litigation

Stimulating Our Senses With a Coffee Tasting

Stimulating Our Senses With a Coffee Tasting

Doucet & Associates recently hosted our first coffee tasting event for our lawyers and staff. We tasted a variety of different types of coffee including a light blonde roast, a medium roast, and a dark roast...

Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. Attorneys Receive Rising Stars Honor

Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. Attorneys Receive Rising Stars Honor

Attorneys Troy J. Doucet and Andrew Gerling are being recognized as a 2017 Ohio Rising Star by Super Lawyers. This honor is reserved for lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice. Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. focuses on helping our clients fight foreclosure, consumer law, and small business litigation.

Troy Doucet established this law firm to help people fight against banks, mortgage companies, and debt collectors. He also wrote the foreclosure defense book 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure: How to Beat the Bank, trains new attorneys in consumer law, and has taught CLE courses for lawyers. Troy works hard to make sure that our clients get outstanding legal representation and is proud of the consumer-friendly case law this firm helps establish every day.

Andrew Gerling is a senior associate and litigator at Doucet & Associates. He has significant experience helping people in consumer protection lawsuits such as foreclosure defense, abusive debt collection, and consumer fraud. Andrew and Troy have great experience working with consumer matters that involve the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Consumer Sales Protection Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Truth in Lending Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Troy Doucet and Andrew Gerling are honored to have received the 2017 Ohio Rising Stars Award for consumer law. The dedication the attorneys at Doucet & Associates give our clients has helped our law firm become one of the most recognized foreclosure defense and consumer law firms in Ohio.

Contact Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance with a foreclosure lawsuit or consumer protection matter.

 

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Do You Want to Start a Business?

Do You Want to Start a Business?

New entrepreneurs are often excited, nervous, anxious and confused all at the same time when starting a business.  Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. is here to alleviate some of that stress by helping with negotiations, contracts, litigation and other legal matters. The firm also has developed a free video seminar on drafting contracts to help new business owners, which you can find here.

Ohio also offers many great resources for new small business owners to learn about running a business, how to get started and events such as the BizStartNow Business Planning Session in Columbus.

Columbus is one of the fastest developing cities in Ohio when it comes to the number of business startups. In 2011 the Office of Research in Ohio recorded 2,863 business startups in Franklin County alone out of the 22,287 that started statewide. That is more than any other county that year.

Ohio.gov offers many free resources for starting a business in Ohio. Entrepreneurs can access a simple step by step process to learn about the many factors that come with starting a business. There is also information regarding licenses and permits, laws and regulations, employee information and how to obtain financial assistance.

There are many Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) around Ohio where new entrepreneurs and existing business owners can access one-on-one help and participate in events. Locally in Columbus, Ohio the SBDC is at the Columbus State Community College. The BizStartNow Business Planning session in Columbus is a monthly series of events that beginning no the first Tuesday. Entrepreneurs and small business owners can access BizStartNow registration information by clicking here. Another great resource is the Small Business Administration SCORE program that matches retired professionals to business owners that need assistance.

If you need legal help, Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can assist you. You may also find our contract drafting seminar helpful available for viewing here. Call Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. today for assistance at (614)-944-5219.

 

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Craigslist Buyers Have Rights Under the CSPA

Craigslist Buyers Have Rights Under the CSPA

In 2012, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against a Cincinnati man for failing to deliver goods he offered for sale on Craigslist, charging him with violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act (the “CSPA”). Kevin L. Hunter of Cincinnati was charged by the Ohio Attorney General for failing to deliver goods he offered for sale on Craigslist, primarily automobile tires and rims. State and federal databases indicated that victims lost more than $50,000 to Hunter over seven years.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit charged the man with multiple violations of Ohio’s CSPA, including failure to deliver, misrepresenting price advantages, and advertising and selling without possessing the goods to be sold. In the lawsuit, the Attorney General sought consumer restitution, injunctive relief, and civil penalties.

In a press statement, Attorney General DeWine stated, “It’s bad enough when a consumer ends up paying for shoddy workmanship or products that don’t perform as promised, but paying for something and getting nothing is outrageous.”

