent was done.

I came to motorcycling relatively late in life. Before the age of 40, I had no interest. Then like a light switch, something got turned on in my brain and my heart. I saw one of my vendors coming to meetings on a shiny green 2001 Kawasaki Ninja and, boom, my life changed. This is not hyperbole, and that by the way became my first motorcycle. Other than my family, motorcycling is one of the strongest passions of my life. In just over 13 years I have logged more than 75,000 miles. Two-thirds of those have come in the past three years on my beloved 2000 Honda Goldwing; she’s named “The Blue Mistress”. Bikers know Goldwings; great big, incredibly well designed and comfy rides that eat up miles like aardvarks gobble up ants. I could write books on the joy of a 3,000-mile motorcycle trip; the freedom, the meditation, the “Carpe Diem”. Lets just say that some think about breathing. I think about riding tomorrow; then the day after that.

The commonality is passion. The music ushers me through the pressures of my work life as it does through mile after mile after mile on my bike. The dangers of riding equalize the pressures of a stressful second career; my law practice. In law school I once asked a professor why so many lawyers have drug and/or alcohol problems. Given her academic bent, she could not answer. After starting to practice law as what I thought of as a thoughtful and engaged attorney, it became quite clear.
Client problems become my problems. It can be corrosive and engulfing. Away from the practice, some lawyers drink or take too many pills or have affairs. I listen to classic rock and ride my motorcycle.

Negative Connotations of the Word – Attorney

Negative Connotations of the Word - AttorneyTo be (a lawyer), or not to be (a lawyer); that was our question.  Many of us decided to go into the practice for a myriad of reasons; social justice, money, fame because playing piano in a brothel was unfeasible and so on.  We studied all the law and all its historical jurisprudence in our respective law schools.  We further learned in school or elsewhere the scorn many people hold for attorneys.  Why is this so?

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
William Shakespeare, King Henry VI Part 2.

 

 

“My decision to become a lawyer was irrevocably sealed when I realized my father

hated the legal profession.”  John Grisham

 

Perhaps people are jealous of the huge sums of money we make; at least that is what I hear. Perhaps they hate our nice suits or fancy cars or big houses.  I have heard those do exist too.  Perhaps they are threatened by the self-discipline they know it takes to get through years and years of agonizing legal education.  Doctors too are often held in low regard.  Many medical friends of mine will relate similar experiences of scorn and derision.  They also often tell of the often fictional “good life” of a well-paid physician.

 

“’Lawyer’, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law.”
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary.

 

Barristers hold a proud place in the English and American common law.  So noble was the practice in England that the barristers used to not touch the money they were paid.  Patrons would place pay in their robe pockets to keep the honorable practice of law from the low-brow collection of money.  Where did those days go?

 

The above-cited quote from King Henry VI does not mean that life would simply be more pleasurable if there were no lawyers.  It meant something more deeper and more profound.  Within context, the quote inferred that lawyers were the keepers of the rules; the arbiters of structure in society.  In the noble ancestry of the practice of law, this meant that without laws, and therefore lawyers to administer and interpret and argue those laws, there would be anarchy.

I don’t think you can make a lawyer honest by an act of legislature.  You’ve got to work on his conscience.

And his lack of conscience is what makes him a lawyer.” Will Rogers

A measured and organized society needs rules.  Those rules need to be known by and regulated by lawyers.  It is not any more or less complicated than that.  And still we are far too often scorned.  When I began my practice of law, I realized that four easy “riles” would elevate me into the top third of practicing counsel: (1) be competent, if not expert, at least competent in the area in which you are practicing; (2) look clients in the eyes when you speak to them; (3) be honest about the frailties of their case; and (4) manage client expectations.  I learned this lesson the hard way; as do we all.  A growing percentage of my clientele’ emanates from someone else’s client list.  That former counselor somehow lost those clients by violating one of these four rules.  I have violated, to some degree still do violate, at a least rules #3 and #4.  I like all attorneys like paying customers.  There is a profound difference between voluntary and involuntary pro bono work.  However, in my zeal for an exciting case or zest for paying the overhead at my office, I still find myself promising a little too much, saying it a bit too optimistically, or honestly underestimating the challenge of a case; especially since I often find myself on the plaintiff bar of the practice.

 

“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.”
Abraham Lincoln

 

With that in mind, there is a small percentage of the bar who give attorneys their bad name.  We all know who they are.  For me, 90-95% of the Dayton bar are people: (1) I respect; (2) I like personally; and (3) with whom I would share dinner and/or bourbon.  It’s the other 5-10% of the sample population who fail on two or all three of those accounts.  They are not merely “ambulance chasers”, but endeavor to belittle clients and opposing counsel alike; I fear out of a need to compensate for shortcomings elsewhere.  They are the ones who, often in loud and boisterous voice, transmit the form of arrogance and lack of empathy that we all seem to hear when discussing lawyers.  The massive amount of lawyer jokes are on one level humorous, yet on another level telling of the important role we attorneys play in modern society and also the scorn with which we have to deal.

