Josh Nelson is an Attorney and Alliance Architect for Nelson Elder Care Law. He specializes in finance, banking, and insurance to compliment his specialty in elder law.
Josh is active in the community, building relationships with people and key businesses in the areas. He has developed strong alliances in the community to provide holistic solutions to our clients in order to secure their future and protect their loved ones.
He has a passion for protecting the assets of the people he serves through effective tax and financial strategies.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Woodstock, Georgia. It’s time for Cherokee Business Radio. Now, here’s your host.
Stone Payton: [00:00:23] Welcome to this very special edition of Cherokee Business Radio. It is time for our Trusted Advisor series, and today’s episode is brought to you in part by the Cherokee Business RadioX Community Partner Program. If you resonate with our mission and you are anywhere nearly as committed as we are to supporting and celebrating local business and community leaders here in Cherokee County, I hope you’ll consider becoming a community partner. If it’s an idea you’d like to pursue. Just shoot us a note at stone at Business RadioX dot com. All right. You guys are in for a real treat. Please join me in welcoming back to the Business RadioX microphone with Nelson Elder Care Law. Mr. Josh Nelson. How you been, man?
Josh Nelson: [00:01:10] Absolutely amazing. Thanks for having me back. Stone It’s always a pleasure to come down here and see you.
Stone Payton: [00:01:14] Yeah, we have a lot of fun in these conversations, so I can’t imagine anyone within the limits of Cherokee County not knowing Josh and not knowing about Nelson Elder care. But you know what? Let’s cover our bases, give them a little bit of an overview and a primer. I will say this, I was doing my extensive pre show research. As you know I am known for I love just right. As soon as you go to your website just front and center, protect the ones you love. I love a great job.
Josh Nelson: [00:01:42] You are too kind. But what we are is a law firm that specializes in helping people plan for their future and the future of their loved ones. We primarily work with people that are a little bit older, so generally 55 and up kind of our focus. And what we do is really walk everybody through not only what happens to you while you’re healthy and alive, but how that transitions to your spouse, your kids. Making sure that not only do you have a pretty binder on your shelf, but you have a plan that really works.
Stone Payton: [00:02:08] Marvelous. And you brought someone into with you today. Who did you bring with you?
Josh Nelson: [00:02:12] I did. I have a good friend and a fellow attorney here, Judd Waites, from the Waites law firm. He’s right here in Cherokee County, very active in the small business community. And what he brings to the table as far as knowledge on small business matters and also what we call civil litigation, is just mind blowing. So I wanted to bring him down here with us.
Stone Payton: [00:02:31] All right. Welcome, Judd. Weights, weights, law firm, delighted to have you. Now you are practicing law in a very different discipline than Josh and his team. Yes.
Jud Waites: [00:02:40] Yes. First of all, thank you, Josh, and thank you, Stone, for letting me join in today. I’m excited to be here. Yeah, I have a passion for fighting bullies, and that became a passion of mine when I was a kid growing up. I guess we all had those moments where we got bullied at some point in time, so it became my passion to help stop bullies because I like people and like people to be nice to each other. And I decided that that might be a good profession to get into. How can I make that a profession? So I became a trial lawyer where I can help make sure that fair results are obtained when there’s a dispute or disagreement, and I hope try to make sure that there’s some fairness to the to the end result. That’s the overview of why I became a trial lawyer so.
Stone Payton: [00:03:14] Well, let’s hear a little bit more about the back story. Did you like play lawyer while everybody else was playing cowboys and Indians, or was there a point in the development of another career that you took? A little, little different path?
Jud Waites: [00:03:24] Well, I’ve always been big into sports, and I was always fascinated with knowing the rules of the games so that I could try to get some kind of advantage that the other kids didn’t know about knowing the rules better than they did. So that became a fascination for laws as I got older. And so that kind of led into fed into my passion for making sure people treat each other nicely. And so it just became a natural pathway to law school for me.
Stone Payton: [00:03:46] So what are some kinds of cases or some types of challenges that your clients have that would give us a good window into what you what you do?
Jud Waites: [00:03:56] Yeah, I do three different areas of law. One of them is is very business oriented. But the other two areas first, I do a lot of work with personal injury and wrongful death cases, car wrecks. I’m a former motorcycle rider, so you’ll have a lot of motorcycle wrecks also. That’s a passion for mine. As a former former motorcyclist, slip and fall cases helping folks make sure they get compensated when someone else is negligent and causes them to be injured or, God forbid, lose the life of a loved one. A secondary I do a lot of work in is criminal defense, mostly misdemeanors, DUIs, traffic tickets, drug possessions, just making sure that they’re not punished unless the government proves their case, like the Constitution says they’re supposed to. And then the third area, which is very heavily involved in business, is contract and business disputes and can be anything between companies, individuals, employer employee non-compete agreements, collect and pass through accounts and this crazy real estate market. Now, I’m doing a lot of work for folks who have had a real estate purchase go south. And so they’re fighting over return of earnest money or they’re fighting to force the sale specific performance. So those are some examples of contract disputes that I handle.
Stone Payton: [00:05:01] So the name of the series is Trusted Advisor. I’d like to hone in on this idea of trust a little bit, and I’m going to ask both of you to maybe field some questions or participate in this part of the conversation. But I’ll start with you, Judd. It occurs to me that if I have some sort of problem in any of the areas that you describe, the level of trust. You must have to endear with a potential client. It must be incredible. How are you able to to engender that level of trust all the way from the sales and marketing communication all the way through to the early part of the relationship? What insight, if any, can you maybe offer on that front?
Jud Waites: [00:05:42] Yeah, it’s a great question.
Stone Payton: [00:05:43] In order for me, you know, I thought it was fantastic. It took me a minute to get it out, but I thought it was a marvelous question.
