Outstanding Stuff, Uncategorized

Johnson Hyundai Service Reviews 2017

Johnson Hyundai Service did an Outstanding Job!

Best Hyundai Service in Cary Apex Raleigh

I like to promote people who do a great job.  Sometimes they’re good friends of mine or people I’ve worked with.  Other times, they’re people I’ve recently met or people who have helped me, especially when they didn’t need to.   In every case, it’s someone (or a group of people) who has gone above and beyond.  So, today, I wanted to publicly promote Tim Gortz, the Service Manager at Johnson Hyundai in Cary, NC, and his crew.

The Problem?

My Elantra had just over 98,000 miles on it.  In the past, I had been having it serviced at a third-party, national chain that was close to my office in downtown Raleigh. Basically, I had been taking it there for tire rotations, alignments, and oil changes.

But this was an unusual situation that required a serious repair, albeit a completely different one than the very expensive one which the downtown service center recommended.  So, I started calling around trying to price a right front wheel bearing replacement.

The Solution

Luckily, I got Tim Gortz at Johnson Hyundai Service.  He asked for my mileage and VIN and had to call me back to get me a complete price. When he called back, he told me that because I was the original owner, the wheel bearing replacement would be covered under the Hyundai 10 year / 100,000 mile drive train warranty.

I got the car there, and, shockingly, it wasn’t the wheel bearing at all.  It took a little bit to diagnose, and Tim even had Greg, the Service Supervisor ride in the car with me, so that I could show him exactly what was happening.  (Greg was the mechanic in charge, you know, the guy you always see in the WHITE work shirt). Greg spotted the real problem pretty much immediately. Luckily, it was also covered under warranty.

The Process

This was a significant repair. I couldn’t drive the car safely without it, and they needed to get parts shipped in.

So, first, I had to have a car to drive. I had to get to work and, more importantly, I had to pick up and drop off my young son at school.

Tim sorted me with a very nice loaner, a 2017 Santa Fe Limited that he had to have dug out of inventory.   (Almost made me want to buy a new car.)

A couple days later, I had my trusty Elantra back and running like a top.  Tim even had it washed and cleaned inside and out.

The Prognosis

By that point, the Service mechanics had been all over my car.  So I asked one of the service guys, how much longer I could expect it to run.  Without skipping a beat, he said, “Another 100,000 miles, easy.”

Would I recommend Johnson Hyundai Service?

I was stressed because of my car, the potential cost of the critical repair, and the need to get my son back and forth to school on time.  Tim, his Service agents, Josh and Jim, his Service Supervisor Greg Montague(the head mechanic in the WHITE shirt) all did a fantastic job. They all acted in a completely business-like manner and made my life easier.

So, would I recommend Johnson Hyundai Service? In a heartbeat.

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Law Students

Lauren Ikpe, Outstanding Summer Law Clerk 2013

Outstanding law student Lauren Ikpe

Each summer, the Raleigh City Attorney’s Office hires a law clerk or two. This past summer, thankfully, one of them was Lauren Ikpe.

Experience Lauren Ikpe Brought to the Table

Lauren had just finished her first year of law school, and had not worked in a law office before. So, like many first-year clerks, she was brand new to the the actual practice of law.

She had, however, previously served in the City of Raleigh in the Community Services Department, and in the interim had received a Masters in Public Administration from NCSU. So, she was already very familiar with the City of Raleigh in particular, plus she had the advantage of having studied the  internal mechanics of local governments in general.

Specific, Outstanding Work in Eminent Domain and Sovereign Immunity

Lauren listened, responded, and performed very well. She fit right in and was able to quickly start actually helping out.

Lauren helped me prepare for and win a full-blown 108 Hearing in an eminent domain case by contacting and speaking with potential witnesses and by helping prepare and select the best exhibits.In another case, the plaintiff alleged that she had been hurt after stepping on a water meter box, which the plaintiff said the City owned and had negligently maintained. Lauren helped me investigate and prepare the City’s immunity defense. I also had her speak directly with a key City official and draft an affidavit with accompanying exhibits for the  official’s signature. As a result, we were able to convince plaintiff’s counsel to simply dismiss the City from the lawsuit very early in the case.

