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Please use the links to the right to check out firm news and more information relating to these specific areas of law. Happy reading and please contact us if you have any questions that we can help answer.


KellyGram – The Back-to-School Quandary

 

 

As we rapidly approach the start of a new school year, the term back-to-school anxiety takes on a whole new meaning. With the pandemic still in full swing, navigating the practicalities of returning to school has become an enormously complicated balancing act, and while we can all agree that the right way to proceed is the one that’s in our kids’ best interests, there’s understandably much debate over how those interests are best served.

As a general rule, I prefer to keep the KellyGram apolitical, and today is no exception; I don’t pretend to have the answers to this quandary and suspect that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. However, I will say this: I don’t envy the parents who are weighing the pros and cons of sending their kids back to school, and I am so grateful that my kids are grown up and I won’t have to face such a difficult choice. Nor do I envy the decision-makers tasked with finding a solution to such a high-stakes dilemma. Whether students engage in in-person, hybrid, or virtual learning is not for me to decide, but my prayers are with the teachers, students, faculty and, parents who must maneuver these difficult decisions in the coming weeks.

I pray that COVID-19 runs its course and that we can return to normalcy soon. In the meantime, let us have compassion for one another during these trying times and remember that we are all doing the best we can to carry on.

Sincerely,

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Crazy Drivers!

 

 

With our newsfeeds filled to the brim with the pandemic and all of its related issues these days, I’ve picked a different topic for this week’s KellyGram, and that’s crazy driving! Usually, I spend about 75% of my time in Columbia and 25% in Myrtle Beach, but I have leaned more toward staying in Columbia during COVID-19. Every day, I leave my parking garage around 5:30 or so and get out onto Huger Street and into the left turn lane to Hampton Street (just past my old office). And every day, my car is nearly blown off the road by cars racing down Huger—it’s downright scary! I know that it’s only a matter of time before one of those cars veers into my lane, and it’s truly very nerve-wracking to sit and wait on my green arrow, praying today’s not the day.

My commute to work isn’t always much better. There are some mornings when I’m making a right out of my neighborhood onto Trenholm Road, and the drivers coming from Beltline into town blaze past me like they’re at the Darlington International Raceway! I simply don’t understand the need to put my life or anyone else’s in jeopardy just to get to work, or wherever they’re going, a minute early!

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to be more aware of the fact that our actions and choices can put others at risk, and in my line of work, I am all too familiar with how very true that is when it comes to driving as well. Given the demands on the Columbia Police Department, self-policing is vital to slowing everyone down and keeping our roads safe. Please slow down, please think of other drivers when you’re behind the wheel, and please be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists!

Have a nice weekend, and slow down!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Patience and Persistence

 

 

My long-time friend and fellow practitioner, Bob Erwin of Greenwood, SC, was one of the founders of the mediation movement in the legal profession here in South Carolina. Being one of the pioneers, he was definitely the leading force in making mediation a commonplace practice in our state’s civil litigation system, which theretofore had been all about legal combat. Mediation is a very powerful tool for case resolution through negotiation, and as far as mediators are concerned, Bob is the best of the best.

When Bob mediates a case, during his opening remarks he always includes a reminder that, for mediation to be successful, it is essential that the parties maintain “patience and persistence.” This bit of wisdom is certainly true of mediation, but it is also true of life in general. When I make hasty, impulsive, or angry decisions, I invariably make a mistake. Even though I’m in my sixth decade of life, I still take Bob’s sage advice to heart and feel it’s worth passing along, particularly in light of all that’s happening in the world around us. When you find yourself confronted with a major fork in the road in your personal or professional life, and as you navigate the months to come, think of Bob Erwin and remember: patience and persistence wins the day!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – My Friend David Ray Hubbard

 

 

In my 42+ years of being a lawyer here in Columbia, I’ve only lived in 2 houses—my starter home at 1801 Belmont Drive and, after 19 years, my current residence. I was a baby lawyer and excited about my future, and moving to Belmont Drive was the perfect way to start my career! The neighborhood had a small mix of young professionals and a whole bunch of mature Columbians who mentored me and guided me throughout my early adult years. At night we would just mingle around the neighborhood and visit.

I had many awesome neighbors, but I was particularly fond of Mr. David Ray Hubbard and his wife, Ann. David and I have maintained our friendship over the many years, and I had the privilege on Wednesday of attending a special ceremony at which the leadership brass of Fort Gordon honored and thanked David for his donation of 500 handcrafted wooden crosses to be distributed to service members during the COVID-19 pandemic. The officers praised David for inspiring hundreds of men and women and recounted his unbelievable story for the 30 people (who were socially distanced and appropriately masked!) under his carport. David was a young intern at the FBI when WWII started, and he quickly enlisted in the US Army, where he eventually found himself working the back-end of the Normandy D-Day Invasion. The commanding officers of Fort Gordon reminded the attendees that without the back office, the frontlines—or the “tip of the sword” as they called it—would never have been successful.

After discharge, David returned to a civilian career in Columbia, and upon his retirement, he became a master craftsman and self-taught mechanical engineer. At age 97½, my friend, now a widower, still lives on his own, still (believe it or not!) has a driver’s license, and still keeps busy in his woodworking shop crafting beautiful pieces. He was overwhelmed by this honor presented to him, and at the end of the program, he was asked to say a few words. His remarks were characteristically humble and appreciative, and he concluded with an announcement that he has been working in his shop and had a gift for us! He gave each of us a handcrafted cutting board and cross, and I will cherish mine forever!

God bless the United States of America, and God bless David Hubbard!