Jud Waites: [00:05:49] Well, for lawyers to do their job well, as Josh can attest, we have to know everything about you and your situation, which is why, you know, there’s attorney client privilege, right? It’s a statute that says what you tell your lawyer stays confidential. That way it increases the chances of the person actually being willing to share everything about the situation so that Josh can draft the proper estate documents for them, for example. And I can play in the proper trial strategy for them in my areas that I practice. So that trust is very important how you develop it. There’s really no magic formula for it. You just make sure you’re competent what you do. You make sure that you convey that to them when they come to you for advice. One thing that helps develop that trust faster is when someone’s referred to me by someone else that they know and they trust and that person knows me. And so by giving my name to to the person who needs some help, there’s already some built in trust there because they’ve been referred by someone that they trust as well. But having that trust is very important to not only put the client at ease, but also making sure that I do as good of a job for them as I can.
Stone Payton: [00:06:50] Yeah, I don’t think from my perspective, we can overstate how much gravity a referral in these situations means. If I’m already working with some some other professional advisor, or either just even someone I really know and trust well, and they say, Oh yeah, for that you need to talk to the judge, that that carries an incredible amount of weight. And I think sometimes those of us in the small business arena, sometimes we forget that.
Jud Waites: [00:07:15] But might well, you see, you know, people advertising for their businesses, which is which is fine and good and it should be done. And lawyers are not different. You see the billboards and the TV commercials and radio commercials, and that’s fine. But at the end of the day, when someone is needed in need of legal assistance, are they going to hire someone that they don’t know and that they have not heard about from someone else themselves that personally does know that person? Are they going to call the stranger behind the commercial or the billboard and hire someone that they’ve never met? So I always encourage folks, even when they call me and ask me for assistance, I always encourage them to contact other lawyers. Also, before you make a decision on who to hire. So you find someone that you feel comfortable with, whether it’s me or someone else, and they should do that regardless of who they get referred to, whether the personal reference or through a commercial, it’s important to make sure that you check out the options and find what’s best for you.
Stone Payton: [00:08:07] Wow. My my first instinct was to say that’s awfully gutsy. But then, as you’re saying that now, I trust you a little bit more just because you were willing to do that.
Jud Waites: [00:08:15] See, it’s working, isn’t it?
Stone Payton: [00:08:17] It is working. So, Josh and I expect there probably going to be some parallels in your answer, but how do you approach you and your team approach this whole this whole trust thing?
Josh Nelson: [00:08:26] I think we start with just the idea that nobody likes attorneys. Let’s just start from that base. Level.
Stone Payton: [00:08:33] For for my publishing team. That’s the caption. That’s the title of the episode.
Josh Nelson: [00:08:38] That’s the thumbnail right there. But just in general, our profession is thought of as scary. Most people, their first interaction is divorce, a DUI, some kind of tragic event. And so the way that we really build trust is by trying to knock down some of those barriers of intimidation that people have whenever they come and they think it’s going to be expensive, they think that they’re going to be talked down to. They think that we’re going to use words or laws that they don’t understand. And so what we do is always say, hey, no money down to get started with us. Let’s just sit down and talk, have a conversation, sort of like what we’re doing here and then talk to them in a way that you talk to a friend, explain principles to them that, yeah, they might be complicated, but how do we do that without using jargon or fancy words? A lot of lawyers want to puff themselves up and feel like the smartest guy in the room. And I think that goes to some of the distrust, because if you’re not communicating in a way that people understand, how are they going to make an educated decision? And so we want to allow people to make those decisions.
Josh Nelson: [00:09:43] We don’t really make decisions for people as lawyers if we’re doing it right. We want to make sure that people are making their own choices, their own decisions based on a complete picture of information. And so often, especially like in the small business owners world, whenever we Google something and we guess at it or whatever, we ask a friend of a friend, we just don’t know that that answer fits your situation. And then you don’t find out until a lot later that it’s wrong. I mean, we deal with so many people, unfortunately, on the probate side of things where they thought they had a plan in place and then it just wasn’t signed the right way or it didn’t have the right words in it. And it was. Your family’s thousands of bucks on the back side, whenever for a couple of hundred bucks and a conversation to start with. It could have just changed their whole legacy.
Stone Payton: [00:10:31] So this begins to sort of bump up against a conversation around the other aspect of the title advisor. There is some art and science and I suspect some best practices in how you provide advice, how you provide counsel, the way that you frame it, where you you create that that level of ease that that I think you’re apparently able to pull off.
Josh Nelson: [00:10:55] I think that’s why Judd’s not afraid to send his prospective clients to the competition first is because there’s a reason lawyers have the reputation they do. Unfortunately, it’s not always that advising. Sometimes it’s talking down to people. I mean, we have friends that do bankruptcy law that unfortunately look down on people that file bankruptcy. And it’s like, that’s crazy for that to be your calling and you to judge your client like that. A lot of times it’s medical stuff. A lot of times it’s just a bad hand of cards. But how do we go ahead and make sure that whenever people come in, they’re feeling like we’re on the same level and that they’re getting the truth and the confidence to make those right decisions.
Stone Payton: [00:11:35] So I’m sure you see a lot of patterns. What are some of the the gaps that you see over and over, even from maybe a couple comes in and they’ve got some version of some will or something written up or typed up or whatever. Are there some some gaps that you’re almost always know you’re going to see before you even walk into the conference room?
Josh Nelson: [00:11:54] Almost always the biggest thing we see is a lack of a plan, even in the presence of tools. So people think of an estate plan as a will or a power of attorney. I won’t throw anybody under the bus on your show here, but we just had a client that has a $5 million business come in. Two weeks ago, she had another attorney that gave her this big, beautiful, pretty binder full of legal stuff. And it wasn’t even signed right with the attorney, but not even that. It didn’t work with her business. It didn’t work with her finances. Her bank had never seen any of this paperwork. Her financial advisor have never seen any of this paperwork. And this is probably my pet peeve or the most common issue that I run into is people that thought they had a plan. And it was just a really poor plan because it doesn’t incorporate the people, the finances, it’s just paper in a book. And that’s probably the biggest issue we see.
Stone Payton: [00:12:55] Yeah. How about you? Do you do you see some of the same things over and over when alone your first initially beginning to get to know a client and then understand their situation? I don’t know. Misconceptions, myths, some holes that you just almost always are going to have to plug pretty early in those conversations.
