I always knew that I'd be a fireman one day!!!
Allen at Engine 47, Ladder Truck 20 (Detroit, 1968)
Serving Our Country, Serving
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Has It Been That Long????
Look how long it has been since my
last blog entry. Wow! In that amount of time my wife and I welcomed another child into our lives. Our daughter, Gabriella
Giuliana Fiorletta was born May 2, 2009. It is amazing that in four years I have gotten married and had 3 children. See what
happens when you put your mind to something!
Our practice continues to thrive which, depending
on how you look at it, is both good and bad. No one likes to have to hire a lawyer. So in order for our firm to be thriving,
our friends and neighbors are, to one extent or another, hurting. But I take comfort in knowing that we are doing what we
can to help them in whatever way that we can.
We've let some people go from our firm and
welcomed others on board. While the changes have no doubt impacted our firm, I am 100% convinced that the changes
are all for the better.
Still, if you can think of anything at all that we can do, please
drop me an email. I love to hear ideas, thoughts and comments!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
What Does My Dentist Have to Do With Anything?
Many years ago, I was having my teeth cleaned at the dentist's office. After the hygentist had completed the cleaning,
my dentist walked in to inspect her handywork. He asked me how often I flossed. I responded something to the effect of "every
once in a while". I went on to complain that flossing took too long to do every day. He told me that he had a solution
that would make flossing quicker. He told me to just floss the teeth that I wanted to keep. The teeth that I didn't care
about I could skip flossing. I've been flossing every since.
What does that story have to
do with a law firm? Just this. That same philosophy can be applied to your rights. To your right to the custody of, or visitation
with, your kids. To your right to keep your mouth shut in a criminal case. To your right to be compensated when someone else's
negligence has injured you or your loved ones. To your right to fair and equal access to our Courts. Because if you ignore
your rights, if you neglect your rights, you're going to lose them. Forever. Just like your teeth.
For almost 20 years our firm has been protecting our client's families, their freedoms and their futures. How? By making
sure that their rights are protected. By standing tall, side-by-side with them in battles large and small. We recognize that
when you're in the middle of a bitter custody battle, when you're fighting for your freedom, or when you've sued
or been sued, it's a war. And you've heard the saying "never bring a knife to a gun fight."
Our firm has gone up against, and beat, one of the largest law firms in Grand Rapids. Our firm has gone up against, and beat,
one of the largest law firms in Detroit. Our firm has gone up against, and beat, one of the largest law firms in the State
of Michigan. How? Tenacity. Persistence. A refusal to back down. A refusal to quit or give up or give in. A passion for the
rights of our clients. We take our client's battles personally. They become our battles.
I've had prospective clients mention who the lawyer on the other side is and ask if I'm worried about them. That question
always makes me think back to the summer of 1982. I was at boot camp in the Marine Corps. My Platoon Sgt. was Gunnery Sgt.
Radcliff...a 2-tour Vietnam veteran who had a long scar down his forehead from a bayonette (or so he said...but who was going
to ask him to prove it?) I remember being 17-years-old and standing at attention at 4:00 in the morning with Gunney Radcliff
screaming at the entire platoon. THAT was scary. But Gunney Radcliff had a passion for what he was doing. He was making Marines.
(Either that, or he was a very, very mean man.)
To say that I haven't been scared since
boot camp would be a lie. I remember as a new firefighter going to my first large fire. I was so scared when the ladder truck
pulled up to the scene that I couldn't find the door handle on the truck to get out.
no...no lawyer has ever scared me. Here's the secret...just because you put a suit and tie on in the morning, you don't
suddenly become the smartest guy in the room. Or the toughest. It's a suit for God's sake...not a cape (or a Marine
So the next time you're in a legal battle, regardless of who started it,
give me a call. Together, we'll make Gunney Radcliff proud.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
What's In A Name???
My wife is seven months pregnant with our second child. And finally, after months of
negotiating, we have agreed upon a name for our son. Technically my wife had the naming rights to him. We
agreed that she would get to choose the name of our second child when she awarded me the naming rights for our first
son. I chose Giovanni Massimo. "Massimo" means "powerful" and "mighty". It is a fitting
name for him. I can tell that he will be a leader. On the playground, the football field, the classroom and, someday, the
boardroom. One of my goals as a father is to impress upon my children the importance of their name. And to
impress upon them how important it is to honor that name. These seem like outdated ideals nowdays. Which just might explain
why so many families are in crisis.
As I mentioned, my wife had the naming rights for our second
child. Although she scoured the baby name books she always seemed to come up with names while watching Access Hollywood
or HBO. She liked the name that Julia Roberts named her child. Then she liked the name of some character in a new HBO
series. The HBO thing would have been acceptable if it was Tony or Paulie...maybe even Jimmy the Knife or Johnny the Hammer.
