hold hands

The “laying on of hands” can resonate powerfully. In my background, it has spiritual and theological implications as a ritual of blessing or of healing. Can this and other senses beyond sight and hearing also be part of legitimate trial advocacy in conveying truth to jurors?

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently said yes in the context of a case where two experts disagreed on whether there was a difference in temperature of the hands of a plaintiff who had a diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome (also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy), due to medical malpractice.

Ken Shigley of Atlanta, who was president of the State Bar of Georgia in 2011-12, is now chair of the largest practice area section in the American Association for Justice (AAJ), the national organization of plaintiffs’ trial attorneys. Shigley took the helm of the Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway & Premises Liability Section of AAJ and the organization’s annual convention in Montreal on July 14, 2015.

ken_shigley_coverWith over 2,500 members nationwide, the section includes specialized litigation practice groups on Trucking Litigation, Bus Litigation, Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Motorcycle Litigation, Bicycle Litigation, Resort Torts Litigation and

Injuries to children are going to happen.  In fact, according to the CDC, injury treatment is the leading cause of medical spending for children equaling about $11.5 billion in the United States.  A serious injury to a minor child touches the heart more than a comparable injury to an adult.  Because young children lack the maturity and judgment to make adult decisions about their own juvenile injury claims, their parents and guardians must act for them. Attorneys handling personal injury cases for minors must take care to protect the infant’s interests.

On July 1, 2013, the Georgia Court of

As we ramp up capacity to handle more and larger cases of wrongful death and catastropic personal injury, and prepare to move into new office space in the Buckhead area of Atlanta later in the summer, I am pleased to welcome two new staff members:

At the State Bar of Georgia 2013 annual meeting last week at Hilton Head Island, SC, I was presented a resolution commemorating 14 years on the Board of Governors and 6 years on the Executive Committee, which included one year each as secretary (2008-09), treasurer (2009-10), president-elect (2010-11), president (2011-12) and immediate past president (2012-13). The same day I presided over my last meeting as chair of the board of trustees of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Georgia. For a while last year it looked like I might also become a Court of Appeals judge, but things

Ken Shigley has been named a trustee of the Institute for Continuing Judicial Education in Georgia for 2013-14.

The ICJE is a resource consortium of the Georgia Judicial Branch, the State Bar of Georgia, and the ABA accredited law schools of the State (Emory, Georgia State, Mercer, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, and the University of Georgia). It bears primary responsibility for basic training and continuing education of elected officials, court support personnel and volunteer agents of the State’s judicial branch. Conferences and seminars signify the products traditionally identified with the ICJE by its constituents. During a typical program year,

A few days ago, I wrote about a Georgia Supreme Court decision that left a lot of uncertainty about which legal malpractice claims could be assigned to people or companies other than clients.

Most states do not allow assignment of legal malpractice claims to others for substantial public policy reasons related to protection of the attorney-client relationship.

That may be the shortest-lived Supreme Court decision in Georgia history. This week the legislature passed HB 359 on unclaimed property, into which a succinct amendment had been inserted, to bar assignment of legal malpractice claims. It awaits signature by the Governor.


Many prospective clients in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims ask questions about legal fees and litigation expenses in handling their cases. As an Atlanta personal injury trial attorney handling serious injury and death cases across Georgia, and as an individual who remembers very well what it is like to be flat broke and in debt, I am very sensitive to those questions.

The short answer is that in handling personal injury and wrongful death cases for individuals and families, I do not require any money up front from clients whose cases I accept. I evaluate the merits of

This week the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that a voluntary Review Panel reprimand is insufficient discipline for a lawyer who violated client confidentiality in responding to an ex-client’s derogatory comments in a consumer forum website. See In the Matter of Margaret Skinner, Georgia Supreme Court Docket No. S13Y0105.

In the decade since I began blogging here, in either the first or second lawyer blog in Georgia, lawyers participating in blogs, social media, online forums, etc., have sailed somewhat uncharted seas in relation to the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The bottom line, however, has always been that the rules that govern

In a unanimous opinion, the Georgia Supreme Court held Monday that legal malpractice claims may be assigned to other parties in some circumstances, the scope of which remains unclear.

Villanueva vs. First American Title Insurance arose out of a highly unusual real estate closing. A senior attorney hired an associate to work on closings but had a non-attorney employee with signature power on the attorney trust account. The younger attorney was designated as a partner, though that was apparently a bit of a fiction, and handled an $800,000 closing. The mortgage company wired funds to the law firm’s trust account.