Jud Waites: [00:13:11] Well, I guess focusing on the the business side of what I do with the contract disputes and all, I’ve been doing this this law thing for 30 years. This year, my 30th year.
Stone Payton: [00:13:19] Wow. You’ve held up well.
Jud Waites: [00:13:20] Well, well, you know, Flintstone vitamins are amazing, big proponent of Flintstone vitamins. But some of the things I see, I see a bunch of things, which is why they’re coming in to see me. But in contract disputes, it’s amazing to see how poorly drafted the contracts are upon which they’ve based this big, you know, financially huge deal or partnership or transaction. And yet they didn’t spend any time on having a contract drafted to cover all the possibilities of what could go wrong and how to address it if it does go wrong. I had a trial several years ago in Gwinnett County, where it was $1,000,000 lawsuit. My client was being sued for $1,000,000 in a business deal that went south, and it was short story. They were going into business together to basically try to sell to the country of Saudi Arabia, to be their representatives in front of the Olympic Committee and try to convince the Olympic Committee to award the Summer Games to Saudi Arabia some years down the road. So the plaintiff sued my client, the defendant. The plaintiff was the one who had the connections with Saudi Arabia. My client was one that had the money and access to the markets that could get the job done.
Jud Waites: [00:14:32] My client signed a check for $1 million to the plaintiff, his business partner, and they had a falling out. I had a disagreement about whether or not the plaintiff did what he was supposed to do in exchange for that $1 million to part of the sharing of the fees and all the deal went south. They did not get retained by Saudi Arabia, so the plaintiff tried to cash that check anyway, even though he had not done what he was supposed to have done to earn that $1 million. My client canceled stop payment on the check and a lawsuit ensued. We had a trial, so my client came in to see me and I said, Where’s the copy of the contract you guys are fighting over? He said, I don’t have it. I said, Well, does the plaintiff have it? He doesn’t have it either. We’ve lost it. I said, Did you have an attorney draft this for you? Said, No, we just scratched out some things on a piece of paper over dinner one night. Oh, mine. So, you know, and so my my catchphrase is you had a contract on a bar napkin, basically, is what we’re talking about here. So we had no no contract in writing to prove whose version of the events was correct, but.
Jud Waites: [00:15:31] The plaintiff had a copy of the check, so he had something in writing to show the jury. So we were very, very worried about. The only thing in writing that we know for sure is my guy was going to give him $1,000,000 if he did something. But we we did some good work preparing for the deposition of the plaintiff. And we took his deposition and asked him the tough questions. And we were able to get out of him during that deposition, his confirmation that, yes, I did do three things for that money. And then we were able to go back and show how he did not do those three things. And we got a verdict in favor of the defendant at that trial. But to answer the question, contracts that are poorly drafted or lost is a very common problem. And like Josh said a moment ago, if they had spent a few hundred dollars on the front end doing things properly, they could have saved themselves thousands of dollars later trying to resolve it. So I’m a big fan of the online forms that you can go buy for $25 because they’ll make me thousands of dollars. Later. When they have to go litigate over those poorly drafted contracts.
Stone Payton: [00:16:28] It reminds me of the I saw a billboard somewhere. I think it was here in town somewhere. We fix thousand dollar nose jobs or Something like that.
Josh Nelson: [00:16:36] There’s an overall Five Bells Ferry. There’s a break place that always puts up the sign right next to it. Just breaks that says we fix $99, break jobs directly across the street from the place that does $99 break jobs. And it just makes me chuckle every time I go.
Jud Waites: [00:16:51] By location, location, location.
Stone Payton: [00:16:54] So in some of these other disciplines, domains, I don’t know what the right word is, but there’s the personal injury stuff. Do you do in those cases? I’m operating under the impression that the answer is early or is better than later, but when should you reach out to get professional representation? But pretty quickly.
Jud Waites: [00:17:13] Yes, absolutely. When someone is injured or, you know, someone has lost the life of a loved one, if you’re injured, the first stop should be obviously getting some medical help to stop, start the healing process and trying to get better as best you can from the injuries you sustained in, let’s say, motorcycle wreck. So it’s very important to make sure you take care of you and your health first. But once that’s done, then yes, the next call should be to to an attorney who knows what they’re doing and can help advise you through the process of making sure that that evidence is preserved, that you have not been asked questions by the opposing person who may have caused the wreck or their insurance adjusters who are investigating it, or really anyone that may be asking questions about it while you’re in a state of pain and recovery. A lot of people who are not lawyers will say things that they think means A, B and C, but in fact, under the law it means X, Y and Z, and that can determine whether or not you win or lose your case. So getting counsel early on can help you avoid those potholes that you may not know. Are there?
Stone Payton: [00:18:13] Well, no, that’s a great pro tip, right? Because I suspect that you have had clients or potential clients come to you that have already done some things they hadn’t should not have done yet. And it makes your job that much harder. And yeah, you see that sometimes, right?
Jud Waites: [00:18:28] Absolutely. And for example, in a in a motor vehicle wreck, whether it’s car or truck or or motorcycle, if the injuries are significant, then the amount that the injured person who was not at fault may be entitled to that amount that they’re entitled to get maybe more than what the insurance coverage is for the person who caused the wreck. So then they have to hopefully they’ll have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on their own policy, which will kick in additional amounts to the injured person from the from their own insurance policy, as if it were insurance for the person who caused the wreck. So I always advise clients, get you in coverage added on to your own policy. So that will act as if it’s the insurance for the other driver who hits you one day and they’re at fault. It can pay you additional amounts. But I had a case where a client came to me after they had already tried to settle with the other driver’s insurance company on their own and didn’t want to incur attorney’s fees, which I’m a big fan of saving money too. I use my coupons like everybody else, but they tried to save having to pay an attorney to make sure they got top dollar. By doing so, they settled with the driver’s insurance company that caused the wreck in such a way that it prohibited them from being able to collect the additional amounts that they were entitled to on their own. Um, policy. So they cause himself a couple hundred thousand dollars because of trying to save some money and do things on their own in the front end.
