In your pocket or handbag, there's a piece of electronic equipment so powerful it would make George Jetson swoon. St. Louis attorneys weigh in on how smart phones—as well as email, social media and other forms of e-communication—have changed how they practice law.
Long nights spent studying can teach any student a thing or two about their desired field, but there always is something you can’t learn until you’re actually out in the field. These local attorneys discuss the best lessons they learned after law school.
In the often-complicated realm of child custody issues, technology has been able to offer some solace to both parents and youngsters through the telephone. As the world becomes increasingly digital, it’s no surprise this process would follow suit: Virtual visitations are one of the latest ways parents and their children are staying connected after divorce through video chat programs like FaceTime and Skype.
The Champagne toasts and wedding cake may have passed, but there still is time for claiming whose is whose. Postnuptial agreements, the figurative younger sibling of the better-known prenuptial agreements, offer legal documentation of spousal understandings, should marital circumstances change in the future. But if you’re happily married, why bring attorneys into the picture?
There’s something about a courtroom drama that piques our interest—but with shows and movies about lawyers hitting the air waves every week, we wondered what the professionals watch. Here, we’ve asked area attorneys for their all-time favorites. (And we’re adding them to our list!)
When facing an impending divorce, it can feel like you are drowning in a tumultuous sea surrounded by major decisions about the most important aspects of your life. The family law firm of Green Cordonnier & House aims to be a life jacket for you during that time, helping you protect what matters the most, says partner Margo Green. “It’s very important that the attorney you choose to guide you though that process understands the traumatic nature of the situation. You may not be able to see clearly at that moment, but with so many years of experience, we are confident that we can guide you in the right direction.”
Michelle House, Margo Green and Justin Cordonnier
As Clayton celebrates its centennial anniversary, LN asked some longtime Clayton business leaders about their hopes for the city's next 100 years.
These days, drunken photos, death threats and infidelity are more than Facebook fodder: Social media is becoming pivotal evidence in a court of law.
You’re in love, life is great and you can’t wait to get married. But have you considered a prenuptial agreement before you say I do? With almost 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, taking steps to protect your assets may be a good idea, as long as you carefully consider all factors involved. “Anyone who is thinking about a prenup should talk to an attorney and weigh the pros and cons, because every situation is unique,” says Kirk Stange of Stange Law Firm.
Had the first version of the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act stood, Missouri teachers may not have been able to be Facebook friends with their own children. As originally written, the ‘Facebook law’ implied that teachers with children in school in the same district would be prohibited from electronic communication, just one of the propositions of the bill that created an uproar around the state. “It prevented teachers from communicating with their own family members,” says Katie Forster, attorney with Lashly & Baer.
Gaslight, with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, is a 1944 thriller that tells the story of husband who tries to make his wife believe she is insane as he tries to retrieve some jewels stowed away in their attic. “The only way he could get the jewels was to make her think she was crazy. As a result, she started to have a real breakdown, and that’s what some people do in real life,” says Susan Hais of Hais, Hais, Goldberger & Coyne. “Usually, it’s people who are suffering from a condition called narcissism—characterized chiefly by a person being focused entirely on his or herself and is motivated by the desire to look good at the expense of others.” She says in a marriage, the situation can play out in a number of ways. “For example, the husband gets irritated with the wife due to something called a narcissistic insult. This could be something perceived as mildly critical against him, but he takes on an attitude of incredible revenge and never gives it up.”
Technology and the economy will make big waves in the national discourse this year, local attorneys say. And if their outlook is any indication, these hotbutton topics will have everyone talking!
Arguably one of the most critical financial situations a person might ever face, divorce demands expertise in a host of disciplines, including taxes, real estate, property division and emotional support, to name just a few. Recognizing the multitude of challenges, the attorneys of Green Cordonnier & House have developed a team approach, with the firm’s three partners, Margo Green, Michelle House and Justin Cordonnier, along with four associate attorneys, bringing more than 100 years of experience to the team.
Justin Cordonnier of Green Cordonnier & House
While they’re navigating a divorce— amicable or acrimonious—parents sometimes neglect the impact on their children, whether they’re toddlers or teenagers. One of the more common mistakes, says family law attorney Margo Green, is speaking negatively about the other parent. “It lowers the self-image of the child, because let’s face it—if Dad’s no good, then the child’s no good,” she explains. “Parents have to realize that no matter how they feel about their spouse, they cannot share those negative feelings with their children.” It’s not just conversations with the kids that cause damage, she adds. “So many times a mom or dad can be having a telephone conversation and not realize the child in the next room can hear everything.”
Family law attorney Margo Green, of Green, Cordonnier & House
No parent wants to get a call about their child getting into trouble at school. But with awareness about bullying on the rise after several recent extreme cases, it’s more important than ever for parents to be involved and proactive, experts say— advice that applies whether your child is the victim of bullying, or they’re accused of it.
Divorce is never easy: Two people are dividing up their entire lives, with children, homes and assets involved. The process can be long and difficult, so it is imperative to choose the right attorney from the onset.
Often described as one of life’s most difficult experiences, divorce disrupts families and finances, and if the process is complicated with hostility and anger, it becomes even harder for everyone involved. Family law attorneys, familiar with the intense emotions that most often accompany the dissolution of a marriage, have advice for couples facing this challenge.
Pictured on the cover, from left: Erin Rathjen, Michelle House, Amanda McNelley, Justin Cordonnier, Jennifer Thomas, Margo Green and Gina Casalone.
Partners Margo Green, Justin Cordonnier and Michelle House
Although it may seem harmless enough to post those great photos from your beach vacation on Facebook, you might want to reconsider if you’re in the middle of a divorce. That’s the advice of attorney Margo Green, a partner in the family law practice of Green Cordonnier & House. “Social network sites are increasingly being utilized as evidence in divorce cases,” Green explains. “So we are advising our clients to close down their Facebook accounts during the divorce.” She also cautions against sensitive email communications on the family computer. “If your spouse has access to that computer, and it’s not password protected, your attorney cannot communicate with you, because there is no attorney-client privilege.”
November 26, 2010
The recession has affected every business, from major, multinational corporations to corner mom-and-pop diners. “Law firms are no exception,” says Margo Green of Green Cordonnier & House, a family law practice. “Without a doubt, the business of managing a law firm has changed since the economy slowed down. Beginning with the second quarter in 2009, it became evident that the economic downturn was having a significant impact on the divorce segment of our practice. People weren’t coming in for consultations as often, and they weren’t filing for divorce, not because their marriages had suddenly improved, but because they couldn’t afford it.”