Why You should Hire Lauren Ikpe

Over the course of the summer, Lauren impressed me with her ability to listen, to learn new, niche areas of the law, and to be of real help to me and my client.

I understand that since her summer clerkship ended she has not only joined the law review but has also worked for another, private practice attorney on other immunity issues.

You may represent a local government or a governmental unit or you may represent private clients in municipal law or other governmental matters. In either case, I highly recommend you speak with Lauren. She is, of course, very bright and very hardworking, but most importantly, she fit in very well and was a pleasure to work with.

Signature - Christopher - 150px(SimmonsC) 11-14-13

P.S. You can, and should, download her resume here.

P.P.S. Lauren tells me that she is gong to be posting on her own blog about some key areas of the law that she thinks will be helpful to practicing litigation and trial attorneys. So, I’ve already subscribed to her blog updates, and I recommend you do the same. To sign up for Lauren’s free email updates, you should click here.

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Employed Lawyer

How can I help You become a fellow Employed Lawyer?

Law Jobs - Law Clerk - Lawyer - Attorney - 280px (EmployedLawyer.com) 11-14-13Looking for an outstanding clerkship or attorney position?

I know it can be very hard to find a good job as a graduating law student or a new attorney. I sure had a hard time back in 1998 when I finished at UNC Law School. I had studied hard and learned a lot – much of it I would later actually use as an Assistant DA, as a civil litigation attorney with a large firm in Miami, and in my own private practice as well as public service back in North Carolina. I certainly didn’t graduate near the top of my class, and getting started as an actual employed lawyer was a little touch and go. But I have worked hard and been very fortunate.

I’ve Had Some Great Summer Clerks

In the past several years, I have also been very lucky to have had several, outstanding law clerks. They have been real go-getters who have learned some key areas of the law, done very well, and helped me and my client quite a bit.

Helping Them and Other Law Students & Recent Grads

Now, I want to do what I can to continue to help them and and to help other law students and recent law school grads find good positions working as

  • Law Clerks
  • New Associates
  • Government Lawyers or
  • New, Solo Practitioners.

Help can I help you?

I could start by telling you everything I think you should know and what you should do starting right now, but I don’t think that’s the best way to help you become a successful and happy attorney.

So, instead, I’m starting by asking about you, beginning with what position you want to go after. You can let me know right here:

I’m looking forward to hearing from you and to seeing how I might be able to be of help.

Signature - Christopher - 150px(SimmonsC) 11-14-13

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Marketing & Sales On-Line

New Social Triggers Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher

online sales Derek Halpern Social Triggers

Psychology, Marketing, and Online Sales

I really enjoy helping friends and family with web-based, online marketing of their goods and services.  I have set up several sites for them which have actually produced significant results – both in general PR and, more importantly, in actual sales. One thing that has helped tremendously is a site, called “Social Triggers“.

Social Triggers

Social Triggers is the name of the website, and now the podcast, founded by Derek Halpern. Derek is a marketer and entrepreneur who focuses on building and marketing businesses.

I like Derek’s stuff because he is not some “rah-rah” guy on the web. Instead, Derek’s online marketing advice is substantive, well-researched, and well-presented. He frequently interviews other experts and authors and does a great job of banging through 3 or 4 key points about what works and what doesn’t.

The New Social Triggers Insider Podcast

As I mentioned above, Derek now hosts a Social Triggers Insider podcast. On it, he interviews experts on the psychology of selling.

One recent Social Triggers podcast featured Daniel Pink, the author of the book, “To Sell is Human”. In that episode, Daniel and Derek discuss a few of the key points that Daniel addresses in detail in his book, including

  • The 3 myths of becoming great at sales (hint: there’s no “selling gene”)
  • The definitive answer to “Is selling ethical?” and
  • How to Close More Deals Without Compromising Your Values.

Perspective, Empathy, and What the other person is Thinking

In particular, I really enjoyed their discussion about the research on the question of how effective empathy actually is. Toward the middle of the podcast, Daniel reviews the research on the importance of taking the other person’s perspective, not by focusing on what the other person is feeling, but rather what the other person is thinking and what are their interests. As Daniel points out, the research shows that the latter approach is more effective and leads to reaching a deal that is better for both sides.