But it wasn't. It was some Hollywood, trendy, here-today, gone-tomorrow name that I wasn't sure how to pronounce...much
less spell. The character was a sissy and I blamed it all on his name. Giovanni would have spent much of his childhood defending
his younger brother from playground bullies if my wife had chosen our newest son's name.
So, I did what any good father would have done. I offered her cash for the naming rights. You know, like Comerica
Park or the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Cold hard cash in her hands if I could name our son. She refused. Repeatedly. Well, that's
not entirely true. She did offer to relinquish the naming rights for the price of a new car. That wasn't going to happen
so I just acceprted that Giovanni was going to get into a lot of fights over the next 15 years or so.
But deep down my wife knows how important my sons are...and how little everything else means to me in the scheme of things.
So one night while laying in bed reading the baby names book, I hit upon the following names: Giacomo Giuseppe. And guess
what? She agreed. So one day in about two months little Giacomo Giuseppe Fiorletta will be welcomed into the world. And together
with Giovanni they will rule the playground, the football field, the classroom and the boardroom. And they will
adore their Mom. Just like I do.
Monday, September 3, 2007
While driving home from a Labor
Day weekend camping trip we passed a tractor-trailer for a delivery company. Across the back of the trailer, just below the
name of the company, was their motto "striving for excellence". I think the motto "'driving' for excellence"
would have been a catchier phrase, but that's not what got me thinking.
looked like it had been on the road for years and the letters on the back of the trailer were worn and faded. Evidently, they
had been "'striving' for excellence" for quite some time. Try as they might though, they had not
made it to "excellence" in all that time. It would have been nice to see the "striving for excellence"
motto crossed out and just beneath it the phrase "excellent since 2005" or something like that.
I understand the whole thing about always striving to do better. Everyday I ask myself if I'm doing better today
than I did yesterday...is my relationship with my wife better...is my law firm better...am I healthier, etc.,
etc. But after so much striving, shouldn't you be able to reach excellence at some point? Especially if you're a trucking
Let's assume the company employs drug-free, honest employees, that it has
gone so many miles without a serious accident, pays an honest wage, complies with shipping regulations, picks up and delivers
the goods on time, and charges a fair price. Wouldn't that be enough to warrant a banner that says "an excellent
shipping company" or something to that effect.
I honestly believe that The Fiorletta
Law Firm is an excellent law firm. Ethically we can't say things like "the best law firm since 1988" or anything
like that in our marketing or literature (even though we are) unless we can prove it. That's fine. I'll let one
of our former clients do the talking. She lives in Texas and she had a very difficult family law issue that she hired my
firm to handle.
"The Fiorletta Law
Firm is the best I have ever done business with. Allen and Brett are real honest down-to-Earth people. They both talk to you
like they've known you for years and they are there for you at the drop of a hat. I had a horrible mess of a case
and they handled it with the greatest of ease. They always made sure I knew what was going on. They were absolutely amazing.
"Not very often do you come across a law firm that has so much passion and caring for
what they do. I live in Texas and had to have a lawyer in Michigan and I would recommend them to anyone in either state. If
you want to get the justice you deserve these two men are definately the way to go.
are fathers, firefighters, and awesome lawyers. They will definately be the law firm I use for any future legal matters. If
you're searching for the right law firm, you've found it!"
There. Now it wasn't me who told you that we are the best law firm. It was Melissa P. The fact of the matter is that
we had been striving for legal excellence since 1988. A few years back, we reached legal excellence and our motto
became "A Tradition of Legal Excellence". Melissa P., and many of our other clients, know why.
Here's a possible motto for you U of M fans: "striving to reclaim our pride
since September 1, 2007!"
I wonder how many clients that lil' dig will cost
me?? Go State!
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Let Me Be Clear....
A few weeks ago, someone sent me an e-mail commenting
on my firm's website. They called it "amatuerish" and "unprofessional". I responded to their e-mail,
but I never heard back from them again.
What that person did not understand
is that I could not care less what they think of my website. Let me ask you this: did that person honestly
think that I want a client who would take the time out of their day to post such a comment? Can you imagine what type
of person that must be? My guess is that it is someone who is miserable and generally mad at the world.
This website refelcts my principles: family, country, community. If you're looking at this website odds are that you may
be in need of an attorney. And you've likely looked through the phone book and the dozens of lawyer ads therein.
What do you see in thoses ads? By and large you see pictures of smiling lawyers. In almost 20 years in this business, I've
never known the need for a lawyer to be a happy occasion. Maybe they're smiling at the prospect of cashing your
Looking at the ads, you might think that every lawyer has "recovered
millions of dollars" for their clients. You might think that they've won every case they've ever handled.