Sincerely,

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Independence Day 2020

 

 

Saturday is the Fourth of July, and even though I’ve been blessed to live through quite a few Independence Day celebrations, this year’s will undoubtedly be a unique experience in light of the growing COVID-19 pandemic. However, in both good times and bad, I could not be prouder to have been raised in the good ol’ USA!

America is still the greatest country in the world, so let us observe our nation’s birthday reverently and properly on Saturday! Of course, let us also celebrate safely by engaging and social distancing and, if we are in a group setting, wearing a mask!

Have great (and safe) July Fourth!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – COVID-19 (Continued)

 

 

I know that I’ve written about this in several recent KellyGrams, but COVID-19 continues to occupy many of my thoughts, particularly in light of the growing number of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths that are occurring across the country and especially here in South Carolina. As our state begins to operate more freely, we continue to be proactive in the precautionary measures we take at Mike Kelly Law Group to protect our firm and our clients from the risk of infection. Richland County, where our HQ is located, has been hard hit, and I applaud Mayor Benjamin and Columbia City Council for taking measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 by passing an ordinance on Tuesday that will substantially increase the use of protective face coverings in public.

Meanwhile, Myrtle Beach—another MKLG home base—has been labeled one of the state’s top “hot spots” for COVID-19 outbreaks. I travel there almost every week, and the visitors flocking to our beautiful beaches on the Grand Strand appear to have zero concern for the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic. Bars and restaurants are crowded, there’s little to no social distancing, and face masks are a rare sighting.

On Sunday, PGA superstar Justin Thomas commented on his similar observations at Hilton Head Island after a fellow PGA player tested positive for COVID-19 during the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament, one of the showcase events in our state. He frankly reported that Hilton Head is a beautiful place, but no one seemed to be observing precautionary measures or taking the pandemic seriously.

We are all experiencing “quarantine fatigue,” but if we, as Americans and South Carolinians, do not continue to act responsibly during this pandemic, we have little hope of safely resuming our normal lives until an effective vaccine is developed and made widely available. We must all do our part for the greater good, and I urge you to encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same!

 

Have a safe weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Father’s Day 2020

 

 

As another American holiday rolls around, we will have to adjust our family traditions this Sunday to celebrate Father’s Day with our Dads, children, and/or loved ones. I am a blessed human being if there ever was one; I’ve enjoyed a fulfilling career, am in overall good health, and have many dear friends. Without a doubt, though, the greatest blessing in my life is being a father to Patrick and Mac Kelly!

Being a father has been the single most difficult and important job I’ve ever undertaken, but there is nothing more rewarding than being called “dad” by these two boys! I am very, very proud of them and what they have accomplished in life, and I can only hope that, in some very small part, I’ve played a role in helping them become the wonderful men they are today!

Thank you, Patrick and Mac, for being the best sons a dad could ever have!

 

God bless, and Happy Father’s Day!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Together We Stand

 

 

Events over the past several weeks have sent shockwaves through our nation. They have also sparked a long-overdue dialogue about the systemic racism that has plagued this country since its inception, which is very much alive today. America should represent the land of the free where all men are created equal. Systemic racism has been a glaring blight on the landscape of America perpetuated by the silence and inaction of the majority. For the future of our nation and generations to come, we must put an end to this injustice. The status quo will not change until we change. The time to change is now. The time to break the silence is now. The time to stand up and speak up for what is right is now.

I normally stay away from topics of controversy in the KellyGram, but I speak on behalf of myself and Mike Kelly Law Group when I say that taking a stance against systemic racism and oppression should never be controversial. This issue is not about Democrats versus Republicans, good cops versus bad cops, or black versus white. It’s about everyone versus racism. Solving this deeply-rooted problem will require an enormous amount of work and change on a societal level, a governmental level, and by each of us on an individual level. It will not happen overnight, but if we stand united and keep the discourse alive, justice will, in time, prevail.

Sincerely,

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – One Giant Leap

 

 

Last Saturday, for the first time in nearly a decade, NASA astronauts launched into orbit from American soil. The mission made history as the first-ever manned space flight on a commercially owned and operated spacecraft—the SpaceX Dragon Crew. The Dragon Crew successfully docked at the International Space Station on Sunday and paved the way for SpaceX, a private company, to become certified to make regular crew flights to the station.

Borrowing from NASA commentator Dan Huot, with the launch of this mission, “So rises a new era of American spaceflight, and with it the ambitions of a new generation continuing the dream.” In the midst of the suffering felt throughout our country right now, this demonstration of America’s ingenuity and resilient spirit came as a welcome ray of hope for the future of our nation. It is a testament to what we, the people, are capable of accomplishing, and that we wield the ambition and courage needed to turn the page on these turbulent times and inspire a new chapter in American history!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Class of 2020

 

 

There is a special place in my heart for the 2020 graduating seniors across the country and especially here in South Carolina. This pandemic has altered one of the most fun and formative times of their lives—their senior year—as well as that joyous moment of walking across the stage at graduation. (Believe it or not, I can still remember my own high school graduation! LOL!) Their “new normal” is not what the Class of 2020 ever dreamed of or expected, but I hope that graduation day can still be as meaningful as possible for our seniors, whether it’s through a virtual or physically-distanced ceremony.

I particularly want to salute Gilbert High School 2020 graduate Kristi Brown, the daughter of our long-time legal administrator Amanda Swearingen. I have literally known Kristi since the day she was born, and I consider her to be part of the Mike Kelly Law Group family. She’s a brilliant and absolutely delightful young woman, and we have been honored to have her share her talents working at the office from time to time. There’s no doubt that a successful future awaits her!

Congratulations Kristi and the Class of 2020! Enjoy your day in the spotlight—you’ve earned it!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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