Land Use and Zoning
The balance created by local government for what gets built next to whom is the fundamental principal of zoning legislation. The purpose is to change from the days of mill towns and industrial complexes immediately next to residences.
Local governments need experienced and knowledgeable lawyers who are recognized as subject matter experts by their peers and by opposing counsel to handle and represent them in disputes with neighbors and developers. In nearly every land use dispute, the local government is caught in the middle between these two groups and becomes a victim of the old adage that “no good deed goes unpunished.” No matter how hard the council or board works to reach compromise or to establish common ground, often both parties are left feeling they have been taken advantage of or not been heard in the process.
Our lawyers have literally been on the front lines of negotiating and litigating these challenging and often emotionally-tinged cases. We have the experience and understanding to support even the most delicate choice made by an elective body. When everyone else “lawyers up”, the attorneys of the Balch Law Group are your go to choice for responding to these challenging matters.
All businesses hope to grow. After deciding what form your new venture will take, deciding when to add new employees is perhaps the single most important decision a business owner will make. Various state and federal statutes may require you to take additional action and create additional opportunities for your business. With more than 20 years of experience advising businesses on employment matters, we know the questions to ask to help you decide the best course of action for your business as it grows and prospers.
Employee Hiring, Retention and Detention
Georgia is an “at-will” employment state. This means that in many circumstances neither the employer nor the employee need a reason for ending the employment relationship. However, if you are over a certain size, Federal law may require you to identify and articulate a business reason for your employment decision. Nonetheless, regardless of your size, you may want to understand your obligations as an employer before adding or reducing staff as the economy and your business improve.
Policy and Procedure Manuals
Just like managing your relationship with your business partners, you will want to manage your staff’s expectations and obligations to your business. One of the best ways to manage is by creating a written policy and procedure manual that describes how you want your employees to conduct themselves and what you expect of them. We can discuss your options and provide an effective means of creating a manual that is tailored to your particular business and means of managing.
Trade Secret and Noncompete Agreements
Georgia is a very favorable state for businesses to protect their ways and means of doing business. Whether it is your customer list, your price and vendor list, or how your particular processes or means of doing business are memorialized, you will want to protect this crucial information. We know what questions to ask and what can be done to protect your interests.
If you already have an agreement in place that you believe has been breached, we can go to court for you and seek to have it enforced. The loss to your business if your trade secrets or means of doing business are stolen can be immeasurable. A court can act to protect your hard work from a disloyal former employee who seeks to take your efforts and profit by them.
Most people do not want to sue their customers, vendors or others with whom they conduct business. More importantly, no one wants to get sued. Unfortunately, litigation may be necessary when two parties cannot resolve their dispute themselves. Each of Georgia’s counties has its own Court system. Some of them have two. While most of the forms and procedures have been standardized, each county (or judicial circuit) may still have its own particular way of doing things. The county where your dispute is to be litigated often depends on where the Defendant is located.
In some circumstances, your claim may be brought or may need to be defended in Federal Court. If the dispute involves certain federal statutes, such as anti-discrimination laws or Trademark and Copyright, federal court is generally the best place to be. If all of the parties are from different states and the amount in dispute exceeds $75,000 then the claim may also be brought in federal court, which is also sometimes called the United States District Court. There are three trial level District Courts in Georgia, cutting somewhat diagonal stripes from northeast to southwest across the State. Which one you find yourself in depends on what County in Georgia the case could have been brought had you (or your opponent) selected a Georgia court to bring your case.
We are admitted to practice before all Courts in Georgia. Please check the other options on this tab for your particular area of interest.