There are only so many adjectives that these lawyers can use, and they've certainly used them all. "Aggressive".
"Experienced". "Honest". How bad is it when a lawyer has to advertise that he or she is "honest"?
Shouldn't that be a given?
Here's two facts: this firm has not recovered
millions of dollars for every one of our clients. We have not won every single case (although definitions of a "win"
vary from client to client). I can safely assume that our client who was facing 20 years in prison and had the charges
against him dropped prior to going on trial would consider that a "win". I can safely assume that our client
who faced losing his parental rights due to allegations made during a bitter divorce, but didn't lose those rights, would
consider that a "win".
Anyway, as I was saying, my website reflects who I am
and how I run this firm. It's about family first. I work hard for my clients and I surround myself with highly-effective
colleagues for two reasons: 1) so that I can do my best to protect my client's freedom, their family, and their future,
and; 2) so that The Fiorletta Law Firm, PLLC will be recognized as a premier law firm in Michigan. That recognition allows
our firm to grow and thrive. That success allows me to take care of my wife, our children, and our pets. That, to me, is what
it's all about.
When all is said and done, it should be our clients who are
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
And One More Makes Four...
My wife and I had a doctor's appointment this morning. Well, she had the appointment.
I just tagged along. It was our first appointment where we were able to see the little peanut and the heartbeat
that is our next child. For friend's and family of Kathy (my wife) who did not know yet...sorry to spoil the surprise!
My wife waits to tell almost everyone when she's pregnant. Me? I tell perfect
strangers in line at Starbucks. "Um, yes, I'll have an iced, venti, sugar-free latte and, by the way...did you
know that my wife is pregnant?" It drives her crazy how fast I tell people. The test strip on the pregnancy test hadn't
even made the "+" sign yet and I was already placing calls overseas to spread the news.
In any event, now that Mommy has seen the little beating heart, she can share our news with the world. (Or, at least
that small portion of it that I haven't told yet.)
It's good that
she can feel comfortable telling people that she's pregnant again. She was starting to show enough where people aren't
quite sure that she's pregnant so they're hesitant to comment on it. Maybe, they figure, she's just making
a few too many trips to the ice cream store.
Now if my marriage can just survive
the debate over what to name him (or her), we should be all set. She's insisting on "Finnian" if it's
a boy. I've insisted that if she IS successful in getting that name on the birth certificate, I'll sneak into Court
while she's recovering and have it legally changed.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Now You Know the Words....
Day is done.
Gone the sun.
From the lakes.
From the hills.
From the sky.
All is well.
God is nigh.
Dims the sight.
And a star.
Gems the sky.
Falls the nigh.
Thanks and praise.
Neath the sun.
Neath the stars.
As we go.
This we know.
God is nigh.
Three of the events
that I've attended in my life, that I hope to never have to attend again, are the funerals for a fallen Marine,
police office and firefighter. Funerals, by their very nature, are difficult. My Mom's memorial service was one of the hardest
days of my life.
If you've ever been to the funeral of a soldier or a Marine you can't
help but shed a tear and swallow hard during the playing of "Taps".
at the top of this blog entry are the words to "Taps".
In today's American
Idol, get-quick-rich, what's-in-it-for-me society, take a few moments to re-read those words. Heck, take an hour
some time and learn them. And hope that you never have the occasion to stand graveside and sing them quietly as the bugle
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Does Anyone Really Read These?
My friend Michelle has been getting after me to get
a current posting up here. She evidently thinks that I have some profound words of wisdom or exciting anecdotes to pass along.
Sorry Micky, but I don't.
I could babble on and on about my
4-months-old son's newest facial expressions or his "oohs" and "ahhs". I could share with you
how he smiles when I come in close to steal a kiss. (It's not really "stealing" though, since I always give
them back.) He IS the cutest kid ever, and with personality to spare! I tell my wife that we almost have an obligation
to society to have at least a few more.
If you ever choose to spend a Friday
morning in Family Court, it really is amazing to hear the stories that unfold. Parents who live in $650,000.00 houses but
are behind in their child support. Parents who are convinced that every dime that they pay in child support gets spent
on anything and everything BUT the child.
One morning, having returned home after
spending the day in Court I told my son that if Mommy and Daddy ever do get a divorce, he can have all of Daddy's
money and Daddy will go live in a refridgerator box. He "coo-d" when I said it, so he must have agreed with the
Of course, if you've seen my wedding picture that I have posted on this web
site, you'd know how big of a fool I'd be to let my wife get away. She is my "oops-eraser". Every bad decision,
dumb mistake, and wrong road that I've traveled down lead me to her. She single-handedly erased all of those bad
choices. Truth be told, it was a bar fight that lead me to her, but that's a story for another time. (On the advice
of my attorney!)