Stone Payton: [00:19:47] And they probably didn’t even realize it. But by taking that action and signing off on something that precludes them from taking some further action.
Jud Waites: [00:19:55] And it’s not a matter of of the person not being a smart person. It’s simply a matter of that. These are complex legal questions that are governed by laws that change. Every time Georgia legislature gets together, they can change some laws and revise them. That’s why we have to go to continuing legal education every year to stay on top of these changes in the laws. And every day there are new cases that are being interpreted by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Georgia. That may be a different interpretation today than it was yesterday. So it’s not a matter of a person who’s injured in a wreck saying, I’m a smart person, I can handle this on my own. It’s not a matter of intelligence. It’s a matter of being on top of the changes that occur. On a regular basis and attorneys that know what they’re doing and do it the right way or on top of those things and can help you avoid, you know, signing a release that now prohibits you from getting additional moneys from your own insurance coverage on top of what you got in the first time.
Josh Nelson: [00:20:45] I want to go back to one thing that he said, though, because I think he glossed over the the uninsured motorist coverage. He came and spoke to my team and one of the ladies on my team took what he said to heart. She loves her insurance agent. He’s a great guy. But because of some cost prohibitive that she had, she was saving like six bucks a month by not having this coverage. And after Judd came and talked to her, she got it literally a couple of months later, she ends up getting hit by a guy that’s got no insurance. Wow. And without this, she would have just had her car totaled out, like, I mean, because she didn’t have full coverage, but she had this to kind of pick up the slack and it changed her life. And it’s not that her insurance guy wasn’t good. It’s not that he wasn’t doing what he was supposed to. But it’s just this simple stuff where you don’t know what you don’t know. And if your advisor isn’t telling you a stone, it’s worth the six bucks to make sure you got this covered. You’re like, Oh, well, I’m saving 72 bucks a year.
Jud Waites: [00:21:46] I love happy endings. I’m glad to hear that. And you in coverage is so dirt cheap. The main chunk of money you’re paying for auto insurance coverage is for the liability coverage when you’re at fault and cause the wreck. But to add on top of your own auto insurance policy, you know, the additional coverage is like, um, coverage. It’s so cheap. Everybody should have at least minimum 100,000, um, coverage, add on type coverage.
Stone Payton: [00:22:09] Holly That’s my wife. If you’re listening, please pull the insurance file. We have got to go look at it. It’s wonderful to to collect this kind of insight from people who this is their specialized expertize. And so if you ever want to get just just tons of great free consulting guys, get your own radio show, start, start your show and just invite people that know that know stuff. Speaking of education, I’ll ask you both. I’ll start with you. Josh, as you were deciding to pursue this path as a career, did it ever give you pause that that you were going to have to go get all this additional education because it’s quite a bit bit more education, right?
Josh Nelson: [00:22:48] Absolutely. I mean, I think that the problem is whenever you first start down the path, you don’t see how high the summit really is. And so I started in tax law. That’s really where I was passionate about and I loved doing it. But at the same time, what I didn’t realize was average people can’t afford to really hire an attorney to fight the IRS. It’s too expensive. Yeah. And so in order to help people, I had to transition. And that’s where I joined Cindy Nelson, my mother at Nelson Elder Care Law. And that was a whole shift of years of extra learning, a lot of extra courses. And sometimes it’s just going to the court and finding out. Unfortunately, what we do is pretty Google Proof. You can’t just type in to even like Google Scholar and find out this is what happens whenever you want to protect your assets for Medicaid. And so even up to last week, we’re back in the courts doing trials and testing the strategies that we do to make sure that these work for people. And so we’re undefeated in Medicaid cases taking a trial, and we do pretty aggressive plans. A lot of people will tell you if you don’t plan five years in advance, you’re going to lose everything. And we have some people that are able to save 60, 70, 90% of their stuff, even whenever they only know a couple of months in advance that their loved one’s going to the nursing home. And the only way we learn that is by having the fortitude to take it to trial.
Stone Payton: [00:24:19] I can see now clearly competency, if that’s the right word. It’s a moving target in your fields. I mean, you guys have got to consistently be up to date with all of these changes, and there’s no way the layperson could even begin to do that. I don’t think.
Josh Nelson: [00:24:36] Or want to.
Stone Payton: [00:24:37] Or want to. Amen. Amy No, I just mailed a tax package off because there’s no way I’m going to fire up one of those tax programs. No, it’s not going to happen. How about you? Did you take any pause at all before you just you went to this whole law school thing on the front end?
Jud Waites: [00:24:52] No, because I have a high tolerance for pain, apparently. But I come from a background of of, you know, learning and sports has been a big part of my life growing up. So you always learn, you know, a lot of life lessons from from being in sports, you know, and times get tough. You suck it up and you stay in there and you keep your nose down and keep to the grindstone and you keep working and you just you tough it out until you get to the to the end zone. But so, yeah, it wasn’t a daunting task for me because I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I had a passion for it. So after high school, four years of college, three years of law school. But but, yeah, as you said, it’s a it’s a continuing obligation to be competent at what we do to stay on top of those changes in the laws. And that’s why when people call me and say, you know, Judd, I need to have a well done and a special needs trust and there are different types of trusts out there as a legal term. And that’s not my area of law. I So you need to call Josh for that kind of expertize because there are more different areas of law than there are different areas of medicine. So you just you can’t be good at all areas of law. So. Right. So, you know, you can you can be on top of, you know, three or four areas, I feel like, you know, and stay on top of those changes, especially if you’ve been doing as long as I’ve been doing it, you can keep up with those types of changes. But if you start trying to be the master of all trades, then that’s a recipe for disaster for the client and and for the attorney trying to do that.
Stone Payton: [00:26:12] And just you had I think you mentioned earlier in the conversation you had Judd came in and spoke with your staff.
Josh Nelson: [00:26:18] Yeah. So we have a pretty big team right now. We’re up to about 30 people. And so we let other professional advisors, other people come in and kind of speak with our team. He works a lot with our marketing department just because, unfortunately, whenever you have like a wrongful death case or somebody that’s passed away, especially if they don’t have a plan in place in advance, they’ve got to go through a probate process to get access to those funds even after they win.