The scammer was found to have committed unfair and deceptive acts and practices in violation of the CSPA by: 1) accepting payments from consumers for goods and then failing to deliver the purchased goods and failing to return payments to consumers; 2) representing that specific price advantages existed, when they did not; 3) selling consumer goods without taking reasonable steps to acquire the goods necessary to complete the transactions; and 4) advertising and selling goods without having ownership or possession of the goods and failing to disclose that fact to buyers.

These acts constituted unconscionable acts and practices in violation of the CSPA where the scammer entered into consumer transactions while knowing of the inability of the consumers to receive substantial benefits from the subject of the consumer transactions. The Court found him liable for the scam and ordered him to pay $3,200 in consumer restitution and $50,000 in civil penalties.

The Craigslist scam has since been added to the Ohio Public Inspection File (“PIF”) database, located on the Ohio Attorney General’s website. The searchable Public Inspection File contains decisions from Ohio courts establishing those acts or practices deemed to violate Ohio’s consumer protection laws. While the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1345) prohibits unfair, deceptive or unconscionable acts by suppliers, the statute does not identify every prohibited practice. Such determinations are often left to the courts.

The CSPA allows for enhanced damages to be assessed against a supplier for a violation that has been previously addressed in an administrative rule or by any Ohio court if the Attorney General’s Office has that decision available in its Public Inspection File. In such a case, a consumer may recover three times the amount of actual damages or $200, whichever is greater.

If you have been the victim of this type of scam, or think you may have been involved in a consumer transaction that violated the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, call Doucet & Associates. We specialize in consumer defense and may be able to assist you in protecting and asserting your rights.

 

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Performance Reviews: Doucet & Associates is Looking for Feedback

Performance Reviews: Doucet & Associates is Looking for Feedback

We recently updated the testimonials page on our website. It now offers resources to past clients who would like to leave a positive review and let future clients know how we have helped consumers in central Ohio obtain justice. The page includes links to our Yelp!, Avvo, Google, and a survey that we use to improve client relations. We take reviews very seriously at Doucet & Associates because of how closely our practice works with the average consumer, and any insights to how we are doing are greatly appreciated and considered heavily in our client interactions.

In addition, we have also included a section on video testimonials. While reviews are an excellent way for consumers to know what services a company offers, we believe that being able to put a face to the reviewer can help to make the content of their words more meaningful. If we helped you with a legal matter and you would like to share your story, we would love to put you in front of a camera to share it.

Call us at (614) 944-5219 or email us at info@doucet.law to schedule a time to record your video testimonial. Doucet & Associates is committed to reaching out and connecting with the community in any way we can. Consumers are so often considered last in many aspects of the legal system and we want to ensure that everyone has a chance to make their voice heard in the legal system. If we helped advocate for your rights, visit our testimonials page to see how you can make your story known.

 

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Ohio Attorney General Special Counsel Now Subject to FDCPA: Gillie v. Law Office of Eric A Jones, LLC

Ohio Attorney General Special Counsel Now Subject to FDCPA: Gillie v. Law Office of Eric A Jones, LLC

In May, the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals determined in Gillie v. Law Office of Eric A. Jones, LLC, No. 14-3836, that attorneys working as contracted debt collectors for the Ohio Attorney General are subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Attorney General’s office, which is responsible for collecting debts owed to the State, often contracts attorneys to act as debt collectors under the title of “special counsel.” Along with this special counsel title came the letterhead of the Ohio Attorney General’s office, which was used when collecting consumer debt on behalf of the State. It is now likely a deceptive act under the FDCPA to use that letterhead, and thus a violation of federal law.

The FDCPA was passed in 1977 to protect consumers from abusive debt collection practices. Congress found that debt collection agencies often operated with the mentality that debt was to be collected at any cost, creating incentives to mislead, or sometimes bully consumers into paying their debts. However, in passing the act, Congress made exemptions for employees and officers of the State when collecting debts owed to the government. Whether or not Ohio Attorney General special counsel was protected under these exemptions was a fundamental issue that the Sixth Circuit Court had to decide.

The plaintiffs, Pamela Gillie and Hazel Meadows, filed a lawsuit against several law firms acting as special counsel for the Ohio Attorney General. They argued that the use of the Attorney General’s letterhead was intentionally misleading, and therefore a violation of the FDCPA. After a lower district court ruled in favor of the defendants, the decision was appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court. The court determined that whether or not the special counsel debt collection letters were misleading was a matter best left for a jury, but held the FDCPA did apply to special counsel acting for the Ohio Attorney General when collecting medical debts for the State.