 

The attitude toward attorneys might have something to do with their portrayal in movies and on TV.  From Perry Mason, Jack McCoy on “Law & Order”, or Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” at one end of the spectrum to the drunken underdog played by Paul Newman in “The Verdict” or Al Pacino’s Arthur Kirkland in “And Justice for All” on the other end, lawyers are seen as everything from the most noble to the most base of creature.

 

“I think we may class the lawyer in the natural history of monsters.”
John Keats

 

We like to see ourselves as fitting in the former category, but due to occasional perception problems or arrogance disguised as supreme confidence, some at times see us as fitting more snugly into the latter.  In part, people fear the unknown.  Like taking your car to a mechanic you do not fully trust or your child to a new doctor, humans approach the unknown with concern.  For most people, the American legal system is the unknown.  The best teachers are those who can take complex information and explain it simply.  In part that is what we are; legal teachers as well as counselors.  Let us never forget that.

 

The bottom line is this: We need to drum out the 5-10% that ruin our reputations and defame our good intentions and slowly, client by client, educate people of the importance of law in our society and the noble way we (try to) practice it.  When will I stop “practicing” at law?  I will get back to you on that one.  Often it is a simple matter of education.  The more that our clients understand the complexities (and at times idiosyncrasies) of the law applicable to their case or the frailties of the case they think they have, the more they seem to appreciate our efforts, training, and compassionate practice of the age-old and noble craft of practicing law.

 

“The good lawyer is not the man who has an eye to every side and angle of contingency, and qualifies all his qualifications, but who throws himself on your part so heartily, that he can get you out of a scrape.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson


The Mark Bamberger Co., LLC is a general practices focusing on bankruptcy, civil litigation, criminal defense, employment law, family law, environmental law, and animal law.  See www.bambergerlaw.com.  TMBC has offices in Tipp City, West Chester, Enon, and Spring Valley, Ohio.

As the famous remark by the plotter of treachery in Shakespeare’s King Henry VI shows – “The first thing we must do is kill all the lawyers,” – the surest way to chaos and tyranny even then was to remove the guardians of independent thinking. http://www.spectacle.org/797/finkel.html, The Ethical Spectacle, July, 1997.

These percentages are anecdotal averages drawn from a consensus with other attorneys and is pertinent to the Dayton (Ohio) bar.  My experience is that for the Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, or Cleveland bars, the percentage of bad actors is notably higher.

Laboring through Employment Law

Ohio is a tough place to do employment law!  Being one of the dreaded “at will” states, an employer can pretty much rid themselves of an employee without much cause.  No reason need be given.  What cannot be given is an illegal or unconstitutional reason.  There is tremendous statutory leeway provided to Ohio employers to follow their business models.

As difficult as it is to pursue a labor or employment law civil litigation cases in Ohio, The Mark Bamberger Co., LLC finds opportunities to represent employees who have been wronged.  The challenge is to define with our clients the difference between being wronged in fact and being able to prove that a client has been wronged in a court of law.

The litigation process begins by deciding if a client has a constitutional claim, such as gender, age, or racial bias; or else some noted violation of an existing contract or union agreement.  Most of the labor clients we see did not sign a contract with their employer, are not part of a union, and do not have a viable constitutional claim to proffer.  That makes litigation tough.  Additionally, our clients need to consider the potential outcome.  They typically fall into one of three categories: (1) those who continue to hold their jobs, yet want some remedy for a wrong; (2) those who lost their job and want it back, if at all possible; and (3) those who lost their job and do not want to go anywhere near the place ever, ever, ever again.  Different approaches and sensitivities are indicated depending on which category is applicable in the case at bar.  Some law firms go right for the civil complaint (suing the “SOB/s”).  At The Mark Bamberger Co., LLC, we often find that a three-step approach provides the best opportunity for our clients to get where they need to go; with only the third and final step being a civil complaint.

Overall, the most important thing for our clients in ANY litigation environment to do is to define what a “victory” looks like.  Many times they just need help in order to move on with their life with some version of closure; be it financial, psychological, or otherwise.

MJB 3/10

The Second Wave of Bankruptcies

Mark J. Bamberger, Esq., Principal

The Mark Bamberger Co., LLC

Those with adjustable rate mortgages (“ARMs”) who made it through what seems to have been the worst part of the recent Recession are taking a deep breath in thanks of maintaining their homes from foreclosure either within or without Bankruptcy.  It is good news, to be sure.  But before uncorking that champagne, bear this in mind.  Many economic experts who study these things forecast that a second wave of foreclosures and bankruptcies on the near horizon.

The reason for this pessimistic prediction has to do with the structure of many housing loans.  Many of the ARMS still out there are about to hit a second “adjustment” phase, in which, like the first one, the rates will shoot for the sky.  This could raise some ARMs from 6% to perhaps more than 10%, meaning hundreds of dollars more in monthly mortgage payments for the average household and further financial peril.  This wave is predicted to begin washing up on our shores later in 2010 and into 2011 and 2012.  And no, this has nothing to do with the Mayan calendar!

