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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 – Musical Feast 2021

 

 

The University of South Carolina School of Music, ably led by its long-time Dean, Dr. Tayloe Harding, is one of the flagship programs at my alma mater. It is my privilege to support the School by serving on the Board of the Friends of the School of Music. For nearly 30 years, the Friends of the School of Music have provided $30,000 annually for scholarship support for students of music, and each year, the Musical Feast fundraiser has been a staple to help raise those funds.

This year, the Musical Feast will be hosted virtually due to the pandemic, but it is not to be missed! It will take place on May 5th from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm and will feature performances by School of Music students. The event will also include a virtual silent auction where you can bid on some great items, such as a weekend stay at Kingston Plantation Resort in Myrtle Beach, a weekend at Wild Dunes, a private choral performance at your home or business, and — my personal favorite — the opportunity to guest-conduct the Carolina Fight Song with The Carolina Band!

Registration to the Musical Feast is only $5, and you can do so here. Register today to support the University of South Carolina School of Music scholarship fund and have some fun in the meantime!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Nick’s House of Pizza

 

 

At the end of 2020, I promised I was going to highlight in upcoming KellyGrams some of my very good friends and favorite local businesses. Today, I want to feature one of my go-to restaurants, Nick’s House of Pizza on Sunset Drive in West Columbia. Nick’s has fantastic food, great customer service, and the owners—Nick Gabriel and his son, Andrew—are very close friends of the Mike Kelly Law Group family. My culinary skills leave much to be desired, so you’ll find me dining there 2 to 3 times a week for lunch and occasionally for dinner. The firm also regularly uses Nick’s excellent catering services, and as a matter of fact, they catered Mike Kelly Law Group’s Administrative Professionals Day luncheon this past Wednesday!

It’s hard for me to recommend just one entrée from the Nick’s House of Pizza menu, as everything I have tried there has been excellent, but I have to say that their chicken tips, citrus-marinated salmon, and their pork chop are three of my favorites. They also, of course, offer pizzas, as well as pastas, strombolis, calzones, and other fabulous Greek, Italian, and American dishes. I encourage you to give Nick’s a try, and tell them Uncle Mike sent you!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Reflections on Leadership

 

 

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the topic of leadership and my experiences in leadership roles over the years. Leadership takes many forms, and nearly everyone is a leader, whether it be at work, at church, at home, or in the community. Often, leaders have no special designation or title; sometimes, a person exhibits leadership by simply having the courage to do what is right in a difficult situation, as opposed to what is popular, easy, or self-serving.

I recently watched a short webinar series on leadership entitled In Good Company, which focused on two individuals with very different styles of leadership. The first was a North Carolina dentist who used a traditional leadership approach to grow his practice from a single employee to a multi-office enterprise with over 350 employees across the state. The second individual was a servant leader named Jim Stallings, whose approach to leadership focused on the development and growth of employees versus the company as a whole. Both shared insightful tips, and while they approached the subject from different angles, they agreed on an important takeaway: leadership means making decisions with character and integrity.

Although I’ve been around for quite some time now, and I’ve participated in leadership training and taken on various leadership positions, I am glad that I took the time to watch In Good Company. It inspired me to reflect on how I might improve my own approach to leadership, and maybe even taught this old dog some new tricks! It pays to listen to the best and the brightest!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Attorney Spotlight: Lisa Long Cotten

 

 

In this week’s KellyGram, I’d like to spotlight an exceptional member of our community and the Mike Kelly Law Group legal team: my law partner, Lisa Long Cotten. Lisa has been with the firm since 2007, and her professional, community, and civic accomplishments are second to none. As an exemplary advocate and consummate professional, Lisa commands only the utmost respect from her fellow Bar members, as well as a reputation as an esteemed Social Security Disability attorney. Her clients similarly recognize the level of dedication and care with which Lisa pursues their cases, and they don’t forget it. It is not uncommon for Lisa to receive a note or phone call from a client expressing their gratitude for her help months—or even years—after their case resolved!

Not only is Lisa an exceptional advocate, but she is also a distinguished leader among the South Carolina Bar. Most recently, Lisa was recognized by the SC Bar Foundation for her outstanding work as an officer of the Board, but her involvement with the Bar does not end there. Lisa is an active member of numerous Bar committees, associations, and panels, earning her recognition as a South Carolina Lawyers Weekly Leadership in Law Honoree in 2020.