The Sixth Circuit Court determined that special counsel was in no way considered to either be employees or officers of the State of Ohio, despite their use of the Attorney General letterhead. Because of their nature as contractors for the State, the court determined that any special counsel attempting to collect consumer debt for the Ohio Attorney General was subject to the FDCPA. In this case, special counsel was acting to collect past due OSU medical debts.

The Sixth Circuit Court determined that special counsel is subject to the FDCPA when attempting to collect consumer debts for the State, due to the nature of their relationship with the Ohio Attorney General. Because they were contracted by the Attorney General, and not hired or appointed, they are not protected under the exemptions they claimed. This firm believes that the letters will likely be determined to violate the law, and that the consumer/debtors will recover under the FDCPA. If you think that you may have been affected by this practice, then please call Doucet & Associates at (614) 944-5219.

 

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Doucet Wins Super Lawyers 2014 Pro Bono Award: For the Greater Good

Doucet Wins Super Lawyers 2014 Pro Bono Award: For the Greater Good

Doucet & Associates is proud to announce that we have recently been named a recipient of the Super Lawyers 2014 Pro Bono Awards. Super Lawyers chose to bestow the award on our practice thanks to the firm’s decision to establish a position dedicated to pro bono work. Jonathan Layman stepped up to fill the position in July of 2014, representing dozens of clients since.

Jonathan Layman decided to join Doucet & Associates after working on the other side, for creditors. Having represented creditors in cases concerning debt collection and eviction, Layman found that working with people he could sympathize with was much more rewarding. He finds that caring about the client on a personal level is very important to him, and somehow that becomes lost in translation when representing a company trying to collect debts. “There’s nothing wrong with representing creditors… but I found that I just wasn’t really happy doing it” stated Layman in his interview with Super Lawyers.

Needless to say, he fits in quite well at Doucet & Associates, where we work hard to ensure that our clients get the best legal representation they can. Troy believes that lawyers “have a tremendous ability to do good. There are few professions on the planet that allow or enable one person to affect so much change.” He is as proud of the consumer-friendly case law that this firm helps to establish every day, as he is of each and every attorney at the firm that helps to do it.

Attorney Troy Doucet established this law firm to help the “little guy” against enormous businesses and banks that seem to have limitless resources to throw at any legal problem. Focusing in foreclosure defense, consumer law and small business litigation, Doucet & Associates works hard to help our clients stand up for their rights. For this reason, along with the impressive results garnered by the firm, Doucet & Associates has become one of the most recognized consumer law firms in central Ohio.

Troy firmly believes that it is much better to assist someone rather than turn them away, especially when they are in need. It is for this reason that we offer the phone consultations, a hotline dedicated to asking legal questions (feel free to call at (614) 221-9800), and will even point an individual in the right direction if we are unable to help. We are dedicated to building a better world through the courts, and upholding the ideals of justice and integrity that our legal system was always intended to represent.

We would like to thank Super Lawyers from the bottom of our hearts for the award that they saw fit to give us. It both humbling and empowering to know what is being done in these walls is work that others find worthy of note. We will always put our clients first, and we encourage you to call if you are facing legal action against a business far bigger than yourself.

 

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Eileen Paley Sells Practice to Doucet

Eileen Paley Sells Practice to Doucet

Columbus City Councilmember Eileen Paley has sold her law practice to the Dublin based law firm of Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. The sale will enable Council member Paley to focus on serving the people of Franklin County through Columbus City Council, as well as focus more energy on her race for Franklin County Municipal Court.

As the sale is finalized, Councilmember Paley will join Doucet & Associates part time until her upcoming Municipal Court Judicial election. This will enable her to assist with the transition of the clients she has helped over her 28 year legal career to their new home at Doucet & Associates, while balancing her increasingly involved tenure in public service.

Eileen Paley began practicing law in 1988. Her top priority has always been providing outstanding legal services for her clients. She took a personal approach to legal representation, and focused her practice on real estate law, business law, consumer law, juvenile law, and construction law. She first began her tenure as a Councilmember in 2009. Prior to Columbus City Council, Eileen served as Commissioner for the Columbus Civil Service Commission.

Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. is a consumer based law firm in Dublin, Ohio that helps people with an array of legal issues from foreclosure defense to consumer litigation. The 12 lawyer firm also works with small businesses, with a focus on litigation and contract disputes. Its principal, Troy Doucet, was named a rising star by Super Lawyers magazine in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and he graduated magna cum laude from Capital University Law School.

“We are very excited for this opportunity,” said Mr. Doucet, “Eileen Paley is an outstanding public servant who has built a terrific practice throughout her career. We are honored to be trusted with her client matters moving forward, and we look forward to Eileen’s continued success in public service.”

 

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Law Firm Writing Off $928,000 in Client Bills

Law Firm Writing Off $928,000 in Client Bills

Columbus, Ohio – The law firm of Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. is writing off $928,507 in client debt this year to help its clients afford other living expenses. The law firm primarily helps people facing foreclosure and consumers taken advantage of by businesses. The large write-off is part of the firm’s philosophy about ensuring the “little guy” can hire top quality legal representation without going bankrupt. The firm writes off portions of clients’ bills at the end of most cases so that its clients can move on with their lives without having to worry about a lawyer’s final bill.

Most of Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A.’s clients are unable to pay the firm’s full hourly rate each month, so the firm asks clients to pay a monthly minimum payment against their bill. That charge can range between $20 and $800 per month, depending on the case and the client’s ability to pay. Even if the firm wins or settles the case, it regularly writes off a portion of the remaining bill so their clients can find peace rather than face a lingering attorney’s bill.

The firm’s write-off this year includes work done by the firm’s dedicated pro bono attorney. The firm’s owner, Troy Doucet, hired this attorney after reflecting last Christmas on how the firm could do more good this year. The pro bono attorney is dedicated to helping the poor for free (or at a minimal cost based on income), and has worked closely with The Legal Aid Society of Columbus. The lawyer primarily helps tenants facing eviction from abusive landlords. Mr. Doucet indicates the pro bono position has been a tremendous success serving the poor, and that the firm will continue to fund the position indefinitely into the future.

In summing up his philosophy, Mr. Doucet explains, “We work very hard to protect people from being taken advantage of by others, and I would rather see a home saved from foreclosure than one of our clients risk losing it again because of our bill.” He says he is very proud of his firm’s substantial write-off, indicating his feeling that too many people chase making money rather than focusing on doing good. “This is a terrific time of year to reflect on how we help the less fortunate in our daily lives, and a great time to think about what we can do next year to help even more.” He hopes others find ways to do a little more good in the world, even if that means earning a little less.

Those in Ohio who need help with a legal issue, even if they cannot afford a lawyer, can reach the law firm at (614) 944-5219 or send us a message online.

 

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South Beach Fitness LLC Closes Location in Gahanna, OH

South Beach Fitness LLC Closes Location in Gahanna, OH

South Beach Fitness, LLC in Gahanna, Ohio closed that location in late September, 2013 to the surprise of many people. On the entrance door, it welcomed its members to visit its facility several miles away in Reynoldsburg. Unfortunately, some members recently signed up for services in Gahanna and expected to receive services at the Gahanna gym, especially after paying hundreds of dollars in enrollment and administrative fees. Questions remain about when the gym ownership knew about the move and why they chose to accept new membership fees with a pending move on the horizon.

Our firm is looking to help people who would like a refund of the money they paid to South Beach Fitness, LLC. The membership contract we reviewed appears to violate Ohio law, which likely entitles consumers to a refund of money paid, some damages, plus the payment of our attorneys’ fees for assisting in the matter.

If you would like to discuss how Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help you cancel your contract with no out of pocket attorney costs, please call us today at (614) 944-5219.

 

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Firm Sues Law Firm Kaman & Cusimano

Firm Sues Law Firm Kaman & Cusimano

Doucet & Associates, a small firm dedicated to protecting the rights of the consumer, has filed a lawsuit against Kaman & Cusimano, LLC, for violating the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) by selling Doucet’s client’s home without giving her the opportunity to pay back the amounts owed.

Kaman & Cusimano, LLC, represent the Coventry Manor Condominium Association. According to the lawsuit, in April of 2010, Coventry Manor filed a complaint in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to foreclosure condominium lien against Doucet’s client for past due condo fees. Coventry Manor was granted a default judgment and a decree of foreclosure.