As before, the important thing to do is avoid panic.  Just as the federal programs for home retention, for example President Obama’s Home Affordable Program, helped so many through the first wave, many who know this stuff say a second mortgage assistance program is on its way.  Also, mortgage brokers are now accustomed to dealing with attorneys representing economically challenged and desperate clients.  My mantra is this: “As wonderful as your house is, in this market the bank does not want it!  It is in their best interest to keep you as a paying customer as long as they can”.  In other words, they are on your side – well as much as a monolithic, cold, heartless creditor can be.

And on the subject of mortgage broker empathy, more often now I see more clients in my offices concerned about the pace of their loan modification under federal or state home retention programs.  They also complain about the mortgage brokers repeatedly losing paperwork and nagging them for “updated financials” to process their modification applications.  Although I join many others in assuming an insidious and nasty motive from mortgage brokers, some of this just makes sense.  As I advise my clients, mortgage creditors are so overwhelmed with modification applications that it can literally take four months or more for them to review a client file and render an offer on modification.  The lost paperwork and need for them to update that client’s financial information is more an artifact of the backlog than anything insidious.  Alternatively, if a client has evidence of nasty motives, I am more than happy to take their civil case against that mortgage broker.

Labor Law

The Mark Bamberger Law Co. LLC, is at the forefront of workers’ compensation and labor law. We seek to maintain a continued high level of skill and knowledge in this complex and ever-changing area of case law. We are dedicated to the highest level of client satisfaction and will guide you through your workers’ compensation and labor dispute case. Contact our experienced Ohio personal injury attorneys at The Mark Bamberger Law Co. LLC and call us at (877) 644-8181.

Every Ohio employer is legally required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for its employees. This insurance covers past and future medical expenses and lost wages.

We evaluate our client’s claim to assess its legitimacy and determine compensation. We retain superb medical and economic experts who guide our attorneys in evaluating claims.

We handle claims for any type of workplace injury, including fractures, lost limbs, spinal injuries, lacerations, head injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive stress injuries, and injuries caused by other employees or equipment. We have significant experience handling claims against private industry, federal, state and local government employers and their workers’ compensation insurers. We deal with issues involving defenses, fraud, subrogation, and appeals.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys of The Mark Bamberger Law Co. LLC by callingl us at (877) 644-8181.

Family Law

At The Mark Bamberger Law Co. LLC, we recognize that going through a divorce can be a difficult, emotional experience. Our family law focus strives to guide individuals and their families through this traumatic time with dignity, sensitivity and the utmost respect. We are committed to protecting clients’ rights while preserving relationships with the children involved. Call us at (877) 644-8181.

With our extensive business experience, we are able to handle even the most complex financial issues involved in a divorce.
Experienced Divorce, Child Custody, Adoption and Visitation Rights Lawyers

We have experience and represent clients in the following areas:

* Divorce (contested and uncontested)
* Asset Division
* Separation
* Annulments
* Alimony
* Child Custody
* Child Support
* Visitation
* Grandparents’ Rights
* Pre and Post-Nuptial Agreements
* Modifications
* Domestic Violence
* Restraining Orders
* Paternity
* Mediation
* Adoptions

For more information about divorce, child custody, adoption, or any other family issues, or to schedule a consultation, contact the firm experienced in Ohio family law, The Mark Bamberger Law Co. LLC by calling us at (877) 644-8181.

Civil Litigation

As our client, you may be experiencing a legal dispute with another party that seeks monetary damages or specific performance rather than criminal sanctions. The Mark Bamberger Law Co. LLC represent our clients in trials, hearings, arbitration and mediation before administrative agencies, and federal, state and local courts.

The Mark Bamberger Law Co. LLC manages a broad range of disputes.  Several common types of civil litigation include:

* Landlord/Tenant
* Products Liability
* Personal injury
* Construction
* Medical Malpractice
* Employment & Labor
* Real Estate
* Anti-Trust
* Intellectual Property
* Environmental
* Worker’s Compensation

Since civil litigation is an adversarial process, litigation attorneys and paralegals from The Mark Bamberger Law Co. LLC assume an oppositional position and embrace conflict and controversy. We often work long hours, especially during trial, and perform occasional travel, always to ensure that your case is handled with the most favored outcome in mind.

We handle all seven stages of the civil litigation process: investigation, pleadings, discovery, pre-trial, trial, settlement and appeal. Please be aware, not every lawsuit passes through each stage of litigation; most lawsuits are settled prior to trial and many cases that reach a trial verdict are not appealed.

The lifespan of a lawsuit can range from several months to several years. Complex civil litigation often takes years to pass from pre-suit investigation through trial/settlement.

We have found that discovery can be the longest and most labor-intensive stage of civil litigation. Contrary to the images portrayed by television, civil litigators spend very little time in trial; most of our time is actually devoted to the discovery stage of litigation.

General Practice

When you are in need of legal services, you need to find the right attorney. Whatever legal problems arise in your life, you will be in good hands with The Mark Bamberger Law Co.

We provide our clients with a wide range of overlapping practice areas, from drafting wills, trusts and estates and handling personal injury cases to negotiating our clients tax settlements with the Internal Revenue Service. From the simple to complex, we provide effective and caring representation.

We are proud to ardently and aggressively represent your case, no matter its size. You can depend on us to fight to obtain the best outcome for you.