"We're Cherokee's Firm"
By Ellen Samsell Salas
“I try to remember that the most important thing to our clients is knowing someone with experience is working to resolve their issue.”
— Daran Burns, founder of Burns Law Group
As the lead attorney of the firm he established in 1993 in downtown Canton, Burns is passionate about taking care of clients and achieving the best possible outcomes for them.
“What’s essential is not just understanding our clients’ legal needs but also learning their personal ones,” Burns said. “Our clients come to us in times of crisis. They need to know someone is fighting for them, and they’re not in it alone.”
Crises in family and criminal law can be the most devastating events people will ever face. Assisting Burns in serving clients is an experienced team of three other attorneys: Laura Hoskins is the lead for most of the family law issues, while Susan Zereini focuses on criminal cases, and Wally Rogers handles juvenile and criminal matters.
Their efforts are complemented by three paralegals: Traci Lingefelt, Madeline Kite, and Lorinda Green. Firm manager, Sheree Ramsey, and administrative assistant, Elizabeth MacMaster, ensure that clients’ needs are addressed promptly.
Teamwork Works for Clients
“Together, our team brings over 100 years of legal expertise to each of the cases we are retained to handle. Teamwork is a key facet of our firm’s effectiveness,” Burns said.
According to Zereini, “In the criminal defense arena, teamwork is especially important in making the process as easy and effective as possible for the client. One attorney can’t do it alone.”
“I love when a client walks in, and there is a cohesive group reaching toward the same goal: to provide excellent legal service, but also to help people in distress,” Burns reiterated. “Because we’re a team, someone is always available,” Burns assured. “Our clients can always reach a person who knows about them and their case.”
“Clients’ work schedules can sometimes limit their ability to meet during the day. Therefore, I make time available for night and weekend appointments,” Hoskins explained. “Meeting my clients’ needs is a small part of the service that I am thrilled to provide. Often, an emergency requires me to work weekends, and I am happy to do that.”
Listening Is Key
Whether the focus is family or criminal law, the firm associates agree that listening to each client is essential, hearing their goals, fears, and hopes.
“It’s all about developing a relationship with each client and understanding their needs, which builds trust. It’s our job to help them walk through this process,” Burns said. “We use our knowledge and experience to prepare our clients for the road ahead.”
“We’re especially good at addressing people’s personal issues and goals versus taking a cookie-cutter approach,” Zereini added, “listening to their needs then developing an action plan.”
Invaluable to clients is the experience and know-how the attorneys bring to their cases.
“The secret is to know what the case needs legally, to stand up for someone, and to protect their rights,” Burns explained. “Clients need someone who understands that there are many avenues to get to the same result, but we must customize our approach.”
“We don’t force clients into one way of moving forward,” Hoskins noted. “We give the client options on how to proceed, explaining the pros and cons of each approach. Often, I listen to a client’s case facts, offering numerous options on how to proceed.”
With 13 years of experience as a prosecutor and six years as a defense attorney, Zereini said she has the advantage of seeing cases from “both sides of the aisle.”
“I can educate my clients as to the strengths and weaknesses of their case; I can anticipate the arguments against them,” said Zereini.
Being local and having tried cases against other local attorneys often benefits the firm’s clients. “We know their tactics, we know what to anticipate, so we can know how to move forward,” Burns assured.
Having their office steps from the courthouse in the heart of the Cherokee County legal world means that sometimes difficult problems can be settled through one-on-one contact without having to litigate.
“When I need something from an attorney, I often go talk to them personally. You can’t do that in downtown Atlanta or even in Woodstock,” said Burns.
“We Are Cherokee’s Firm”
When he tried a case in Canton in the early 1990s, Burns fell in love with the city and Cherokee County. Immediately, he knew that he wanted to make Canton his home and the site of his law practice.
“We feel very connected to this county, and our excellent working relationship with the District Attorney’s Office, the Solicitor-General’s Office, judges, and local law enforcement benefits our clients,” Burns said. “It’s about trust. I need to be able to trust what they say and vice versa.”
“We’re Cherokee’s firm,” said Burns. “If you have a problem in Cherokee, we’re here for you. Whatever the best outcome can be, we won’t stop till we get it. You’ll be glad you hired Burns Law Group to fight your battle.”
Burns Law Group
181 East Main Street
Canton, GA 30114