Stone Payton: [00:26:43] That’s the ugly word, right? Probate. We don’t we don’t want any more of that than we have to. Right. Or is it true?
Josh Nelson: [00:26:48] It’s something you definitely want to avoid. But even whenever somebody doesn’t pass, maybe they’re disabled to the point that they can’t work any longer. And so they qualify for some government benefits to help subsidize their cost of living. And then all of a sudden they get a settlement check that will take away those benefits if they don’t plan for it. And so we work a lot with Judd and different people that are trying to just get what’s just and sometimes those rules and regulations just aren’t written so that the normal person without some planning can make that happen.
Stone Payton: [00:27:19] Yeah. So how does and I’ll ask you about this, how does the whole sales and marketing thing work for a firm like yours? Do you do the billboard thing? Do you have people out there sort of shaking the bushes a little bit or is it, you know, folks like Judd steering people in the right direction or a little bit of all of that?
Josh Nelson: [00:27:36] I hear people tell me that radio’s the avenue to go.
Stone Payton: [00:27:39] Oh, absolutely. Particularly the kind we do hear business radio.
Josh Nelson: [00:27:44] But in all seriousness, we do all kinds of things. I mean, it’s everything from trying to advertise on social media and Facebook to going out in the community. We work with a lot of not nonprofit charities that help seniors in Cherokee County, like we don’t participate in like the big ALS Alzheimer’s Foundation stuff because the money doesn’t stay here local. So instead we work with like the Volunteer Aging Council who just recently rebranded and we were able to give them like thousands of rolls of toilet paper. Then they give to the community because even in a county like ours that has a median home price of over 300 grand, there’s people living in just despair and poverty. And unfortunately, a lot of them are seniors.
Stone Payton: [00:28:28] I got to say. Five Star Review on Nelson Elder care law involvement in the community, at least here in my backyard. Someone on your staff, Janet? I can’t begin to pronounce her last name, so I just call her Janet P. But any time I’m anywhere around town at any function, Janet’s there and she’s she’s not there dancing around and saying how great Nelson elder care law is. That’s not she’s she’s not. No. Oh, sorry, Janet. No, she represents you very well. And it’s very clear to everyone there that you guys are genuinely invested in the community.
Josh Nelson: [00:29:05] We aren’t trying to be a statewide firm. We don’t go down into Atlanta. Really, what we help is people from Cobb County, kind of that 75 up 575, 515 corridor. And that’s where we put back our resources. And so whenever we can give back, whenever we can help, we do a lot with veterans, even with different organizations that help seniors. They’re just always in need. I mean, it’s crazy to think that food stamps for a senior is 17 bucks a month. What are you going to buy for that? That’s just crazy.
Stone Payton: [00:29:40] Yeah. No, I had no idea it was that low out.
Josh Nelson: [00:29:43] Because you hear in the news that it’s like hundreds of dollars, and it’s just not for seniors.
Stone Payton: [00:29:48] I have a commitment to myself. I don’t watch the news. I’ve stopped.
Josh Nelson: [00:29:54] We find that by putting time back into it, rather than just going and spend it on billboards and things like that, we can get a better drive in the community with the kind of people we want to work with are the kind of people that appreciate that kind of return to where we live.
Stone Payton: [00:30:08] Yeah. Yeah. How about how about you, Judge? You’re not a billboard lawyer either, are you? Or is there a billboard or two around town?
Jud Waites: [00:30:16] No, there’s not a billboard or two around town. I’m it’s a it’s a moving target, you know, and lawyers are business owners like every other business owner. Yeah.
Stone Payton: [00:30:25] Above and beyond everything these guys were talking to you guys about, they have to run a business.
Jud Waites: [00:30:30] It’s a business. So we have the same concerns as every other business owner about overhead and marketing and so forth. So it’s, it’s it’s constantly being something that I always evaluate and reevaluate and come back to. But I kind of see it as a two, two sided coin. I want to, you know, get the name out there and grow my business like everybody else wants to grow their businesses as well. But I also want to give back to the community like like Josh and their firm do a great job of that. So by putting your heart in the right place and focusing on giving back, you get paid back just because of that effort. You impress people with your giving back and that’s not why you want to do it. But you get paid back nicely with referrals and people have who rely on you and trust you to help them when they have legal questions. Those those come about organically from just doing the right thing and trying to give back. So I’m active with fundraising each year for the Cherokee County Family Violence and Violence Center, and they do motorcycle rides to raise funds, and I’m a sponsor of that. Also try to stay involved professionally as well. I’m the current vice president of the Blue Ridge Bar Association, which is just what most folks would call the Cherokee County Bar Association, a group of lawyers and judges. And then I’m also heavily involved in the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce. So I try to make sure I have a good mix of pure business entities to help myself and other business owners. We share experiences to grow together, but also giving back to those in need in the county.
Stone Payton: [00:31:56] That reminds me we’re going to have to come up with a different name for our bar association because it’s a different I know every bartender in town. And.
Stone Payton: [00:32:04] We probably have to come up with a different name.
Jud Waites: [00:32:06] Your membership dues may be a bit higher. Than what we’re paying. I’m just guessing.
Josh Nelson: [00:32:10] Either trying to structure it the same way. So once a month you run out of space, you get great food, have a couple of drinks.
Stone Payton: [00:32:16] There you go. I like it. I like it. I know it’s clear both of you really enjoy practicing your craft. You appreciate the the relationships that you build in doing your work and in serving the community. What are you finding that you enjoy the most at this point in your career? What what are you finding the most rewarding right now?