Coventry Manor did little with the decree of foreclosure for two years until the fall of 2012, when Coventry Manor requested a legal document ordering the sale of the condo. According to the lawsuit, the condo was appraised and put in a sheriff’s auction, all without Doucet’s client’s knowledge. The condo did not sell until a year later, and for less than half of what the homeowner had originally paid for it.

A month later the homeowner learned about the sale. She retained foreclosure counsel and contacted Kaman & Cusimano to find out the payoff amount in order to redeem her home by paying the Association in full. Kama allegedly sent her a letter stating her right to redeem her home had expired three days after the sale was made — a claim the lawsuit alleges is untrue. They neglected to include a payoff quote, and the sale of the home was then confirmed by the court before the homeowner was given that final opportunity to pay off the Association dues.

Doucet’s client claims Kaman & Cusimano violated the FDCPA by falsely stating she had forfeited her right to redeem her home, as well as obstructing her rights by not including a payoff quote. She is suing for actual, emotional, statutory and other damages in addition to attorney fees and the cost of moving from her condo.

Doucet & Associates is dedicated to fighting for the rights of consumers, protecting their interests and offering legal assistance to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. If you feel that a company is taking advantage of you, the law firm welcomes your call at (614) 944-5219.

 

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Doucet Publishes “The Art of War for Lawyers”

Doucet Publishes “The Art of War for Lawyers”

Attorney Troy Doucet just released his version of Sun Tzu’s famous “Art of War” book that applies Sun Tzu’s teachings to litigation.

This carefully crafted litigation manual offers numerous insights into the practice of law. You will learn:

-The five dangerous personality traits and six calamities that lead to a case’s ruin. -How just five factors determine a case’s outcome. -How to manage the nine kinds of jurisdictions. -How to prepare for and use scorched earth tactics. -How to classify and work with various kinds of evidence. -How to effectively employ witnesses. -How to use secrecy, bait, and a developed strategy to keep your opponent off-balance. -And much more!

Learn more directly from Mr. Doucet’s sales portal at https://www.createspace.com/4769075. The book is also available on Amazon.com.

Only $24.95

 

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How to Interview for a Job at a Law Firm

How to Interview for a Job at a Law Firm

Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. employs multiple attorneys who work in the areas of foreclosure defense, consumer litigation, and small business litigation. This post will provide you some idea of how help ensure your job search leads to a position you love, plus how your interview with our firm can be successful. Whether you are looking to work for my firm or another law firm, here is my suggestion on how to effectively interview at a litigation-based law firm:

1. Have a sense of your interests. One of the major reasons that our associates have given for leaving the firm is that they determine that our primary area or type of law does not match up with their interests. They may have thought consumer law is what they wanted to do, but soon realized their passion really lies in domestic work, criminal defense, intellectual property, or that litigation is not really what they want to do. They determine after litigating for months about two words in a complex consumer statute that consumer litigation really is not where their passion lies.

To ensure you are interviewing at the right firm and that will lead to long-term success at that firm, have an idea of what you enjoyed learning about in law school and during internships, and look for a firm that pairs with those interests. Know what aspects of your educational and work background fit with our primary areas of law. While you may not have a tremendous sense of what you want to do right out of school, I am going to try to avoid hiring candidates that want to “test” out our practice area to see if they like it. I will also want to avoid hiring an attorney who spent their entire 3L year and summers studying IP law. This is not because IP law is not an admirable area to study, but because I would be concerned the candidate will be looking for an IP job as soon as they begin working for my firm (or my firm is just a place to pay bills while looking for that job they really want). Training lawyers is time intense and expensive, so I am going to be focused on those candidates whose interest lies in our practice area.

Enjoying the kind of work you are doing is very important to long-term happiness in the legal profession. While some candidates tell me their most important search attribute is finding a firm where they like the people they will work with, once you begin at a firm, you will find that a great atmosphere is only a part of the eeueation. You absolutely must enjoy the area of practice in addition to the people, and I’m going to be first focused on candidates who sense their interests match with my needs.