Listen to Social Triggers Insider Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher

You can download Derek’s podcast with Daniel directly from SocialTriggers.com here. But you can also subscribe and get all the Social Triggers podcasts automatically. You can subscribe to Social Triggers through iTunes here or, if you are like me and have an Android phone, you can subscribe to Social Triggers through Stitcher.  To subscribe through Stitcher you should click here.

P.S. You can find Daniel’s discussion on empathy vs. what the other person is thinking at 18:50 min in the podcast. Here’s the link again to the Social Triggers Insider podcast on Stitcherhttp://stitcher.com/s/profile.php?fid=23837

P.P.S. Derek also has a very interactive approach. He not only invites people to comment – after listening to his podcasts or watching his videos – he also actually reads and answers his email.  In fact, when I got his notice about this podcast, saying it was available on iTunes, I wrote Derek and asked if it was also available for my Android phone.  I told him if he could tell me how to subscribe to the Social Triggers podcast with an Android, I would  be happy to write this post.

So, thanks again Derek. I really appreciate all of your hard work, and please let me know if I can do anything to be of help to you.


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Firearms, Manufacturing

Shooting the PM-06 at Fabryka Broni in Radom, Poland

Not quite ready for Her Majesty’s Secret Service

This is just a very brief post about shooting my first full automatic firearm.  This is the PM-06 set to full-auto with a 15 round magazine that emptied very fast!

Fabryka Broni’s PM-06 and Polish Beryl Archer Rifle

I got to shoot the PM-06 at one of the indoor test ranges of Fabryka Broni in Radom, Poland.

Fabryka Broni also makes the Polish Beryl and its commercial version, the Archer Rifle. Both are .223 caliber AKs, which is a little unusual. Fabryka Broni started making them after Poland joined NATO, so that all NATO members use the same standard rifle ammunition.

What’s more unusual is that the Archer Rifle AK is not only very reliable, but it is also highly accurate. It shoots 1″ groupings at 100 yards. Fabrya Broni says that combination of traditional AK reliability now coupled with super accuracy is due in large part to the Archer Rifle’s hammer-forged barrel. You can see a video of the hammer forging machine, including a slow motion close up of the machine actually hammering the barrel into shape here.

Uli Wiegand - Archer Rifle barrel being hammer-forged

Click the Image to see the video.


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German-speaking Attorneys in North Carolina, Uncategorized

Willkommen in North Carolina



Wir sind dabei eine neue Website zu launchen, mit der man Verbindungen mit Deutschen oder anderen deutschsprenden Leuten knüpfen kann, die sich für North Carolina interessieren, hier leben, oder sogar vorhaben, hierher umzuziehen, entweder zu arbeiten oder vielleicht ihr eigenes Geschäft zu gründen.

Deutsche, Österreicher und Schweizer in North Carolina

Es gibt eigentlich eine wachsende Anzahl von deutschsprechenden Leuten, die hier in North Carolina leben.  Manche wohnen hier nur kurzfristig, da sie nur für ein Paar Jahren vielleicht bei einer amerikanischen Tochterfirma eines Konzerns aus Deutschland, Österreich oder der Schweiz arbeiten.  Andere leben in dem “Old North State” seit Jahrzenten. Dazu kommen eine Menge von Deutschsprachigen jedes Jahr zu Besuch nach NC.

Verbindungen mit Deutschsprachigen in North Carolina knüpfen

Je nach dem, falls man Deutsch spricht, und in Kontakt mit anderen deutschsprechenden Leuten in North Carolina kommen möchte, sollte man an unsere neue Website telnehmen.  Sie darf natürlich auch von den schon in North Carolina wohnenden Leuten benutzt werden, die doch neue Verbindungen mit Leuten die noch in Deutschland, Österreich oder der Schweiz wohnen aber sich für North Carolina interessieren, z.B. um einfach zu Besuch zu kommen oder sogar um ein neues Geschäft hier zu gründen.  Solchen Leuten könnte man von hier aus sehr behilflich sein.  Deswegen darf man bald nicht nur Ratschläge geben, Ihre eigene Umzugsgeschichte erzählen oder über Ihre deutschen Verbindungen und Gruppen in NC plaudern, sondern auch Ihre Beiträge zu posten die mit Ihnen oder Ihrer eigenen Website verlinkt sind. Dadurch kann man nicht nur anderen deutschsprechenden behilflich sein, sondern auch Links zu Ihrer Website und mehr Aufmerksamkeit von Google bekommen.