Jud Waites: [00:32:36] It really hasn’t changed since day one of you know what I call fighting the good fight, you know, trying to get what’s fair from my client. And a lot of people have this mindset. Unfortunately, over the past 20 years, especially, you know, we’ve heard the phrases, you know, tort reform. We need to change the laws regarding ability to go to court and stop people suing for no reason at all and just, you know, trying to be greedy. And that’s that’s just a misconception. There are already statutes and procedures in place that have been there since day one of our legal system that allow judges to see this case has no merit and then throw it out. And lawyers, you know, and I believe that most people and most professions are good and do it for the right reason and do a good job at it. But we all have those bad apples. But I believe that most attorneys are good people trying to do the right thing. So we ourselves ferret out and, you know, throw out those cases before they ever get to a courtroom. I’ll get a lot of phone calls from folks that are good people.
Jud Waites: [00:33:36] They just don’t know the answer to the questions. And when I give them the answer now, I understand why you’re upset about what you’re going through. But unfortunately, the law does not allow you to recover for that type of case. So unfortunately, I will not be able to help you out. So there’s already a great weeding out system in place that we’ve had since day one. So when people say, you know, oh, I don’t want to be the one that sues people in court, I’m not that type of person. Well, it takes two to tango. The reason you’re going to court is because the plaintiff and the defendants were not able to agree on what they thought would be a fair number to compensate the plaintiff, the injured person for what happened. So it’s not that the plaintiff is making us go to trial and drag people in to serve on a jury. It’s both sides of the case are causing people to have to come in and serve on the jury because they can’t agree on it. So we’re going to trust you, 12 people here in our community to decide it for us.
Stone Payton: [00:34:25] So now there’s a perspective you don’t get at the barbershop, right? You get it? Well, we need tort reform, but less than informed opinions, probably. Right.
Jud Waites: [00:34:34] And I’ll tell you, my barbershop.
Josh Nelson: [00:34:36] If you’re. I was using the word tort that’s. Blowing mine out of the water.
Stone Payton: [00:34:40] That’s automatic deaky right there. What’s the most fun for you, Josh?
Josh Nelson: [00:34:45] I think the biggest thing is just seeing the impact as we grow. And so our farm structure is a little different where we’re purposely trying to grow not just for revenue and profit, but we always measure our success and what we call number of families helped. And so inside of our firm, we don’t talk about revenue per month or revenue per year. We talk about how many families did we help this week, how many families are we going to help this month? Whenever our marketers go out, what their key performance indicator or KPI is, is how many people did we convert to help their family? We really do live and die by that idea of protecting you and your loved ones and doing it the right way. So rather than pushing just revenue, which is like put everybody in the most expensive plan possible, we get a lot of people that we do a lot of good for that pay us a couple hundred bucks. Sometimes all you need is somebody to walk you through something for an hour. You don’t need 1000 plan or a multi thousand plan. A lot of people do, and we need to make sure we educate them the right way. So being sure that as we grow we still feel small, that every family feels like they’re the only family we care about is probably my biggest win right now.
Stone Payton: [00:35:59] I got to tell you, man, that’s the metrics that matter. That’s that’s the phrase that comes to mind for me. The number of families served. I love it.
Josh Nelson: [00:36:06] Yeah. I think as business owners, we always struggle with what’s your what’s your one thing that matters, right? Like, how do you say at the end of the day, we did a great job. And so right now it’s really tracking how many families did we help? And so it’s not just the people. It helps culturally so that we’re not saying, oh, we brought on this many cases this month, right? It’s like now we worked with this many families this month.
Stone Payton: [00:36:31] So let’s go there a little deeper. Let’s kind of back to the business side of this conversation. It’s one thing for Josh Nelson to have this ethos, this value system, this behavioral pattern and judge as well. But when it comes to recruiting, selecting developing people, man, that’s got to be a hard row to hoe. How how do you inculcate that with your team?
Josh Nelson: [00:36:56] Absolutely. I mean, so even right now, whenever people are struggling to stay fully staffed and bring people on and let me not downplay the fact that we are as well. We brought on a lady who has years of experience just working with what we call people and culture. And so she’s truly her title is the director of People and Culture in my firm. We go through and make sure that we’re taking care of our team so that they can take care of the families because that’s where it all starts at. And whenever we hire people, we hire people based on their core values, aligning with our core values. And I think that sounds easier than it really is. Just determining your business’s core values is pretty hard. And yeah, we took up what’s called iOS or the entrepreneur operating system.
Stone Payton: [00:37:42] I’ve heard of that.
Josh Nelson: [00:37:43] And it has been transformative for us, where before we had some turnover, just because we were getting just like butts in the seat, we’d have people that, you know, your front desk person, your intake people, they all need to live and die by your core values. And we probably didn’t always execute on that. We had a lot of turnover just because we were like, Oh, I just need you to answer the phones or I just need you to seat and greet people whenever they come in. And once we started getting more particular about that and making sure that we had somebody on the team that was doing personality tests, so we do Colby tests for everybody that comes in. It’s a lot more expensive to hire somebody that way, but they last so much longer. And whenever you get people that know what they’re doing, that have been with the firm for a year, three years, seven years, it makes a world of difference in the client experience.
Stone Payton: [00:38:37] So it’s really expensive. Maybe not to hire them that way. It’s another way to look at it, right?
Josh Nelson: [00:38:41] I think it really is. And that’s why we look at like families health is our number one metric rather than revenue or profit. I tell you, I’ve made less money in the last two years than I did any of the years before, even though we helped more families. But I feel better about it because we helped more families.
Stone Payton: [00:39:00] John, I’m so sorry I asked Josh first. I don’t know how you’re going to follow that, but I’m willing to bet you have some insight on this front, too.
Jud Waites: [00:39:08] Well, when you have no good questions, you just tell the judge I don’t have for other questions for this. This may please, please dismiss the witness from the trial that I have. I’ll sit down now. No, that’s a great answer. As far as you know, I guess my law firm’s vision. I like staying small. I don’t want to grow and become, you know, the next big law firm that’s that’s not in the plans, at least not for right now. I’m a family first guy, you know, Jesus and kids. And then lawyer of the order of the. The things that mean the most to me. So I like the flexibility that being self employed, I own my own law firm, keeping it small. I like the flexibility that gives me to be able to go to kids games and take it in practices, you know, or go to this, you know, take the kids to this church camp or what have you. And so I’ve been vetting my cases more than I have in years past and not taking all the cases that I used to, which is scary. As a business owner, I’m going to say no to some business that I used to take. But by focusing more on the more severe cases, the more severe injuries or, you know, the more, I guess, long lasting relationships with companies that have unfortunately contract disputes come up a lot or fortunately want to have a lot of contracts reviewed because they’re doing a lot more business and they’re smart and they’re doing it on the front end. Just review this contract before we have to start carrying and executing it and before problems arise. So I’ve been focusing more and being a little bit more picky than usual than I used to be on who I am willing to take on as a client, because it allows me to give the same quality service I’ve been giving to my clients, but also maintain the flexibility that I that I want to have as a business owner and a family man.