Lisa’s leadership and service extends beyond the Bar and into the community. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, a Riley Fellow, and she currently serves on the Richland County Recreation Commission Board of Commissioners. Needless to say, Lisa’s drive and commitment to serving others is nothing short of remarkable. We at Mike Kelly Law Group are honored and blessed have her on our team—thank you, Lisa, for all that you do!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – A Blessed Easter

 

 

Today is Good Friday, which is the most solemn day in the Christian church. Mike Kelly Law Group is closed in observance of this holiday, and we are looking forward to a beautiful Easter Sunday! I will be attending the outdoor Easter service at my beloved home church, St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, and I am so looking forward to gathering with my fellow parishioners. It has been too long since I’ve been able to do this, and although the church’s virtual services have gotten me through the past year, it simply isn’t the same as worshiping and communing with others.

This Easter, all of us, regardless of our faith, can rejoice in the fact that the pandemic is slowly receding, and we can all look forward to the time when it will be a distant, unpleasant memory. However you choose to spend this weekend, may it be a blessed one! Enjoy yourself and take advantage of this early spring weather!

Happy Easter!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Springtime in South Carolina

 

 

It’s springtime in South Carolina, and while I enjoy every season in our beautiful state (except maybe winter!), spring is hands down my favorite. So far, this year is proving to be no exception; I like the way things are trending! Coinciding with the ramp-up in vaccinations—which will hopefully reduce the impact of COVID on our daily lives—the weather is becoming lovelier by the day. Warmer temperatures means more outdoor activities: yard work, cookouts, and for the time being, socially distanced gatherings. I, for one, am looking forward to getting my golf clubs out of storage this weekend and hitting the links!

With the cold weather limiting our ability to spend time with friends and loved ones during the pandemic, the past winter felt particularly long and dreary. At last, we are seeing more opportunities to engage in outdoor events and activities with one another, and we should make the most of it! I encourage you to get outside, soak in some sunlight, and shake off those winter doldrums! Enjoy your spring, and have a great weekend!

Sincerely,

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Gills Creek Watershed Association: The Crowson Road Project

 

 

As I have mentioned in past KellyGrams, the Gills Creek Watershed Association is among my favorite non-profits in Columbia, and I’ve had the privilege of serving on its board for the past four years. I admit that, historically, I was not particularly attuned to environmental issues; my interest in political and community matters generally occupied most of my attention outside of work and family. However, I was approached at church one day by two past GCWA board members who asked me to join, primarily due to my fundraising experience. I agreed, and over the past four years, I have become a stalwart advocate for this wonderful organization!

The Gills Creek Watershed runs along the series of creeks and lakes spanning from the Spring Valley area of Columbia down to the Congaree River. Gills Creek Watershed Association is an advocate for this impaired ecosystem, and there are currently plans on the drawing board to create a greenway with trails, bike paths, etc. in the area, a matter which is now in the hands of the Richland County Government. In the meantime, the GCWA has managed to obtain, through state, federal, and City of Columbia funding, a combined $650,000 grant to restore the waterway along Crowson Road, which is perhaps its most visible spot in Columbia.

For those of you who are not familiar with Crowson Road, this is the section of Gills Creek that runs from Fort Jackson Boulevard to Devine Street, adjacent to the Rosewood Crossing shopping center. This area was heavily damaged by the historic flood of October 2015, and being located in a heavily-trafficked part of Columbia, it is particularly susceptible to runoff pollution. As part of the project, the slope of the bank along this portion of Gills Creek will be adjusted to reduce erosion and runoff, and vegetation and plants will be incorporated to hold the banks in place and help remove pollutants. Construction is anticipated to begin as early as mid-April, weather permitting!

I’m excited for this improvement to our city and our local environment, and I am proud to be a part of the group that is making it happen! I encourage you all to consider supporting Gills Creek Watershed Association, Congaree Riverkeeper, and other like-minded organizations focused on keeping our community clean and beautiful!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – The Pandemic: One Year Later

 

 

Tomorrow, March 13th, will mark one year since South Carolina entered a state of emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been reflecting this week on just how very different life is today as opposed to one year ago, and I wonder how many of the changes that we’ve implemented will remain the “new normal” after society fully reopens. Although it has not been easy to adapt to life as we now know it, I think that there will be some long-term good that comes from this!