Melden Sie Sich Jetzt!

Um mitzumachen, sollten Sie sich hierunten jetzt melden. So bald die Website gelauncht wird, bekommen Sie eine Einladung Mitglied der Site zu werden. Dadurch könnten Ihre Posts und Links in dem Erstdruck veröffentlicht werden!


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North Carolina eminent domain, North Carolina land condemnation

2011 Update – North Carolina Eminent Domain Cases

First Annual North Carolina Eminent Domain Case Update

So far, North Carolina condemnation lawyers as well as lay people seem to find CarolinaCondemnationLaw.com a helpful source for questions about eminent domain in NC. Recently, CarolinaCondemnationLaw.com has published its first annual update of North Carolina condemnation cases. This 2011 condemnation cases update includes all North Carolina eminent domain cases in both State and Federal appellate courts (i.e., cases from North Carolina in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and North Carolina Supreme Court as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court).

(This update also includes one condemnation case reported from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.)

For each case, there is a very brief summary that includes key holdings. These cases, of course, frequently contain other important points, so you may want to read the entire text of each case. To make that easier, each summary includes links to the case at the website of the relevant appellate court. Plus, for those of you with Westlaw or Lexis accounts, there are also links to each case on those services. Finally, many of these cases already have individual posts of their own here on CarolinaCondemnationLaw.com. So, for those cases, you will also find links below to their respective posts on the Cases page.

To read the 2011 Update – North Carolina Condemnation Cases, you should click here.

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US Manufacturing Jobs

My Friend & Real-Life Job Creator Uli Wiegand

Uli Wiegand, Oli Wiegand, Interordnance, I.O., Inc., Hellcat .380 ACP
Ulrich H. Wiegand, President of I.O., Inc. (fka Interordnance)

Ulrich H. Wiegand & I.O., Inc. (fka Interordnance) Creating Jobs in North Carolina

You hear the phrase, “job creator” a lot right now, but you don’t many specific individuals named as actual job creators. So, I thought I should mention my friend, Ulrich H. Wiegand.

Uli Wiegand is a firearms manufacturer and importer who actually employs over 25 people, including two recent U.S. Army veterans, in Monroe, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte.  Uli has been in business for almost 15 years.  He originally started his import business Interordnance with his brother Oliver M. Wiegand.  Later, Uli bought out Oli, changed the company name to I.O., Inc.,  and started manufacturing firearms, including his new and improved Hellcat .380 automatic compact pistol.  Uli’s Hellcat .380 is not only made in the USA, so are all of its parts.  Even the machines I.O., Inc. uses to manufacture its in-house parts are made in America.  I.O, only sells its handgun through Hellcat .380 distributors, who, in turn, sell to Hellcat .380 retailers.  The end customers are U.S. civilians and law enforcement officers.  (BTW: another big customer of I.O. generally is the U.S. Department of Defense.)

In a difficult economy, when good jobs are scarce, Uli has built a local business and actually created good, American manufacturing jobs here at home, and I am very proud of him.

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Good Legal Writing, Real Estate Litigation

Business and Real Estate Trial Lawyers Write Persuasively for a Living

Talking is Not Enough

Good trial attorneys need good oral skills. They have to make persuasive presentations to the Judge and the Jury. But being able to stand up and talk in front of an important audience is not enough. To carry the day, litigators, especially business and real estate trial attorneys, need good writing skills.