Let me be even more specific about our practice area. Litigation experience or course work is a great start. However, I am going to be most drawn to someone who has read the FDCPA (short statute) or has skimmed Ohio’s CSPA in preparation for our interview. A really impressive candidate will have a question or two about a complex area of these particular Acts during our interview. Asking an intelligent question about how one of these laws applies to a hypothetical during our interview yields further brownie points. This shows me you learned something about the laws we work with, and that you are probably interested in our work.

I want to stress that you may be an expert in the ECOA, FCRA, or some other technical consumer statute after a year at my firm, and the question is whether you want to be. If yes, then your interests may match our work.

2. Be able to articulate your long term goals. Hiring and training lawyers is expensive. Beyond basic training, new lawyers’ work needs reviewed closely for months, their work needs molded to our methods, and the time it takes them to learn is time lost on other matters. A good deal of our time is spent during the first six months on training new attorneys (even if most of the training is learning by doing), which means I want to hire lawyers that will want to stick around for more than six months. I am looking for lawyers who want to develop an expertise in consumer litigation and hopefully are looking to add value to the firm as they become more experienced (but I do not expect associates to source business). I am also looking for lawyers who will want to be on a shareholder track, and will be taking their position seriously.

For you, this means that you should think about where you want to be in 5 years or 10 years. If your goals are to try a few different jobs over the next five years to see what you like, that is great for expanding your life’s experience. A general practice firm may be more appropriate than one focused on one or two areas of law. Unfortunately, it is not cost effective for me to hire you. This is not to say things will not work out even if you get the job. But as an employer, I am going to want to limit my exposure to turn-over by seeking candidates who have a mature outlook on their professional legal career, and who can articulate where they see themselves longer-term, especially if their goals consistent with a firm like mine.

3. Be efficient during our interview. I want our time together to be as helpful and productive as possible for both of our sakes. I want to learn about you, and you want to learn about the law firm, the position, and my expectations. Let’s make the most of the first 15-45 minute meeting we have. Think about the areas indicated in this post, and also think seriously about your strengths and weaknesses before our interview. While it is cliché to ask a candidate about their strengths and weaknesses, I sometimes will ask about both to see whether you are prepared, introspective, and polished.

Think about what you want out of the job before our interview. Look at our website, search some court filings, and get a sense of whether you think our firm will be a match for you. While the job market is tough, you will enjoy life so much more if you are practicing in an area of law that fits with your outlook on life.

Depending on what kind of client matters I have on the calendar that day, I may need to limit our first meeting. This may not mean that I am not interested in you, but rather that other pressing matters require my immediate attention. Because of this, please watch for my cues that indicate I need to wrap things up. Also, please keep your answers to a few thoughts (avoid three minute answers), and do not cut me off while I am asking you a question. I understand most people are nervous during interviews, but if you are consistently interrupting me during an interview to share your thoughts, I will be wondering whether you will be able to listen to directions once you start work.

Show me you respect the small amount of time we have together by planning for it and being efficient during our meeting. Everything else being equal, your chances of securing the job will increase dramatically with some good preparation.

4. Project a professional appearance. Our clients trust us with some of the most important and pressing issues in their lives. They may also pay us a decent amount of money to handle those issues, and will expect that we portray professionalism in working with them. Thus, your presentation is important, and our meeting is the first and most important opportunity for you to make a powerful presentation to me.

This may sound ridiculous to some, but shower the day of your interview and make sure your clothes are clean and pressed. I have interviewed otherwise brilliant candidates who have neither showered nor ensured their clothes were clean. They were not hired. Further, I am very sensitive to smells, and do not hire people whose cologne or perfume is too strong. Some people who use the same cologne every day become desensitized to it and think they need 2-4 spritzes for it to work. Please do not spritz 2-4 times before our interview. If you feel the need, a half-spritz is the most you should wear early in the morning while you are getting ready the day of your interview. However, if I have to air out my office after you leave, you are certainly not going to be offered a position.

Further, please do not play with the soles of your shoes during the interview. This actually happens frequently, and causes me to wonder what you stepped in on your way to my office, and what I now have all over my hand from shaking yours. Sit up straight, speak clearly, and make eye contact so I know you are interested and engaged in our conversation. Also, I am not your drinking buddy. If you cannot maintain a level of professional communication with me during our brief interview, I am not going to feel confident that you will be able to maintain professional relationships with the firm’s clients.