Stone Payton: [00:40:45] So have you had one or more mentors along the way? And or do you find yourself sometimes mentoring other people, either in your discipline or in business in general?
Jud Waites: [00:40:58] Yeah, I met an attorney when I was in college who was a family friend, and he did real estate closings actually in South Georgia. But we we became friends. And I told him of my desire to go to law school one day. And so he was greatly encouraging me and telling me that you really should do that. And so he he was able to well, he went to Mercy Law School down in Macon, which is where I ended up going. So that tells you how much influence he had.
Stone Payton: [00:41:27] No kidding.
Jud Waites: [00:41:28] But I really enjoyed the experience down there going to Mercer Law School, smaller towns. Sometimes I wasn’t distracted, away from studying as much as I could have been in a bigger city. Right. But but he was a big mentor for me, Frank Horn, Junior. He had served in the legislature in Georgia for ten plus years, I think, back in the day. So he was one of the ones that helped really kind of add more fuel to my to my passion to want to go to law school. And this sounds corny, but it’s true. You know, the book To Kill a mockingbird. And then there’s the famous play, which I think Henry Fonda was in the movie 12 Angry Men. Those are stories about lawyers that really, really impacted.
Stone Payton: [00:42:10] Me early.
Jud Waites: [00:42:11] On in my life. And they’ve stuck with me. As a matter of fact, when I’m asked to speak at different engagements, I like to do a little who is paying attention and ask a question and whoever gets to answer correct. First, we’ll get a free copy for me of the play 12 Angry Men. Nice. But but those those, you know, those books really kind of impacted me as well. As far as me being a mentor to others, I like to think I’ve been a mentor to others, either by beating them in court and they learned how to do it the right way or tongue in cheek. Laugh out loud or by folks that may have been junior associates that were working underneath my supervision back in the days when I was working for law firms before I went solo in 1999. So hopefully I’ve been able to and I learned from other attorneys too, by going up against them. I see where I could have done something a little better on that issue or that motion. So it’s it’s kind of sharpening your your blade by constantly being in battle type type situation.
Stone Payton: [00:43:03] Yeah. How about you, Josh, mentors in your life or are you finding yourself doing some mentoring whether.
Josh Nelson: [00:43:10] Or not I’m a big fan of the idea of modeling. So finding somebody that can do or is that where you want to be at and just copying how they got there. Like you don’t have to figure out your own roadmap to get there. Yeah, it’s always been a big fan of like Tony Robbins and that kind of aspirational modeling that he does. So I work with a couple of coaching organizations as well that are nationwide ones actually based out of Atlanta here, once based out of Miami. And we go do like quarterly events where they help you just develop different business parts. So making sure that whenever you run your business, it’s by the numbers that you understand what the capacity is so that you’re not asking your staff to do crazy stuff and they’re burning out. And then ultimately our people and culture directors really helped us develop our own team. Not everybody’s going to be with you forever, and I think that’s an important thing for business owners to grasp. Let’s have a real conversation that if this isn’t your career path, how we can help move you in the direction. So I have a great young woman on my team right now who wants to get into politics. And because of the connections that we have with some of the nonprofits we do just being a lawyer in general and kind of our ties to the regulators, we can introduce her to people that will move that career path forward, even though right now she works as an admin on my team.
Josh Nelson: [00:44:30] And so helping people really have that conversation of don’t just surprise me with your two weeks notice. Let’s know that you’re leaving and leave on great terms and leave with you having a path. You know, I have a lot of people that start as like right now, I have a front desk person that wants to be in H.R.. Well, I have a two person HR team right now. I can help get her some experience so that whenever she wants to grow into that HR role, she’s going with a resume that shows definable real things that she’s done. So not just that resume fluff, but, hey, here’s what it’s like to put a job posting up. Here’s what it’s like to prep for an interview question. Here’s what it’s like to review those based on a rubric. If somebody came to that, even though they might not have been an HR person, but they have experience doing that, it’s going to give her an entry level HR job above any other candidates that are just coming, even like fresh out of school. I mean, we all know that sometimes school doesn’t set you up for the working world, right? And so that’s been one of the biggest things over the last year, is just making sure that we’re having those blunt and honest conversations about what people really want to do and then helping them go there.
Stone Payton: [00:45:36] So when you’re not lawyering, where do you go to to recharge? Is it reading? Is it travel? What what do you enjoy doing to kind of refresh yourself?
Josh Nelson: [00:45:46] I wish it was riding a bicycle and exercising, but that’s not the truth. I love working on cars, so I work on pre-World War Two Fords. So like right now I’m putting together a 1938 Ford business coop and just going and building it from the ground up, doing the mechanicals, doing the body work. I love painting cars. I know that it’s like cancer in a bag, but it’s it’s just been my hobby for over 20 years now.
Stone Payton: [00:46:15] I am so glad I asked that question. What? You just you never know what you’re going to learn about someone. How about you, judge.
Jud Waites: [00:46:22] That’s going to take away from today? Cancer in the bag. That’s catchphrase. It’s going to be at that song. I can’t get out of my head now. Thank you, Josh.
Josh Nelson: [00:46:27] Well, if you look at like all those auto like even like the aircraft paint remover used to be sold on the shelves and it’s not even sold anymore. It was always funny because on the back of it it says do not use on aircraft because it corrodes aluminum, but they don’t even sell it anymore because the it there were some mass tort cases where you find out it causes cancer.