For instance, much of the work we do at Mike Kelly Law Group—including depositions, mediations, court hearings—now takes place over Zoom or WebEx, and soon we should be able to attend Social Security Disability hearings via video-conferencing as well. Before COVID-19, attorneys like myself regularly traveled all over the state to appear at these events in-person; I suspect that even when the pandemic is long behind us, virtual attendance will be much more commonplace due to its sheer convenience.

One thing that is simply amazing to me is that, at this one-year mark, I am able to say that I will be eligible for my second vaccine next week. Although the past twelve months have, in some respects, felt infinitely long, the progress that we have made during this time in terms of understanding and combatting the COVID-19 virus is truly incredible. This week, the CDC issued its first set of guidelines for fully vaccinated people, and while we certainly won’t be resuming our pre-pandemic lives in the immediate future, the vaccine offers limited freedoms that will make a world of difference. Perhaps most importantly, it will allow families and loved ones to safely reunite after a year of isolation.

Gradually, things are starting to look up, and even better days are just around the corner! In the meantime, let’s do our part by staying safe, following CDC guidelines, and taking the necessary precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – The Joys of Being a Grandparent

 

 

This week’s KellyGram is all about a little lady who has stolen my heart: my first and only grandchild, Helena! Helena, who is named after my mother, is blessed with two wonderful parents (though I’m admittedly a little biased, as one happens to be my son!) and four doting grandparents—including yours truly! Last week, I had the chance to visit with Helena twice, and I must say that every time I see her, I somehow manage to grow even fonder of that special young lady! On Sunday, during our most recent visit, I noticed that no matter what activity Helena was engaged in—whether it be playing outside, jumping on the bed, or sitting on my lap—she seemed to be having a marvelous time, which in turn uplifted the hearts and spirits of everyone present.

I watch in wonder as my granddaughter grows up, learns social cues, and becomes more fluent with her speech. Helena is an extremely smart and precocious young girl, and I expect that this will only become more apparent when she starts Montessori school in the fall. I am so thankful to have this precious life be a part of my own, and I look forward to all of the wonderful memories in store for us as Helena continues to grow and develop into an awesome child of God!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – A Sobering Milestone

 

 

On Monday, our beloved country reached a grave milestone: half a million COVID deaths. From the lens of my day-to-day, the past year has certainly been emotionally difficult, but in the grand scheme of things, I have only glimpsed the gravity of the loss that this pandemic has brought to the people of this nation and across the globe. Although I have known individuals who have fought and lost the battle with COVID-19, I am extremely fortunate to be able to say that those closest to me have remained safe and healthy during this crisis. As such, when I take a step back from my immediate reality and try to process the loss of more than 500,000 American lives to COVID-19, the number is so staggering that I struggle to wrap my mind around it.

Earlier this week, in a message to his parishioners, my priest—Mitch Smith of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, whom I often turn to for inspiration for the KellyGram—offered some sobering perspective. He reminded us that “500,000” is not just a number; each of those individual souls had a name, and they had a story. They had friends and family—loved ones who have been alone in their grief as funeral receptions and gatherings are placed on hold. There are very few of us who do not know the sorrow of losing someone we love; in my case, I have had to say goodbye to my grandparents, then to my parents, and six years ago, to my late wife, Anne. The thought of facing that pain in isolation is simply unbearable, and I mourn for those who have been forced to do so by this pandemic just as I mourn the lives lost to it.

However, Mitch also reminded his readers that, while it is important to stay mindful of the magnitude of loss surrounding this pandemic, we should balance this sadness by finding hope where we can: in the declining numbers of positive COVID cases and hospitalizations, in the growing number of vaccines being administered, and in the coming together of our community to put an end to this nightmare. So, as we mourn lives lost and continue to offer support, comfort, and prayer to those who are grieving, let us also celebrate progress and allow ourselves to feel optimistic that a brighter future awaits.

Stay hopeful,

 

Mike Kelly

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