I am not trying to scare you away from an interview, so this section is about common sense. Use common sense, and treat our interview as you would for any attorney position. Even though our firm has a business casual dress code during the week (unless meeting with a client or court), you should wear a suit and men should wear a tie. I want to meet you the same way that you will be meeting our clients or a judge. I do not need candidates to be perfect, but rather that they project a professional image because they are professionals now.

5. Be positive and enthusiastic. We help people who are going through difficult times in their lives, and sometimes we are the source of stability and hope that they may otherwise not have. You have a tremendous ability to be a source of good in your clients’ lives, and your positive yet realistic attitude will help shape the way they respond to their legal issue. Because of this, someone who is positive about their past experiences and enthusiastic about our work will have a leg up in our interview.

If our firm is exactly what you are looking for, I am going to get a sense of that by how you approach your cover letter and our interview. If you are thrilled about the opportunity to work here, do not be afraid to professionally convey that. However, there is no need to go overboard here – just focus on the good gained from tough situations. If you were in my shoes, you would want someone who knows what your firm does and is excited to get started immediately, versus someone who is not sure about the practice area but is willing to “give it a shot.” Also, speak positively about your past positions and show me you have a can-do attitude. I would love to end our interview with a feeling that you view each hurdle in life as an opportunity!

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Here is a final thought. I spend a good deal of thought on what I can do to make my employees’ experience positive. I routinely ask if there is anything I can do to make my staff members’ lives easier, and have a number of benefits to make working with our firm a great experience. I’ve also worked hard to design the firm so lawyers can have work/life balance, meaning most days you only need to be at work from 9-5.

In exchange, I am most serious about producing high quality work that is persuasive, honest, and covers most contingencies. Despite not requiring attorneys to work 60 hours a week, you can expect to work very hard while at the office, be challenged daily, and spend most of your time integrating new concepts and legal theories into well-written documents. I am looking for professional attorneys with the capacity to produce high quality work and who have an interest in developing the law. The person I hire will be a professional with a can-do attitude and long-term outlook that will help me build a better law firm focused on helping people.

I hope this post has been beneficial and I look forward to your interview! Good luck!

 

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Firm Sues DVD Lecture Company for Advertising Practices

Firm Sues DVD Lecture Company for Advertising Practices

Doucet & Associates Co. LPA, a law firm dedicated to helping consumers and those facing financial difficulty, filed a class lawsuit against The Teaching Company for violating the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act (CSPA) by practicing deceptive price advertising.

The Teaching Company, based in Chantily, Va., operates as The Great Courses, an online mail-order retailer selling DVDs or CDs recordings of lectures by university professors and high schools teachers. Doucet & Associates has filed on behalf of the plaintiff, as well as all other consumers in Ohio – expected to number in the thousands – who have done business with The Great Courses. Advertisements on their website, the Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair magazine, and mailed catalogs claim that The Great Courses offers its products at a substantial discount for a limited time. However, the lawsuit alleges many of these advertisements do not feature an actual “regular” price. It further alleges when a “regular” price is quoted in the advertisement, it is an amount that is not made available to consumers. The lawsuit argues that The Great Courses has been selling its products at a “discount” that doesn’t actually exist, and the alleged “sales” it offers do not actually end, making the products always on “sale.”

The CSPA explicitly prohibits a company from falsely advertising that a price advantages exists, as does the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guides Against Deceptive Pricing. The class action suit is seeking injunctive relief to prohibit The Great Courses from continuing its advertising practices in Ohio. In addition, the firm is seeking money damages for each of the consumers affected.

Doucet & Associates is dedicated to fighting for the rights of consumers, protecting their interests and offering legal assistance to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. If you feel that a company is taking advantage of consumers, the law firm welcomes your call at (614) 944-5219.

 

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60 Minutes Video Worth Watching About Foreclosure Fraud

60 Minutes Video Worth Watching About Foreclosure Fraud

Here is a great 60 minutes video on foreclosures and foreclosure fraud. It is worth watching if you are concerned about what the banking system has done to force foreclosures through the system: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/the-next-housing-shock/

Our firm looks out for homeowners by questioning these kinds of documents during litigation. Call us today if you are concerned about your foreclosure and the bank’s standing.

 

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