I met my wife in a dive bar in downtown Detroit. For
those of you familiar with Detroit hang-outs, it was The Post. The Post is a long, narrow, smoky bar where everything is covered
with grafitti (the walls, the stalls, the bar, the ceiling). Everything, that is, except the pool table felt. Whether by some
unwritten rule or simply tradition, the pool table felt remains as green today as it was the day it was first laid.
If you're in the front of The Post, you need to know that you have to go to the bathroom
about 20 minutes before you actually have to go. Because it will take you that long to make your way through the crowd to
the back, where the bathrooms are located. Then again, you might just want to hold it since there are no doors on the bathrooms...anywhere.
Aside from grafitti and door-less bathrooms, The Post is known for a few things: very attractive
Canadian girls, die-hard Red Wings fans, and the bartenders ordering dozens of pizzas around 2:00 a.m. and
tossing them out to the crowd.
For me, though, it will always be the place that
I met Giovanni's Mom.
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
When Did It Become So Acceptable?
I had a doctor's
appointment last Friday afternoon. Nothing too serious. Just a follow-up visit for an old foot injury from kicking a parking
meter in Chicago many years ago. I tried to schedule the appointment for a slow time instead of, say, first
thing Monday morning. When I arrived at his office, everything looked good. Only one other person was waiting in the
(aptly named) waiting room.
My appointment was at 3:45. It was not until 4:05 that
I was ushed into an examination room. Some fifteen minutes later, now about 4:20, still no doctor. However, one of his
helpers ( a nurse? receptionist?) came into the exam room to retrieve some bandages from the room. When I asked her how
much longer it would be she replied "just a few more minutes". When I mentioned that I had already been waiting
for over a half hour she told me that she would let the doctor know.
As coincidence would
have it, as she walked out of the room, the doctor walked right past her and continued down the hallway. The nurse/receptionist
walked in the other direction and said nothing. So, I had a very late doctor who employed liars. Now, ordinarily my temper
starts to fizzle at about the 10 minutes behind schedule and it begins to boil at about 15 minutes. Typically at
20 minutes behind schedule I'm out of there with some terse words to whoever happens to be within ear-shot on
my way out. In this particular case, though, the doctor is a former neighbor of mine. It is the only reason that I go to thim.
Or, more accurately, used to go to him.
In the exceedingly inexcusable period
of time that I had to wait for the doctor to finally come in, I had time to read his diploma over and over again. He's
been at this doctor business since 1979. And, still, he cannot figure out how to schedule his appointments. Really, though,
that's not the case at all. It is simply a lack of consideration. An arrogance that we have become all to used to
when dealing with so-called "professionals". But it's not just doctors. For instance, yesterday I spent over
19 minutes on hold waiting to reach the "customer service" department of a multi-million dollar company.
My personal favorite is when you do finally reach someone on the telephone and you share your ire
with them about the wait and they simply hang up on you. They hide behind the anonimity of a faceless maze of voicemail
prompts and overseas call centers. Try to hunt down the simpleton who hung up on you in Indonesia and you're likely to
wind up connected to a call center in Bangledesh.
Like I said, though. It's not just
doctors or customer service lines. Many lawyers are just as bad. Just as arrogant. They think nothing of keeping
their clients waiting in the lobby for 20, 30 minutes or more. Or, they think nothing of showing up for Court at 11:00
even though the hearing is scheduled for 8:30. Meanwhile, the meter on my client's case has been ticking since we showed
up at 8:15.
I shared my contempt for such lawyers with another well-respected lawyer
here in town. He fully concurred, adding "the old-timers have always done it that way and they're never going to
change." I recall when I first opened my practice I rolled in a couple hours late for Court one morning. The Judge
had, by that time, sent my client home and directed his bailiff to bring me into his chambers when I arrived. He then
brought me into the Courtroom so that I could offer him some reason for not locking me up for contempt. Fortunately for me,
he was an old Italian Judge. I think my last name might have saved me on that occasion. I've never been late to Court
So, again...when did this type of behavior become, if not acceptable, tolerable?
Had this doctor not been a former neighbor, I certainly would have walked out with some choice words on the way. I certainly
will not go back to his office.
When you make an appointment at my firm, plan on being
seen with 5 minutes of your appointment time. (Usually 5 minutes early!) And, I tell you this - for each 15 minutes
that you are kept waiting past your appointment time, I'll pay you 25% of your hourly pay. Because as far as I'm concerned,
your time is just as valuable as mine.
Just one of my random thoughts.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Have a Safe New Year's Eve.
see you in 2007!