Word processing tools like “Paste Special” can help

Nowadays, persuasive writing includes using word processing tools to efficiently generate high quality documents that a Judge can easily read. One tool I use is the “Paste Special” feature in Microsoft Word. It lets you copy text in one font or format and paste it into your document so that it matches your font and format. But using “Paste Special” can be tedious. With a mouse, it takes several clicks, and remembering to use the string of “shortcut” key combinations can be annoying.

Paste Special made Easy

Recently, I discovered a much easier way to use “Paste Special”. It’s a short macro. You could record the macro yourself, but because of a Microsoft glitch, you would still have to edit the code. No trial lawyer has time for that. So, I had a computer guy program the whole macro code and then just copied it into my collection of macros in Word. Now, all I have to do to “Paste Special” and keep my documents looking sharp, is to press Alt-V. Since Ctrl-V is the default shortcut for a regular paste, using Alt-V for “Paste Special” is easy to remember and use.

Would you like the Macro?

If you would like a copy of the Paste-Special macro and the very short instructions on how to quickly install it, just shoot me an email from my Contact page.

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Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate Transaction Attorneys, Uncategorized

Real Estate Law Creates New Private Right of Action

Ben Kuhn Raleigh Commercial Real Estate Attorney

New Private Right of Action for Damages PLUS Attorneys’ Fees for Unauthorized Practice of Law

Recently, Raleigh Real Estate Attorney Ben Kuhn gave a presentation about a new North Carolina law affecting real estate transactions. Ben spoke about North Carolina Session Law 2011-336 (Senate Bill 349), which has been passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor.  It creates a new private right of action for people harmed by the unauthorized practice of law and entitles them to recover both damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

To accomplish this, the Session Law enacts a new General Statute, N.C. Gen. Stat. §84-10.1. The new statute is an addition to Article 1 of Chapter 84, which governs the unauthorized practice of law.  Previously, Chapter 84, Article 1 had only permitted a District Attorney to file a civil lawsuit to seek an injunction prohibiting someone (or some corporation) from the unauthorized practice of law. (It also required, and still requires, a DA to indict such a person for the Class 1 Misdemeanor of unauthorized practice of law.) But when N.C. Gen. Stat. §84-10.1 goes into effect on January 1, 2012, private individuals will also be able to file a separate civil lawsuit against others they claim have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Moreover, unlike the District Attorney, private individuals will be able to recover their money damages as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Text of the New Statute, N.C. Gen. Stat. §84-10.1

Here is the text of the new statute, which becomes effective January 1, 2012:

N.C. Gen. Stat. §84-10.1. Private cause of action for the unauthorized practice of law.

“If any person knowingly violates any of the provisions of G.S. 84-4 through G.S. 84-6 or G.S. 84-9, fraudulently holds himself or herself out as a North Carolina certified paralegal by use of the designations set forth in G.S. 84-37(a), or knowingly aids and abets another person to commit the unauthorized practice of law, in addition to any other liability imposed pursuant to this Chapter or any other applicable law, any person who is damaged by the unlawful acts set out in this section shall be entitled to maintain a private cause of action to recover damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees.”

New Statute Also Expands North Carolina Law on Recovering Attorneys’ Fees

N.C. Gen. Stat. §84-10.1 adds to the short list of North Carolina statutes authorizing the award of attorneys’ fees. That is significant because in North Carolina you cannot recover attorneys’ fees unless a specific statute authorizes a judge to award them to you, and there are very few such statutes. This is the rule on attorneys’ fees in NC even for most business contracts, even when the parties to the contract have agreed to an attorneys’ fees provision.  To read about a new exception to this rule, you should see this post: New Statute Makes Attorneys’ Fees Provisions in Business Contracts Enforceable.

Raleigh Real Estate Lawyer Ben Kuhn

Ben Kuhn is Raleigh real estate attorney who practices commercial real estate, including

  • Retail, Office, Industrial and Commercial Leasing
  • Land and Development Acquisition and Financing
  • Zoning and Land Use Compliance
  • Development Entitlements and Permitting
Ben is also a founding member of the Real Estate Lawyers Association of North Carolina, a group focused on consumer protection in residential real estate transactions.  The association’s June 2011 update contains a detailed review of the of the new law.  To read that and other updates by the association, you should click here.
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