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What's Up Magazine

Council Baradel

Mar 20, 2014 02:41PM ● By Cate Reynolds

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Council Baradel is one of the region’s premier law firms and prides itself on the Energy, Depth and Experience it brings to the representation of its clients. With established roots in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, our attorneys are active leaders, counselors, and participants in an extensive number of bar associations, business groups and civic organizations that make a difference.

In extending our legal expertise to businesses, individuals, associations, and governments, we are committed to providing each of our clients with thorough, professional and cost-efficient services. The makeup of our Firm permits us to achieve solutions for our clients that are borne of an extensive knowledge of the law, a history of facing similar challenges, and the ability to put the right people in place for you and your legal budget.

From our offices in Annapolis, we proudly serve clients throughout the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Our attorneys engage in trial practice in all county, state, Washington, D.C., and federal courts.

Image titleSusan T. Ford
Ms. Ford’s practice emphasizes environmental and land use law and litigation. She handles cases on behalf of businesses, community associations and individuals including waterfront development and property rights, landfills, contaminated property and alcoholic beverage licensing matters. Having handled many easement, zoning, and permit dispute cases, Ms. Ford is very familiar with State, Anne Arundel County and City of Annapolis regulators responsible for administering permit, enforcement and development programs. To maximize guidance towards the best possible outcome for her clients, she is frequently engaged early-on in a dispute or development project. She works in collaborative manner, with a client-centered approach and an assertive attitude.

Ms. Ford is Chairman of the Environmental Committee of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Chairman of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, and past-President of the Marine Trades Association of Maryland. She is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association and the Anne Arundel County Bar Association.

Image titleMaria Worthington McKenna
Maria Worthington McKenna joined Council Baradel as an associate in 2007. Maria has nearly 15 years of experience in the legal field, but has especially enjoyed the last six years as an attorney with Council Baradel focusing her practice heavily in estate planning and estate administration. Her approach to estate planning ensures that each customized plan achieves the client’s specific goals while taking into account all estate, tax and other relevant laws. Maria navigates the estate administration process for her clients with a focus on alleviating the stress of administering an estate of a loved one. In addition to helping clients, Maria serves on the Advisory Board to the Legal Studies Institute at Anne Arundel Community College to help the next generation of legal professionals. Maria lives in Annapolis and loves spending time with her husband and two children.

Image titleDonna McCabe Schaeffer
With over 25 years of experience handling domestic relations cases, Ms. Schaeffer seeks practical and innovative solutions for her family law clients. A seasoned litigator who is also trained in mediation and collaborative law, Ms. Schaeffer is uniquely suited to handle any type of family law matter. In each case, she strives to balance the difficult emotional and economic challenges facing her client with the client’s goals of securing the best possible personal and financial results, either through negotiation or litigation. Her empathetic and approachable personal style, coupled with a resolute attitude when dictated by the circumstances, has won her a large and loyal base of clients over the years.

Ms. Schaeffer is a member of the American Bar Association, the Maryland State Bar Association, the Anne Arundel County Bar Association and the Anne Arundel County Women’s Bar Association. She was recently appointed to the Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission.

Image titleSusan Stobbart Shapiro
Susan Stobbart Shapiro leads Council Baradel’s employment law practice group and has been with the firm for almost twenty years. Her clients have ranged from local businesses to national companies such as AirTran Airways.

Susan has extensive experience advising clients across a variety of industries regarding business and employment law matters including: contract disputes; non-competes and trade secrets; harassment, discrimination and retaliation; wage payment; National Labor Relations Act; Family and Medical Leave Act; employee handbooks; torts; and related matters. Susan has successfully represented her clients in federal and state court, before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and in alternative dispute resolution.

Susan is regularly asked to speak before business and legal groups such as the American Bar Association, Chesapeake Regional Tech Council, and Anne Arundel Bar Association, regarding the intersection of technology and employment law and other legal issues. She also tweets and blogs about legal issues facing today’s companies. Her twitter handle is @StobbartShapiro.

Image titleSusan M. Wyckoff
Ms. Wyckoff is a director of Council Baradel, whose practice has been primarily devoted to civil litigation, with an emphasis on domestic relations law. She has extensive experience in all areas of family law, including, but not limited to divorce, child custody, support and visitation, alimony, marital property and adoption. Ms. Wyckoff has been certified in Civil Mediation since 2009 and in Collaborative Law since 2007. She is frequently appointed by the Court to represent children as a Best Interest Attorney, Child Advocate and/or Privilege Attorney. She has also been appointed by the Court to serve as a guardian of persons and property.

A graduate of Goucher College and the University of Baltimore School of Law, Ms. Wyckoff was admitted to practice law in the State of Maryland in 1997, and in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland in 1999.

Image title125 West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401 |
Phone: 410-268-6600 | Fax: 410- 269-8409

Q. How can I protect my property if I am getting a divorce?

A. Maryland law protects certain property interests. Property that is acquired by a spouse through gift from a third party or inheritance is that party’s nonmarital property, as is premarital property. Likewise, property that is directly traceable to these sources may be considered nonmarital property. Consequently, it is important to keep records regarding your nonmarital property. Another practical way to protect your assets is to seek resolution through mediation and/or negotiation, both of which are usually less expensive than litigation. Regardless of which process you choose, it is important to consult legal counsel early to gain an understanding ofyour rights.

Donna Schaeffer, Council Baradel – Attorneys at Law

Q. I have a small business. Can I review my employees’ email?

A. It depends on factors such as: whether the email is from a business or personal account; company policies; where the email is stored; and other factors. Beware of the forbidden fruit: if you open Gmail on your employee’s company-issued computer and the employee’s personal Gmail user name and password are already filled in, you may not click through and peruse their Gmail! Think of it like the front door to your employee’s house—if it is unlocked, that doesn’t mean you have permission to enter.

Susan Stobbart Shapiro, Council Baradel – Attorneys at Law

Q. Why should I use an attorney to prepare my Will when I can create my own Will using an internet service?

A. Various internet services certainly provide an opportunity to create your own Will. However, inevitably, when using such a service, unintentional mistakes will occur. If the mistake is revealed after your passing, your heirs could end up spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to rectify the mistake. Creating an estate plan that accomplishes your estate planning goals is very important. An attorney can help you to understand the applicable estate, tax and other relevant laws with the ultimate goal of creating a customized estate plan that works for you.

Maria Worthington McKenna, Council Baradel – Attorneys at Law

Q. Do I really need to confer with an attorney when buying, selling or developing real property?

A. Conferring with an attorney before contracting to buy or sell property can save a lot of time and money down the road. This is particularly true if there are potential environmental issues related to the property, as a property owner could potentially be responsible for its environmental problems, even if the new owner did not cause the problem. Also, there are significant restrictions associated with building on or re-developing property near the water, and an attorney can help her client through the maze of local, state and federal laws applicable to waterfront development.

Susan Ford, Council Baradel – Attorneys at Law

Q. Are there alternatives to “going to war” in a family law matter?

A. Mediation and Collaborative Law are two forms of alternative dispute resolution designed to facilitate an amicable resolution in a family law matter vs. an acrimonious trial. Collaborative Law is designed as early intervention before the parties have turned to litigation. Mediation, similar to Collaborative Law, has the goal of reaching settlement, but where the two differ is the overall process. Both Mediation and Collaborative Law are alternatives to “going to war” and worth asking your attorney about during that initial consultation.

Susan Wyckoff, Council Baradel – Attorneys at Law