Stone Payton: [00:46:48] But yeah. Yeah. So on that pleasant note, Judd, where do you go to recharge, man?
Jud Waites: [00:46:54] Let’s see. I like to I like to be with my kids and do things with my kids. So we’ll go outside and play sports together or go to the movies or I like to go out on the boat, you know, in the summertime and do some boating and all and spend time on the water. But I try to set aside time for myself, you know, at least once a week for just, you know, my time. And I find that hitting a tennis ball really hard helps take out some of the frustrations I may have had that week. So I’ve been playing tennis now in these different leagues they have available for the past year and a half or so. Before that, I was playing in a men’s baseball league, men’s senior baseball league Mzbel, which is a lot of fun. But as I got older, playing the game once a week from April through August in my thirties, I had lent for two days after the game. In the forties I lent for four days after the game. And then when I got to my fifties, I was limping for six days after the game. So really we felt good on the next game day. So I just said, I need to find a new sport where I’m, you know, you know, hurting my hamstrings like like this. I’m just not the man I used to be. So but getting outside, spending time outside with the kids and then playing some sports is fun for me.
Stone Payton: [00:47:54] How many kids do you have?
Jud Waites: [00:47:56] I’ve got two. I’ve got a ninth grader. She’s in lacrosse and a sixth grader who is finally convinced daddy using his excellent, lawyerly, persuasive argument skills to let him play tackle football this coming fall. So am I. So he finally won the arguments?
Speaker5: [00:48:09] Yeah.
Stone Payton: [00:48:09] How fun. All right, before we wrap, let’s if we can, let’s leave our listeners with a few basic tips in each of your domains. And, I don’t know, some some do’s and don’ts or, you know, just some things that they can what they need to do is get on the phone with you. But but, you know, short of that, what are some things we ought to just keep in mind are definitely do this or don’t do that when it comes to to your area?
Jud Waites: [00:48:34] I guess my three areas, maybe some quick bullet points would be in the if you’re ever injured because of someone else’s negligence or someone has lost their life, that’s that’s a family member. Just make sure you do what you need to do to get better physically and follow the doctor’s advice. A lot of folks out there have questions sometimes. Judie, you’re the lawyer for me. Should I go see a chiropractor or should I go see a special? Should I not? That’s not my field. You just follow what the medical experts are telling you and make the decision on what you think is best for you and and just get better. You focus on getting better. And let me worry about the legal issues and getting compensation for what happened to you. They try to handle too much and they ask great questions, but the answer is you just focus on getting better and let me handle the rest. As far as criminal defense is concerned, don’t break the law would be a good. Good tip they should do.
Jud Waites: [00:49:25] Or if you’re accused falsely of a breaking the law, you know, call me and I’ll help help you in that situation. But since we are on you a business radio some some tips real quick on the business side of it. I’ll have a written contract even when you have a family member that you’re doing business with. You should really have a contract even more so because of that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen family businesses go south and one of the members has come to me for representation. And it’s it’s nasty. It gets sick, and it doesn’t just ruin the business relationship, but it also ruins the family relationship as well. So just get whatever deal you’re going to be doing with someone, get it in writing and sign off on it. Have a lawyer, look at it first to make sure it says what you want it to say and all the t’s are crossed and I’s are dotted. If you can’t get a written contract done, then at least confirm in writing what the agreement was. For example, let’s say you, Stone, and I had a deal where I was going to cut your grass. It was verbal. We did it. We talked about it in the street, you know, by the mailboxes. You’re going to pay me 20 bucks to cut your grass once a week. It’s not in writing. I’m going to send you a text or an email that says, Hey, Stone, great seeing you today by the mailbox. Listen, I really appreciate you letting me cut your grass once a week for 20 bucks signs. Just at least you have that as a writing, email, write or text. You can print that out and show the judge and jury if it’s ever a question. So at least send a confirmation letter, email or text confirming the terms of your agreement if you do not have a full fledged signed contract at least.
Stone Payton: [00:50:52] Excellent. All right. So if our listeners would like to reach out and have a conversation with you or someone in your circle, let’s leave them with some points of contact, whatever you think is appropriate. Website, email. What’s the best way for them to reach out?
Jud Waites: [00:51:04] Yeah, sure. Two things the website WW Dot Waits, dash law.com. It’s just my last name. Y t s law.com or my office number is 7704206566 and I’m in court half the time so it forwards automatically to my cell phone when you call me. But it does not accept text messages. I prefer email for various reasons, but 7704206566 will get me as well.
Stone Payton: [00:51:34] Fantastic. All right. Leave us with some tips. Josh, you got anything? We ought to just be thinking, have kind of in the front of our mind when it comes to this whole business of planning and.
Josh Nelson: [00:51:43] Absolutely. So first things first. I come from a family business. I’ve had plenty of entrepreneurs in my family. And so I just want to reiterate what Judd was saying there. Make sure you have it in writing. How many times other family businesses come to me and my mom and are like, How do you guys keep doing this? Through all the ups and downs is because it’s written out. It’s always better to make that agreement whenever things are good, because if you can’t get it agreed upon when things are going well, it’s not going to work whenever things are going bad. And then lastly, just a point from like the estate planning side where our focus is, make sure that you check your beneficiaries, that your life insurance, even your bank accounts like your checking account, have what’s called a pod or payable on death. Any deposit account you can skip probate with just by going and talking to your bank. Make sure that that beneficiary on your IRA doesn’t say the estate of Josh Nelson, that it actually says your wife, your kids, whoever you wanted to go to.
Stone Payton: [00:52:42] Excellent, excellent counsel from both of you. All right. This has been an absolute delight, incredibly informative and inspiring for me. Thank you, gentlemen, both of you, for coming in and hanging out with us and sharing your insight and perspective.
Josh Nelson: [00:52:56] Thanks so much for having us.
Jud Waites: [00:52:57] Stone Thank you.
Stone Payton: [00:52:57] Stone All right. This is Stone Payton for our guest today, Josh Nelson and Judd Waites and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you next time on Trusted Advisor Radio.